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We must inform ourselves on the implications of Covid-19

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'Health is your most important wealth in this insane world we all live in today.' (stock image)

'Health is your most important wealth in this insane world we all live in today.' (stock image)

'Health is your most important wealth in this insane world we all live in today.' (stock image)

Robert Sullivan (‘More freedoms undermined if gardaí start raiding pubs’, Letters, Irish Independent, July 8) fails to understand why he was asked to provide his name and contact number when ordering a coffee in a hotel.

It is in case another patron has been unknowingly infected: thereby each and every customer attending on that day can be contacted and advised to have testing.

This request is in every café and restaurant across Australia. It is about ‘the community protecting the community’, to which each of us has a moral obligation.

I wish people would inform themselves on what the more-than-serious implications of Covid-19 are for the entire world.

To misquote Charles Haughey’s ‘Gubu’ comment, “[This] is a bizarre happening, an unprecedented situation, a grotesque situation, an almost unbelievable [event]” in the 21st century, when enormous strides have occurred in medicine since 1970.

To try to use health and safety matters as an attack on democracy is drawing a long bow.

Health is your most important wealth in this insane world we all live in today.

Declan Foley

Berwick, Australia

 

Greens’ Martin a radical? Opposite seems to be the case

Your report on the Green Party leadership contest could not help but be bland, reflecting exactly the situation that has now arisen (‘Greens debate: Eamon Ryan and Catherine Martin play a draw but party leader has the edge’, Irish Independent, July 8). In fact, there are sufficient grounds now to abandon the exercise as both candidates clearly occupy the exact same ground.

The head-to-head was originally touted as a contest between two candidates with different approaches. Martin representing the views of younger, left-leaning members who did not wish to enter into coalition with Fine Gael or Fianna Fáil, and Ryan, seen as representing the moderate “old guard”, not comfortable embracing the changes the electorate voted for recently.

Indeed, if the interview with Ivan Yates on TV3 on Tuesday night was anything to go by, Ms Martin’s position seems to have changed so radically there were times she could have been mistaken for a member of Fianna Fáil.

She seemed to defend Barry Cowen in traditional cute-hoor style, refused to outline what would precipitate a Green walk-out, stood over the decision to leave out of the Government line-up one of the great new hopes of Irish politics Neasa Hourigan, and is content to serve in a Government with a gender mix that is an affront to every woman in the country (four senior positions out of 16). A reforming politician would never agree to serve in such a Government.

The most depressing aspect is that it is obvious now what we are about to get in the next four-plus years is simply more of the same. What is the point anymore?

Jim O’Sullivan

Rathedmond, Co Sligo

 

You can make a difference during this Plastic-Free July

I’d like to bring to light a major global movement that is happening this month when participants in more than 177 countries are dedicating the next month to reducing single-use plastics in their daily life. Plastic-Free July saw over 250 million people involved last year and this year it is set to be even larger.

Many of us do not realise the impact plastics, and in particular single-use plastics, have on our environment or the amount of it that goes into waste each day. According to an RTÉ programme in 2018, on average, every Irish person generates 61kg of plastic waste each year. That’s 5,500 single-use coffee cups.

As our lives return to normality, it is a good time to rethink our consumer choices and hold ourselves accountable for the plastics we are purchasing, using, and distributing.

The decisions that people make now have an impact on the kind of world future generations will inherit. The move to reduce single-use plastic is crucial to the natural world and the global emissions that are produced. By switching to reusable products, and cutting down on single-use plastics, we can reduce the waste in our oceans, streets, and landfills and help reduce carbon emissions. In the current pandemic, a simple way to reduce our waste is to make our own masks instead of purchasing disposable single-use ones.

I have been working to empower and educate young people on the environment for over two decades with Eco-Unesco. Environmental education is necessary to build an understanding of the world we live in and how we can make a positive impact. While young people have a significant role to play in protecting the world they are growing up in, it is up to each one of us to contribute. This does not mean going 100pc plastic-free, but taking even the smallest of steps to reduce single-use plastics daily can make a huge difference.

Every action counts.

Elaine Nevin

Managing director, Eco-Unesco, Dublin 2

Irish Independent