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Donating blood can save lives

This past year has been filled with challenges and one constant has been the need for lifesaving blood. As people begin to travel more and have elective surgeries that have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the critical need for blood has increased. 

The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage as the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries rise and deplete the nation’s blood inventory. In addition, patients battling chronic medical conditions and mothers with complicated childbirths rely on the generosity of volunteer donors to ensure they receive blood and blood product transfusions. Right now, the blood supply has fallen to critical levels.

The Red Cross is working around the clock to meet the extraordinary blood needs of hospitals and patients, but can’t do it alone. We are in need of both blood donors and volunteers to help at blood drives. Together, we can make a difference. To learn about volunteer opportunities, how to host a blood drive, or to make an appointment to give blood or platelets as soon as possible, contact the Red Cross by using the Blood Donor App, visiting  RedCrossBlood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

On behalf of the Red Cross and those who are receiving your gift of life, thank you to those who have made donating blood and volunteering a summer activity that can help save lives.

Scott Luciano

Board Chair

American Red Cross

Northern and Eastern Maine Chapter

Hampden

We cannot afford climate inaction

Last week, New York subways were flooding due to extremely heavy rainfall. Americans in the west braced themselves for yet another record-breaking heat wave, with a little more than a week since the last one that killed  hundreds of people across Oregon and Washington.

An estimated  150,000 people die each year because of climate change. Why, then, are we still going about business as usual? How does anyone feel OK with 150,000 annual, preventable deaths?

When will our U.S. senators champion carbon pricing and enact it immediately so that we can experience tangible results in less than a year? Pricing carbon at the source works, and it works fast. The money collected from fossil fuel companies goes back to Americans in the form of a monthly dividend check, to spend as they wish. It will be good for poor and middle-class Americans and will quickly transform our electricity sector to net-zero emissions.

Of all the developed countries in the world,  only the U.S. and Australia are without nationwide carbon pricing. It’s time for our senators to embrace this solution. How can people help? Spend less than five minutes per month calling their senators and representatives to ask them to cosponsor the carbon fee and dividend bill. If someone is a business owner or community leader, they can endorse the bill: https://energyinnovationact.org/endorse/. And talk to people about it.

We cannot afford to turn away from those 150,000 — and rising — deaths every single year.

Anastasia Antonacos

Portland

Why won’t people get vaccinated?

I don’t get it. COVID-19 is getting more contagious.

Getting the vaccine is easier than ever. Most of us were vaccinated as children for one disease or another. And still there are a huge number of Americans putting their lives at risk by refusing to get vaccinated.

I suppose that as an adult American I have the right to decide what medical interventions I will receive. Being empowered to make that decision, I have the right to make a bad decision. Even if that decision means I can infect others. A recent news report stated that  most of the recent deaths from COVID were people who were unvaccinated.

It is a shame to lose those thousands of our fellow citizens to COVID, but I am unable to come up with anything that we can do. It is just a shame!

George Burgoyne

Bangor