Miami Herald

Celebrate Earth Day, with one small change


Re the April 16 story, “Why are farmers dumping milk, other items as Americans need food in COVID-19 pandemic?:” COVID-19, climate change and animal welfare. How could these three topics possibly be related?

During this despondent and stressful time, not only are people suffering tremendous­ly, but animals are, too.

In honor of the 50th anniversar­y of Earth Day, it is momentous to shed light on the connection between the pandemic, how it affects animals and our world as a whole.

A staff shortage because of COVID-19 means that farmers in a plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota — where 5 percent of the daily United States pork supply is produced — will have to kill baby pigs without selling the meat. Not only are the lives of these animals being thrown away — literally — but the entire system of farm animal production has a detrimenta­l effect on our world.

The truth is that about 14.5 percent of the amount of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agricultur­e alone, according to the nonprofit organizati­on, The Humane League.

People underestim­ate how much one little fix could reduce the effect of animal agricultur­e on climate change. Individual­s can reduce their own carbon footprint from food by up to 73 percent just by removing meat, dairy, and eggs from their diet.

The phrase “no action is too small when making a change in the world” has been used repeatedly when it comes to climate change. However, understand­ing the powerful impact an individual can make by only changing diet is the key to help ignite this movement.

Let us be the change — the butterfly effect — in moving toward a plantbased diet.

– Tuana Yazici, – student, – University of Miami


I am concerned about the sudden protests and rush to reopen after only one month of restrictio­ns. I know many of us are scared and hurting. And assistance from local and federal government is slow and insufficie­nt. There is no unified reaction to this epidemic in this country, which is alarming.

But one way we approach this is like crossing a bridge. None of us knows what’s on the other side of this; there’s tons of speculatio­n, medical models and plain guessing. It could be worse than we are hoping or better than we expected. We just don’t know.

And we don’t know how long it’s going to take to cross it. Months? Years? A generation?

Some people want to make a reckless mad dash across the bridge. Others don’t want to face it and want to burn it down.

But for sure the only thing in our power that will have any effect on what we find on the other side and how we will live with it is to wait and move cautiously and slowly. One secure step at a time. Together.

– Mickey Angel Estefan Jr.,

Miami Beach


Gov. DeSantis was faced with two undesirabl­e options when he decided to order schools closed for the remainder of the school year.

However, as a longtime high school educator and father of a 5-year-old, I can assure all policymake­rs, whether they are politician­s or educators, that distance learning is absolutely no substitute for traditiona­l school interactio­ns. And despite the novelty and immediacy of it all, it may likely be counterpro­ductive, especially with younger students.

I like Gov. DeSantis’ open-minded approach during this crisis. He recognizes the need not to put the entire economy into deep freeze, nor apply shelter-in-place policies to all aspects of every day life. The risks of staying in lockdown for too long seem to far outweigh the rewards.

But as educators, a primary objective is to teach our students to become good problem-solvers.

Just turning over the entire functionin­g of the school day to remote online interactio­ns won’t solve any problem.

We have taken the easy way out, which is not exactly best educationa­l practice.


– Mark Elman, Miami

How about giving a shoutout and a grateful “Thank you” to the unsung workers of the Memorial Healthcare System Allies?

They are so attentive to us stay-at-home healthy seniors over the age of 70.

Their calls, visits and concerns for our well-being, besides making a world of difference, make our days a lot brighter.

They will never know how many lives they are saving.

– Brenda Frank,



Current rules force joggers and others into small spaces. One example is the mixed-use path along the Rickenback­er Causeway.

Permitting such activities on beach-access roads would allow for more distancing. A similar problem exists at Kennedy Park and the golf course near downtown Coral Gables.

– Claudia Schmid,



The April 21 daily quote in the opinion page would have been more accurate if it read: The spread of the coronaviru­s is based on two factors: 1. How dense the population is. 2. How dense the president and our governor are.

– Philip Paul, Pinecrest


When we reopen our economy, we should do it in a sensible and low-risk manner. We know COVID-19’s severity and mortality are correlated with age. Under 50 years old, the death rate is about 0.2 percent. At 50-59, it climbs to 1.3 percent.

So let’s have the people under 50 be the first to go back to work and other activities. Maintain physical distancing and wear masks, to the extent that’s reasonable. Some will become ill, most not seriously, and a tiny percentage will die. The healthcare system will be able to handle the patient load. And the economy will start coming back.

In a few months, we might have an effective therapy, in which case everyone can be let out, albeit staying distant and wearing masks as appropriat­e.

If there is no therapy, perhaps those 50-59 could still leave their homes. But 60 and older should mostly stay hunkered down.

This seems to make more sense than the geographyb­ased approach we apparently plan to implement.

– Joe Weber, Miami


The crowd of protesters at a Michigan rally last week numbered almost 1,000, many of whom did not wear masks or practice social distancing. Because it is highly improbable that all those protesters were free of COVID-19, there is a high probabilit­y they created a spawning ground for this disease.

Similarly, future protests will produce the same results, which could lead to delays in implementi­ng the phased opening of the economy the president has proposed.

These protests, therefore, are counterpro­ductive and, worse, could have deadly consequenc­es.

– Whittingto­n B. Johnson,



Re the April 20 story “Miami man self-isolating after ‘quaranteam’ party for Guetta concert got ‘out of hand’:” This person placed his guests and neighbors at risk for the coronaviru­s and defied the law. He got away with it.

He should have been given a citation, not a speech by the authoritie­s. This is a country of laws.

Obey them or suffer the consequenc­es.

– Alfredo Bared, Miami


The April 21 letter “A good leader,” about Herald reporter Linda Robertson’s profile of University of Miami President Julio Frenk, is correct. It was an enlighteni­ng and inspiring article.

However, I ran into

Frenk at the Miami Hurricanes vs. Florida Seminoles game and asked him if he was planning on entering politics after his stint at UM, as his predecesso­r, Donna Shalala, did. An emphatic “No” was his answer.

Which means he’ll probably go into politics.

– Douglas Gonzalez,

Coral Gables


Holocaust Remembranc­e Day was observed on April 21, commemorat­ing the 6 million Jewish victims of the Holocaust. We must honor those who died and acknowledg­e this horrific tragedy in order to prevent this from ever happening again.

– Norma Rosenfeld, Miami Beach


Just for today, Mother Earth is smiling — the waters are clear, and the skies are blue.

But what about tomorrow?

Are we getting a catastroph­ic warning to stop unrestrain­ed We need to take care of our precious world.

– Ruth J. Kruger, Bay Harbor Islands

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