Re: What Now?

Dear Editor:

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The U.S. response to the Red Cross was wonderful, and that’s great. But many, many other do-good organizations are on such a starvation diet they’re in imminent danger of expiring.

Please tell everyone asking for more donations to the Red Cross to think twice about the homeless and needy who weren’t at Ground Zero — who may not have food to eat or a place to go this winter — not to mention for money for environmental purposes!

We’re a nation of passion-of-the-moment-ers, and the passion of the moment is Sep. 11. But we need to think before we give.

Toby Frost

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Re: Jason Anderson and Rob Bradley, Climate Network Europe

Dear Editor:

This is just a note to say many, many thanks for the fine coverage from the climate conference in Morocco. It is understandable that the rest of the press is preoccupied at the moment — but that only reinforces how much we count on Grist as the preeminent daily source of environmental information. Many thanks for the sharp, funny, and accurate reports.

Bill McKibben

Middlebury, Vt.


Re: Start Spreading the News

Dear Editor:

You report on another embarrassing analysis by the Sierra Club, in which it manages to find a standard by which New York City is the best and Oklahoma City the worst in reducing “vehicle-generated smog.” From the figures cited in the article, we see that Oklahoma City spends almost $100 per capita less on roads than New York City each year. There is no mention of which city actually has cleaner air — anyone care to guess?

Perhaps Oklahoma City “flunks” at reducing smog precisely because they have done such a good job of preventing it in the first place. Or is their sin that they don’t spend enough taxpayer money?

The Sierra Club should get back to advocating for the environment and stop uncritically taking up the latest fads in urban planning.

Jerry Bridgman

Madison, Wisc.


Re: Rainforest Crunch Time

Dear Editor:

Chris Colin’s thoughtful use of harmless animals as a surrogate for the al-Qaeda organization was splendid! And the Amazon forest with its warring tribes of ants was the perfect analogy to Afghanistan. I haven’t seen satire of this level since the high school bathroom.

Since my professional life has been dedicated to the reduction of air pollution, you can imagine how much I look forward to further satire on this subject. Perhaps you should consider writing about the implications of fuel cells in, “Water emissions increase global temperatures beyond carbon dioxide’s wildest dreams.” Alternatively you might bring the wonders of wind power to light in, “Vulture puree is a useful byproduct of wind farms.”

Andrew Burnette

Austin, Texas


Re: Rainforest Crunch Time

Dear Editor:

Thanks for the satire. I passed it on to the conservation commandos here at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. We were curious just which Chicago zoo compatriot of ours was attacked — Brookfield or Lincoln Park. Aside from that boo-boo, many ha-has.

Karen Furnweger

Chicago, Ill.


Re: Rainforest Crunch Time

Dear Editor:

Although I have appreciated reviewing Grist as part of my daily routine, my experience today was enough to spoil all those good experiences.

The article “Rainforest Crunch Time” — neither creative nor insightful — struck me as being in the very worst of taste, and offered zero redeeming value. Neither subject matter — military actions against terrorism and the continuing plight of the Amazon — were treated fairly and with respect, and both causes were unnecessarily belittled as a result.

I cannot fathom why you would publish such an article. The important issues of our days deserve much better.

Jeffrey Wartelle

Portland, Ore.


Re: Phnom Penh Pals

Dear Editor:

You reports that Asia “suffers from the world’s worst soil degradation and water depletion, and more than 2 billion Asians, a third of the world’s population, earn less than $2 a day.”

It’s good to point out serious soil degradation and water depletion, but in areas where people still practice subsistence farming and live in a barter economy, earning $2 a day is not necessarily a horrible thing. This comparison tends to buy into the capitalist propaganda that money is everything. If these people were in one of the big cities, earning $80 a day, they would be contributing to the kinds of extreme damage that the U.S. is partner to.

We need better quality-of-life measures than simply money earned per day.

I appreciate your good work.

David A. Lillie

Boulder, Colo.


Re: Planet Safe

Dear Editor:

I have just read Elizabeth Sawin’s article about waking up “the bear inside you.”

The bombing of Afghanistan awoke a new me. I have never been politically active, but for the first time in my life I felt driven to stand up and be counted, and went on two huge peace marches here in London. If you, like me, feel mad as hell and aren’t going to take it any more, then let’s all join together. Let’s fight back with the one real weapon we have — the money in our pockets — against the greed, exploitation, and cruelty that brings us Westerners the clothes on our backs, the food on our tables, the heating in our homes, the fuel in our vehicles. Get informed, make a noise, pester politicians, join pressure groups, boycott goods, and buy ethically! Here’s to she-bear power!

Diana Ferguson

London, England


Re: Finders, Keepers

Dear Editor:

Great story! It has always bugged me to have so many of our rivers in this country unfit for swimming and fishing. There is no excuse for any waterway to be “unfit.” We have allowed industrial garbage to be “within limits” for too darn long. Whether it be partially treated sewage, houseboat effluent, or chemical waste, there is virtually no excuse for such practices.

Jim Johnston

Tampa, Fla.