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Simmental beef cattle feed near Middletown, Ill.Seth Perlman/The Associated Press

Letters to the Editor should be exclusive to The Globe and Mail. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. Try to keep letters to fewer than 150 words. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. To submit a letter by e-mail, click here:


A meaty problem

I couldn’t agree more with Clean Meat author Paul Shapiro (If You Don’t Want To Ditch Meat For Your Own Health, Do It To Avoid Pandemics, April 24).

Once upon a time, intensive animal farming was viewed as a modern way to provide inexpensive food to a hungry postwar population. But it was a solution that created more problems: Eating diets overly rich in animal foods has proven to be disastrous for the environment, the animals being farmed and public health.

It’s not just that diets too rich in animal foods are associated with heart disease, obesity, some cancers and Type 2 diabetes. We’ve also learned that putting large numbers of defecating animals together in packed, unclean facilities increases our risk of pandemic disease.

Our precarious food system is not a personal issue and it cannot be solved at the personal level by consumers alone. Instead, we are urgently in need of systemic change. Governments must lead in creating policies that ensure our food systems become safe, humane and sustainable. Our future depends on it.

Anna Pippus, director, Plant-based Policy Centre, Vancouver


Mr. Shapiro’s piece on the many good reasons we should transition away from eating animals mentions the United Nations’ conclusion that 15 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to animal agriculture.

But the relevant U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization study looked only at the agricultural operations themselves. An additional 10 to 15 per cent is attributable to deforestation, which is primarily also related to animal agriculture; we cut down “carbon sink” forests primarily in order to grow crops that are to be fed not to us, but to animals we will then eat.

When we obtain our nourishment directly from plant sources, far, far fewer forests are destroyed; if we move away from eating animal products, the net positive effect on climate change will be closer to 30 per cent than 15 per cent.

Don LePan, Nanaimo, B.C.

A divided left

Yes, it’s gratifying to see the Green Party do well in an election, but we must ask: At what cost? (PEI Tories Win A Minority Government, April 24).

Green Party voters do not cross over from the Conservative Party but are from the folds of the Liberal Party or the New Democratic Party.

As long as the left continues to field candidates for three separate parties, the Conservatives are assured of winning control at the provincial and federal levels.

Unless Canada is comfortable with permanent right-wing governments controlling the entire country, then the time to act is now. The leaders of the three left- and centrist-leaning parties need to bury their egos and do what’s right for Canada and unite. And they had better move quickly before Canada becomes another United States.

Malcolm Lowe, Unionville, Ont.

A flood of cuts

Re Bracebridge In Ontario Cottage Country Declares State Of Emergency Amid Rising Water Levels (April 24):

Premier Doug Ford’s Ontario government announced it will be cutting Conservation Ontario’s budget by 50 per cent. This is an organization dedicated to reducing the impact of flooding by regulating, forecasting and educating.

However, in Bracebridge, where Mr. Ford has a cottage, he promised to “spare no resources” for flood relief funding. Hmmm.

Now, if Mr. Ford happens to get an infection such as measles, maybe public health will have their funding restored.

Irv Salit, Toronto

Language change

Re Recurrent Flooding Due To Climate Change A New Reality, Trudeau Says During Gatineau Visit (April 24):

Governments all over the world are declaring a climate emergency, so let’s also stop using the neutral term “climate change” in our news coverage. There’s nothing neutral about the looming disaster for our “life support system” (that is, the environment).

Let’s call it “climate breakdown” or “climate chaos.” It’s not balmy “global warming,” it’s “critical planet overheating.” The oil and gas industry once successfully lobbied the media to call its nasty tar sands the cleaner-sounding “oil sands.” Clearly words matter. The emotional urgency of these words matter. Our future is at stake.

Pike Krpan, Hamilton

Backroom backfire

A private meeting between oil industry executives and politicians immediately raises the suspicion of voters, who might wonder what secret deal is being hatched (Tories, Oil Patch Join Forces Ahead Of Federal Election, April 25).

Instead of helping the Conservative cause in British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario, skeptical voters who might have considered voting for the Conservatives will now be thinking that the Liberals don’t look too bad after all.

M.J. Berry, Nanaimo, B.C.

The CanLit trail

Re Atwood Chooses Globe Book Club’s First Title (April 24):

What a wonderful idea to start a Globe and Mail book club with Margaret Atwood. Canada is indeed a land of storytellers and readers, and it’s the only country in the world with a literary trail.

The trail, marked with plaques or “bookmarks” that include a poem or a passage from fiction in the exact location the author imagined, is the genius idea of writer Miranda Hill. She imagined that someday we would be able to read our way across Canada.

Ms. Hill founded Project Bookmark Canada, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. With more than 20 bookmarks so far, the trail extends from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Maybe The Globe’s book club members will come up with suggestions for other bookmarks to expand the trail to more parts of Canada.

Hughena Matheson, president, Project Bookmark Canada, Toronto

Virtually alone

Kudos to Maria Coletta McLean for her First Person essay on feeling disconnected in a connected world (Lost In A Sea Of Connectivity, April 25).

She has lots of company. The sadness is that all the research shows the need at all ages and stages of life for personal social interaction and connectivity. Those retired may feel the isolation more, but it happens at all cohort levels. Perhaps Ms. McLean’s words can be translated to all users of the cellphone/app world and remind them of the importance of live engagement.

Susan Steinberg, Toronto

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