Honor mothers, honor Earth

I enjoy spending Mother’s Day with my children, but knowing that Americans will spend a record $25 billion on Mother’s Day this year leaves me cold. (National Retail Federation 2019).

To counter this feeling, I choose to reflect on Julia Ward Howe’s 1870 “Mother’s Day Proclamation for Peace.” Howe, an abolitionist and social justice advocate, envisioned a special day when women around the world could gather in groups for discussion and activism. Avowing that “we will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,” she called for “a congress of women to … promote the great and general interests of peace.”

Howe’s words were a mother’s cry to end war. It’s time we also cry to end our war on nature. Mothers and children are impacted most by the world’s disasters (Georgetown Institute 2015). How many will be lost to storms, fires, heat waves and floods — all linked directly to climate change? How many more will die in hunger, disease, armed conflict or mass migrations — all conditions exacerbated by the same?

We cannot honor motherhood if we do not honor the Earth, whose life systems sustain us all. Please pay respect to all mothers by speaking out for climate action. See www.citizensclimatelobby.org.

Cathye Williams


Peninsula Township blight ordinance

At 7 p.m. on May 14, Peninsula Township Board will hold a public hearing to consider adopting Blight and Nuisance Ordinance No. 54 to replace the current Junk Ordinance No. 41. All residents need to read this proposed ordinance and voice their opinions at this meeting. The ordinance is being adopted under the “police power” of the township; therefore, the Planning Commission or any other citizen review panel will not review it.

In my professional opinion, this new ordinance represents a true over-reach of local government into citizen private property rights. Its tone is hostile; its content lacks measurable standards and criteria for determining “blight” and “nuisance” on private and public property; its language is confusing and disorganized; its oversight is left to the discretion of two township staff — the zoning administrator and the code enforcement officer. It is particularly harsh and impactful on the farming and business communities; although it appears that no resident will escape its “police power” tentacles. Copies of the proposed ordinance can be obtained by calling, stopping by or going to the Peninsula Township website.

Joanne M. Westphal

Traverse City