Saturday’s letters: Schools more than brick and mortar

A Grade 4 math class. in Edmonton. File photo. Bruce Edwards / Edmonton Journal

Re. “Computer learning could save millions,” Jan. 16

After reading Marlene V. Williams’ letter to the editor a number of times, I came to the conclusion that there was none of the intended sarcasm that I thought there would be.

I can only say that our schools are so much more than brick and mortar and the people inside are so much more than the almighty dollar.

Our schools are communities of questioning, caring adults and curious, capable young people.  They are communities of diversity and inclusion.  They are communities that are nurturing future leaders.  Do we really want our young people spending yet more time in front of a screen to receive an “education”?

Or do we want a future generation that understands problem-solving, effective communication, team-building, as well as individuality?

Presently Alberta has one of the highest ranking education systems in the world.  Based on the 2015 International PISA tests, the world’s most comprehensive educational assessment, Alberta students rank first in Canada and second out of 72 countries, behind only Singapore in science or math.  Alberta students ranked third in the world in reading behind only British Columbia and Singapore.

Crystal Mills, Edmonton

Columnist gets it right on vaping

Re. “Can Alberta avoid botching rules around e-cigarettes?” David Staples, Jan. 17

Pleased to read a reasonable approach to the subject. About time someone did research on the subject.

I have some indirect connection to the subject. Information being put out by very biased individuals and groups only see vaping as smoking. It could not be further from the truth. Yes, nicotine is common to both. However, that’s where the similarity ends.

Smoking involves actually burning chemically treated tobacco so when you inhale, you are ingesting all the products of combustion.

Vaping creates a vapour of a liquid, flavoured and containing a percentage of nicotine. As Mr. Staples indicated, the health issues reported in the recent past always involved liquids that contained cannabis derivatives and vitamin E acetate additives.

I urge all to read the article and do their own research.

Erwin Rauscher, Edmonton

Renewables can meet energy needs

Re. “Cold spell makes case for fossil fuel use,” David Staples, Jan. 15

David Staples once again demonstrates his strong bias against renewable energy, not to mention his lack of knowledge on that subject. I feel disappointed the Edmonton Journal has been moving towards denial of the seriousness of the global climate change we are experiencing.

Yes, they are cheap and plentiful, although there has been minimal cost applied to the extensive damage they cause to our health and environment. If we want our children to have a livable planet, we must wean ourselves off fossil fuels in the next three decades, with immediate strong action now.

The myth that renewable energy sources can’t meet base-load demand has unfortunately become quite widespread. The intermittency of wind and solar photovoltaic can be addressed by interconnecting geographically distributed power plants. Gas turbines fuelled by biofuels or natural gas, which can quickly be switched on will fill gaps of low wind or solar production.

Regional and global case studies have provided plausible plans to meet 100 per cent of energy demand with renewable sources. Wind already supplies 24 per cent of Denmark’s electricity generation. Green solutions to climate change are necessary, workable, and will create many new jobs and opportunities beyond fossil fuels.

Victor Dorian, Edmonton

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