Op/Eds

I read with interest your recent editorial “Dairy: Finding common cause.” While I agree with your overall conclusion that the objective should be to find a common cause with a plan that allows our rural communities and our farmers to build a sustainable future, it will require BOLD leadership at ALL levels around a common cause going forward. That currently is lacking in our state, but is achievable I believe.  As you know, the trends have been there for some time. The export market for fluid milk to the New England market has shaped the Vermont dairy industry and the landscape in the state...
I’m writing this at the dining room table of my brother- and sister-in-law’s home in Orange County, California, on the final day of a weeklong visit with family on the West Coast. From where I sit, I see the clear blue sky that hasn’t changed all week; the Southern California weather has been perfectly sunny, warm, and dry. I see the red tile roofs of neighboring houses in this suburban development, where nearly every day we’ve walked a few steps across the lawn to the neighborhood pool. I see a row of palm trees; despite having spent five years as a California resident myself, I never get...
The wonder of the Trump presidency is how he has been able to screw up so many things so quickly and still maintain the core of his party’s support. The aftermath of his presidency, we wager, will be the party faithful reflecting on why they didn’t speak up more forcefully against his ruinous policies and that they gave credence to the idiocy of his whacked-out ideas. Buying Greenland is just the latest example. It’s not that buying Greenland would be a bad investment, it’s that the very idea is repugnant in today’s world. In the 21st Century, one nation doesn’t just buy another’s land and...
Americans and People everywhere must change their thinking. We must save ourselves and the planet as we know it from extinction, not by making small changes and not by electing officials who promise to work hard and make changes, because they inevitable become part of the problem. We cannot count on our political system to save us from tyranny. We must intervene and stop the growing concentration of wealth for the increasingly small number of Americans who actually control our elected officials. This is not the only incredibly huge problem; if we are to be respected and included in the world...
After reading several times the front page of the Addison Independent’s Aug. 5 article on Marie Audet’s induction into the Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame, as well as Angelo Lynn’s editorial on dairy farms and Dan Monger’s letter, I realized something was wrong, something was missing. Further discussion needed to be included. But was it fair for me to question — particularly at this time of all the agricultural fairs and fun times had by everyone who attended — the accomplishments of someone who probably was being celebrated by many of our community? My answer is YES, for the product her...
On the issue of school consolidation, here’s how the Addison Central School District may have unintentionally created a problem that has become detrimental to the district’s smaller towns and to the greater district: Simply put, in crafting the district’s charter, they created a structure that favored a district bias over the bias of individual towns. The board’s intent, understandably, was to create a stronger district across all schools — to create better pay equity from school to school among teachers and administrators, and better student outcomes by providing equitable opportunities to...
Ah, the simple pleasures of summer: a cup of coffee, salt air, a sunny deck and the best vegan oatmeal raspberry bar I have ever tasted. Why sun and coffee? That needs no explanation. Why the salt air? Because while summer in Vermont is indeed a gift from the gods, it is imperfect — Neptune knows — without a weekend visit to the ocean. Why a vegan oatmeal raspberry bar? Well, that’s another column, but suffice it to say that if you care an iota about climate change and have not yet pondered the relationship between agriculture, the food we eat and the rapid warming of the planet, it is worth...
Confession: I now own three spinning wheels. Mark isn’t thrilled. He says it would be like if he bought three table saws. But it’s not the same; I have an emotional attachment to my wheels. And anyway, what do I care how many tables saws he has? Unlike him, I don’t judge. I bought my first wheel, new, around 2004. And Mark himself surprised me with the second one, an antique “walking wheel,” the big kind you see at history museums. He thinks that because it’s very old — 200 years, with its original blue paint — and is the most thoughtful Christmas gift he’s ever given me, I should be all set...
It’s said that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time to plant a tree? Today. So it is with climate change. If our society had decided 20 years ago to do something substantial about climate change, we would be much safer now. The transitions required today would not be so massive nor the timetable so short. But it’s not 1999. So while the opportunities are bigger, so too are the challenges. So big that the latest U.N. reports warn we have just 10 years to cut the entire planet’s emissions of greenhouse gases in half. And if we don’t? We’re facing a world of...
Editor’s note: This is the 31st in a series of essays on the history and meaning of the American political tradition. After reviewing the previous essay, I realized that my account of the philosophical background of American Transcendentalism was incomplete. Its historical roots reach back in history well beyond Kant, to Greek antiquity. If we can believe Plato, Socrates was the first transcendental philosopher, and on his own account, he was taught by a woman, Diotima, a prophetess from the Greek city of Mantinea. To learn about this, one must read Plato’s Symposium. This will not be an...

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Addison County Independent