Art won’t turn these sow’s ears into silk purses

An idea (“Migrants, Aged to plug work gap”, September 3): to retrain older people interested in teaching English as a second language. Then use them to increase the number of teachers currently teaching English and helping new migrants assimilate. In this way, the workforce could be increased with older people as teachers and an increasing number of migrants prepared for employment. I myself went down a similar path ten years ago when I “retired” and now, well past the usual working age, I am still happy to be fully employed, to stay mentally active, learn about different cultures every day, pay taxes, not need CentreLink payments, and not overstretch the healthcare system. Most of my students who have improved their English skills and knowledge of the working world have found full-time jobs, pay taxes and contribute to society and the economy. I may not be shrewd enough to work in IT or science, capable enough to work as a nurse or in childcare, or skilled enough to work in manufacturing or a trade, but I can navigate in a class and I am still mentally capable enough to prepare lessons, assess assignments and guide students. Heather Johnson, West Pennant Hills

The plan allowing retirees to supplement their income with paid work makes sense. So why not extend this concession to those on JobSeeker, many of whom are older workers laid off and then barred from further employment by short-sighted employers? This would improve their lives in many ways and help address employee shortages. Philip Cooney, Wentworth Falls

TAFE needs additional funds. While Anthony Albanese should be commended for providing so many free TAFE places to students (“Summit Gifts Won’t Be the Kind to Keep Giving,” Sept. 3), that will only solve some of the problems plaguing education. . For too many years, TAFE has been defunded to foster an inefficient private sector, which has resulted in the restructuring of many campuses, the reduction of courses and the precariousness of too many teachers. TAFE resources have not kept up with modern technology and requirements due to lack of money. In addition to freeing students from debt, every TAFE campus must be upgraded with proper facilities or the skills shortage will persist. The message is clear: Fund TAFE properly and students, industry and the country will benefit immensely. We cannot constantly rely on foreign-trained workers when we could train many on our own. Augusta Monro, Dural

Climate: the time to act is slipping away

Sure, he knows how to handle words, but if world leaders don’t listen to the impassioned pleas of the UN Secretary-General, who will they listen to (“Who Will Save Planet Earth From Humans?”, September 3)? Without immediate, radical, united and individual action to stop global warming, little else will matter. Australia, as a major coal and gas exporter, has a huge role to play in avoiding the environmental tipping point. To keep global warming at the level agreed in Paris, 95% of our coal must stay in the ground. The world is rich in energy alternatives but lacks the time to move beyond fossil fuels. Moreover, rich countries in particular must drastically reduce consumption, waste and environmental destruction. We must immediately step up action against climate change to avert a global cataclysm. Meredith Williams, Northmead

The wreckage of a ship that sank during World War II revealed in the DanubeCredit:PA

An excellent article by Nick O’Malley lists the impact of climate change on food security. Governments around the world are failing to take strong enough action on emissions, and all seem determined to drive economic growth despite this, resulting in even more emissions. Here, the Jobs Summit resolution to increase immigration will increase our emissions, with even more people subject to the catastrophic consequences of climate change. Emergency services find answers to floods, fires, etc. difficult with our current population, and recovery is becoming more and more expensive. Moreover, the 2021 State of the Environment Report clearly linked the degradation of our environment over the past decade to rapid population growth. The destruction of life on Earth will continue until we act not only on climate change, but also on our growing population. Karen Joynes, Bermagui

The question is of course badly worded. It’s not “Who will save planet Earth from humans?” but “Who will save planet Earth for humans?” And the answer to that is zero, zip, zilch, nada, because it’s all too clear that the failure of the human race to unite for an effective approach to preventing further climate change will mean the Earth will continue to spin on its axis long after the human race died out due to the unlivable conditions we created by bickering and stubbornly clinging to unsustainable lifestyles. Anne Ring, Coogee

Reservoirs are drying up in the US, record heat waves in Britain, catastrophic floods in Pakistan while rivers are drying up in China – the evidence is clear. A dangerous climate elephant is unleashed around the world, seemingly ignored by Labor at the jobs summit. Where is the renewable energy transition plan and related skills training? Or a date to be set to end coal and gas exports, which account for millions of tons of global emissions each year? Hopefully the next budget will contain definitive measures that will show that the Labor Party is taking the climate crisis seriously. Anne O’Hara, Wanniassa (ACT)

Condescending comment

Tim Reed, president of the Business Council of Australia, said industry-wide wage increases for women will come as they increase their productivity and creativity in the workplace (“Work writes laws as care industries warn of strikes”, September 3). Perhaps Mr. Reed could accompany an elderly caregiver on her daily shift to help explain how one can be more creative in changing the soiled incontinence pad of someone with recalcitrant dementia? Or how to be more productive in feeding and showering our most fragile and elderly citizens? Then it could move on to educators, nurses and teachers to enlighten them as well. I hope this is the most condescending statement from this otherwise promising summit. Sue Adams, Dulwich Hill

leave harry alone

Meghan Markle

Meghan MarkleCredit:Getty Images

In response to Julia Baird’s article about Meghan Markle (“I was wrong about Meghan, but not about her detractors”, September 3), I must confess to having little knowledge of the pair. However, from my distance, it seems perfectly reasonable to walk away from a toxic situation and a job you hate. Harry isn’t really needed as a “substitute” anymore, so why can’t he and his wife put some distance between themselves and the firm? He has mental health issues, so if it makes his life calmer, I don’t see where the problem is. Moya Gibb Smith, Paddington

Movies need to be edited

I see Cate Blanchett’s new film Tar is winning accolades (“Blanchett’s ‘magnum opus’ wins rave reviews in Venice,” September 3). I see that he also plays for almost three hours. Why is there a sudden need for Wagnerian feature films? I had to leave Elvis, which lasted almost three hours halfway through for a nature call. Even Maverick, an action movie, lasted more than two hours. Good and skillful art must be able to capture, summarize and express ideas and emotions concisely. Or so it has in the past. Are our directors less skilled or are they overwhelmed by their artistic gift and want to give more? Rowan GodwinRozelle

Aliens inside

A poliomyelitis virus particle.

A poliomyelitis virus particle.Credit:PA

Your correspondent (Letters, September 3) commented on thoughts on US reports of possible extraterrestrial UFOs on Earth. Did we think aliens might already be here in the form of viruses attacking us from within? Joan Dalgleish, Ballin

Exit strategy

Dominic Perrottet obviously hasn’t read Negotiation 101 (“Prime Minister’s Plan Derailed After Threat Ignored,” Sept. 3), or if he has, he doesn’t understand it. Always leave yourself a way out that doesn’t make you look like a fool. David Gordon, Cranebrook

As a retired teacher, let me give you some advice, Dom – don’t make threats you’re not ready to carry out. Peter Miniutti, Ashbury

Parents to blame

What’s wrong with parents that so many kids (teens) are negative, violent, racist, bullies and generally harbor hate (“Authority to keep tabs on Knox after talk scandal”, September 3)? The question must be asked to find a way to change it. Jenny Greenwood, Hunter’s Hill

A worthy winner

Ajla Tomljanovic.

Ajla Tomljanovic.Credit:PA

It would have been wonderful to see Serena Williams continue to another championship before quitting tennis (“Serena Williams 23 Grand Slams and out”, smh.com.au, September 3), but if anyone were to beat her, I don’t think she could have asked for a winner and a more talented and graceful person than Ajla Tomljanovic. Merilyn McClungForestville

digital vision
Online comment of one of the stories that attracted the most comments from readers yesterday on smh.com.au
Property developer to raze thousands of trees despite local distress
Of just go: We need better planning across the state – spatial planning – where we want to keep trees or how many and where we want high, medium and low density housing. Not the same rules applied everywhere, as we have now. We need smarter thinking and less greed.

  • To send a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, email [email protected] Click here for tips on how to submit letters.
  • The Opinion Bulletin is a weekly summary of viewpoints that will challenge, defend and inform your own. register here.

Christopher S. Washington