Hope springs eternal
The world Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen has begun and for many of us who have awaited this event since we first saw Al Gore’s, “An Inconvenient Truth,” hope springs eternal, as they say.
As recent articles in The Tribune point out (a good example is “Turning point may be turned back,” Dec. 6), climate change is not a “belief,” but a fact. Even those of us who aren’t scientists studying the evidence have witnessed with our own eyes on television and in films the melting Arctic sea ice and receding glaciers, the havoc wrought by floods and increasingly severe storms like Hurricane Katrina, crop failure and other signs of a planet being rapidly altered and not for the better.
Since a large part of these changes are due to human activity, the question is whether we can change as the climate changes.
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The answer to that question may come from the Copenhagen deliberations. But equally important to political solutions is individual commitment to change in our personal lives, in our communities and in our countries. Without individual commitment such as a grassroots movement to change the way we live, all the Copenhagen conferences won’t amount to much but wishful thinking.
Health care paradox
This is in response to Dick Pottratz’s letter (Too costly, either way, Nov. 27) in which he asks, “If health care in this country is unaffordable to us as individuals, how can we afford it as a country with the government running it?”
Pottratz is correct that the United States spends far more than any other country for health care. The 2005 World Health Organization figure is 15.4 percent of our gross domestic product; this year it is about 16 percent of our GDP.
Paradoxically, we fall considerably down the list on all the major indicators of national health such as healthy life expectancy, preventable deaths, infant mortality and under age five mortality rates. Many countries spend less of their GDP than we do and yet rank higher on the indicators of national health: France, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Austria, Japan, Norway, Portugal, Greece, United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, Belgium and Sweden. They all have strong government participation either in insurance, price control, direct delivery of health care or some combination in common.
Increased government participation does not necessarily mean health care cost will increase. In fact, government involvement may be necessary to an improved health care system that keeps cost within reason.
I am writing this letter to voice my displeasure with the North County Humane Society board of directors’ decision to accept the resignation of Kayce Daniels.
I have volunteered for the humane society for many years, before volunteers even had a volunteer book, and have known Daniels for the past nine years. She does not deserve to be treated as she is. Daniels is the backbone of the humane society; the one who speaks for the cats, cries for the cats and the one who goes home thinking that there has to be something else that can be done to help the cats.
Daniels has had a great impact on the lives of both cats and people, including myself and many other volunteers. While I will continue to support the North County Humane Society as a volunteer, the board will never again have my trust or confidence as past boards have.
Daniels will be terribly missed each and every day, while the current boards’ names will certainly be remembered come next election. You are hurting the ones that need Daniels the most, her charges at the North County Humane Society. You have made a bad decision.
Larry J. Bell