Readers comment on the benefits of high gas prices, COVID-19 vaccines and more

·4 min read

High gas prices are good

Everyone is feeling "pain at the pump" according to ad nauseum media reports. I am a motor fuels retailer. Increasing prices hurt my business. That said, increased fuel prices are good for America and the world.

We, as U.S. citizens, must lead the world in reducing fossil fuel consumption. We consume less when prices increase. Air pollution, which causes the warming of our planet, is real. Its affects are increasingly dire. Cheap fossil fuel energy has brought us to the precipice.

Gas prices over $5 a gallon are shown at a BP station.
Gas prices over $5 a gallon are shown at a BP station.

Stop complaining about “high gas prices” and do your part to limit your impact on climate change. Gas stations like mine need to disappear from the American landscape as soon as possible. No more whining. Park your F-150 and drive a Prius.

Jeff Montgomery, Gainesville 

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'Drawing the circle wide'

As the lead pastor of First United Methodist Church in Gainesville, I appreciated the opportunity to speak to the Gainesville Sun reporter who quoted me in an article that ran on Sunday’s front page about our denomination. Like most important things, the actual dynamics and issues underlying disagreements that lead to churches joining a new denomination like the Global Methodist Church are much more nuanced and complex than can be communicated in 600 words.

However, something that is not nuanced, or complex, is the complete affirmation and welcome of our LGBTQ siblings in every aspect of church life by myself and the congregation I serve. As followers of Jesus, who loved without limits, we will gladly continue to be part of the United Methodist Church as a congregation that is committed to the work of “drawing the circle wide” in our beloved denomination and beyond. Period.

Pastor Beth Snarr, Gainesville

Safe and effective vaccines

During recent months, the Food and Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened panels of distinguished scientists and clinicians who had special expertise in infectious diseases and immunizations. After very careful review of rigorously reported data, these agencies approved the use of both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID vaccines for children 6 months to 6 years of age.

These experts firmly concluded that, even in this relatively low risk population, the benefits of vaccination far outweighed the risks. They correctly pointed out that, although young children are less likely than older children or adults to become seriously ill if they contract COVID, some individuals do develop severe illness and require hospitalization. Some even die as a consequence of their infection. Moreover, young children with even mild illness can serve as a reservoir to infect older individuals who are more vulnerable to serious complications.

Critical illness and death due to COVID are now almost completely preventable with vaccination. Our state political and medical leaders have done a major disservice to the citizens of Florida by refusing to pre-order adequate supplies of the COVID vaccine for children and by promoting a policy that deliberately discourages vaccination for this age group. Their collective actions fly in the face of overwhelming medical evidence that supports the safety and effectiveness of the COVID vaccine for individuals of all ages.

Patrick Duff, M.D., Gainesville 

Food is medicine

Medical students at University of Florida learn in their first semester that before pills, diets that are low in sodium and rich in fresh produce can reduce blood pressure by up to 10 points; prevent cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic kidney disease; and even lower your chance of getting cancer. In short, medical students learn that food is medicine.

But what good does that do for you if you are one of the thousands living in the food desert of East Gainesville? This is even more disturbing when one considers the fact that there are seldom outpatient clinics available in these neighborhoods to attend to these health disparities. Absence of access to health care, the unavailability or high cost of fresh produce, and poor socioeconomic status become the perfect storm of intersectionality.

So what can we as a community do about this? In the past people like Ron Finley and Michelle Obama have shown that community gardens in urban areas both bring the community together and turn food deserts into a food oasis. Surely here in the agricultural capital of our region, community gardens can transform our most vulnerable populations into the wealthiest.

David Gorlin, medical student, University of Florida 

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This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Letters on the benefits of high gas prices, COVID-19 vaccines and more