Be kind to less fortunate
I often read statements from people criticizing those who offer change or give food to the homeless. Recently, I was on social media and saw someone claim that "every homeless person" would refuse food if offered, and just wanted money for nefarious purposes. This paints all our homeless neighbors with the same brush, and creates a false narrative that every homeless person is somehow suffering by choice and will just use assistance to feed bad habits.
As someone with eight years of experience working in mental health and health care, I must say this is simply not true. Homelessness is far more often than not a result of severe mental health issues or genuine financial disaster, often brought on by medical expenses incurred following prolonged hospital stays or the death of a long-ill loved one.
If you don't want to give money to people on the side of the road, that's absolutely fine. There are multiple other ways to help people in need, if you so choose. All I ask is that you do two things when you recall your very limited experiences with those less fortunate than yourself: be honest, and be kind.
Pawel Lazarczyk, Gainesville
Walking on the path at Turkey Creek Preserve recently at early dusk, I was again awed by the beauty and the peace that this place affords to all. My dogs and I regularly walk there at this hour when the afternoon light still cascades through the trees. Often we are able to stand in silence and look through the branches to see a deer looking back at us. The beautiful creature is not frozen in flight because this is protected land for them too. He simply looking back to see who else is walking through this precious sanctuary.
I am a Florida transplant from New England and often on our walks, I am transported back to my childhood in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts. I’m so grateful for the reminders of my years as a kid relishing the woodland paths with their canopies of pine and oak. Now as a senior some 64 years later, he dirt paths and trees canopies at the preserve have the same effect — putting me in awe of the peace and wonder that woods, unfettered by man's development, bring.
So this is a love letter to every tree and every deer living so peacefully in that protected space — and a huge thank you to all of the enlightened minds who had the foresight to create this sanctuary. Turkey Creek Preserve is a crowning jewel in the wild spaces we enjoy here in Alachua County, and one that residents like myself will cherish for years to come.
Nancy O’Malley, Alachua
No pollution solution
The answer to the question that was posed by the recent column heading, “Could burning crops reduce pollution?” is clearly, “No!”
Succeeding paragraphs address the negative effects of commercial agricultural production methods: e.g. application of fertilizers and lime. The question, “How do we stop this?” is answered “… we could burn the crop”. This clearly erroneous answer eventually states that biomass can be burned to create biochar. Biochar is not produced by the oxidative process of burning, which produces carbon dioxide as its major product. Rather, biochar is produced through pyrolysis, whereby oxygen is excluded in charring the plant biomass.
The process of pyrolysis should yield very little carbon dioxide. The distinct difference between burning and pyrolysis should have been made clear.
Jeffrey Shapiro, Gainesville
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This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Letters to the editor for Jan. 16, 2022