Letters to the editor

Readers respond to stories about climate change, shorter workweeks, and more.


Thank you for your article on David Keith and his advocacy for investing in research into geoengineering and how it might be used to mitigate climate change should it become necessary (“David Keith Hopes We Don’t Have to Use His Ideas to Reverse Global Warming,” October 20). This is an important conversation that we should be having in the United States even if some of us cringe at the thought of having to deploy geoengineering because a lack of political will brings us to that point.

As noted in your article, one misconception contributes to inhibit political will from building for climate action: “economic hits . . . would surely come with the radical emissions cuts many scientists say are needed.” In fact, the Committee for a Green Economy published a study in July that showed we could lower emissions and grow our economy at the same time by implementing a revenue-neutral carbon tax. The tax would be levied on all fossil fuels in the amount of $45 per ton of CO2 produced when burned. All proceeds would be used to reduce current sales, personal, and corporate income taxes. According to our study, emissions would be reduced significantly and the state gross domestic product would grow by hundreds of millions of dollars per year. No net increase in tax burden, a larger state economy, and lower emissions. This is one approach states and the federal government should be studying to avoid the need for geoengineering as long as possible.

Gary Rucinski

Cofounder and chairman

Committee for a Green Economy

I feel that Keith is being disingenuous. He says he feels “a kind of primal attachment to nature, something he doesn’t hesitate to call love,” but he runs a start-up that will scrub carbon dioxide from the air and sell the gas to energy companies to help extract hard-to-reach crude oil. Keith is clearly a smart man. Why, then, is he working to unearth more fossil fuel? Funny, if I follow this right, Keith makes money scrubbing the CO2 out of the air, which then is used to pump more oil, the burning of which creates more CO2 to be scrubbed, and so on. Sounds like a pretty good gig. Leave the fossil fuel in the ground and it won’t contribute to global warming.

Eleanore Recko



Chris Berdik’s article on Keith’s ideas to combat global warming, which included “spraying a cloud of tiny particles of sulfuric acid into the air to reflect sunlight back into space to cool the planet” reminded me of the lessons my son and I learned years ago in our near nightly reading of the children’s book Bartholomew and the Oobleck, prophetically written by the wise and wonderful Dr. Seuss in 1949. I suggest Keith read it.

Tamela Gates May



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It was with great interest that I read the question from P.M. of Quincy that discussed how people tend not to allow for others to share the sidewalk when passing (Miss Conduct, October 20). My husband and I have found the same thing, and it seems to be escalating. When we returned here from out of state, we were shocked when we found that we, very visibly senior citizens, were often forced to walk in the street to avoid being knocked down by younger adults who should have known better. This is a problem all over the country, not just here in Massachusetts.

Nancy J. Cicia


I have been unhappy for quite a while about social behavior on sidewalks. And it now extends to mountain trails, beach boardwalks, and aisles in stores. I have concluded there is some kind of semiconscious bullying contest going on, and I have put some energy into finding the way not to be the pushee when I face the pushy persons taking over “my” half of the sidewalk. Could this behavior have come from the crowded halls of our high schools? I have been astonished at how many types and ages of people are engaged in this nasty little game, and it is no matter to them that I am an elderly woman. All the more enjoyment seems to come from trampling the courtesies of a former time.

Joyce Thompson



I enjoyed Kathy Shiels Tully’s interview with Yoichi Udagawa (First Person, October 20). He also leads a third orchestra, the Cape Ann Symphony, and this is where my friends and family have enjoyed his energy and the shared commitment of musicians from diverse backgrounds working to bring a high level of musical artistry to the North Shore area. Udagawa is especially adept at his brief “podium talks,” focusing on a listening gem for the audience’s special attention. He is a hidden treasure of Massachusetts music, for musicians as well as audiences.

Ed Biggs



Jim Braude’s piece on implementing a four-day workweek (Perspective, October 13) is an idea that looks inviting on the surface, but I’m not totally convinced that squeezing 40 hours into four days is somehow more liberating than spreading it out over five. If I use an electric fence for my dog, instead of her leash, the perimeter of the yard doesn’t change. The results-based notion is perhaps a more promising idea for progressively altering the workplace. It seems to make the radical assumption that most employees are responsible adults who don’t need someone keeping an eye on them and can actually get their work done without the traditional constraints of schedule, location, and reward/punishment. Let’s face it, there are often unproductive hours spent at work just “doing time.” Show me a worker with a flexible schedule, and nine times out of 10 I’ll show you someone who is productive and happier with his or her job.

Kathleen Joyce



At first blush, I suspect the majority of workers would consider the prospect of having a fifth day free to “run errands” or “pursue hobbies,” as Braude suggests, enticement enough to be in favor of it. But what of working 10 hours four days a week? How does one “decompress” at the end of such a long workday, and how does it play out with a family’s daily schedule? The guarantee of four days of untimely family dinners (or none at all), missing out on children’s activities, or even losing personal daily recharging time is reason enough to keep our workweek just as it is.

Sheila S. Cunningham


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