Letters: Student concerns include ecotourism, climate change, homework

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The following letters to the editor were written by Brattleboro Area Middle School students:

Dear Editor,

Ecotourism is a new way of traveling the world. As we all know, the lack of care towards our environment has led to many devastating events. Ecotourism focuses on new ways to responsibly travel. Since the 1980s, many organizations have been consciously traveling the world. The goal of ecotourism is to encourage the protection and conservation of our planet's cultures and habitats.

One reason ecotourism is important is it builds respect and awareness towards our environment and different cultures. Many organizations bring groups of people to areas in which the environment suffers most. During the vacation, classes are offered that educate travelers and local community members. Classes emphasize appreciation for different cultures, biodiversity and the environment. Foreigners also get the chance to explore the land where they travel. The trip delivers memorable experiences for all visitors. Another reason why ecotourism could be considered a way to travel is it protects and fights for different indigenous groups and communities. While foreigners are on their trip, organizations try to incorporate information about the local people and their beliefs. Critics of ecotourism believe that the increase of tourism in sensitive areas without proper training, can harm the environment just as much. This could also have negative effects on local communities. The arrival of foreigners and their wealth could make areas start to depend on tourism. The clear point of ecotourism is not to harm our planet, but to find new and improved way of educating people on how to protect it.

Ecotourism tries to build environmental and cultural respect. People are taught many ways of how to be environmentally conscious. Ecotourism sounds like a good idea, but their dire consequences that should be taken into consideration.


Chloe Chase

Dear Editor,

With the 145th annual Kentucky Derby coming to an end on May 4, 2019, horse racing is a topic on many minds. For the bundle of us who are open to the veracity, we see what it truly is. Horse racing is a corrupt industry that has to be put to an end. It rationalizes abuse and covers up its illegal trade with wealth and power. It is an industry that breeds athletes to be abused and killed, for money and entertainment.

For the average thoroughbred the cruelty starts at a young age. Their joints, bone structure and diaphragm are not fully developed until the age of six years old. The Kentucky Derby races 3-year-olds after two years of prior training. Veterinarians and trainers do not recommend that the joints have any pressure added until they are at least three years of age. This means that these horses have the added pressure from a rider applied to their back at as little as one year old. This premature pressure creates an undue amount of stress on their joints and ankles, which leads to many fatal injuries that happen every day on the track. The Santa Anita race track was shut down only two months after its opening for season on December 26, after 23 horses had to be euthanized due to lethal breakdowns during races. Most of these horses do not visibly show their pain, because many are being injected with illegal drugs to mask pain and improve performance.

Many argue that the jockeys and owners of these horses create special bonds with their horses and care deeply about them and when a horse is fatally injured there is more than a few tears shed. Most jockeys are extremely heavy handed with their crops on the track, and when confronted simply state that horses are "thick skinned." The truth however, is that horses can actually feel more pain than humans, due to the fact that they have more nerve endings under their skin. The argument that owners care deeply for their horses is proven invalid because of the amount of horses that the industry sends to slaughter each year. Of the 20,000 plus colts born from the thoroughbred racing industry each year more than half are sent to slaughter annually. The sport of horse racing is abusive and needs to be put to an end.

We cannot continue to support an industry operated by corruption that profits from the abuse of animals. Horse racing is being broadcast on national television for all the wrong reasons. Instead of raising awareness, we are supporting brutal entertainment.When you see large scale races like the Kentucky Derby, try to look a little more carefully so you can see the truth as well. After 145 years of abuse, we should give these athletes a proper retirement, and prevent another year of death and cruelty.


Neve Pichette

Dear Editor,

Did you know that 95 percent of teens have access to a cellphone? This percentage has been continuously increasing since the early 1990s. Within two decades teen cellphone use has increased around 80 percent. This constant exposure to electronic devices has led to a social disconnect from family's and other people. That is why middle school students should not be allowed to use their cellphones in school.

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One reason that middle school students shouldn't be allowed to use their phones in school is that their phone could distract them from their learning. When the student is in a class and the teacher is teaching them something important and they are on their phone, they miss what was taught in class and they are more behind in the class than other people. Another reason that middle school students shouldn't be allowed to use their phones in school is that the phone could disrupt the class. If students are allowed to use their phones in school they could be messaging each other throughout the day. If they are messaging each other and the phone goes off that could get the class off task and disrupt what they were learning about. Many teachers and parents do not believe that using a smartphone can be educational. However, researchers have found that if used correctly, smartphones can provide a valuable learning experience for children. On the other hand, some students could take advantage of the privilege to use their phones and they might go on websites unrelated to their school work.

Now if someone asks you if you know the percentage of teen phone use you have an answer. Allowing cellphones in middle school's will not be beneficial to the students and the teachers.


Brooke Whelan

Dear Editor,

It has become more evident that climate change is changing our world faster than we initially predicted. Especially in our oceans, global warming is affecting the rate of change of the environment and the pace of evolution as many species face the necessity to adapt to higher temperature. Some people view it as a distant problem and that it isn't affecting them. People hear news about what is happening in the Arctic and perceive that since the problem appears to be miles away, it doesn't pertain to them. We do not act right away because people do not see it as an immediate threat. Teens should be educated more on the topic so they can help make an impact. We have only a few years left to act now and make changes before climate change becomes irreversible.

The ocean's sea levels are rising and the temperature has risen more than 1 degree Fahrenheit over the last century due to warmer temperatures. It's been enough to affect the fragile ecosystems of coral reefs, which have been dying. Many fish are moving towards the poles because of the ocean getting warmer. Studies predict that climate change will force hundreds of fish northward, hitting fisheries that depend on Pacific rockfish, Atlantic cod, and black sea bass. Polar bears and seals have been having to find new land for hunting and living since the ice glaciers are starting to melt. Flooding coastlines have been sending full islands underwater and forcing communities to seek higher ground and find new places to stay. Many coastal regions that have huge populations may have to move whole populations to avoid flooding. Brattleboro is only about two hours from the ocean; it's also near rivers and lakes so if the temperature did rise quickly we could be endangered to massive flooding. We could possibly see another Hurricane Irene times two. As climate change takes its place, more and more species will become extinct and areas that were once above water will be long gone. Some may say that people are overreacting and that scientists aren't telling the truth, but it comes down to the facts, and the facts are showing that all around the world global warming is occurring and affecting our environment rapidly.

The ocean has a significant role to play in climate change as well as having a role in renewable energy solutions. We can harness the power of the ocean's tides and waves to sustain the tidal energy. We must reduce the emission of greenhouse gases; this will require action from everyone around the world. We need to make sure that our marine ecosystems are managed thoughtfully and that we increase the flexibility of the oceans' environment to a long-term change. We must be able to understand what is happening and how to fix what soon might be irreversible.


Ava Cutler

Dear Editor,

Homework is actually causing negative effects on students. It takes time out of personal hobbies and family socialization, and can take up to an hour or more to finish completely. Homework has also been reported to cause stress and anxiety in students, which often leads to worse performance in school.

Studies have found that schools are giving students more homework than originally expected. So much that it is taking tolls on student health, also depriving students of social skills and/or quality of life. Research was once done on several high schools in California, and at least 80 percent of these high school students announced that they have experienced high amounts of stress from homework assignments. Other high school students have published studies that they get at least three hours of homework each night, which is excessive. Some people would suggest that homework is actually better for students since it helps them study topics learned in class, but research shows that it causes more harm than good.

For the betterment of the lives of students, homework should either be assigned less, or not be assigned at all.


Colin McCrillis


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