On masks and global warming, just do the right thing | Letters – Tampa Bay Times
Don’t opt out
Florida schools are back in session, and with COVID cases cases rising because of the dangerous delta variant, the debate over mask-wearing has flared again. Florida school districts have proposed a variety of solutions such as optional opt-out forms being filled out by parents for their children not to wear masks. However, these solutions have been confusing, as it is hard to see the difference between a mandate with an opt-out feature or a strongly encouraged optional policy. With opt-out, there is no requirement for others simply to be considerate. How is this any different from other catastrophes that people are all too keen to “opt out” of their ability to prevent, such as climate change? We can still do our part in preventing this, according to the United Nations, if we lower our emissions, but the levels of warming that have been projected for 2030 are now unavoidable, and we can only adapt. The best way of preparing for either tragedy, whether it be a pandemic or global warming, is for all of us to take the small actions required of us, instead of allowing for opt-outs.
Miranda Raimondi, St. Petersburg
Turn off the lights
Starring: the night sky | Aug. 8
Articles on light pollution never mention one important point: All that light represents wasted energy, mostly generated by burning fossil fuels. If we want to reduce carbon emissions, then eliminating light pollution is essential.
Tod Markin, St. Petersburg
Act to save the planet
Geoengineering needed to ease climate change | Aug. 7
Whether it is geoengineering, regulations, nuclear power, carbon tax or all of the above, big actions are needed now. The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change gives us under 10 years to reduce global carbon emissions by 50 percent to avoid a tipping point when it might be too late to stop rising temperatures. As parents, we give our children everything we can to prepare them for the future, but we are doing little to prevent the difficult living conditions of a heated planet they and future generations will be forced to endure. It is past time that Congress stop playing politics with climate change and lead.
John Parks, St. Petersburg