Re: Oakless Creek Canyon

Dear Editor:

You missed the point. The project the U.S. Forest Service is contemplating is in the final stages of two years’ worth of environmental analysis and planning. How could it “shape up to be a test case” for efforts to ease environmental review? I have an exhaustive, 300-page document on my desk that discloses in detail the environmental effects of thinning predominantly small trees out of a choked forest and conducting associated prescribed fires to reintroduce fire into this ecosystem. Absolutely no old-growth pine trees are going to be thinned in this project.

As far as “timber companies” coming in to cut trees: What timber companies? The reason taxpayers have to pay some $300 an acre to fix overgrown forests is that there is virtually no industry that will bid on the restoration work.

Ken Frederick

U.S. Forest Service

Flagstaff, Ariz.

 

Re: Maple Syrup

Dear Editor:

So Canadians are bracing for a fight on how to divvy up the money allocated to fight global warming? There’s a fight worth having. Just use it wisely. Oh, Canada! From south of the border, you’re looking pretty good.

Richard Wells

Seattle, Wash.

 

Re: Global Village

Dear Editor:

I wish the cloak of government could be cast aside, leaving the spirit and the heart as our only tools of negotiation; for the spirit desires a good life, and the heart desires love. Elizabeth Sawin’s article made me painfully aware of something I should have known all along — that the United Nations is a governmental organization, and by extension a political one. I am fed up with government and politics, hence my opening sentence. We, the people of the world, want pretty much the same things: a good life and to love and be loved. It is our governments that choose to ignore these basic human desires.

Jim Bozeman

Sanford, Me.

 

Re: Mosquito Veto

Dear Editor:

Good column! Just a note regarding the fellow who wanted to keep the mosquitoes out of his water. While I’ve never done it, I hear that a thin layer of vegetable oil on top will keep the pesky critters from breeding. Just pour it in and let physics do the rest. It also slows evaporation. Cheap, easy, and safe. If he wants to drink the water, may I suggest a fine olive oil?

Adam Wilson

Newmarket, N.H.

 

Re: Mosquito Veto

Dear Editor:

People might want to control mosquito larvae by stocking native fish rather than mosquito fish or goldfish in their ponds. Small native fish such as minnows and killifish live in all regions of the country and consume enormous quantities of mosquito and other dipteran larvae. If they escape, the likelihood that they will become invasive is low. With our society’s emphasis on fish as game animals, we ignore these beautiful and important little critters.

The author of the second question asks what more she can do to help the environment. I’d suggest native landscaping, which has many beneficial results: less use of toxics, better infiltration of water into the soil, more likely to supply food and shelter for critters.

Jean Sellar

Chicago, Ill.

 

Re: Have a Heart

Dear Editor:

This story had a lot of great ideas. Unfortunately, it wasn’t posted until two days before Valentine’s Day! Most of the ideas suggested ordering something through the mail or the Internet, but it’s already too late for that without hefty express shipping fees. How about next year posting Valentine’s information a week ahead of time? (Not only will I read the ideas, but I’ll be inspired to get on the ball.)

Jonathan Brumley

Austin, Texas

 

Re: Have a Heart

Dear Editor:

Your article on organic (and fair-trade) chocolate struck a nerve here. We have been shopping hard for organic sugar-free chocolate products and have come up empty-handed. We are aware that Sunspire makes an excellent grain-sweetened chocolate, but it is not organic. (It uses soy lecithin, with no guarantee that the soy is not genetically modified.) We found several people hawking organic chocolate products, but all these products use sugar. One firm even had the audacity to claim that good chocolate products could not be made without sugar. Having had superb chocolate products sweetened with fruit juice (concentrate, we assume), as well as the grain-sweetened ones, we know that such a claim is not even close to the truth. Where can we find organic sugar-free chocolate products? Is no one making them now? If not, why not? Our guess is cost — sugar is so much cheaper than the alternatives. We’re willing to pay the additional cost, though, if we can just find the products we seek.

The Joneses

Spray, Ore.

 

Re: Green U.

Dear Editor:

I’m just sending an update from down here in Chapel Hill, N.C., to get all those interested up to speed on our green energy efforts on campus. The referendum for the $4 increase toward a renewable energy fund was up for vote on Feb. 11. I am extremely pleased to inform everyone that our campaign was successful. Not only did the referendum pass, it was approved overwhelmingly, with 74.5 percent of the campus voting that we “go green.” That may not sound like a huge percentage to some people, but our referendum was up against yet another one to increase student fees, and was portrayed very negatively (and inaccurately) by our widely read student newspaper on the day of the elections.

Nonetheless, the students of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are ready and willing to set a strong environmental precedent in the Southeast (which is otherwise a grim place, environmentally speaking). I would like to thank everyone who took a moment to read about our campaign and offer suggestions or comments. For those who are wondering to what I refer, or who are simply interested in hearing more about the campaign, visit the UNC Green Energy website. It just got a little easier to be green.

Not Kermit

Chapel Hill, N.C.

 

Re: Road Warriors

Dear Editor:

Most people who have purchased a vehicle in the last few years (or intend to in the near future) will be given roadside assistance by the car manufacturer. (For example, Hyundai offers five years of roadside assistance with unlimited miles.) This service is offered to the customer at no cost. If more people were aware of this alternative, it might decrease the popularity of AAA.

Samantha McBreairty

New Milford, Conn.

 

Re: Deplored of the Rings

Dear Editor:

When I was in high school, I bought a big hunk of gold with a small diamond in it. When my wife and I decided to get married, we had that ring melted down and recast into “hers and his” rings. For couples who want to be environmentally responsible and don’t already have rings in the family, we suggest going to a pawnshop, buying a large ring, and melting it down.

Keith Carlton

Columbia, Mo.

 

Re: Deplored of the Rings

Dear Editor:

Re: the wedding ring dilemma — I’ve known two couples who opted for getting their wedding bands tattooed right on their fingers. Certainly tattoos aren’t for everyone, but for those so inclined …

Kersch

Missoula, Mont.

 

Re: Not Buying It

Dear Editor:

I agree totally about the difficulty of avoiding conspicuous consumption during the holidays. Having explained to my children (four and six) that they could only ask Santa for two presents, I grimaced when I saw the very large items they were requesting. (A pinball machine for a six-year-old?) How do they know, at such a tender age, to go for maximum value if denied maximum quantity?

I agree totally about the difficulty of avoiding conspicuous consumption during the holidays. Having explained to my children (four and six) that they could only ask Santa for two presents, I grimaced when I saw the very large items they were requesting. (A pinball machine for a six-year-old?) How do they know, at such a tender age, to go for maximum value if denied maximum quantity?

One possible solution to all of this is to make a very firm request to those who feel compelled to purchase gifts for you, that in lieu of a standard gift, they make a contribution in your name to a charity of your choice. If I ever have another child, that is how I will handle the inevitable baby-shower and post-delivery gifts — I will send out a baby announcement requesting no gifts, or for those who must, a donation to the charity that I currently chair. That would satisfy their need to spend without fueling more consumption.

One possible solution to all of this is to make a very firm request to those who feel compelled to purchase gifts for you, that in lieu of a standard gift, they make a contribution in your name to a charity of your choice. If I ever have another child, that is how I will handle the inevitable baby-shower and post-delivery gifts — I will send out a baby announcement requesting no gifts, or for those who must, a donation to the charity that I currently chair. That would satisfy their need to spend without fueling more consumption.

Banu Qureshi

Potomac, Md.