Valley News - NH, Vt. lawmakers prepping energy and environment bills this session
Link between food and environment

Follow the science. Follow the facts. Change the world.

For anyone feeling helpless about the current environmental crisis, I have great news. In a few hours of television entertainment, you can educate yourself about how our simple everyday decisions have enormous and escalating impacts on the health of this planet. I recommend Eating Our Way to Extinction, Cowspiracy and Seaspiracy as great options to start with. These films present difficult information about the health and future of our planet. However, they also offer insight into how changing a few of our individual choices can dramatically reduce and even reverse the ongoing environmental destruction around the globe. By simply not doing something, or doing less of it, your actions can have significant impacts.

These films highlight that animal agriculture is by far the largest contributor to climate change, far surpassing transportation and fossil fuels. They document the unsustainable nature of the meat, dairy and seafood industries and their effects on water consumption, deforestation, species extinction and climate change. It is possible that there are similar documentaries about how the meat and fish industries are better for the environment, but I have not found those yet.

Many people who consume meat are uneasy or dismissive about the idea of becoming plant-based eaters and are often equally passionate about their choices and reasons for eating meat. The documentaries Forks Over Knives and The Game Changers are great places to start regarding plant-based eating. They offer compelling arguments backed by science that a plant-based diet is beneficial to one’s health and subsequently the health of the planet.

This note is not about judging anyone about their dietary choices, but it definitely is about food. There are meaningful choices people can make if they are feeling helpless about the current state of the world. At 53 years of age, I’d like to leave my kids and future generations with some hope for a different planet than what we will leave them at our current pace of consumption. Gather your family around some of these recommended shows for entertainment and education. Your kids can also be part of the solution and will thank you later. It may help you make choices that can change the world.

Brendan Hickey


Croydon debate from a student’s perspective

As a Croydon student, I think this new school budget is insane. It just isn’t enough to provide a valuable and beneficial learning environment for students. This budget isn’t enough to keep a public school operating, and it isn’t enough to pay for other schools’ tuition.

The options the school board members have offered are “learning pods” or “micro-schools.” This means small groups of students would be monitored by a guide while taking courses online. The COVID-19 lockdowns and closings of schools in 2020 proved that this learning approach doesn’t work well. Most students just can’t learn like that, and others who can do well, don’t enjoy it at all.

Part of being on the school board is making decisions based on students’ best interests. This obviously wasn’t the case, as the budget cut and school closing would benefit the Free Staters more than students. The Free State Project’s goal is to minimize government, and decreasing education is just a step in that direction. Students today will be running the country in a few decades — how can we be expected to do something like that if we’re uneducated and inexperienced? This issue will eventually affect everyone, and so everyone should know about it. Education is one of the most valuable resources and should be provided for everyone in a way that helps students learn and understand. This is why the school board needs to do what is best for students, instead of focusing on personal gains. Since they obviously failed to do that, there is another town meeting, focusing on the school budget.

On Saturday, May 7, the meeting will be held at Camp Coniston at 9 a.m. If 283 Croydon residents (50% of registered voters) come to the meeting and re-vote, then this unrealistic budget could be changed.

Delia Leslie


Give Croydon students a choice

I am a 16-year-old Croydon resident and a 10th-grader at Sunapee Middle High School. During my time at “Little Red,” I learned more than just academics. I learned how to be part of a community, I formed lifelong friendships and I gained a solid foundation in core subjects. Croydon taught me so much academically before I had the choice to attend Sunapee, which has been essential for my learning and development.

I am in honors English and math classes. When I first started at SMHS, I was shy and reserved, but the community taught me to be a better public speaker. I have taken part in spelling bees, public speaking events, and debates. I play two varsity sports — again learning teamwork and dedication. I have volunteered numerous hours in the community and hope to join the National Honor Society next year.

During COVID, working online was difficult. Not only is the internet in Croydon subpar, but being isolated took a toll on my mental health. Having structure to my day was key — being left to myself to decide when to do my schoolwork, I sometimes left things to the last minute. Micro-schools and online learning would not be an adequate education for me.

I am one face of the future of Croydon. I implore you to support me in having the same opportunities that many of you had by allowing me to attend public school so I can continue to thrive and become an active, responsible community member in the future. Please vote on May 7 at 9 a.m. at Camp Coniston!

Grace Prunier


Reform Vermont property tax system

I found it intriguing that Rep. Becca White (D-Windsor-4-2) is running on an affordable housing platform when she has personal experience with losing a house to foreclosure. However, that is a totally separate issue from the one she seeks to address.

I am just a little older than Becca; she is nine years older than my oldest granddaughter. I can address this issue in a number of ways no politician wants to talk about.

Here are just a few.

Eliminate “Current Use” totally. This has not saved any family farms and has actually become a scam by million-dollar sugaring operations and out-of-state land owners.

Second, tax people based on what they actually pay for real estate, not what some person with a calculator feels it is worth. Vermont’s working class cannot compete with out-of-state and West Coast dollars. Stop letting the ineffective members of our Supreme Court legislate from the bench, and have our Legislature do its job for once.

Third, take all the conserved land that is ideal for building and remove the restrictions on it. In Vermont there is way too much of this and it needs to stop, plain and simple. You own a piece of property and don’t want it developed? That situation ends when you sell it, period. The state and federal governments, and now the land trusts and nature conservancies, are out of control with these land grabs. It needs to end.

Stop throwing tax dollars at this issue and address the above mentioned items, and you will see land prices and housing prices change in Vermont. Plain and simple. When everyone pays taxes equally across the board, we shall see the actual value of an acre of land in Vermont.

A wealthy family from Florida buys a farm in Pomfret for $6.2 million and is taxed off $900,000. I bought my house for $80,000 and am taxed off $250,000. Anybody with half a brain can see the issue here. I work for a living; they do not. I live here; they do not. And yes, their land is in current use, and posted for no trespassing, and no, mine is not.

Douglas J. Tuthill

West Hartford

Pine Park sees big changes

Anyone walking the greenway that is the former Hanover golf course, stretching north from the Dartmouth Outing Cub and along Route 10, may have noticed excavators and construction activity — or, in this case, deconstruction activity. The high bridge over the Girl Brook ravine, which linked two sections of the decommissioned golf course, was recently removed; it was deemed unsafe, according to college officials. Walkers now need to descend into a wooded section of Pine Park, follow the Girl Brook stream bed and climb a short hill to reach the other side.

There’s also been activity at the north end of Rope Ferry Road, where the college has removed asphalt and prepared ground for a new entrance to Pine Park, parts of which overlap former fairways.

In fact, the demise of the Hanover Country Club golf course has resulted in an expansion of, and renewed vision for, Pine Park, the 100-acre woodland that represents the oldest conserved land in Hanover, a “central park” long favored by students, joggers, hikers and skiers.

Plans are well underway not only for a more inviting entrance to the park but also for a wider, less steep pathway leading into the woods so that children, the elderly and disabled residents can more easily access this beautiful preserve.

Pine Park belongs to the nonprofit Pine Park Association, founded in 1905 to spare riverside woodland from the axe of the Diamond Match Company. It does not belong to either the Town of Hanover or to Dartmouth College, though both have generously helped to manage the park over the years. Nevertheless, funds for its maintenance and preservation have never been assured.

Climate change, invasive species, erosion and other factors require the association to redouble its efforts to help the park thrive — a mission made all the more urgent after hundreds of pines, among the tallest and oldest in the state, had to be culled several years ago because of disease.

Capital improvements to expand public access and to help the park thrive are substantial, estimated at $300,000. Park trustees, confident that the Upper Valley community values this natural asset, ask residents to help ensure its health and resilience by contributing to the Pine Park Association. Please go to, where there is a link to PayPal. Or kindly send a donation to The Pine Park Association, PO Box 416, Hanover, NH 03755.

Kathryn Stearns


The writer is a Pine Park Association trustee.

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