Time to divest from fossil fuels

Right now, Massachusetts pension funds are invested in fossil fuel industries. This is wrong. We should divest from the fossil fuel industries and invest in other industries that do not contribute to climate change (“Global climate pact won’t keep warming below target, study says” (Aug. 6). 

Climate change is already affecting Massachusetts: it casts a wet blanket over the economy — weather fluctuations beyond the norm reduce returns on crops and thus hurt the sectors of the economy that are connected to the agriculture industry. 

By divesting from the fossil fuel industry, Massachusetts will send the right message to the rest of the country: climate change is no joke and the threat it poses needs to be taken with utmost seriousness. We can no longer support industries that harm the people of Massachusetts, the people in the United States and ultimately the entire planet. By choosing the path of divestment, Massachusetts can blaze a trail for the rest of the nation to follow.

FromJohannes Kieding, Jamaica Plain, Mass.

Stop the overuse of antibiotics

The United States of America does not care about its people or in fact any living thing in this nation. There are loopholes in laws that do not fully protect our waters, which is an essential survival source for millions. Americans are polluting rivers, creating dead zones all over the country, and throwing around dangerous chemicals affecting thousands. But what I believe is the cruelest is how they are treating the factory farm animals in this country.

I get it: many Americans enjoy eating hamburgers, steaks, hot dogs and all these foods with processed meat. But what they don’t understand is what these animals go through and how exactly there meat is processed. They are given hazardous amounts of drugs and then when they are double the size they are naturally supposed to be they are thrown into slaughter machines that they must walk through.

Sadly it seems the United States has been caring solely about its money nowadays and is paying the least amount of attention to the issues that actually matter. People are dying over these hazardous, easily preventable issues created only to profit the producers. Over the past few years the overuse of antibiotics in livestock has become a huge contributor in harming public health. Today in the United States about 80 percent of U.S. antibiotics are put into factory farm feed. The use of antibiotics is very poorly regulated and makes animals, mostly cows, resistant to them as they are given to them even if they are not sick. After being given the antibiotics a few times, the farm animals become immune to them. After these animals are slaughtered, industrials farms pack them up and send them into our food markets.

The meat we eat contains many of these antibiotics that will later interfere with the prescribed medication we are given by our doctors. It is will make us resistant to the antibiotics, to diseases that have long been declared curable by health professionals. Instead of moving forward as a nation, we are doing the opposite. We’ll have antibiotics that do not work and public health with deteriorate greatly. These infections have killed around 23,000 people and have hospitalized two million. As Americans, we must fight against this issue and save all our friends and family before it’s too late.

The U.S. PIRG, a nonprofit group, is petitioning for the Obama administration to create laws to help regulate the use of antibiotics on farms. I urge my fellow citizens to sign this petition to force our lawmakers to keep antibiotics out of our food and to keep us safe. 

From Mahrukh Maryam Saqib, Alexandria Va.

Why do we consistently try to redefine war?

9/11 was a direct attack on the U.S., and the perpetrators have openly claimed their intent is to destroy us. Since that time, we have seen the beheading of an American newsman, the death of our Egyptian diplomat and three others, the killing of a Jewish/American citizen near Palestine, numerous foiled attacks in our country, and probably others that did not hit the news as graphically. Yes, today’s enemy is different, but they have openly and consistently stated their intent to destroy us. They are preparing — we are pontificating?

“They” have declared war on us, yet we seem look for ways to mitigate/minimize the threat. Our “head in the sand” stance makes little sense. Wars are brutal, but I think that ignoring our enemies’ intent will do us more long-range damage than confronting the obvious now.

There is a somewhat cynical comment stating that “your first loss is your best loss.” It’s not a thought that Americans want/like to face, but it just might apply here. Or, if you want to entertain a mental exercise, what do you think President Roosevelt might do today?

From Tom Tyschper, Gilbert, Ariz.