Recently, many environmentally-minded Wichitans spent the day picking up litter and cleaning the banks of our Arkansas River. Their efforts made our city more beautiful and our world more hospitable for wildlife.
Ironically, while there, we saw a flock of balloons released from somewhere along the riverbank — a prime example of environmental disregard! Doesn't everyone realize that what goes up eventually comes down? Released balloons always return to the ground as litter. Winds and water may carry them far from here, but they are still a danger to the planet. Animals like birds, turtles and marine creatures often die after swallowing balloons or becoming entangled in the strings. Mylar/foil balloons can cause power outages and spark fires. Plus, helium is a non-renewable resource needed for scientific use, not for entertainment.
There are better ways to memorialize an event than by spreading trash and endangering animals. Install a plaque on a park bench or in a chapel; give a gift to a school or library; plant a bush or tree; release butterflies or a bird; wave pinwheels (which are re-usable!); send up a special song or poem via many voices. Possibilities are endless, use some imagination!
Margaret Nichols, Wichita
During the current Kansas legislative session, House Bill 2066, which would grant advanced practice registered nurses the ability to practice independently in Kansas was presented. The bill was dismantled and gutted and now concerns Medicaid expansion. A new bill, HB 2412, was created in place of the original bill. HB 2412 also grants nurse practitioners the ability to practice without a collaborative physician. Unfortunately, the bill will not be voted on in this legislative session. With your help, however, it could be passed in 2020.
I am asking for your support because if nurse practitioners can practice independently, more patients — especially in rural areas — would have care that would be easily accessible. The delivery of care from a nurse practitioner has proven time and time again to be safe and cost effective. While APRNs do not receive the same amount of education as physicians, they are able to practice primary care medicine just as effectively.
When the 2020 legislative session begins, I urge you to remember my letter. Speak to your senators and representatives.
Haleigh Machmer, Wichita
There are a series of travel books called the Lonely Planet books, which are intended to encourage people to travel to the most remote and exotic destinations on earth.
A new scientific report emphasizes that one million species on earth could be threatened with extinction from human activities. Life on earth is an interwoven web, with many of those species providing services essential for the ultimate survival of our species.
My wife and I have been fortunate to see Blue Morpho butterflies suddenly appear in the Amazon jungle and an elephant coming through the middle of our camp in Africa. While travel itself may contribute to the problem, future generations need to have those opportunities. Most importantly, we need to accelerate the move to renewable energy and minimize the loss of habitat due to human encroachment. With adequate habitat, some species may be able to adapt.
There is still time to act, but it will require leadership; something we don’t have with this current foolish administration. I love people, but it’s not enough. A jungle without a Blue Morpho or a savanna without the elephant would indeed be a very lonely place.
William Skaer, Wichita