Letters to the Editors

Since his first term in August as a State Assemblyman, I have time and time again made a request to speak with Tyler August in his role as an Assemblyman – my representative in the State Government.  Time and Time again, my calls, letters, and emails have gone ignored. Mr. August is again at it, except now, it is with his district constituency.  Mr. August has been prompted to debate with his opponent for the 32nd District, Dr. Katherine Gaulke.  Mr. August has either been too busy to respond, or too busy to review his calendar, or just plain too busy to actually speak with his constituents.  Mr. August allegedly indicated he was open to a debate but has never followed through. This leaves us to wonder, though Mr. August has attended college both in Madison and Eau Claire, he claims no degree.  Could it be that Mr. August is intimidated by his opponent, not only by her education but by her experience in the real world, solving real problems?  Mr. August is an attendee of ALEC, and you can find much of ALEC’s boilerplate language deep seeded in Mr. August’s “sponsored bills.”  I challenge Mr. August to step up and share his knowledge with ALL of his constituents, not just the ones that support or finance him.  Mr. August boasts being the Chief of Staff for Rep Tom Lothian.  While Mr. Lothian was in office, he answered every contact I made with him.  My state senator at the time Niel Kedzie, though many times we didn’t agree, Mr. Kedzie responded every time. Mr. August needs to take the fortitude and be willing to share his positions publicly and debate Dr. Gaulke.

Respectfully, Duane Konkel


In the art of storytelling, there is something called the ‘red thread’, when one story told begets another, begets another, and so on, weaving the participating audience into the community through related experiences. This leads us to a story to celebrate. It involves the tenth anniversary this September of the Ecuadorian Constitution, Pope Francis, and the Amazon River; among other natural phenomena. The passage of Ecuador’s Constitution ten years ago gave us legally enforceable Rights of Nature “to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.” Along with Pope Francis, who has declared ‘A true right of the environment’ does exist, the Ecuadorian constitution gives permission to those on Pachamamato stand up for her, by stating “Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognition of rights for nature before the public bodies.” This is the kind of community that leads to a ‘red thread’ of stories we can be grateful for, and perhaps yearn to tell our own from, regarding those precious places on the earth that have touched our lives and the desire to protect them. In New Zealand, the parliament now recognizes the ecosystems of the Te Urewera and Whanganui River ecosystem as legal entities with their own rights. In Colombia, the courts have ruled that the Atrato and Amazon River systems have rights to exist and flourish. India has issued rulings recognizing the Ganga, and Yamuna rivers, glaciers, and ecosystems as legal persons with certain rights. Also declaring that “every species has an inherent right to live and to be protected by law,” declaring rights for the entire animal kingdom. Citizens of Nepal have begun rights of nature for the Himalayas. The campaign for the legal recognition of rights for the Great Barrier Reef in underway in Australia. In the United States, more than thirty communities have adopted Rights of Nature laws with efforts continuing in Washington, Ohio, Oregon, Oklahoma, and other states to amend state constitutions. In an era of a great challenge, there is also the opportunity for great response to arising from within us. With the coming of age for Rights of Nature something greater than our small human selves is confirmed; the power of our collective consciousness to a-tune to the answers that support life. And for each of us participating in the story of the ‘living beingness’ of world ecosystems, it’s red thread becomes stronger, more alive, and viable.

Maggie Milliette, former resident of Lake Geneva, now an activist for all people

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