Re: Somewhere, Stalin Is Chuckling

Dear Editor:

I am sorely disappointed and disgusted by Grist’s use of “humor” to report the mine explosion in Siberia. Yes, coal is dirty and coal-mining practices are terrible. But neither of those facts gives you the right to blatantly minimize the value of the 106 lives lost. It’s no “chuckling” matter that most of those workers probably had little choice but to work for the mine if they wanted to support their families.

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Show some respect for the people who lose their lives as a result of environmental destruction, or you can consider yourselves the “lucky bastards” if we keep reading.

Kim Wolske

Ann Arbor, Mich.

Editor’s note: Our indignation was aimed at the coal industry, not the workers who toil in the mines. The survivors truly were lucky, and we didn’t mean to imply anything about their mothers. A poor choice of words on our part. Our hearts go out to all involved in the accident.

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Re: Intent of a Woman

Dear Editor:

Thanks for interviewing Anika Rahman. I found her responses intelligent and inspiring. But weren’t there any better reader-submitted questions? Several of them (namely, from “Carol” in Dallas) weren’t even questions, but appeared to be merely scathing anti-abortion criticism. These comments weren’t even apropos to the interview, since Ms. Rahman’s organization does not promote abortions. Rather, the kind of work she is doing is helping prevent abortions by reducing unwanted pregnancies.

I feel saddened that Americans can’t stop bickering about the abortion issue when we have a full-blown, global crisis in women’s health and human rights.

Evelyn Goss

Austin, Texas

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Re: Let’s Call the Coal Thing Off

Dear Editor:

It is abundantly clear that so-called new technology coal plants are a chimera to rival the dragons living at the North Pole. There is no such thing as “clean coal.” As George Lakoff points out, the argument is made by reframing the terms. If you can shift the discussion from coal vs. no coal to new coal vs. old coal, you can put it over on most Americans that there is such a thing as new coal that is more acceptable and that is the opening wedge to allowing such plants.

A gigantic program to reforest the globe might work but will never be embraced by the energy mafia. It’s much easier and cheaper to turn to baseless propaganda than to actually solve environmental problems.

Paul Palmer


Re: Trash Course

Dear Editor:

Your response [on the landfill vs. incinerator debate] was fair. But you left out a major reason why incinerators are an environmental disaster in the making: financing them.

Incinerators are usually private, for-profit enterprises. When an incinerator is built, the locale promises to “put or pay,” so when an education program or simply a growing consciousness helps people to reduce, reuse, recycle, the “put,” i.e., trash, produced is less. The for-profit corporation invokes its right to demand increased payments. Twenty-five years ago, some locales in New York state were bankrupted due to building incinerators.

It’s a terrible idea, and I’m sorry to see you say it’s more or less a trade off.

Julia Willebrand

New York, N.Y.


Re: Trash Course

Dear Editor:

Umbra, I was going to send your March 7 column to someone but won’t because of your crack about veggie burgers. As you well know, eating veggie burgers — which can be scrumptious — is much more environmentally responsible than eating ground-up dead cattle, not to mention incomparably more humane. You should do all you can to promote them, not compare them to rat-chewed garbage. I mean really, what were you thinking? Were you thinking? Please be more conscientious (and conscious) when writing your columns — which are usually very good and which I often relay to others.

Mary Finelli

Silver Spring, Md.


Re: Dishing It Out

Dear Editor:

My thanks to Tom Philpott for his interesting, no, inspiring and informative article. For me, this was like the missing link in all the material that I’ve been reading on managing my life environmentally. If he ever has time to write a book, I’d like to be informed of it. People like him, with practical living and working experience should be the ones in charge of the U.S.A.’s agricultural planning.

Tom Byrne



Re: Gritty Woman

Dear Editor:

Just a brief letter to state my surprise when I recently clicked on a link in an article about Hollywood feminine eco-heroes to find out more information about one of the real-life heroes profiled and I found myself transported to an link selling the DVD being discussed.

It seems a bit odd to me that Grist includes the following copy in its request for donations: “Support nonprofit, independent environmental journalism.” Yet also regularly includes links to mega-monolithic media outlets such as

Like most folks, I appreciate a bargain on my books. But as the owner of a progressive, independent neighborhood bookstore, I take such actions personally. While Amazon may offer the occasional discounted media, it is certainly not worth the environmental and social cost of ignoring our local and independent businesses in favor of the Wal-Marts, Amazons, and other mega-chains and mega-outlets that populate the internet.

I would hope Grist would consider changing this policy and its readers would consider the real costs of supporting local businesses instead of the mega-chains.

John Lippmann

Stockbridge, Mass.

Editor’s note: We’ve thought about this issue a lot, but with our readers all spread out willy-nilly across the country and around the world, it’s hard to link everyone up with their neighborhood bookstore. We decided that as an online publication, we want to provide easy, online info about the movies and books we mention. We often link to Powell’s for books — a respected, independent bookseller based in Portland, Ore. Still, we do end up linking to Amazon for some media products, and the small percentage of resulting sales we get helps us fund our work. It’s a compromise, but we think it’s a reasonable one. That said, please, dear readers: Support your local, independent bookstore!


Dear Editor:

I’m a longtime reader and a fan of your readable and fun attitude toward presenting the news. Except (you knew it was coming) lately I feel like there’s less and less news in your pages and more consumerism. That is, more advice on how to be a green consumer.

Now that’s helpful too, but I miss reading the dwindling articles that also cover interesting bits of national (and what about international?) news with an environmental bent. Surely Grist readers have a little more depth than what “green” car or laundry detergent to buy. What about more coverage on neat initiatives in local-level government? What about what Germany and Japan are doing in improving energy efficiency and green architecture? What about that really neat community group in Peru or Kenya that’s planting trees and educating children about their ecosystems?

There must be more.

Megan Liddle

Washington, D.C.


Re: Blowing It

Dear Editor:

Is it Umbra on the picture that is posted next to the “On insulation, again” article?

She’s pretty cute. Just wanted to mention it.

Simon Milton

Budapest, Hungary

Editor’s note: Nope. But for those dying to see real, actual, truly true pics of Ms. Fisk, we did find these lying around. By the way, even though that particular fundraiser is over, we can always use some tax-deductible reader love. We’re just begging saying.


Dear Editor:

Just a note to let you know how much my husband and I enjoy Grist. Your irreverent coverage of all things environmental is always good for a chuckle, in addition to the important information you provide. I’m one of the 1,000+ people who participated in the Climate Project (“Al Gore’s messengers”). There is many a day when I find it nigh unto impossible to get in any billable hours because of you guys! I become so immersed in reading Grist and everything else having to do with the issue of global climate change (to work into my presentations) that I lose track of the time. For instance, I’d been unaware of Sports Illustrated‘s cover on sports and global warming until I came across it recently in Grist. I incorporated it into a presentation I made last night, to the surprise of everyone in the group (none of whom subscribe to SI, evidently). Their first response was “Does this mean that SI will have to find new locations for the bathing suit edition photo shoots?” Ha!

Many thanks for all of the good work you do.

Carol Moncrieff Rose

Hillman, Mich.


Re: Rotten to the Corps

Dear Editor:

As a displaced Katrina person who lived at the foot of one of these rotten Corps levees in New Orleans, I was surprised to find this article on the site, and I must say it is the best overview of the issues I’ve seen on the issue of the Corps’ liability (or even the liability of the government as a whole). Note that the mainstream media won’t touch this issue of the Corps’ or government’s liability with a 10-foot pole, though the city has just slapped a $77 billion damages claim on the Army Corps of Engineers.

This author has analyzed the situation correctly. If the citizens of New Orleans had been informed that our levees were engineered to be only suitable for cows, then forced to sign a waiver before purchasing property within the levee system, only then would I say that this is not a liability issue.

Though some of you passionately say the blame ultimately lies at Congress’ feet, the truth is that Congress only knows what the Corps tells them, and like any organism, the Corps is primarily interested in self-preservation. It is the entire pork-barrel funded system that is “Rotten to the Corps,” as the article is so aptly titled.

Thank you for the well-written article!

by nolagal



Re: The Grist List, 02 Mar 2007

Dear Editor:

I am a UFO researcher, and this field has many top-notch, brilliant people in it who are studying the reports and the impressions left by crafts and trying to find the truth about UFO crashes. They should be supported rather than ridiculed.

UFOs are real, crashes are real, and the question is, why did these crashes happen, for what purpose? Were they accidents or planned opportunities? Were they intended for earth governments and people to take in as a Trojan horse, or to allow us to create new technology from that which is found in these crashes?

We cannot forget a time when “green” was seen as laughable, but those in the movement saw it as necessity to save the human race.

UFOs and the study and research of them exist for the same reason.

by Penblace