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Vote for the planet 

Fines and fees are not punishing those responsible for the massive resistance to address the climate crisis and the current mass extinction. Penalties are just the cost of "business as usual." Incarceration of the directors and major financial players may work better. I believe if one knowingly continues to harm our planet that it should be considered a global crime—plus fraud, bribery, false ads, gangsterism, deliberate science misinformation, etc.

Big Oil should get the maximum penalty. Now Big Oil is ignoring most of its stockholders who want to begin efforts to curb climate change. OPEC has started raising oil production by around 1 million barrels per day.

G.W. Bush, an oil man and a Republican president, said that Americans must wean ourselves off of oil and coal 13 years ago! When do we start weaning? If we start now, it will be difficult, uncomfortable, expensive, and require Americans to muster up enough support and sacrifice to make this generation the "Greatest Generation." Or, we can put off the inevitable a few more years to benefit a few, then frantically, drastically, and painfully try to solve an even bigger and more expensive problem with many more casualties. Besides, it may be too late: 20 years is the best scenario for not passing the tipping point. The worst scenarios are suggesting far less time is left to change our direction, if any.

Aside from stopping climate change and the mass extinction and ending the oil wars that the U.S. has been involved in since World War I, the pollution created by plastic in our oceans must be dealt with. Countless sea mammals, birds, and fish are washing onto shores with stomachs full of plastic all over the world at an accelerated pace. Huge plastic dead zones are increasing in size and number. Plastic never goes away—at least, not in our lifetime. It erodes into smaller and smaller pieces. Small enough to kill plankton, coral, and other life forms, even the microscopic. This almost unsolvable problem needs action now with the ecosystems inhabiting 70 percent of our planet in immediate danger, there is no choice.

The U.S. oil industry should be doing all that it can to clean up and end this calamity caused by its product. Big money will not change a dang thing. We the People must make that change. We must demand that the No. 1 issue in upcoming elections will be the future of life on Earth as we know it. Get active! Write, phone, text, join, organize, and protest the evil while supporting the good. Vote!

Ben Lovejoy

Atascadero

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