Letter: Editorial was ‘demoralizing’

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, August 6, 2008

I would like to respond to a recently published piece called “ACES should be more action than discussion” (July 29). Your writer states that ACES discussions seem to be “the primary focus, rather than getting out … and taking action.” I think the writer’s approach is a terrible way to encourage residents to engage with their elected officials. It is demoralizing and tells them that what they are doing isn’t helping and doesn’t matter.

Understanding how our political system works is something that many people struggle with. I came from a non-political family myself and only as an adult did I learn how I could get involved in a meaningful way. I got involved because I cared about the issues — I didn’t know anything about politics and why it was important to be involved. Without patient mentors, I don’t know that I would have understood that educating people about an issue is only the first step. To make real and lasting change we need our elected officials to create public policies and provide funding and resources to make those changes real. ACES is learning some of this as they go — give the group a break.

I would like to thank ACES members for working hard to make Austin a great community for future generations to enjoy. ACES volunteers are showing up and working hard with little resources or money. Check out the story “Working to Reduce Our Carbon Footprint” (July 30) — to learn more about what ACES is doing.

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Patience Caso

Field Director

Minnesota Environmental Partnership