Readers felt strongly about reporter Colin Hogan’s story on high schoolers writing legislation to change climate change learning standards, and Grace Ferguson’s continuing coverage of the controversial septic regulations being considered by the Department of Environmental Protection. One reader voiced her opinion on the dangers of understaffing in the health care industry.
Climate change education
“I can get discouraged when I think about how much we need to do to heal our ailing planet, and how quickly time is running out. And I think of the fossil fuel industries with their billions in profits, and their cynical enablers in government. But then I read about these high school students who are helping write a bill into law to give all the Commonwealth’s students the tools they need to understand the climate crisis. And I realize it may not be too late for these talented and idealistic young people to bring about real change. I can only hope the legislators let these students show what they have learned about climate, social change, and civic responsibility. They could teach us all a thing or two.”
— Brent Whelan is a resident of Allston
“This is a great move. There has been a scientific consensus about climate change since at least 2001, and I learned about it while studying Life Sciences at the university, in 2006. However, until a few years ago, I knew about the concept and causes of climate change, but I was assuming that the world leaders were in charge, and that efforts consistent with the magnitude of the threat were being made. Once I got more information, I realized how wrong I was.
“A big problem with climate action is that most people have a very vague idea of what climate change is exactly, why it is dangerous and why drastic action is necessary now. This allows corporations like oil companies — and politicians affiliated with them — to spread disinformation and sow doubt very efficiently.
“I believe that education is key to solving the disinformation problem, and these new learning standards would be a step in the right direction. Kudos to these students! If I, and more people of my generation, had taken action a long time ago, maybe we could have made a difference.”
— Marine Krzisch is a resident of Cambridge
Proposed septic regulations
“It’s funny how mad people are about the ‘possibility’ that offshore wind ‘might’ hurt fishing, but ask them to pay $1 more to clean the water to definitely improve fishing, and they lose their minds.”
— Miles Grant
“This problem is so much deeper than an open meeting law violation. DEP needs a complete overhaul, top to bottom.”
— Greg Jones
Understaffing in health care
“Understaffing injures and can kill people who are sick enough or disabled enough to need skilled care. Not being properly attended hurts vulnerable people in their sense of being considered human.
“Understaffing harms aides and nurses: Being unable to do their best to alleviate suffering causes moral injury, a grievous emotional disturbance, at worst a trauma.
“Understaffing harms surgeons, hospitalists, and doctors: Who can have any peace at night or on weekends believing — knowing — that an urgent order for a patient may be neglected for lack of caring hands at a crucial time? Finally, across the nation, understaffing causes burnout. Aides and nurses are leaving, just as vital need is growing.
“What is true of hospitals is true of nursing facilities. Worse, in many for-profits, understaffing is the basis of their multi-million-dollar industry and lobbying power.
“Owners of nursing facilities, like managers of hospitals, complain that they can’t afford to staff at proper levels. But they must. It is their responsibility — for safety, recovery, kindness and for the maintenance of the nursing and medical professions — to avoid these interconnected evils.”
Margaret Morganroth Gullette, Ph.D. is a resident of Newton and the author of Ending Ageism, or How Not to Shoot Old People.