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Letters Aug. 11: Fighting climate change; what is a "safe" return to schools?

We all know what to do to fight climate change We should have been on a war footing in the 1970s, when the consequences of our selfish stupidity began to manifest themselves.
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The Suncor oilsands mine facility along the Athabasca River is seen from a helicopter near Fort McMurray, Alta. A letter-writer suggests humanity’s drive to maximize use of natural resources will lead to our downfall. JEFF McINTOSH, THE CANADIAN PRESS

We all know what to do to fight climate change

We should have been on a war footing in the 1970s, when the consequences of our selfish stupidity began to manifest themselves.

Eventually the governments of the world will have to enforce measures that will make the Second World War look like a good time had by all, but it’ll be far too late.

Massive suffering and death are already the stuff of daily headlines, and much worse is to come, but that doesn’t mean we should shrug and give up and conduct business as usual.

Don’t wait for government action. Everyone knows what we need to do, which largely means not doing things.

What are you going to tell your children — “We thought it was more important to drive you to the mall and fly you to Disneyland than to leave you a habitable planet”? Can we stop being stupid now?

Hilary Knight
Victoria

Voluntary protocols are absurd and reckless

Re: “UVic faculty and students call for vaccine requirement,” Aug. 8.

According to Uvic spokeswoman Karen Johnston, the university’s planning for the “safe” return to classes in September includes optional mask wearing and voluntary vaccination, presumably to include students, employees and visitors on campus.

These plans, which according to Johnston have taken months to finalize, are not simply absurd, they are reckless and dangerous to the university community and beyond.

The board of governors should intervene to correct such a dangerous mistake. If not them, then our own provincial government should act accordingly.

Dr. James D. Stockdill, family practice
Victoria

Ignorance, arrogance behind border opening

The insanity of letting vaccinated Americans enter Canada as of Monday shows the lack of political understanding of COVID-19 and its highly contagious Delta variant.

How many more Canadians will die after reopening our borders to Americans — when many states flagrantly ignored the spectres of COVID — is unknown.

That looming, continued tragedy should not shock anyone once COVID/Delta spikes start upward again.

Those needless infections and deaths will rest firmly on the hands of our politicians who apparently haven’t the basic wherewithal to put health and safety before our economy.

Nor do they seemingly understand how to smartly grow and manage our economy safely in the face of this pandemic, and various other pandemics on our global horizon.

Maybe once COVID body counts reach those of the 1918 Spanish flu will our feckless leaders see the light.

But by then it will sadly be too late for those Canadians who died from political ignorance and arrogance.

Peter W. Rusland
North Cowichan

Cherished moments at the old Clover Point

Clover Point was unique and the only place I know that offered a place to park a car and take in a view of the ocean with no further effort. And that is what made it so special.

For so many, and for so many different reasons. And for some with the inability to have the experience any other way than to be in some sort of vehicle and shelter.

Most days in my experiences, sheltered from the elements was the only way to enjoy the view.

My wife and I stopped there countless times before, after, and sometimes in between her many nearby hospital appointments. When her health declined and she still could, she asked to be taken to Clover Point from her hospital bed. Rain or shine.

And on a clear day, when the point always seemed to have a stiff wind, I flew and destroyed an inexpensive kite while she watched from the car to cheer her up. I think it was one of the last times I saw my wife smile.

I hadn’t been back to Clover Point since that time, but did the other day after reading about the changes.

I understand the transition, restricting access to motorized vehicles in public spaces. Clover Point might have needed a little sprucing up to match the new structure for sewage pumping and to go along nicely with the improvements along Dallas Road at Ogden Point.

However, what I see at Clover Point now would make it impossible to repeat the cherished moments my wife and I spent there. A dramatic change that to me has taken away the reason to visit.

I don’t live in Victoria near Clover Point, so I guess I don’t count. Maybe that was the objective.

I can only think that the mayor and council of Victoria push through these sorts of changes based on their own ideologies of what’s best for us all before really giving them much thought.

Oh, and by the way: The useless windswept picnic tables installed at Clover Point might be better utilized if moved to be among the new bright yellow chairs beside Ogden Point. There’s food available down there.

Kevin Norman
View Royal

Out with grandkids, no fear of a car

Hooray for Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and her sensible, reasoned response to the furor over the excellent changes that have occurred at Clover Point.

I am an old guy with mobility issues who nonetheless rejoices that Clover Point is no longer configured principally to suit people who drive cars.

An initial objection was that the new arrangements would be prejudicial to persons with a handicap. That is now turned upside down: The handicapped parking spaces are not being used, the objectors shout.

When the grandchildren came for a visit two weeks ago, it was a joy to fly kites at Clover Point and enjoy a picnic without fear of being run down by a car.

Alan MacLeod
Victoria

All those delivery vans adding to climate change

I am shocked seeing so many delivery trucks on the streets delivering parcels to people’s doorsteps when the negative and scary effects of climate change are so blatantly obvious.

When are we going to face reality and stop polluting this Earth with our over-indulgent behaviour? That includes people’s over-consumption addiction.

It’s time for electric delivery vans. I am choking on the exhaust when they drive up and down my street every day. Air pollution is a serious health issue. Time for local and provincial leadership on this issue, and soon.

Anne Forbes
Victoria

Health-care workers should be vaccinated

Our provincial government should bring in vaccination mandates for all health-care workers starting immediately.

As someone who is fully vaccinated, but has little response to the vaccine due to a blood cancer, I feel it to be irresponsible and outright dangerous to allow unvaccinated health care workers to work directly with patients.

It is my opinion that I should have a right to be as safe as possible from becoming infected from COVID-19 if receiving care in a hospital, medical clinic, or laboratory.

Please protect the immunocompromised, people who cannot take the vaccine, and highly vulnerable people due to various medical conditions, and children, from unvaccinated health-care workers.

Gail Davidson
Victoria

Basic trigonometry explained to our Jack

Re: “Fire reality won’t sink in until our sky is orange, too,” Jack Knox, Aug. 7.

Uh, Jack? About that Golden Triangle? You might understand gold, but you should’ve paid more attention to trigonometry while you were riding the school bus.

The trip from Victoria through Vancouver to Whistler is pretty much a straight line, barring breaking out my theodolite.

Now, Victoria to West Vancouver and Langley: that’s a triangle, those things with three points. But even though it would put Vancouver in the centre, I suspect Lower Mainlanders would probably leave Victoria out of the analogy.

They would go for the West Vancouver-Richmond-Surrey-Coquitlam polygon, which still leaves Vancouver at the centre of things. That shape is called a trapezoid (although Americans continue to call it a trapezium by mistake). I know it’s difficult to spell — blame it on the Greeks — but I think you’re up to it.

While I’ve got your attention, “Mainlanders” isn’t distinct enough and “Lower Mainlanders” is a mouthful. I propose we refer to that trapezoid as Lameland.

Alanne Gibson
Victoria

Critters at the beach welcome the food

Dead seal pups provide food for a great many other critters at the beach, from big ones just as lovable down to tiny ones you can hardly even know exist.

It is neither kind, moral nor ecologically sound to deprive these other animals of their food.

Malcolm Dew-Jones
Victoria

Balanced approach includes a seal cull

It is appropriate that the decline of salmon and abandonment of seal pups were featured in the same issue of the Times Colonist. There is a connection. Seals feed on fish, including salmon, so the shortage of salmon (and other fish) is making it difficult for seals to feed their offspring and some starve to death or abandon their young because they can’t feed them.

When I moved to Victoria almost 50 years ago, salmon were abundant (as well as numerous types of other fish such as rock fish), and seal numbers were a fraction of what they are today.

Islands and points that were occupied by three or four seals at that time now have up to 10 times as many. Why do we have to go from one extreme to the other?

Seventy years ago fishermen carried guns and shot seals on sight. Today it is incorrect to kill a seal.

Seal-eating orcas have not yet come to local waters, and we only have 70 or so of the salmon-eating variety which are slowly declining due to the salmon shortage.

We need to find a balanced approach to managing the ocean resources and stop going from one extreme to another. I don’t suggest letting boaters carry guns again, but I would support a cull of seals to spare some fish for the other species, including humans.

Bruce Pendergast
Victoria

Leave herring in the water, watch the ripples

It is distressing to read another story of starving orcas. Orcas eat chinook, chinook eat herring.

In the 1960s we chased the orcas around and captured them, killing whales in the pursuit.

Now we are starving them by overharvesting herring, for decades, until herring stocks collapse, which seems to be the only reason for areas being closed. It’s greedy and embarrassing.

On a positive note, boat distance has been increased to give the orcas a better chance to fish and more quiet. Herring are a keystone species; they feed many other species.

The only part of the herring that is used for human consumption is the roe, the female’s eggs. No part of the males is used for human consumption.

If we stopped taking tons of herring out of the water each year, there would be a ripple effect throughout the food chain.

Heather Graham
Saanichton

That Newfoundland lake should be Beothuk Lake

I respectfully recommend renaming Red Indian Lake in Newfoundland: make it Beothuk Lake.

Simple, and a strong encouragement for people unfamiliar with that deplorable history to research the source. It would serve as a monument to a vanished and hunted people and, hopefully, would serve as a testament to their legacy.

Jan Jeffers
Victoria

Don’t forget that ping-pong table

Re: “Once again, city planning makes no sense,” letter, July 31.

Further to the writer’s list of Victoria’s planning follies, let’s not forget the $5,000 outdoor ping-pong table at the corner of Humboldt and Douglas Streets in downtown Victoria.

The number of users I have observed there over the last two years is precisely zero, as anyone who has actually played table tennis could have told council and city planners beforehand.

Another example of council’s “we know best” attitude as they push forward with their fantasy schemes designed to fulfil ideological dreams rather than benefit the general population. The blocking of Richardson Street is next.

John Weaver
Victoria

I’m a senior, I’m going as fast as I can

I was pleased to see another senior write in to tell people what it’s like to live below the poverty level.

I have written many letters to the Times Colonist about that very issue. I have also contacted Deb Shulte, the minister of seniors, a few times and got a nice form letter each time. The same happened when I wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Recently, the government raised disability cheques to a “living wage,” bumping them to $2,000 a month. They also received $500 a month extra during the pandemic. Seniors got a one-time boost of $500.

The letter-writer might also be interested in why all the homeless get free cellphones. I was curious how they could afford them and was told they got them in case they or someone else needed 911 because of an overdose.

We seniors are at the bottom of their list. Wait us out and we’ll soon be gone. In the meantime, we can go to food banks and watch our teeth rot, as there are no special rates at the dentist.

I feel we’re in the way. Sorry, powers that be, I am going as fast as I can.

Carol Dunsmuir
Victoria

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