The Class 4 road is long, straight and mostly flat after an initial, fairly short incline that’s just enough to jump-start our circulation. Although less than a mile from home, we’ve not been on this empty stretch for years, since at least one of the kids — now adults — was portable enough t…

Earlier this year, Vermont passed the strongest state law in the nation to reduce dangerous plastic pollution. Act 69 tackles four of the most common single-use plastics by banning plastic bags, stirrers, and toxic polystyrene food packaging and making plastic straws available only on request.

In 2011, the Vermont legislature passed Act 48, which created the Green Mountain Care Board and put the state on an admittedly bumpy path toward health-care reform. In late-2016, building on a number of reform initiatives achieved over a five-year period, the state entered into a contract wi…

Our communities and our nation are healthy only when every person enjoys full freedom of expression. This is a universal human right. Vermont’s motto of “Freedom and Unity” recognizes that; the First Amendment enshrines it in the U.S. Constitution. The othering and silencing of those who vie…

It’s arguable, although the contention doesn’t hold up well to scrutiny, that the United States was founded on principles of morality, justice and a belief in the inherent dignity, value and equality of all human beings. Certainly it’s the story we tell ourselves, and the French did us an en…

This week the Trump administration made good on its promise. It formally notified the United Nations that it plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement on climate change, beginning a yearlong countdown to our exit. This will leave the United States alone as the only nation …

In spring 2012, Peter Shumlin — who, at the time, was the governor of Vermont — became the butt (pun intended) of jokes after he had an encounter with four black bears on his porch one night as he was allegedly naked and getting ready for bed. (The precise nature of his attire, or lack there…

Two months ago, the novelist Jonathan Franzen created a firestorm with his New Yorker think piece titled “What If We Stop Pretending?” The subtitle of the article was “The climate apocalypse is coming. To prepare for it we need to admit that we can’t stop it.” The cries of anger and anguish …

On Halloween, President Trump announced the appointment of televangelist Prosperity Gospel preacher Paula White as an official member of the White House staff. She has been Trump’s personal spiritual adviser for some time, but now she will be with the Office of Public Liaison as special advi…

There’s no historical indication that the general staffs in World War I scheduled the armistice to coincide with the end of the first marking period. Nevertheless, every November, parents and teachers commemorate the event by taking up positions on opposite sides of their own no man’s land i…

In case you haven’t heard, Bennington County recently received another economic blow when the Energizer plant decided to close and move their operations to Wisconsin, leaving over 100 people soon to be unemployed. This comes on top of Southern Vermont College shutting its doors, resulting in…

A week ago in this space we observed that the title of the 2006 documentary film tracking former Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to alert the public and world leaders to the impending perils of climate change perfectly captured the dilemma before us. Because it will not yield to our wish t…

It almost doesn’t matter where you are on the political spectrum, on the far right or the far left, somewhere in the middle or with the I-couldn’t-care-less crowd, you know we live in a racially charged society.

It may be the most aptly titled film ever made: “An Inconvenient Truth,” Laurie David (producer) and Davis Guggenheim’s (director) 2006 documentary that followed former Vice President Al Gore from airport to airport and lecture hall to lecture hall in his assiduous, virtually one-person camp…

There’s no single reason that teachers become teachers. Some of us are inspired by our own old teachers, and I can trace my first big-desk imaginings to Mr. David. He taught us English, from Thoreau and Dostoyevsky to adverbs and semicolons. Along the way, he called us “Mr.” and “Miss,” he w…

Last week, President Trump pulled the rug out from under the Kurds in a shameless act of treachery. Among the vacuous things he said in his defense were the words, “They have plenty of sand to play with.” Among the many layers of non-presidential, insulting rhetoric employed here is the clas…

As a private citizen, Donald Trump was out of options. He had zero credibility after a lifetime on the grift. His phony “University” cost him $25 million in lawsuits; banks were reluctant to extend him any more credit; and his business failures were becoming the stuff of legend. Even his suc…

What happens on the global stage certainly has implications for us all. But it’s the things happening in our communities that matter most. It is that localism that shapes many of our day-to-day decisions. It is what happens in our schools and town halls, at our chambers of commerce and churc…

I’d like to say, “Thank you,” to documentary filmmaker Ken Burns and PBS for the series, “Country,” about American country music. I watched all eight episodes, which are now available via streaming. I’m grateful not only for the music history, but because Burns also gave me a welcome respite…

There were perhaps a thousand grateful Vermonters attending Paul Bruhn’s memorial service last Friday. A Vermont native with an uncanny ability to unify random and sometimes opposing forces, Paul saved many a beloved place in Vermont over his 40-year professional life. Some say he saved Verm…

Once again, headlines from across Vermont have highlighted recent overdoses as a result of the opioid crisis. In a few cases, the individual’s addiction has become a signal to others.

A cold rain drips from the eaves. The dog’s occasional trips outside are either aborted or brief. The house fights the impulse to grow chilly. I fight the impulse to turn up the thermostats. There’ll be no walk in the woods today. So I face the computer screen with an attitude best described…

The vast majority of Vermonters agree: we face a climate crisis. Our climate-dependent industries are threatened. Our water isn’t clean. Flooding is harming crops and damaging roads. We have more ticks, with their associated illnesses.

At the end of last month, 7 million people, mostly youth around the world, joined with Greta Thunberg in a global climate strike to protest the fact that our industrial societies intend to sacrifice our children to protect the present economic system, and especially the profits of the fossil…

Right now at the Vatican in Rome there is a synod meeting of bishops and others on the issues of Amazonia, convened for three weeks by Pope Francis. Amazonia is a large region (almost 8 million square kilometers) that extends into eight countries: Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, …

Teachers have a legal duty to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Here in Vermont we’re not expected to wait until we’re certain abuse has occurred. In fact, we’re not allowed to wait for anything close to certainty. Our threshold for reporting is “reasonable suspicion.” If I don’t rep…

It seemed unlikely a few years ago that a topic as dry-sounding as election cybersecurity would be on everyone’s lips, but here we are — and for good reason. To paraphrase a wise man, “the more they complicate the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain,” — and as we all now know, th…

Gov. Phil Scott is again taking heat from constituents for using judgment rather than toeing the Republican Party line and defending President Donald Trump, demeaning the president’s detractors or pretending the country isn’t verging on a constitutional crisis after almost three years of a l…

As a lifelong Vermonter, I have been a staunch advocate of the environment for my entire life. Over the last 45 years, I have surrounded myself with the most forward-thinking, hardest-working and intellectually capable people in the waste management industry and together, we have worked ever…

The way our society responds to problems — be they social, economic or environmental — rarely prevents that problem from occurring again. We’ll quickly treat a cough, by temporarily suppressing it with cough medicine, for example, but not change the conditions that created the cough (e.g., m…

Rob Roper’s piece criticizing — well, everything — in last weekend’s Perspective section was filled with the usual snark and evil tropes about sneaky lobbyists, special interests, left-wing educators and kids who ought to be in school lest they be corrupted.

It’s the end of September, and most classrooms have settled into their routines. It runs counter to all the gushing about how learning should be creative and exciting, but there’s a value in school routine. Knowing what to expect day to day from their teacher frees students to concentrate on…