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Letters are posted as we receive them during the week, and before they are printed in the paper, so check back frequently to see new letters. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor, use this postmarks submission form, or email your letter directly to mail@austinchronicle.com. Thanks for your patience.
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Spring Into Nature

RECEIVED Tue., May 4, 2021

Dear Editor,
    Spring is well underway in Texas, and students across the state have excitedly embraced outdoor spaces on the weekends. However, the University of Virginia has found a way for students to embrace nature and receive course credit. A recent article in the school’s paper highlighted this course: “Engaging With Nature for Health and Well-being.
    Numerous studies have established the positive affect nature engagement can have on physical and mental health. UVA established this new, one-hour course to teach students how to incorporate nature into their lives. The class has proven to be a big success at UVA. Especially during the pandemic, outdoor spaces where students can interact are extremely valuable. Nature across our city can help relieve stress and reduce hyper-tension.
    Austin schools, from elementary to higher-education, are in a position to explore nature-based classes as well. With so many beautiful green spaces, why not provide opportunities for students to learn in those spaces? Projects such as this also create a stronger sense of community, something that has been difficult since the pandemic began. Our lives and nature should not be separate, and UVA’s new course provides an inspiring example of how institutions can break down these barriers.
Logan Robichaud

Remember Your Bags

RECEIVED Tue., May 4, 2021

Dear Editor,
    Please remember to bring your reusable shopping bags! I know it can be easy to forget them or think that it does not make much of a difference, but it truly does. Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes and will last for hundreds of years. We know this because the first plastic products produced are still sitting on our earth. These plastic bags will end up on beaches like Corpus Christi and in the Gulf of Mexico. Once the plastic is in the water, it will break down into smaller plastics that are ingested by marine life. This is harmful to them and subsequently the people who consume seafood that contains microplastics. By 2025, experts predict that there will be one pound of plastic in the ocean for every three pounds of fish.
    I work as a cashier for H-E-B and I have seen some customers that do not bring reusable bags dislike that the store will charge 25 cents per bag. Believe it or not, explaining to an upset customer why H-E-B does not give away bags is harder than pushing carts in the middle of a summer day. H-E-B has enforced this policy for many years even after the Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance was repealed in 2018 for the city of Austin. I think H-E-B is doing a good thing because in 2019 they reduced plastic bag use by 308 million bags, roughly 1.9 million pounds of plastic. Image what could happen if shoppers encouraged other stores to do the same. What I want to do is draw attention to the positive effects this policy has. When you bring a reusable bag it makes a significant difference for the environment and it makes my job more enjoyable.
Emily Heath

Ce N'est Pas Un Jet

RECEIVED Fri., April 30, 2021

Dear Editor,
    Ali Montag's report on the war memorial mini golf [“In Buda, Mini-Golf and War Memorial Are Ingeniously Paired,” Naked City, April 30] contains a few factual errors about WWII airplanes. The North American P51 Mustang was a single engine piston propeller airplane, not a jet! Even the picture of the replica airplane Lt. Col. Hule Lamb Jr. is sitting next to clearly shows the propeller. Also there were very few 1940s fighter jets, the US didn't have an operational jet fighter in WWII, although the German Me 262 was one.
Thanks, Karl Van Nostrand

In Our Cemetery

RECEIVED Thu., April 29, 2021

Dear Mary Tuma,
    I recently found your article from 2018 on the Fetal Burial bill online [“Fetal Burial Trial Ends with Unanswered Questions,” News, July 20, 2018], which mentions our cemetery. My artist blacksmith husband, Nick, and I founded Our Lady of the Rosary Cemetery and Prayer Gardens in Georgetown 18 years ago with a unique vision. We wanted to find a new and natural way to approach Sister Death in a way that cares for Mother Earth, and honors the divine spark in all people of all faiths or no faith. In our cemetery, we have not only Catholic and Christian people laid to rest under a blanket of wildflowers, but Jewish, Ba'hai, Muslim, and Buddhist.
    We offered free burial for aborted fetuses as we already have quarterly burials of miscarried babies from a major hospital, and would have been honored to provide this reverential burial. It is not about being anti-choice, but seeing the sacred nature of everything living, in all of humanity, in creation.
    We are the first xeriscaped perpetual care cemetery in the US (to be featured on the Lady Bird Wildflower Center Tour of Gardens last spring before COVID) and the first in Texas to offer green burial. Our vision was to revive the Art of Memorialization and we have over 12 artists adding to the wondrous natural beauty, with waterfall, pond, legendary wildflowers, contemplative walks, and a place where people can grieve and heal, tend a grave garden, sit on a bench there.
    Please come take a look and see we are so much more than described in your article!
Gratefully yours, Ellen Brumder
OLOTR.com
Now of Waihi, New Zealand, but still care taking Our Lady from afar
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