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Opinion

Letters to the Editor: I am selling my surfboard to make a broader point about the need to address climate change

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A surfer drops in at the famed Trestles break in 2016. A letter writer, who is willing to part with his board to make a point about environmentalism, reflects on memories of surfing San Onofre State Beach.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

What’s a white-haired guy in his 70s do when he can no longer get up on his classic Phil Edwards longboard and ride, ride, ride the waves at Old Man’s beach, San Onofre, with Laguna friends? Stored in our family’s surf cabinet along with our son’s short boards are glorious memories of bygone beach times. This 9-foot-6-inch magic carpet with a single fin and beautiful wooden stringer and only one (repaired) ding was serving no other useful purpose than massaging my nostalgia. Surely the board could serve some higher purpose.

A few months ago that higher purpose dawned on me. As a volunteer in the Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s effort to secure congressional passage of the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (House Resolution 763), I could sell my board and use the proceeds to fund a scholarship for a young person from California’s Central Valley to lobby in Washington, D.C. this June on behalf of passage of this measure that prices carbon and returns the paid fees to taxpayers. The IRS would handle the finances, so no new bureaucracies are created. A pause on carbon regulations would be more than compensated for by a projected reduction of carbon emissions.

Congress needs to hear the voices of young people on behalf of this bill. Selling my surfboard could help make that happen, I reasoned. Moreover, it would help pay for the student’s attendance at Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s international conference to be held a cab ride from the nation’s capital. There, the young person would receive lobbying training and learn more about HR 763 and the movement to gain its passage before hitting congressional offices.

Why do I think sponsoring a student’s attendance at this conference and lobbying Congress on the climate crisis is a good idea? The answer lies in what I experienced last year. In June 2018 my wife and I and a Laguna friend joined with some 1,300 other CCLers in the nation’s capital, speaking with staffers and representatives at more than 500 congressional offices about the need to price carbon in order to combat the climate emergency.

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I was particularly moved by two happenings at the CCL international conference that immediately preceded our lobbying Congress. First, I remember the silence that settled over attendees when a young journalist from Kirabati, a tiny island nation in Micronesia, related how salt water intrusion from a rising Pacific Ocean was polluting drinking water and destroying his island’s crops. Second, I was impressed by the number of young people working with us in Washington, D.C. They were articulate and full of energy and hope — and, yes, fear that our current administration would fight all of our best efforts.

These students knew and said that their future was on the line. When they spoke in congressional offices, as volunteers rather than the usual paid lobbyists shilling for fossil fuel interests, officials and staffers seemed to sit up and take notice.

With that experience in mind, I sold my board for the price I paid for it new 20 years ago to a Laguna neighbor who reports he is enjoying it immensely at San Onofre. That makes me happy because it brings back, if only fleetingly, the joy I once felt riding it.

What makes me even happier is the fact that a young person who would not have been able to afford the empowering experience I had in Washington, D.C. last year will likely have something like it next month. In the process, a young citizen-lobbyist might be minted. Re-purposing my storied surfboard was a needed small step toward building a growing movement that just might give the next generations a future.

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Tom Osborne

Laguna Beach

Another vote for environmental bill

A promising bipartisan bill in Congress, the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (House Resolution 763) corrects the market to make polluting companies pay an increasing fee on their pollution, distributes the net revenues as a monthly dividend to American families to cope with increasing energy costs and affects a global solution through a border carbon adjustment that incentivizes trading partners to adopt similar policies.

Bob Taylor

Newport Beach

Shayna Lathus should run for City Council

Re: “Pilot was wrong to cover removal of board member,” (Mailbag, May 6). Wrong. This is exactly what a local newspaper needs to cover and let us citizens know about. Perhaps they did not elaborate enough on the details, which is unfortunate. I am thankful not to be on Facebook and therefore not besmirched by this right-wing extremist dirt after what I am hearing about what is going on in our city on social media.

Yet I still have heard about this one-sided and unfair removal of Shayna Lathus from her appointed position on the Huntington Beach Citizens Participation Advisory Board, due to her citizen’s right to assemble and protest. She is definitely no extremist person. As is known, the H.B. City Council consists mainly of Republicans, but that does not confer a right on Councilwoman Kim Carr to remove a citizen from a citizen board for no real reason, except that she belongs to a different party than the majority of H.B.’s City Council.

Since when do citizens in our city have no right or freedom to assemble and protest? Have we arrived at a place where only one political side is allowed to be heard and exercise their rights? This reminds me quite uncomfortably of extremist governments and entities that curtail the freedom of speech and opinion of different outlooks than their own, which are often fanatical, radical and dangerous.

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I believe that the majority of our City Council does not hold this extremist view, yet they have allowed this irregular and haphazard removal of Ms. Lathus from the board. I call on them to show us non-partisanship and neutrality in this matter. I also call on all H.B. citizens, no matter on which political side, to come to our senses and stop this blindly partisan judging and outlook.

I call on Lathus to be strong and run again for City Council, as there are many H.B. residents who are with you and are hoping for a more even council in the future.

Monika Goodwin

Huntington Beach

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How to get published: Email us at john.canalis@latimes.com. All correspondence must include full name, hometown and phone number (for verification purposes). The Pilot reserves the right to edit all submissions for clarity and length.


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