Your letters on how environmentalism will regroup in the wake of Sept. 11 made it clear that the movement is still alive and kicking. And other letters — on hybrid vehicles, eco-agriculture, globalization — show that Grist readers, at least, are still thinking about the whole environmental picture.
I want to quietly protest the use of the phrase anti-globalization amidst Grist‘s otherwise admirable production of environmental news. Along with many others in the grassroots globalization movement, we at Grassroots Globalization Network refuse to use Wall Street’s term anti-globalization to describe ourselves and other critics of corporate globalization — not only because it makes it easier to demonize all critics collectively, but also because it is an overly vague “catch-all” phrase that promotes more binary, “either/or” thinking which serves no one in the complex debates surrounding globalization.
Thank you for the great article by Wendell Berry. It echoed and strengthened my own views of the world economy, ecological awareness, and our need for global peace. I hope, indeed, that the tragedies of Sept. 11 will teach Americans how to live in a better and more satisfying manner, eschewing wastefulness and greed for a global consciousness of living gently on the earth.
I thoroughly enjoyed Wendell Berry’s article. But there is more. At its heart, the movement toward fundamentalism, be it Christian or Islamic, is a repudiation of feminism. A gendered interpretation of human behavior show us that it is the masculine that exploits and subjugates, and it is the feminine that nurtures and shares. I would argue then that both the modern techno-consumerist world and the dawn-of-civilization-loving Taliban are both expressions of excessive masculinity in our relationships to each other and the world.
The thrift-and-care economy Berry extols will only arrive when we win the struggle, which has raged since the dawn of time, to place our feminine nature on a par with our masculine tendencies. I will stop short of calling one “good” and the other “evil” but when out of balance, these forces can cause great harm.
I just read “Starting from Ground Zero.” Excellent! Brilliant! The article reflected my sentiments exactly. It’s nice to learn there are others who aren’t so caught up in the flag waving they cease to think rationally.
Valley Head, Ala.
In the wake of Sept. 11 attacks I was unsettled by the idea that all environmental issues would forever take the “back burner” to patriotism and fear. I now realize this is the time for everyone concerned about a sustainable future to come out of the woodwork and let their voices be heard.
Las Vegas, Nev.
I found Kathryn Schulz’s piece moving. I, too, lost my innocence as a global citizen long ago; and I agree that we need to increase our efforts after the Sept. 11 disaster, rather than see this as an excuse for apathy.
You touched a spot in my heart that said, “Do something.” Thank you.
Hal Clifford is only partly right that enviro news has suffered after Sept. 11. Sure, there have been fewer stories about trees and furry creatures. But insofar as Americans are distracted by war and national security and economic stimulus, environmentalists have been given a tremendous gift — the chance to make the strongest arguments for their agenda.
It just so happens that the best economic stimulus … the best way to enhance national security and energy self-reliance … the best way to create jobs — all these solutions also happen to be best for the environment. Why oppose the White House energy bill? Not because it’s “bad for the environment,” but for jobs jobs jobs, economic efficiency economic efficiency economic efficiency (oh yeah, the plan is also bad for the environment). Want an economic stimulus? Go for an aggressive investment in renewable power and efficiency — “the stimulus that keeps on stimulating,” in the words of Joseph Romm, writing in a recent TomPaine.com story. (Editor’s note: See also this Grist interview with Romm.)
If the environment has fallen off the plate, it’s not because reporters and editors aren’t paying attention. It’s because enviros aren’t doing enough keep it on the plate. They need to speak the language of the moment: security, economy, jobs.
Editor and Publisher, TomPaine.com
Environmental groups should know that taking a stand against drilling in the Arctic Refuge is in no way bashing President Bush and his administration, or undermining his attempt to unify our nation and protect its interests. Opposing arctic drilling is merely acting to preserve the integrity of a unique wilderness the United States should cherish, not foolishly destroy.
There is perhaps another side to the coin. The terrorist attacks could make the oil drilling agenda seem valid; alternatively, conservation could become the most wildly patriotic act.
Ann S. Lamb
If I may be so bold as to make one tasteless, insensitive, movement-aggrandizing remark in this time of international tragedy and fear: Why is it that the many deaths due to exposure to environmental toxins don’t get the same attention as terrorism and criminals?
I worry that our commitment to protecting the Arctic Refuge could go too far. Couldn’t the forces of evil (supported by the fossil fuel lobby) use the Arctic Refuge as a hostage to gain so many other concessions from enviros that we will win the battle but lose the war?
Re: Blast Off!
Thanks for your article on eco-agriculture. Agriculture has been pitted against other progressive causes for years. Hal Clifford’s article underscores the relationship between natural and cultivated environments, and how interdependent the two have become. I hope others will follow in preaching this important message.
Lisa M. Hamilton
Mill Valley, Calif.
The consumer has spoken: Many (not all, of course) prefer larger vehicles like SUVs that let you feel like a “rugged individualist.” Isn’t it the responsibility of automakers to make this dream compatible with our desire for cleaner, more fuel-efficient transportation?
I would never ask someone to give up their dream car or attempt to regulate their lives when it comes to consumer choice, but I would support a bit o’ legislation to twist the arm of automakers!
I find it laughable that anyone actually believes that it is safer or easier to drive on a snowy road in an SUV than in a sedan. I own an SUV because I need to use it off-road in various conditions. If I drove only on roads (in the snowy Spokane region in which I live) I would much prefer the Mazda 626 front-wheel drive sedan that I used to own to any four-wheel drive SUV or other off-road vehicle in existence. Anyone with much winter driving experience should know how inferior they are on the road!
I think your readers have valid points on both sides. I think a substantially more fuel-efficient SUV would fill a valid need and save a heck of a lot of gas. Take a look at how much fuel you save each year by buying a Prius instead of an Echo (less than 100 gallons). Then compare that to the difference between a basic two-wheel drive Expedition and the four-wheel drive Expedition with the larger engine (about 240 gallons).
If Ford introduced a hybrid version of the Expedition, and if it were marketed to folks who otherwise planned to buy a standard Expedition, each buyer could save hundreds of gallons of gasoline per car per year.
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