Re: Go, Wes, Young Man

Dear Editor:

Many of us are concerned that Wesley Clark lacks an understanding of environmental issues. Aside from all the nice things Clark has to say about urinating turtles, he has virtually nothing serious to contribute on the topic

Equally troubling is his support of former President Reagan, who was a great impediment to environmental progress in this country (James Watt, anyone?) — not to mention all the complimentary things he’s had to say about the current Bush administration (er, that is until he “switched” parties in order to run for president).

In a recent presidential debate Clark claimed to be “pro-environment” without saying a word about what that meant, or how he would finance a new commitment to environmental efforts in America.

Instead of giving Clark’s nascent campaign a big headline and smiling photo on Grist, how about a more critical look at his (lack of) positions, and continuing to focus on serious candidates, like Howard Dean, who has set aside thousands of acres for conservation in Vermont, and is running aggressively on a platform that includes a national renewable energy plan?

Christopher J. Curtis

Montpelier, Vt.


Re: Go, Wes, Young Man

Dear Editor:

As an ardent environmentalist, I understand that Wesley Clark has very little experience in this very important aspect of politics. But since he has little experience in most aspects, this should be expected but not necessarily criticized. Even though the environment is a top priority for people who read Grist, it is clear that this is not a major factor for the general voting population.

What is important in this upcoming election is that we (a) successfully elect a Democrat back to the Oval Office and (b) select one who is totally against this disaster of a war. By making sure that all environmentalists along with fellow Democrats get on board with a “winner” who can beat Bush, we will automatically be doing better on the environment. Anything is better than Bush on the environment. Let’s not expect to get a “Gore” in 2004.


Miami, Fla.


Re: Dennis the Menace

Dear Editor:

Great interview! The word is getting out that Dennis Kucinich is the best choice for the country, hands down. It’s time we got an honest, open, thoughtful president, one who thinks about his constituents instead of big business. Thank you!

R. Herrmann

San Francisco, Calif.


Re: Dennis the Menace

Dear Editor:

While I am glad you had this interview and am a big fan of Dennis, I wonder why you gave this article a negative title, although it has catchy pop underpinnings. I’m not sure if this is helpful.

John Lorance

San Francisco, Calif.


Re: Kerry’s Jubilee

Dear Editor:

Thanks so much for such a great interview with John Kerry. I have been trying to convince people for months that Kerry is a great candidate for the environmentally conscious voter, and your article will definitely help.

I was lucky enough to see Kerry and Dennis Kucinich speak at the Association of State Democratic Chairs meeting in February. At that meeting, Kucinich, who has been touted as a great environmental candidate (as he is vegan), did not mention environmental issues at all. My colleagues told me that Howard Dean didn’t either. John Kerry did.

His personal and political commitment to the environment is to be commended and rewarded. I encourage all environmentally minded Democrats to reward him with their vote.

Catherine Neuschler

St. Paul, Minn.


Re: See How They Run

Dear Editor:

May I ask why you didn’t interview Dick Gephardt? Neither Lieberman nor Kucinich stand a chance, so it doesn’t matter that much what their policies would be. Gephardt’s plan links economic growth to better environmental policy by funding environmental solutions. I would appreciate seeing a report on this.

Eleanor Wynn

West Linn, Ore.


Re: E.P.-Eh?

Dear Editor:

Thanks for an excellent historical perspective on the evolution of EPA’s relations with the White House. It provides much needed context for understanding the decisions we make today.

David Nicholas

Arlington, Va.


Re: It’s a Nice Day For a Light Wedding

Dear Editor:

I loved your recent Q&A on weddings, particularly tip No. 5 about shopping for presents for gay weddings.

I also wanted to introduce you to the I Do Foundation, which is all about helping people be socially conscious in their wedding and wedding-gift choices. Through the I Do Foundation, couples who really don’t need anything can suggest that their guests consider giving a donation in their name. Or, couples who do have some household items in mind can register with stores that then donate up to 8 percent of the gift price to a charity of the couple’s choice. We also provide an option where instead of traditional wedding favors (like almonds or other trinkets), the couple can make a donation in honor of their guests.

Another good resource is, which has lots of eco-friendly wedding tips.

Bethany Robertson

I Do Foundation

Washington, D.C.


Re: Better Latex Than Never

Dear Editor:

A reader was curious about which is the most environmentally friendly contraception method. I must say for us it’s called Natural Family Planning or NFP. It involves the woman charting her temperature for a period of time within her cycle, and checking her cervix for changes. The cervix changes during fertility. It sounds complicated, but it isn’t. It is a wonderful method for trying to conceive and a wonderful method for putting off conception. It is effective, and it works both ways! For those Catholics out there, it is the only approved method of birth control. By the way, it is not the “rhythm method” your moms and dads used. NFP is safe for the environment too! If anyone is interested in finding out about it, they can contact the Couple to Couple League.


Riverhead, N.Y.


Re: Better Latex Than Never

Dear Editor:

I was surprised that you listed, but did not discuss the advantages of, surgical sterilization. It is low-cost (over the long run) and produces no pollution after the initial surgery. The only real disadvantage is that it does not prevent the spread of disease, but for long-term monogamous couples who have been tested, this is not a problem.


Branford, Conn.


Re: Better Latex Than Never

Dear Editor:

Entertaining as your answer was, you blew a perfectly great opportunity to advocate for my favorite solution, door No. 5: vasectomies and/or tube tying. Why? You could easily rant on about how more babies (particularly those born into the families who buy into American consuming culture) lead to environmental havoc and a host of other problems. Plus, I recently heard the obvious — that more children are statistically correlated to increased levels of poverty. What is it gonna take for someone to advocate the obvious: Stop having kids! Yeah, they’re cute — sometimes. Borrow one. Most parents I know would be relieved to be kid-free for a night or a weekend. Why is it so taboo to just say no to making more people?

L. A. L.

Portland, Ore.


Re: Yes, Deer

Dear Umbra:

I was appalled at your response to the lady who asked a question about deer hunting. You obviously do not consider this an important issue as you did not spend enough time researching it, and merely dismissed it with your own subjective opinion.

The wildlife management by state agencies that you refer to is pure myth. State agencies do not manage “wildlife” so much as they manage specific game animals for hunters. Sure, hunters pay for hunting licenses, and excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment go into state coffers, supposedly for conservation. But the animals that are being “conserved” are the game animals that hunters prefer to kill.

Trophy-hunting is not a necessary means of wildlife control. There are other non-lethal means of wildlife control such as habitat modification and immuno-contraception.

It is also arrogant of you to assume that nature can no longer take care of itself. Starvation of the weakest is the purest and most natural form of nature taking care of itself. Trophy-hunting, by contrast, usually results in the largest and fittest animals being killed.

Unless you are willing to recommend that licenses be sold to “harvest” the surplus population of North Americans wreaking havoc on the world’s environment and natural resources, I think you better reconsider your advice as to the harvesting of “surplus” deer.

Victor Gill

Vienna, Va.


Re: Little Solar Houses for You and Me

Dear Editor:

An excellent story! I hope that this movement gets even more coverage over time, since we surely need to look at all the hidden costs associated with traditional electric power production, that being the undue burden that public health, environmental, and economic structures must bear as part of the Bush administration’s effort to dole out economic packages for fossil fuel utilities to use technologies that were outdated 40 years ago.

M. J. Kiefer

Washington, D.C.


Re: Little Solar Houses for You and Me

Dear Editor:

How is it that the story on the Habitat for Humanity home omits the designer and installer of the solar system? That was us, Big Frog Mountain Corp. of Chattanooga, Tenn. This was a joint effort between Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Big Frog Mountain. We are now working on two more houses.

Thomas Tripp

Big Frog Mountain Corp.

Chattanooga, Tenn.


Re: Gadfly in the Ointment

Dear Editor:

Gregg Easterbrook’s environmental writings have long been filled with appalling errors, exaggerations, and complete misstatements of fact. I coauthored two reports, along with Environmental Defense and independent scientists, on the literally hundreds of serious scientific mistakes in his book A Moment on the Earth many years ago. (Download parts one and two of the report “A Moment of Truth: Correcting the Scientific Errors in Gregg Easterbrook’s A Moment on the Earth.“)

More recently, for Grist, I wrote a column on the numerous inaccuracies in an op-ed by Easterbrook that was published in the New York Times.

Now, with his anti-Semitic comments on the New Republic website having drawn justifiable criticism (see a New York Times article on this), as well as his recent statements that rape should not be construed even if a woman has clearly said “no” (see a Slate article on this), it is very difficult to understand why Easterbrook manages to get his writings published in any self-respecting media outlet.

Leonie Haimson

New York, N.Y.