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And other words from readers

  Re: The Noble Citizen Dear Editor: This is the first time in my life that I've felt moved to cry upon hearing that someone I didn't know personally had died. I feel that I've come to know Donella Meadows in the past couple of years. Many times I have praised her writing, her clear thinking, and her easy style; I regularly sent her articles to my friends. I will miss knowing that she's there, working and speaking for all of us who are less eloquent. Thank you for the article telling me more about her as a person. Mary …

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Driving in Circles

Your letters about our three-part automobile series showed that Grist readers are all over the map on this issue. Here's a taste of the letters we received about Detroit Sucks, Bush Sucks, and Enviros Suck.   Dear Editor: The consumer sucks for not demanding more fuel-efficient vehicles. Tom DeBates Geneva, Ill.   Dear Editor: In his book, Culture Jam, Kalle Lasn talks about the "uncooling" of the automobile and offers what I think is a novel, though not unrealistic, plan for the reduction of automobiles. What we should do about these destructive beasts, he says, is to offer them and …

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The Blues and the Graze

The U.S. government is calling for more timber harvesting and less grazing on 64 million acres in the eastern part of the Northwest as part of the largest federal land-use plan ever proposed. The plan, released yesterday by the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, is a joint effort by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, covering land in eastern Washington and Oregon, Idaho, and western Montana. If approved after a 30-day period, the plan would boost timber cuts by about 22 percent with a plan of aggressive thinning. It would also take steps to protect fish …

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Harry Potter and the Ozone Layer

As the holiday gift-buying frenzy picks up, no one really knows whether online shopping hurts or helps the environment. The nonprofit Center for Energy and Climate Solutions says such shopping may be an environmental plus, citing the benefits of delivery trucks and warehouses over the multiple car trips and energy-intensive retail space necessary for traditional in-person shopping. But Carnegie Mellon's Green Design Initiative, in its case study "Harry Potter and the Ozone Layer," says it may be less environmentally efficient to ship books individually to customers, often overnight by plane, than for customers to buy books in-person that were sent …

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Top of the POPs

Some 600 delegates from more than 120 countries began a week of talks yesterday in Johannesburg, South Africa, to try to reach agreement on a treaty to ban 12 persistent organic pollutants (POPs), chemicals such as PCBs and several pesticides that have been linked to cancer, birth defects, and genetic abnormalities in humans and wildlife. Among other issues, delegates are debating whether to ban DDT in countries such as South Africa that use the pesticide to fight malaria. Many developing countries support its continued use until other ways are found to combat the disease, while enviro groups like Greenpeace want …

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