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Letter: Working for change

I think Douglas Wight (My Turn, Aug. 13) overestimates the importance of statistics in his efforts to stop climate change. At the same time, he underestimates his own importance.

Statistics don’t change public behavior all by themselves, even when they’re agreed on. People change public behavior. The process isn’t always pretty.

There are inevitably early “fanatics” — non-smokers, vegetarians, pacifists — who take risks in their own real worlds. They act locally. They provoke heartfelt emotion. We know them and take them personally. We compare their behavior to ours and don’t like the comparison.

And we can get at them. We can refuse their demands. We can question their motives. We can counter-demand that they clean up their yards, go do their homework, or shut up and drive.

Douglas Wight is one of the better-known local risk takers. His hunger strike on the Greenfield Town Common brought on public irritation and civic fines. But he was there, literally embodying opposition to climate change. He was fasting for his “demand”: that people participate in working out how to change enough to save the planet. He asked for suggestions, slogans, posters, and a rally.

The rally would not be a referendum on Douglas Wight. It would be a promising step toward improving upon the Chester’s Mills peoples’ exceptionally confused and bloody attempts to get out from “Under the Dome.”

Our dome is everywhere and there is no magic egg.

BARBARA FRANCIS

Leyden

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