And other words from readers
I am disappointed to hear that Donella Meadows plans to vote for Ralph Nader and is encouraging her readers to do the same. While I agree that he is more committed to environmental issues than Al Gore, voting for Gore is, in Meadows’s own words, “the undeniably rational argument.”
I fear what will happen if George W. Bush holds office for even one term, during which he’ll be able to appoint several Supreme Court justices, cater to the NRA, and undo every pro-environmental executive order that Clinton has implemented. A Republican president, a Republican Congress, and a conservative Supreme Court equal three strikes for the environment and other important social issues.
If this election were not such a close one, I, too, would make a statement by voting for Nader. But with Bush gaining ground against Gore, it’s important to be realistic about what we can and cannot achieve by voting according to pure idealism. It’s unfortunate that we have to choose the lesser of two evils, but I’d prefer a president with a half-hearted commitment to the environment to one who has given his heart and soul to anti-environment special interests.
Donella Meadows may just be an idealistic dreamer, but she’s acting like the spoiled little kid who wants all the candy in the bag right now! Sometimes we just have to settle for half, and work up from there.
The idea of turning the world over to another Bush, just because Gore might not give me all I want immediately, makes my blood run cold. I’m probably a lot older than Donella, and believe me, we’ve come a long way, baby! Don’t throw it all away just to prove a point.
I was appalled to hear of yet another enviro proudly casting her anti-Gore vote. I would love to see Ralph Nader elected president too, but I will base my vote in reality, not fantasy.
Perhaps Gore is not the ideal environmentalist, but he has a more than respectable record, and, most important, he’s the only one who’s got a chance of winning. We must not sacrifice the future of our earth in the name of idealism. The truth is, we only have two choices next November: anti-environment, anti-abortion, pro-gun Bush, or Gore. I’ll be voting for Gore.
Amen to all that Donella Meadows has said about a vote for Nader not being wasted.
In my agitating for Nader, I have run into the same hostility from the Bush-fearing crowd. Doesn’t anyone trust the truth anymore? Unfortunately it’s the cowardly “progressives” and well-intentioned but mistaken liberals who are shooting themselves in the foot by backing Al Gore — the spineless tool of Occidental Petroleum.
Raymond J. Dowd
New York, N.Y.
Re: This Just In, Heat Beat, by Leonie Haimson
Leonie Haimson discusses the Western Fuels’ lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in Wyoming against several environmental groups, alleging the tort of commercial defamation. She asks rhetorically why the suit was brought (and why was it brought in Wyoming) given the “overwhelming” consensus of scientists that global warming is real. We brought the lawsuit because we have been defamed by competitors. Coal-fired electricity enables life, is good for our health and our wealth, and is not the cause of “global suicide,” as our competitors maintain. The suit was brought in Wyoming because that is our principle [sic] place of business and that is where the coal deposits are.
As to the science of the apocalypse, there is a consensus of scientists: There is no reasonable basis to conclude that human-induced global warming (should it occur) is causing “global suicide.” Humans have always impacted climate and always will. That is not the issue in this debate nor in the lawsuit. The issue is whether there is any reasonable basis to conclude that climate change by humans will lead to widespread human death and suffering. There is no such basis and we look forward to establishing the facts of climate change in a court of law.
CEO, Western Fuels Association
What unforeseen environmental problems will these “clean” cars cause? Will we run up against shortages of the materials used to make fuel cells? And what about the energy that goes into building cars?
There is simply no way around the need to stop the growth of the auto industry. Maybe clean cars do play some part in a sustainable future, but automakers have to give up their love affair with growth and be willing to accept a shrinking car market as people adopt public transportation and bicycling as alternate modes of transportation, and stop replacing their cars with new ones every two or three years. If this never happens, then a sustainable future simply won’t be possible.
I couldn’t agree more with Donella Meadows about the obsessive marketing blitz humans are now exposed to. Billboards, stickers, posters, blimps, automobiles, high-rises, you name it — all have some form of advertisements promoting the best way to wash our hair, brush our teeth, buy a car, change an image (a soft drink or a new shirt), or be a smarter consumer. Well, this consumer is not any smarter due to the bombardment of advertisements.
We are too consumed by the incessant marketing campaigns of multinational corporations that run our world. We must stand up to the corporate giants before their impact is so strong that we lose many of our freedoms. I support any campaign to lessen the impact of this mass-marketing frenzy.
Thanks for the article on the anti-advertising movement. You’ve made me think.
I’m a marketing director for a large natural foods grocery store. I believe in this company and want its message to get out and grow in mainstream America. Right now, I’m getting a lot of pressure to grow sales. While I’m committed to this, and feel good about what I do, you can bet I’m going to be even more vigilant about the consciousness and conscientiousness of the ads my store puts out.
I enjoyed Donella Meadows’s
piece on the insights she gained on operational efficiency from driving a new gas-electric hybrid vehicle. My own experience is that regular bicycle riding can bring about similar behavioral changes in one’s auto-driving MO. For example, when approaching a traffic light that turns red, it’s natural to ease off on the pedaling to conserve one’s own energy as well as save on the bike’s brake pads. While cruising, a steady pedaling cadence makes for a smooth and sustainable ride. Most importantly, perhaps, on a bike you get used to seeing the world go by at a slower pace, and you come to realize that rushing about town rarely gets you anywhere significantly faster.
I’m building a passive solar home and would love to put photovoltaic panels on the roof except that they’re cost-prohibitive. However, asking the government to bulk-buy solar cells is not my idea of a solution — it’s just corporate welfare. I’d rather have the government take away the heavy subsidies for fossil fuels — that would level the playing field, and more consumers would start demanding solar cells, bringing the costs down.
Willow Grove, Penn.
While bigger is not always better, being shorter is certainly not the solution to what ails our planet and society. Mr. Samaras clearly misses the point when he lambastes the big and tall for environmental degradation. Most people, short and tall alike, do not shop, eat, invest, or dispose/recycle to their full environmentally sensitive potential. Choices are poorly made by people of all sizes on a daily basis.
As George Miller points out, big people have accomplished big things. And, of course, he doesn’t make a jackass of himself and say that short people are the problem. Obviously, there has to be room for people of all shapes and sizes in this world. This pigeonholing practice of separating short from tall, black from white, men from women, etc., only serves the limited agendas of particularly ignorant people and organizations.
The sickness of corporations (and governments!) as they grow bigger and bigger is the only point that Mr. Samaras seems to hit on the head.
(And, yes, for those of you who are wondering, I am 6’5″.)
Peter J. Blied
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Hmm, tall people use more resources, but die sooner … I think short people will have to die younger to feel truly proud about being easier on the planet! (It’s a joke, people, don’t get mad.)
Michael Roberts, 6’2″