We are facing a global epidemic, which is indiscriminately wreaking havoc on the planet and her inhabitants. The collective human consciousness is decidedly uncluttered by thoughts of the before, during and after repercussions of our blind consumption, yet the evidence abounds, in waterways, on beaches, in our parks and streets, in trees, in the stumps where trees once stood.

Americans dispose of approximately 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year, the manufacturing of which requires some 12 million barrels of non-renewable petroleum oil, costing over $500 million and creating 300,000 tons of landfill waste.

They are a blight on society, leaching toxins into our environment and killing an estimated 100,000 marine animals each year. Every square mile of ocean contains approximately 46,000 pieces of floating plastic, which act as sponges for toxic chemicals, are ingested by unsuspecting sea life and introduced into the food chain.

Paper is hardly a better solution. An estimated 14 million trees are felled each year to make the 10 billion paper bags consumed by the American public, destroying wildlife habitat and drastically compromising soil, air and water quality.

For being so elusive, the solution is simple. It is no more difficult to carry a few reusable cloth bags into the market than it is to carry numerous plastic bags out and discard them. We’ve convinced ourselves that we need only to throw something away in order for it to be gone, but the truth remains: there is no “away.”

Restrictions and bans on disposable bags have been effectively implemented in 25 percent of the world’s countries. Let’s join them.

You can make it happen by signing and sharing the full petition at: www.change.org/petitions/maine-ban-the-bag.

Rebecca Tripp

Searsport

Angus King could bring Maine power in Congress

Not being a regular reader of the Telegram, I’m unfamiliar with the political views of Steve Meyers. But as an admirer and strong supporter of Angus King, I find myself compelled to write.

I made a point of buying yesterday’s paper to see how you handled former Gov. King’s declaration that he would run for Olympia Snowe’s Senate seat — he being wholly sympathetic with her stated reason for stepping down: utter frustration with partisan politics, and the legislative paralysis it can foster.

As an independent, King, of course, would face no such roadblocks. As he says, he would answer to no one but the people of Maine. And never in modern times, not even with George Mitchell as Senate majority leader, have Mainers faced the prospect of having so much potential congressional power.

Should the Senate become essentially equally divided in November, as many now predict it will, King would be in a position to cast the deciding vote on bill after bill, beholden to no party. Under such circumstances, he would simply be the single most powerful member of Congress — bar none. And all this as a freshman!

If all that power should come into anyone person’s hands, I can think of no public figure more trustworthy, dedicated, capable and wise than Angus King. Not only would all Americans become the direct beneficiaries, so too would all the world.

This is truly historic, and Meyers would be well advised to do his homework.

John VanOrsdell

Boothbay

Prevention, not antibiotics, best way to fight infections

Clostridium difficile is a multi-drug resistant organism that causes severe diarrhea, pain, fever, weakness, weight loss and sometimes death. It is generally associated with recent health care and antibiotic use.

A recent CDC press release said, “While many health care-associated infections, such as bloodstream infections, declined in the past decade, C. difficile infection rates and deaths climbed to historic highs.”

My father died of a hospital-acquired MRSA infection. This shouldn’t happen to anyone. C. difficile has in some cases surpassed MRSA infections in health care settings. It can affect people of all ages, but over 90 percent of C. diff deaths are in patients over 65.

This is a public health problem. We all need to know how to avoid these infections. Here are several steps we can all take to protect ourselves from these horrific infections.

Alcohol hand sanitizers do not kill C. diff. Good old soap and water works best. Wash hands after bathroom use and before eating. This is particularly important in health care settings. Ask your health care givers to use soap and water. C. diff is spread by oral/fecal transmission from person to person.

Don’t seek antibiotics for viral illnesses like colds. Doctors need to stop prescribing unnecessary antibiotics as well.

Bleach kills C. diff. When in health care settings, wipe down frequently touched surfaces with bleach wipes.

Taking probiotics or eating yogurt with active cultures while taking antibiotics may help to preserve healthy intestinal bacteria.

In this new world of infections, we can’t always rely on antibiotics to cure us. Prevention is key.

Kathy Day, R.N.

Bangor

Respect for responsibility, laws, others sorely needed

In response to Leroy Little’s letter in the Maine Sunday Telegram (“Keep government at arm’s length, and speak your mind,” March 11), let me just say that in my humble opinion, he hit the nail squarely on the head!

Mr. Little’s letter eloquently and articulately expresses the view of, I believe, most Americans in regard to this great country being a Christian nation — something our current leader fails to acknowledge. The condescending lack of respect for others’ feelings and opinions in today’s society is rampant, whether it be in everyday discussions with friends or the hallowed halls of Congress. Civility continues its downward spiral, while Washington continues its talk of class warfare and cultural divide.

When did it become demeaning to take personal responsibility, rather than accept a government hand out? When did making money and becoming successful (not that the two are synonymous) get confused with “sharing the wealth”? When will our citizenry wake up and demand enforcement of current laws, instead of coddling those who emigrate here, choosing not to assimilate into society?

This is America where we welcome legal entry freedom of speech, religion, the right to bear arms and pursue happiness. It’s still a wonderful place to be, but I’m afraid government is taking us down a different path from what our founding fathers envisioned.

My hat is off to Leroy Little. Perhaps he should be running for the Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe. His opinion is well-taken, respectfully noted and a breath of fresh air!

Bob Rose

North Yarmouth

Voters should know who is paying for political ads

During this election year, people need to keep in mind that big business and billionaires are on an all-out attempt to influence your vote to their benefit.

We have seen this clearly in the Republican presidential candidates’ attacks on each other in their debates and other appearances, and through ads paid for by super PACs. If they can be so cut-throat to each other, what will we see when it’s Democrat vs. Republican? The distortions, outright lies and scare tactics are sure to be even worse.

Try to research claims and seek out the truth. Try to find out who’s paying for ads.

When watching TV, try to alternate between CNN and Fox news. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth.

Our individual votes have always been the voice of the people.

That voice should not be bought and paid for by self-serving interests.

Doris McNally

Leeds