Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Another Student Letter to the Editor on Health Care

Health Care Problems: A Curable Disease

To the Editor:

There is a new disease on the horizon threatening all of us called uninsurance. A recent study by the Cambridge Health Alliance conducted by Harvard researchers reported that 45,000 people in the United States will die each year due to lack of health insurance often from skyrocketing insurance premiums. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, states uninsured Americans have a 40% greater risk of dying than their privately insured counterparts--and the number is rising.

The point is this—even one death attributable to the unavailability of quality health care is unacceptable; yet people are dying because they can’t afford health insurance! Politicians say they understand the needs of “the American people”. Why aren’t they taking a united stand on behalf of the American people?

Here’s the good news--this is a curable disease, one of which our lawmakers are losing sight of while they waste valuable time and energy in partisan politics. This is not a time for divisiveness; but time for “we, the people” to join together to make our voices heard. Please, I encourage you to put pressure on Congress to support a health care reform bill with a public option today!

Karen Rose

Monday, November 16, 2009

Vermont Environmental Action 2009

A Report By EAOP Student Michael Goudzwaard

On the heels of the 350.org day of global action, Vermonters met at the Environmental Action 2009 Conference on Saturday, November 7, to explore the key issues facing the Green Mountain State. I was thrilled to be joined by Antioch EAOP master’s candidate Liz Newman, EAOP Director Steve Chase, and EAOP alumna Aja Lippincott, who now works for Global Justice Ecology Project.

Liz and I first learned of the conference working on an environmental justice project for a Vermont client through the ANE Advocacy Clinic. We planned to meet some advocates we had talk to on the phone and to further explore possible collaborations for our client.

In addition to networking and eating great local cheese, we were representing Antioch in two primary ways. First, equipped with banners, literature and free pens, we were recruiting potential students. Second, we engaged potential clients of the Advocacy Clinic to think about how our pro bono advocacy work could be help them take innovative and strategic environmental action.

I talked to a group that was fighting a big box store development in their town. I explained that Shapleigh, Maine and other towns have passed a local ordinance that gives rights to nature and allows citizens to defend those rights against corporate exploitation. Shapleigh passed the ordinance to protect its drinking water from being sold off to a transnational bottled water company. We were both excited about using this new ordinance to protect against sprawl and bringing self-determination back to the people of a VT town.

The afternoon offered some excellent workshops. I attended a session on Funding Real Change, comprehensive funding strategies for grassroots action. Ginny Callahan from the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund walked us through the grant application process giving tips and encouragement from a funder’s perspective. Mia Moore, Finance Director for Democracy for America and Alyssa Schuren, Development Director of Environment America presented donor-funding strategies and tools to increase giving and diversify funding for campaigns and organizations. I walked away with a new understanding and excitement for donor funding.

Finally, after lunch we heard from five gubernatorial candidates about their positions on environmental issues. All five committed to closing the aging and unsafe Entergy Nuclear Power Plant, supporting Vermont agriculture, and creating a clean energy, green-collar economy. I am thoroughly impressed and slightly jealous of the candidates Vermont has for its next governor.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Another Student Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

As a local graduate student who has health insurance and a limited income, I am forced on a regular basis to choose when I can afford to see a doctor. I struggle to pay my health care premiums yet my health insurance does not include many of the things that should be covered services, such as vision and dental care or even office visits to see a physician. A case as simple as strep throat or a sprained ankle could leave me without rent or groceries.

I would like to thank Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Representative Paul Hodes for supporting the healthcare reform bills so far. Seeing the cooperative efforts put forth to gain bipartisan support to move these bills forward gives me hope that soon I will be able to afford a health care plan that actually covers my needs.

As these bills move forward, I encourage Senators Shaheen and Gregg and Representative Hodes to support a public option and not the trigger option. Not only would a public option make health coverage more affordable, it would provide insurance coverage to a greater number of citizens. This would reduce overall costs of health care as people receive the medical attention they need, while also improving our quality of life. However we cannot wait for a “trigger” that would enact this public option in five or ten years, if ever. Our health care system is already not working for me and many Americans. Giving private insurance companies even more time will not fix the system.

Please contact Senators Shaheen Gregg and Representative Hodes to tell them that Keene residents support an immediate public option that will sustain all Americans into the future. Thank you.

Angela Mrozinski

Friday, November 06, 2009

Animal Rights Letter to the Editor

One of the ways that the Environmental Advocacy and Organizing Program helps students hone their persuasive writing is to encourage them to write lots of letters to the editor. Here's a letter to the editor on animal rights recently published in the Keene Sentinel. It was written by Wendy Stott, one of our second year students:

To the Editor:

Recently Kenny Crammer wrote to the editor about the horrific treatment that animals are forced to endure during their brief yet excruciating lives on factory farms. Mr. Crammer made the case for a vegan diet based on these facts. I would like to thank Mr. Crammer for his letter on behalf of the animals and also add to it by making the case that veganism is also better for your health and the environment.

I think most of us are aware that eating foods packed full of fats and cholesterol can clog up our arteries and lead to illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease. Those are good reasons to stay away from cheeseburgers and fried chicken but now there are new reasons to think twice about everything animal-based that you eat.

New research is being done by T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus at Cornell University and author of The China Study, what may be the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted. Dr Campbell was raised on a dairy farm and originally set out to prove how nutritious dairy is for humans. However, his extensive research found exactly the opposite conclusions.

Among other things, Dr. Campbell discovered that what you eat during the promotion stage of cancer can have a huge impact on whether the cancer spreads or is reversed. “The nutrients from animal-based foods, especially the protein, promote the development of cancer whereas the nutrients from plant-based foods, especially the anti-oxidants, reverse the promotion stage.”

Dr. Campbell discovered that casein, which makes up 87% of milk protein, modifies enzyme activities, increasing cholesterol and enhancing atherogenesis, which is the early stage of cardiovascular disease. Dr. Campbell stated, “Our work showed that casein is the most relevant cancer promoter ever discovered.”

Animal agriculture is destroying our planet as well. The EPA has stated animal agriculture is the single largest non-point source water polluter in the nation. According to the Audubon Society, more than 1/3 of our fossil fuels and almost ½ of our water in the US is used for animal agriculture.

University of Chicago geophysicists Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin calculate that each American meat eater produces one and a half tons more greenhouse gasses every year than each vegan.

There is much more to learn on these topics and I encourage you to do further research. Here are a few websites to get started: GoVeg.com, vegan.org, massanimalrights.org.

And for the full article with information on Dr. Campbell’s findings: http://www.alternet.org/healthwellness/142875/is_eating_a_plant-based_diet_a_cure_for_cancer/

Wendy Stott