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LETTERS: Ditching meat for plant-based diet, taking care of Texas' youthful offenders

LETTERS: Ditching meat for plant-based diet, taking care of Texas' youthful offenders

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Plants, not meat

On this Earth Day, we have reduced our carbon footprint by curtailing travel and our thermostat. We recycle. But we can do so much more by cutting our consumption of animal meat and milk products. Yes, that.

A nimal agriculture is a major driver of climate change, as well as air and water pollution, depletion of soil and water resources, and destruction of wildlife habitats. Oxford University’s prestigious Food Climate Research Network reports that solving the global warming catastrophe requires massive shift to plant-based eating. The Netflix feature “Seaspiracy” documents the devastating environmental impacts of the fishing industry.

In an environmentally sustainable world, we must replace meat, fish and dairy products with vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains, just as we replace fossil fuels with wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.

Each of us has a unique opportunity to heal our planet by transitioning to plant-based eating. Let’s celebrate Earth Day by checking out the rich variety of plant-based meat and dairy products at our supermarket. The internet offers ample advice and recipes.

Woody Brey, Waco

Forgotten youth

It is crucial to advocate for the youth. The youth are the ones who hold the future. Our responsibility as a community is to ensure our youth who have committed an offense or have been moved to a facility for their behavior should be protected, safe and receive the help they need.

In October 2020, a complaint was filed against the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. This was six months ago and now we are holding the state’s 87th legislative session. The legislature is making other matters a high priority while the incident in Texas juvenile state facilities is slowly being brushed off. Our youth should not be left out in this legislative session because they are vital to our community. Many state facilities in Texas experience sexual assault, gang violence, high staff turnover and other matters that need our attention. McLennan County is home to one of the facilities that is undergoing investigation for constitutional violations against juvenile rights.

More than 50,000 juveniles are arrested in Texas each year. Most of the offenses are minor. These juveniles are still developing and growing and should be treated like kids or teenagers. Most facilities do not have adequate staff to deal with the youths one-on-one. The state facilities are more like adult prisons versus a place where they should be receiving restoration and rehabilitation. Most of the state facilities have been failing, and these facilities tend to be in rural areas.

Our youth need to be closer to home where they can feel safe. The TJJD Texas Model Plan for Reform in this legislative session is important because it requests funding for local facilities and requires more state facilities to relocate to urban areas to address the staff shortage.

Viviana Duran, West

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