EDITORIAL: GMG and LWV provided service with forums

Nov. 5—Thumbs up to Greater Mankato Growth and the League of Women Voters for hosting numerous candidate forums for this year's elections.

There were forums on everything from city council to county sheriff and county board to the Legislature and Congress.

Informed voters are key to a functioning democracy, and the forums allowed voters to hear the candidates and their ideas. The forums were orderly and civil and conducted with professionalism.

The candidates who attended the forums also deserve thanks. Running for office is a challenging proposition in these times, and we owe a debt of gratitude to those who put their hat in the ring and for their willingness to serve the public in elected positions.

We should be grateful the league, GMG and other hosts who took the initiative to help voters be informed.

Climate summit

Thumbs up to the Climate Summit starting Sunday in Egypt.

The event is, unfortunately, coming at a time when there is much to despair about.

The U.N. reports that progress on reducing fossil fuel use has been "woefully inadequate," noting that too few countries have measurable plans on reducing fossil fuel use and projections show the warming of the globe is growing at a rapid pace.

Still, there are signs of hope as participants gather. The United States just passed its first serious piece of climate legislation in the Inflation Reduction Act. In Brazil, the president-elect ran on a campaign pledging to slow the destruction of the rainforest.

And Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the disruption to oil and gas supplies it caused has been a wakeup call to the world that developing more domestic renewable energy is the only way to energy independence.

The daunting challenges require that the countries meeting at the Climate Summit take bolder and decisive actions to rein in the climate disaster that the world finds itself in.

Hairy participation

Thumbs up to the participants of the local men's health month campaign.

During November, shaving off facial hair and starting fresh to see which competitors can grow the most impressive beards and moustaches in a month is a lighthearted way to draw attention to the serious issue of male cancers.

This year one of the participants is perfectly named for the contest. Minnesota State University men's hockey co-captain Brendan Furry had his beard removed during the Grow MANkato celebrity shave down Tuesday at Unique Hair and Ink. Furry and a number of other local celebrities will grow fresh beards through November to raise money for the JZ Cancer Fund.

Jonathan Zierdt, the former Greater Mankato Growth leader who died of cancer, would no doubt be impressed by the efforts to keep the fund going that he and his wife, Ginger, founded to keep men's health a priority.

Restored grain shipments

Thumbs up to the revival of the agreement that allows grain exports from Ukraine to pass through the Black Sea.

The importance of Ukraine's wheat and sunflowers to the world's food supply, and in particular to the foodstuffs sent to impoverished countries unable to feed themselves, is well documented. Russia, pressured by Turkey and the United Nations, had agreed to a several-month exception to its blockade of Ukraine's seaports but announced late last week that it was pulling out of the agreement, complaining that Ukraine had attacked its warships with drones.

That an aggressor nation that has been targeting civilian targets with suicide drones is whining about its victim hitting military targets is obviously ludicrous. But just as silly is how quickly Moscow caved when its bluff was called.

On Monday, 12 vessels set off from Ukrainian ports bearing 354,500 tons of agricultural products, a wartime record volume. And Russia backed off its threats to the shipments.

The deal is due to expire Nov. 19. The world should press Russia to let the grain through after that.