Protect wilderness, don’t privatize it
Our poor planet is much too close to her tipping point for us to be enacting policies that will only serve to push her over the edge.
We need to preserve whatever precious little pristine wilderness remains and re-wild much of that stolen from the animal nations.
The United Nations has launched a campaign to protect 30 per cent of the wild from human encroachment and development by 2030, and 50 per cent by 2050. I would like to know what the province is doing to reach those targets. Privatization is not part of the equation.
As an educator, I am very concerned about the potential privatization of Manitoba parks.
When I was a child, my family couldn’t afford to vacation, except for yearly camping trips. My parents prioritized this, and taught us to enjoy and respect nature.
There is significant research that also supports the idea that being outside helps children to develop confidence, resilience, healthy lifestyle habits, and so much more.
Privatizing access to nature does the exact opposite. It will rob many families and young people of the opportunities to experience these benefits. Privileged children will only experience nature in a commodified state — teaching them that nature’s value lies in what money you can extract from it.
We have already put our children at risk environmentally; the least we can do is teach them to be better stewards than we have been.
We are the new hotspot
Re: Enforce quarantines for travellers (Letters, Oct. 30)
Manitoba is far past the point where requiring out-of-province travellers to self-isolate will do anything to curb the spread of the virus here.
We now have the highest number of active cases per capita in the entire country. Public health officials confirm that only a tiny fraction of these cases are travel-related.
The point of travel restrictions is to prevent cases from being imported from areas with a higher transmission rate. But there isn’t any place left in Canada that is doing worse than us.
Travel restrictions can be easy to support because they tell us what we want to believe. We want to think that the threat is outside us, rather than in our midst. We want to think that it’s other people who need to change their behaviour, rather than us.
If we still think that interprovincial travel restrictions are the missing ingredient, then maybe we haven’t fully accepted our new reality. We are the new hotspot. Unless we acknowledge this, and collectively change our own behaviour in response, the next quarantine requirement will be the one that other provinces impose on us.
Keep dental practitioners safe
Re: Dentists are forgotten front line (Nov. 5)
Dentists, as specialists of the oral cavity and surrounding structures, are an essential part of a person’s greater overall health team. For several generations now, Manitobans in urban, rural and remote locations have been fortunate to have benefited from the preventive public health model that is modern dentistry. We all know that it is essential to visit your dentist regularly, and now it is no different.
Dentists have always worked in an environment with pathogens. COVID-19 has simply acted to highlight that fact. Dentist-led teams continue to be experts in infection prevention and control. This COVID-19 pandemic response has seen dentists working carefully at maintaining their patients’ oral health while quietly taking necessary precautions to keep the public, their teams and themselves safe and healthy.
As the authors point out, dentists are not immune to the stresses of providing front-line care and can sometimes be forgotten in that conversation. Furthermore, COVID-19 has provided an opportunity for our profession to enhance dialogue with our public health officials to help change this paradigm and act as a part of the greater team.
Thank you to our dedicated dentists and their teams for being there on the front lines. We are truly all in this together.
Dr. Marc Mollot, president
Manitoba Dental Association
Don’t be afraid to speak up
When we hear the word "danger," we usually think of actions by others that are pure evil and harmful. However, in various circumstances, the simple act of silence that is perceived as peaceful causes more harm than it does good. In a 1958 speech, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter," and "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends."
I often ask myself, what am I silent about? Are there injustices and cruelty going on around me that I do not acknowledge?
Every single day, there are multiple incidents reported on the news in all parts of the world, including occurrences of rape, violence, abuse or racism. There are always news articles about hate crimes, bullying and other terrifying things. These incidents may similarly occur in our personal lives at home, at school or at work, and may involve our family, friends or co-workers.
So, how many of us speak up about these incidents? Are you and I any better than those involved? Is it not also an injustice when a person is hurting, and we can help, yet we choose to ignore?
Speaking up is a powerful tool we all possess that can help make a difference in the world. We can become the voice to someone who may not be heard and help remind those who are suffering in silence that they matter and belong. Once we start to speak up, we can inspire others to speak up as well.
Together, let’s embody the message of the danger of silence in our society by encouraging ourselves to overcome the fear of humiliation; 2020 can be the year where we finally accept the need for change, declare change, work for change and become the change.
Drew de Roca
Reading clinicians have role to play
Re: Wait time for learning disability tests extended (Oct. 30)
Kudos to the Free Press for highlighting the plight of children who struggle at school because of an undiagnosed learning difficulty.
Diagnosing "learning disabilities," at its best, draws on input from parents, teachers and the student, as well as school clinicians. I note that the article fails to mention the role of reading clinicians in this process. These specialists have specific training and clinical experience in the development of programming for students who struggle with the reading and writing demands of school.
Other clinicians, including school psychologists, speech/language pathologists and school social workers, all make important contributions towards understanding a student’s needs and are essential to the development of robust program planning based on teamwork focused on a key question: "What does this student need?"
Edwin Buettner, PhD
Reading clinician (retired)