GLOBAL climate change is a public-health emergency that can pollute our air and water, threaten our food supply and foster infectious disease. We already see increasing emergency-room visits, hospitalizations and deaths on a global scale. If we continue our current course in emitting greenhouse gases, the resulting burden of disease will increase. In Pennsylvania, we have hundreds of coal mines, nuclear and coal-fired power plants, and more than 7,000 natural-gas wells that extract methane - a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

We will leave our children an Earth forever changed. However, we still have a choice between a future in which they can adapt and survive, and a legacy of epidemic disease, injuries and deaths from extreme weather events, cardiorespiratory illness from air pollution and heat stress, and violent conflict over shrinking resources.

A goal for preventing catastrophe is to cut our fossil-fuel use in half by 2030. Individual efforts will not be enough, and our government will need to take greater leadership on this issue. Time is running out. We must take action.

We urge all citizens to stand up now against continued pollution of our planet, to support candidates and policies that increase energy efficiency, exert tighter controls on vehicular and factory emissions, and foster development and increased use of renewable energy alternatives to fossil fuel.

Dr. Carla Campbell

Dr. Poune Saberi

Philadelphia Physicians for

Social Responsibility

Farewell, Jack

I'm saddened by the death of former St. Joe's basketball coaching icon Dr. Jack Ramsay. He was a true gentleman. Although I was a Sixers fan, he did a remarkable job directing the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers to the world championship. That was back when the NBA was fun to watch.

As a child, I'd see Dr. Jack riding his bicycle during the summer months in Ocean City, N.J. He had a real parrot attached to the handlebars.

Matt Engel

Wilkes-Barre

Homeless help

Helping homeless families requires more than giving them the resources to survive; it means equipping them with the knowledge needed to thrive and building communities.

The problem of homelessness in Philadelphia is burgeoning, with more than 1,000 children a year spending at least one night in an emergency shelter. Fortunately, there is help. For example, the People's Emergency Center serves 200 homeless families annually, providing a roof over their heads and a pathway from poverty to opportunity. PEC also invests in the surrounding neighborhoods of Belmont, Mantua, Mill Creek, Saunders Park and West Powelton, improving the quality of life for 18,000 West Philadelphia residents.

Forty-two years ago, PEC opened the city's first homeless shelter available to families on weekends. Since then it has grown into a multidimensional agency offering job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial-literacy classes, life-skills programs and technology courses through five educational centers for our residents and for the community. I am proud to be a part of an organization that understands that ending homelessness takes more than just offering a place to live.

The success of PEC and the families and communities we serve depends on the support of those around us. I invite you to help provide that needed support while having fun by joining us in the Race to Make a Difference in Philadelphia at our Kentucky Derby benefit on Saturday. Enjoy signature mint juleps, a fancy hat contest and a view of the most exciting two minutes in horse racing.

Become a champion for these women and children, and help them start down the road to a more promising future. For more information, visit pecderby.org.

Elayne Howard

People's Emergency Center

Demanding more

Many of your readers could benefit from in-depth reporting on the candidates for governor: the details of their proposals and how they differ; how they are perceived by peers, staff and people they worked with or against over the years; how elected officials and political experts in different parts of the state assess their chances to defeat Gov. Corbett, and how they are connecting with average voters on the campaign trail.

Instead of that kind of fact-based reporting, we are invariably treated to a steady diet of "opinion pieces" consisting of a few snide and repetitive comments in reaction to the candidates' TV ads. John Baer inaccurately slurs Treasurer Rob McCord by calling him a rich guy in the vein of Mitt Romney. Rob McCord is the exact opposite of Mitt Romney. Romney, remember, is the son of the former CEO of a major automaker, and grew up in wealth and privilege. Rob did not. He is truly a self-made man. And, most important, rich Mitt looked down on those less fortunate and proposed policies that favored the richest 1 percent of the country. Rob (and the other Democratic candidates) supports policies to help the middle class and those struggling in our state.

There are many times when we should demand more from our politicians. We also deserve more from the "journalists" who cover them. The two go hand in hand.

Joseph C. Kohn

Devon