Letters from the Academy School

A widespread issue

Domestic violence is a big problem affecting many people and many areas of life. It is such a widespread issue that everyone might know someone who has suffered from it. Domestic violence is when a spouse emotionally, verbally,or physically abuses the other. I chose this topic because I don't think it's right for people to solve problems using violence.

Domestic violence is increasing. According to Safe Horizon,"One in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime." This is surprising to me because this means when you put four random women together, one of the women would have experienced domestic violence. According to Domestic violence statistics, "Every nine seconds a woman is getting beaten or assaulted." Furthermore, another staggering statistic is according to Domestic Violence Statistics "Domestic violence victims lose nearly eight million days of paid work per year in the U.S. That's equivalent of 32,000 full time jobs." That is a lot of full time work lost. It doesn't effect the victims, it also affects the economy. They miss work due to injuries which may lead to hospitalization. According to, the Clark Prosecutor, in Clark County Indiana, "One-third of all women had to go the hospital because of domestic violence."Also, each year medical expenses for domestic violence total at least $3 billion to $5 billion."

Domestic violence isn't just bad for the abuser and the spouse, it is also bad for the children who are witnessing it. Safe Horizon declares that, "More than three million children witness domestic violence in their lifetime." These kids are constantly living in a state of panic, feeling awful and unsafe about it. They see this violence and might think that it is OK to solve problems this way. When they become adults they may become abusive or even could land in jail.

There are a lot of people who believe myths about domestic violence. One myth is that, "couples assault each other and women are just violent as men. Research shows that the majority of the victims in assaults are women. The U.S. Department of Justice found that 85 percent of the victims of spouse abuse are female and the victims of men are rare." Another myth is that, "domestic violence occurs only in poor, uneducated and minority families." Studies of domestic violence consistently have found that battering occurs among all types of families, regardless of income, profession, region, ethnicity, educational level or race." I think this is shocking because I believe that domestic violence happens everywhere and it doesn't matter if you're poor or rich you could have a harmful relationship. As I mentioned above everyone might know someone who has been affected by domestic violence which points to the fact that domestic violence isn't isolated in any one place.

One thing you can do to help people who are suffering because of domestic violence is make a donation to the Women's Freedom Center which is www.womensfreedom.org . All this money that you donate goes to the local Windham and and Southern Windsor counties which are in Vermont. They go to women's shelters.They are a feminist organization which also goes into schools to teach k-12 about domestic violence.

Another way you could help to end domestic violence if you don't have a computer, is to write a check and mail it to Safe Horizon. They are another organization that wants to end domestic violence and provides needs for people who don't have the basic needs due to domestic violence. The address to mail is Development Department, Attn: Donor Services, 2 Lafayette Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10007.

Arth Patel

Help stop climate change

I would like to bring your attention the issue of climate change. Climate change has had a severe impact on the planet over at least the last century and projections for the future show devastating consequences if we do not reverse or at least stop its' continuing effects. A brief definition of climate change is when carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere, and traps heat which changes the planet's weather patterns. The carbon dioxide is a result of burning fossil fuels for energy such as coal, oil, and natural gas. It is also due to deforestation which has been especially devastating in the tropics. The reason why this is important is that trees remove CO2 from the air.

According to National Geographic, "If climate change goes unchecked, it will include continued and accelerating conditions of dangerously hot weather. There will be higher sea levels which will threaten our coastal cities due to melting glaciers. Droughts and more wildfires, increased air pollution will also be problems. As a result, our food supply and health will be severely affected." This is distressing to hear because there is no doubt that this will have a negative impact on our economy too, if we have such severe changes to our world.

Climate change is happening in every advanced country in the world including the United States. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, they stated that "The U. S. emits over six billion tons of carbon every year, and 40 percent of those emissions come from power plants." Also according to the chart on The NASA Climate website, "CO2 levels were stable until a mere few centuries ago and are now enormously higher than at any time in the last several hundred thousand years."

Climate change will continue to progress if we do not stop and hopefully reverse its course. According to The Global Climate Change, "The temperature has risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 10 years alone and each year in the last 37 have been warmer than the average of the past century. Even more disturbing is that since 1998, the twelve hottest years on record have occurred." The temperature is now at a point where if it gets any warmer, the planet will no doubt regularly experience severe and unpredictable weather conditions. Many scientists claim that this is already occurring, as we have witnessed many unusual weather events just in the last few years in the US alone. Skeptics counter that there is no evidence, that the bizarre weather that we have been experiencing is not due to anything other than a cyclical change in the weather or random events. The skeptics also say that the increase in temperature is due to normal changes that have occurred throughout the planet's history. Though this minority opinion is convinced that climate change is not real, it is hard to dispute what 97 percent of climate scientists state, which is that climate change is occurring, and rapidly.

The good news is that everyone wants a clean environment and does not want to see drastic changes to Earth's living conditions. There is already a big push to get away from fossil fuels, such as the advancement of electric cars, many people adding solar panels to help with their heating needs, and for individuals to create houses that are more energy efficient. A good idea is to get a low cost or a free energy audit of your home to see if you can save money and conserve energy. All have to do is go on the internet and type in www.efficiencyvermont.com/for-my-home/ways-to-save-and-rebates/audits-insulation-air-sealing/Audits or call 888-921-5990.

One can also do simple things such as buying energy certified light bulbs from your local hardware store. This will help the environment by cutting down the amount of electricity you use, which will allow power plants need to produce less energy. These light bulbs last over seventy five times longer and they will save you just under seventy dollars per year. Another important measure to take is to vote for politicians that believe addressing climate change is a top priority.

Gregory Fitzgerald

Cruel to hunt for fun

I strongly believe that sport hunting should end. Sport hunting is hunting for fun, not for food purposes. Sport hunters usually hunt for a trophy, which is when you hunt an animal and use its head for decoration. I have seen some families with animals heads in their living rooms, and I find that horrible. I care about this topic because I believe it is cruel to hunt animals just for fun. If you were a baby animal at home in the woods with your mom, and your dad went to go forage for food and never came back, because he's been shot by a hunter, then your sisters and brothers and mother would be alone without food.

Did you know that some sport hunters don't make any practical use of the animal they are hunting? Animals should not be shot just for sport, they should be allowed to die naturally. That is how nature intended it, and we should not be interfering with the animal world. According to In Defense of Animals, "Hunting may have played an important role ... for human survival in prehistoric times, but the modern "sportsman" stalks and kills animals for "recreation." Hunting is a violent and cowardly form of outdoor "entertainment" that kills hundreds of millions of animals each year, many of whom are wounded and die a slow and painful death." This shows that hunters "miss" their intended target for "entertainment." According to PETA, "This unnecessary, violent form of entertainment tears animal families apart and leaves countless animals orphaned or badly injured when hunters miss their targets." This proves that sport hunters injure animals and are animals can be not treated humanely.

Worse yet, some animals that are shot by hunters do not die quickly; they suffer before they die. According to PETA, "20 percent of animals that are shot by hunters are wounded, as opposed to being killed." If an animal is wounded, then it can't get up to get food or water. Then it might slowly die in a painful way. According to PETA, "A study of 80 radio-collared white-tailed deer found that 22 deer had been shot ... and they were wounded but not recovered by hunters." This is treating animals badly. Hunters should make sure that if they must hunt, then the animals they shoot are for food and treated humanely.

I can prove about how many animals are reported killed a year. According to PETA, "About 100,000,000 animals are reported killed by hunters a year." And the Delaware Action for Animals "probably" agrees that "More than 100 million animals are reported killed by hunters each year." This is important because if people keep hunting at this rate, some species of animals might become endangered.

I can show that an alarming amount of sport hunting happens in the United States. According to the Delaware Action for Animals, "40 percent of hunters slaughter animals ... every year." It's not necessary to be slaughtering animals. If you think it's alright to kill living organisms for fun, do you also think it's alright to kill people? Are you making a judgment that one living creature's life is more valuable than another's? "In all cases, sport hunting inflicts undeniable cruelty, pain, trauma, wounding and death on living creatures." This is upsetting to me because I don't feel that animals should have to suffer through all of this just for the satisfaction of some random hunter.

Most hunters see sport hunting as a tradition, and just a part of the sport for animals to die. Hunters who say animals should die are wrong. According to the Delaware Action for Animals, "(sport) hunters kill strong animals and hang the animals head in their home." When hunters kill strong animals, they deprive the protection of the offspring or the mother. This is the opposite of nature, where the weakest animals die.

Another reason I dislike sport hunting is because of it's effect on dogs. Hunters train dogs not to be bred as pets, but as sacrificial animals to help them sport hunt; which I think isn't right if they aren't treated the way real pet dogs should be treated. According to PETA, "Some dogs are lost during hunts and never found, whereas others are turned loose at the end of hunting season to fend for themselves and die of starvation or get struck by vehicles."

Here's some ways we could end sport hunting. You could write to www.WWF.org (World Wildlife Federation) and click on donate at the top and choose how you would like to donate. Then you can enter the amount of money you want to give a month and they will help in trying to end sport hunting. You can also donate on the phone and contact them at 1-800-CALL-WWF and find out what information is out there to help get the word out that you want spot hunting to stop? Or if you want to donate just once, you can look on the right side of the website and click on the one time donation in blue. You can also write to www.NFW.org (National Federation for Wildlife), click on donate on the top right and enter the amount you would like to send to help stop hunting. If you rather call them and have more info, call the National Federation for Wildlife at 1-800-822-9919. Also, if you have a membership on a website that sells you hunting items, you should write them a letter asking to cancel your membership and for the organization to stop and cancel the website. They need to know why sport hunting is not right. I hope that this made you see sport hunting as having no sport in it. Thanks for reading this letter and possibly helping to stop sport hunting.

Katharine Graf


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