Climate Change: The Time to Act Is Now

More from our inbox:

  • All Together Now: G is for Grandpa, and for Good
  • Why Reports of Sex Abuse Are Often Delayed
  • The Loss of Insect Life
  • The Manuscript Thief

Hoesung Lee, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, speaking at the global climate talks on Nov. 6 in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.Credit…Sean Gallup/Getty Images

To the Editor:

Re “Earth Is Nearing the Tipping Point for a Hot Future” (front page, March 21):

I can’t begin to express the deep grief I feel after reading about the new U.N. climate report, which spells out our challenge more plainly than past reports and is more specific about time lines.

As your article says, we need to cut greenhouse gases roughly in half by 2030 and stop adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by the early 2050s if we are to have a 50 percent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Considering the actions of the leading offenders — China, the United States and other countries — it is patently clear that we’re not going to make even this conservative goal.

Humans will not disappear from the earth, but we can expect apocalyptic death and destruction, hints of which we’re already seeing: floods, fires, famine, frightened migrants chasing safety and authoritarian governments rising to control borders.

I’m 81, and I’ll be dead by the time the worst happens, but my grandchildren will not. Can we not think to protect future generations, and the earth they’ll inherit? Our problems are not chiefly economic and political — our problems are spiritual: They have to do with values and meaning.

Marilyn Sewell
Portland, Ore.
The writer is minister emerita of the First Unitarian Church of Portland.

To the Editor:

Political liberals and conservatives, religious and nonreligious people of every stripe, residents of every state and nation, and every generation need to act quickly to avert the worst of climate change to protect our only home, planet Earth.

Our family has done all it can to lower our carbon footprint in housing and transportation, and while individual actions are a crucial part of averting a climate crisis, real change can come only on a societal level by electing political leaders who will act for the good of all, not just for the few.

Unless there is a secret alternative planet, politicians who deny that our planet Earth is warming rapidly will suffer the same consequences as their constituents.

Edwin Andrews
Malden, Mass.

All Together Now: G is for Grandpa, and for Good

Jonathan Wolf, 64, said the decision to help care for his grandson was “instinctual and automatic.”Credit…Sara Naomi Lewkowicz for The New York Times

To the Editor:

I found “Raising a Generation of Cool Grandpas” (Science Times, March 14) extremely touching. It sent me back to the 22 years that my Nonno, my grandpa, lived with my family.

The close bond that developed between us created a link from the past to the present, and into the future. He influenced my character development, my interests and my sincere appreciation for all that he had endured as a 14-year-old immigrant from Italy.

I am in awe of how he successfully composed a life and built a future of which I am one of the beneficiaries. I was 23 when he died, and to this day I regret not asking him the many questions that I have about the struggles he overcame when he was young that enabled him to give his children a better life in America.

May God bless all the grandfathers who provide exemplary role models for their grandchildren. And may God bless all the grandchildren who respect and revere their grandpas.

Frances R. Curcio
Staten Island

To the Editor:

I have three teenage granddaughters. When each was born, I wrote a letter welcoming her to the world and congratulating her on her good judgment in choosing great parents. More important, I told each one that I wanted to accompany her on her voyage of discovery.

It has been so much fun for each of us to be on that voyage together. All children are natural scientists and inquisitive about their world from their first discovery — that they have a thumb they can control and suck.

Early on we walked in parks and discovered worms; later we learned how to make ice cream; now we discuss all sorts of school projects.

Advice for new grandfathers: Don’t be just a voyeur on the voyage. Be yourself and share whatever you bring to that voyage. Whatever you bring will be treasured. Being on their voyages has been so rewarding and doesn’t require any skill beyond pursuing their curiosity.

Michael Rothschild
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Why Reports of Sex Abuse Are Often Delayed

Jennifer Fox made the film “The Tale” about the summer she was 13.Credit…Ingmar Nolting for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Sex Abuse Accusation Names a Rowing Legend” (front page, March 20):

In this article about childhood sexual abuse, The Times correctly noted that “victims may not report their abuse because of denial, shame or fear that they won’t be believed.”

There’s another, often overlooked factor that helps explain delayed abuse reports. Many survivors don’t deny their victimization — they simply don’t understand, until years later, that what happened to them was abuse.

Often, a child gets inadequate attention at home and believes that abuse is abrupt and brutal. Along comes a shrewd predator who convinces her that gentle touches are genuine affection. Her ignorance and innocence cause her to confuse being abused with being loved.

So it’s not only true that most victims don’t come forward promptly, but also the case that they may not recognize what occurred as abuse.

David G. Clohessy
St. Louis
The writer is the former national director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

The Loss of Insect Life

Rick and Nora Bowers/Alamy; Leon Werdinger/Alamy; Rich Hatfield/Xerces Society; Pedro Pardo/AFP via Getty ImagesCredit…

To the Editor:

“Vital to Humans but Unprotected in Some States” (front page, March 6) alerted readers to the loss of insect life. The plight of insects as a result of climate change and the vast use of pesticides has been obvious for years to anyone with an automobile.

I’m 78 years old. Every couple of years my mother and brother and I would drive from New Jersey to visit her mother in Denver. Whenever we’d stop for gas we had to scrape the yellow streaks of smashed insects off the windshield.

When we arrived, we’d have to hose the many grasshoppers, butterflies and other insect corpses off the grille, the front fender and the rearview mirrors. This was the case even on shorter trips.

Some years ago, I rediscovered the joy of driving cross-country from our home in Albuquerque to visit friends in the East. Except for a few gnat-sized bugs on the windshield that aren’t enough to make me wash the windshield even once during the trip, the bugs are gone. No butterflies or grasshoppers, or any other insect corpses on the grille.

I have no idea what insect-eating birds are doing to survive. Warblers don’t come around our backyard in Albuquerque anymore; the bats and swallows we used to see zooming around are gone; and flycatchers are few and far between. Too bad we don’t take this seriously.

John Boyd

The Manuscript Thief

Judge Colleen McMahon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Filippo Bernardini explained his motives in a letter to her ahead of his sentencing in April.Credit…Caitlin Ochs for The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Why Would Someone Steal Unpublished Manuscripts?” (news article,, March 13):

Filippo Bernardini stole over a thousand unpublished manuscripts, according to the government, and he said he did it just to read them. Your story quotes an author describing this as a “victimless crime.” He is incorrect.

Reading over a thousand books without paying for them means that he stole intellectual property worth, by a conservative estimate, at least $20,000 if all the manuscripts ended up published.

Most authors make so little money that every dollar of royalties makes a difference.

Shaun Breidbart
Pelham, N.Y.

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