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Letter: Hastings Council, get comfortable talking about carbon emissions

To the editor:

Recently I attended an event hosted by the Freshwater Society teaching Master Water Stewards how to discuss climate change with our community members. The challenge we face is when a reasonable issue with reasonable solutions, is hijacked to be used in political discourse.

Global warming, as a political topic is dead in the water. It is time to talk practically about carbon emissions and clean energy considering savings, future career opportunities, and clean water, lands and food. After all, solar energy jobs now outnumber coal mining jobs in the U.S. according to Climate Generation.

The intent of "Letter: Council should stick to Hastings' problems" is to make you believe that a council member is wasting time by introducing environmental issues to the council, by insinuating that all people in Hastings care about global warming and proposing favoritism to Xcel Energy. Accusations that have an underlying thesis grounded in divisive politics.

If we were to quantify what City Council talks most about in a meeting, I would be willing to put my dollar on rights-of-way, assessments and real estate. Changing the tenor of a meeting for a brief interlude, to speak on behalf of a sector of the community that discussed with the council member their concerns on carbon emission and clean energy, is well within the expected behavior of a community leader.

Hastings community members have been requesting, through a supportive council member, that the city lead in helping Lake Rebecca elevate past a health report of grade F, to spotlight members (even businesses) in the community that are making forward leaps in carbon reduction, that reducing waste at community events matters and solar subscriptions might be a feasible idea the city could investigate.

Shirking all environmental issues to the Park Board or the Chamber of Commerce is ignoring what a portion of your community wants. Claiming you know nothing about this topic is a great opportunity to form a sub-committee and reach out for answers. Instead of saying "not in our strategic vision" try "lets add this to our vision." Be a city that values its Comprehensive Plan.

Furthermore, I find it almost amusing if it weren't plain sad, that poor quality drinking water was the end argument of the letter mentioned above. How is it possible to not see the connection between environmental resilience, the type that council member Tina Folch and Hastings community groups represent and promote, in direct causal relation to the degradation of these natural resources. You can't turn a blind eye while also holding out your hand.

Cole W. Williams

Cottage Grove