I AM sure that I echo the thoughts of many avid environmentalists when I say that it is so extremely unacceptable that firms are irresponsibly standing by while the beautiful Amazon goes up in flames so that more land can be used to sell cattle and soya for profit.

Amazon rainforests are literally the lungs of the planet. If they are turned into the world’s largest cattle ranch and soya farm, it will cause more irreversible damage to our already fragile planet.

The world’s biggest food brands have the power and influence to take a stand against the relentless greed of the Brazilian Government.

What in God’s merciful name are they waiting for?

In the heart-felt words of Raoni Metukire, chief of the Native Brazilian Kayapo people: “We all breathe this one air, we all drink the same water. We live on this one planet.

“We need to protect the Earth. If we don’t, the big winds will come and destroy the forest. Then you will feel the fear that we feel.”

In short, either we have the total courage of our convictions or everything that we know and care about will be lost.

Aled Jones, Bridlington

Cheers for cash

THIS year our World’s Biggest Coffee morning fundraiser entered its 29th year.

In community centres, schools and workplaces, thousands of coffee mornings were held across the north to raise money and help us support people affected by cancer.

I would like to offer a huge and heartfelt thanks to every single one of your readers who held or attended a coffee morning – your energy and generosity never ceases to amaze us.

Whether it’s specialist cancer nurses, GPs, therapists or advisers, we can only offer the support that people with cancer need thanks to the tireless fundraising efforts of our supporters.

Last year Macmillan helped over 35,770 people with cancer in the North. The number of people who need our help is growing, and we want to offer support to everyone who needs it.

Please rest assured that every cake, every brew, every penny raised will now go on to help us to achieve this ambition. And please remember, if you need information, support or a chat with Macmillan you can call us free on 0808 808 0000.

If you’d like to support Macmillan and do something amazing today, you can also visit macmillan.org.uk/getinvolved

Thank you all so very much.

Paul McCavana, head of services for Macmillan Cancer Support in the North

Fight for fair start

LAST Thursday was World Mental Health Day. It is important to recognise that up to one in five mums and one in 10 dads will experience mental health problems during the perinatal period.

Mental health difficulties during this time can have a significant impact on day-to-day life, making it difficult for mums and dads to bond with their baby, potentially affecting the child’s overall development.

That is why the NSPCC is Fighting for a Fair Start for all families.

In England, all families are entitled to five home visits from qualified health professionals before and after the birth, to ensure both mum and baby are happy and healthy. These health visitors are uniquely well-placed to recognise signs and symptoms of mental health difficulties in both parents.

Even though England already lags behind Wales and Scotland in how many visits parents should receive, the decline in staff numbers and rising family caseloads means local services are struggling, and too many families are not receiving the support they need.

While Government is currently consulting on a new public health strategy and has committed to updating the Healthy Child Programme, families across the country need to see a bold vision for improvement, with the investment in recruitment and training needed to deliver it.

This needs to come soon, without it too many families will continue to struggle to access consistent, face-to-face support at the most crucial time of their lives.

For more information on Fight for a Fair Start, which has launched across the UK, visit nspcc.org.uk/fair-start and register your support.

Helen Westerman, interim head of safeguarding in communities