Re: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Do Good

Dear Editor:

I disagree with the action to dissuade Ford from making hybrid SUVs. I live in western Colorado and would very much like to own a hybrid car for environmental reasons; however, tiny two-door, lightweight cars that sit about six inches off the ground are useless during Rocky Mountain winters and in rural areas.

Amy Hadden Marsh

Glenwood Springs, Colo.

Because SUVs are so popular, maybe a hybrid SUV would provide incentive for more people to buy an environmentally responsible vehicle.

 

Dear Editor:

Although I currently reside in Texas, Colorado will always be my “first love.” In the last 10 years, the landscape of Colorado has changed so drastically that at times I despair that the beauty of my beloved state will disappear forever.

Thank you to Grist and David Mayfield for such a well-written, thoughtful article. Mayfield’s writing proves that once again our greatest heroes are often virtually unknown.

Linda Ingram

Texas Land Trust Council

 

Dear Editor:

Dan Sharps is a hero in my book.

Gregg Roberti

Hollywood, Fla.

 

Dear Editor:

Your clever headlines continue to bring laughs, chuckles, and guffaws on a daily basis. “Kweisi for You” was another beauty. Thanks for the humor amidst despairing news about the destructive path being set by the Bush administration.

Steve Larrick

Lincoln, Neb.

 

Re: What Would Jesus Drive?

Dear Editor:

I’m not sure what Jesus would drive, but I am sure about one thing … Satan drives an SUV (as my bumper sticker reads).

Greg Wilson

Santa Monica, Calif.

 

Re: A Capital Idea

Dear Editor:

Paul Hawken and the two Lovinses pay lip service to the role population growth plays in destroying natural capital:

Misconceived or badly designed business systems, population growth, and wasteful patterns of consumption are the primary causes of the loss of natural capital, and all three must be addressed to achieve a sustainable economy.

 

However, none of their four strategies for reducing the depredations on natural capital addresses stopping or reversing population growth.

When the last U.S. wetlands have been drained for housing, when Brazil’s mangroves have been removed for shrimp farms, when fragile environments the world ’round have been assaulted by global warming and rising sea levels — will we really confront population growth in the U.S. and in the Third World with equanimity? I suspect that the political costs inherent in dealing with U.S. immigration and foreign-aid policies have inhibited these three authors.

B. Meredith Burke, Ph.D.

Senior Fellow, Californians for Population Stabilization

Santa Barbara, Calif.

 

Re: Another One Bites the Dust

Dear Editor:

This is the first time I have corresponded with anyone other than my cousin since getting this computer. I was compelled to write about the story I just read, written by Lester R. Brown. I plan on emailing a copy of this story to everyone I know.

Debbie Horn

Frankfort, Ky.

 

Re: John Perrine, fox researcher

Dear Editor:

I have just finished reading John Perrine’s red fox diary and enjoyed it immensely. John obviously loves his subject and turning the story into an environmental cliff-hanger made it even more enjoyable.

Jacqulyn Perfetto

Mansfield, Conn.

 

Dear Editor:

Politicians need to stop blaming the U.S. Endangered Species Act for water shortages in the Klamath River Basin and start searching for long-term solutions that benefit the whole basin.

More than 100 years ago, the government invested in a poorly planned irrigation project to create farmland in the middle of a high desert basin. Consequently, this pristine “Everglades of the West,” host to the largest congregation of bald eagles and 80 percent of the birds migrating along the Pacific Flyway, has been drained, leaving only 20 percent of what were once vast wetlands.

Any attempts to weaken the ESA so that more water can be diverted from the basin to irrigation will only reduce water resources for Native American and fishing communities, as well as wildlife. A regional solution is needed to help farming, fishing, tribal communities, and the entire ecosystem. Excess farmlands should be purchased from willing sellers and then restored to heal the watershed, similar to the plan being implemented in the Florida Everglades.

Brian K. Vincent

American Lands Alliance

Nevada City, Calif.

 

Dear Editor:

I would like to request a retraction or at least a clarification of your snide remark about Seattle and our “salmon-killing dams” in your story on our implementation of the Kyoto treaty.

Seattle’s major dam is the Boundary Dam, built on the Pend Oreille above the range of salmon migration. It is a run-of-the-river dam, so it has no flow impacts downstream. Our other major dams are built on the Skagit River, upstream of a natural barrier to salmon migration. These do have reservoirs and flow impacts, but we have been managing them along with purchasing and protecting downstream habitat for the last 20 years to improve salmon survival. The American Fisheries Society has certified that the runs of chum and pink salmon in the Skagit are at precontact levels, and the chinook runs have been stabilized at a healthy level and are growing. Although there are many damaging hydroelectric facilities, Seattle’s are about the least damaging one can imagine.

The worldwide movement, which now includes over 400 cities and almost 100 in the U.S., to take the lead on challenging global climate change on the local level when national governments hang back deserves more respect and coverage. It’s a hopeful sign that I think your readers deserve to know about.

Richard Conlin

Seattle City Councilmember

Seattle, Wash.

 

Dear Editor:

The hydro dams of Seattle’s public utility, Seattle City Lights, are upstream of all salmon-spawning grounds.

On the other hand, Mayor Paul Schell is incorrect about being totally green, because Seattle has done a poor job controlling point-of-use waste of electricity in both public and private buildings. City and county buildings often have excessive lighting turned on in empty offices and hallways throughout the night.

Christopher W. Fay

Seattle, Wash.

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Dear Editor:

I am a member of a group of people nationwide that has become active in fighting for sanity in outdoor lighting over the last several years. This rapidly growing organization is called the International Dark-Skies Association. I posted this piece about Seattle on our list, and we had to chuckle about Seattle’s new image. A few years back, we tried to get Seattle to prevent the owners of the Space Needle from putting a Luxor-like light cannon, shining straight up into the sky, on top of the landmark. Although we were successful in getting concessions as to the number of days during which this monstrosity could be used, we never did get the city to block this completely frivolous use of energy.

To us in the national light-pollution fight, Seattle’s greenwash concerning global warming rings hollow.

John Gilkison

Las Cruces, N.M.

 

Dear Editor:

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), the House majority whip, was quoted as saying, “We feel very, very confident we will be able to crack the backs of radical environmentalists.”

How Orwellian of DeLay. How do we, who have some other motive besides lining our pockets, get an opportunity to “quiz” DeLay on his knowledge of the environment — or biology, for that matter? I’m at a loss for words in describing just how little education these public officials have.

Let’s give them a test — a college-level test on ecology — before they speak ignorantly again.

T. Edward Wright

Petaluma, Calif.

 

Re: This Just In, Heat Beat, by Leonie Haimson

Dear Editor:

If Leonie Haimson had the slightest interest in responsible journalism, she would not distort the facts so as to support her anti-American propaganda. For example, she tries to give the impression that support for the Kyoto treaty on climate change is growing because 37 nations have already ratified the treaty and “many more will assuredly follow.” Perhaps she is unaware that the 37 nations include such major population centers as Tuvalu (population 11,000) and Niue (pop.1,800).

Altogether, these 37 nations represent just 5.1 percent of the world population. Moreover, it was easy for them to ratify, because Kyoto imposes emission restraints on none of them but promises them totally unjustified largesse from the industrial countries.

Cries of alarm about global warming will not be taken seriously by competent scientists and responsible politicians until those who profess to be concerned address questions about climate science honestly and sincerely. Until then, the global warming brouhaha will be dismissed as an unconscionable swindle whose real purposes have nothing to do with climate, being intended (a) to hamstring capitalism so as to lesson the contrast with the abject failure of Marxism, and (b) to transfer wealth from taxpayers in advanced countries to the leaders of the Third World (i.e., from the less wealthy people in the rich countries to the Swiss bank accounts of the rich people in the poor countries).

Phil Chapman

Sunnyvale, Calif.

 

Re: This Just In, Heat Beat, by Leonie Haimson

Dear Editor:

Although I don’t agree with some of the conclusions about the wonder of the achievement in Bonn, Leonie Haimson’s story is a first-rate piece of analysis (and well-written), and her column is consistently the best commentary that I’ve seen from the environmental community on the evolving climate change politics.

David Victor

New York, N.Y.

 

Re: This Just In, Heat Beat, by Leonie Haimson

Dear Editor:

I am a 28-year old Brazilian graduate science student who has been following the climate change debate since 1998. Unfortunately, I cannot read all of Grist, but I always read “This Just In,” which is, in my opinion, the best words being written on climate change. It is not too long, but it lets us know all the relevant political facts.

Andre S. Pereira

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

Re: The Personal Environmental Ethics of a Real Stud, by

Dear Editor:

These were wonderful stories. Thanks for finding good news for your readers in the midst of all this environmental devastation.

Jennifer Serrano

Nashville, Tenn.

 

Re: The Best Thing Since Sliced Bread

Dear Editor:

I just wanted to say how much I admired Bryan Foster’s straightforward, simple, and chewy account of Borealis Breads. It shows how one good stone tossed in the pond can start a number of good ripples. But what I liked best was the sense that the company could be kept small enough to really matter — not grow so large, like Ben and Jerry’s, or Sam Adams beer, that its behavior begins to mimic the monolith.

Bill McKibben

Watertown, Mass.