Re: Stubble Trouble

Dear Editor:

I wanted to thank you for your recent column regarding environmentally responsible shaving. To be honest, straight razors scare the bejeebies out of me. However, it’s long seemed to be the only reasonable option. Your column has given me the push I needed to give it a shot, and the advice to gradually phase it in starting on the easy areas is great. It seems obvious, but it hadn’t occurred to me.

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Irfon-Kim Ahmad

Toronto, Ontario, Canada


Re: Stubble Trouble

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Dear Editor:

Are you crazy?! The savings from not using disposables or electrics would be offset by the amount of toilet paper I’d use to staunch the blood. I’m not going to wave a sharp blade around my pretty face first thing in the morning when I can hardly see.

Dave Bollinger

Kensington, Md.


Re: Stubble Trouble

Dear Editor:

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I’m afraid I don’t agree with Umbra’s advice (a rarity) on shaving. I use an electric razor, which I’ve had for about seven or eight years. It is even a rechargeable, so it doesn’t suck electricity every time I use it. I can’t believe that in the product-lifetime view, my electric draws more electricity than manufacturing all those razors, plus all the shaving cream and cans to support them. And beyond that, I don’t have to run the water during my shave. I’m thinking that an electric shaver is the winner on watts and water.

Kevin Cropper

Columbia, Md.


Re: Stubble Trouble

Dear Editor:

I find it hard to believe that an electric razor is frowned upon as being environmentally unfriendly for using a mere 15 watts of electricity, especially considering your job and the Daily Grist would be non-existent if all of us were to choose not to have electric computers (which consume far more electricity than an electric razor).

Steve Adams

Milwaukie, Ore.

This man does not have a death wish.


Re: Stubble Trouble

Dear Editor:

I was surprised at how Umbra stressed the plastic handle as the seemingly most negative aspect of disposable razors when it is in fact the production of all the metal blades for the razors.

Lori Chang

Frankfurt, Ill.

Editor’s note: You can find plenty more shaving-themed rants and raves in Gristmill, our blog.


Re: DestiNY’s Child

Dear Editor:

Let’s not get too carried away praising the DestiNY USA project. Yes, it may help develop the market for renewable energy, and, as a showcase, it will have a high educational value, both from lessons learned during construction and ongoing maintenance and operations costs.

But it’s still a big mall, meaning the vast majority of patrons will arrive and depart via private automobile. The auto is what makes big-box retail stores and malls possible in the first place; the larger the development, the larger the geographic area it must draw customers from to maintain sales volume. Let’s not go overboard and say this project represents the future of sustainable development.

David Jacot

Long Beach, Calif.


Re: Long Day’s Journey Into Night

Dear Editor:

The interviewer [of James Howard Kunstler] came across as disbelieving, ignorant, and flippant. “Do you have a bunker?” “Are you a sci-fi junkie?” Maybe she should have done some research into petroleum geology before cranking out such a feeble, token interview.

Name not provided


Re: Foreign Predations

Dear Editor:

This article missed a Saudi-owned company’s recent foray in our country, trying to get MTBE restrictions loosened so that they can make even more insane amounts of money by poisoning my kid’s water. Given the 9/11-Arab-money link, and having an oilman from Texas as president, we (forces for sanity) cannot afford to have things like this missed. This makes BP’s contributions in favor of Alaskan oil look docile.

Walter McGuire


Re: A Bum Wrap

Dear Editor:

To add to the great nappy debate started by the U.K. Environment Agency, here’s another article by a British journo, in which he points out that the testers in the study were assuming a whole lot of very odd things, including that nappies get ironed (?!) and are washed at 90 degrees C (?!), and that people used an average of nearly 50 nappies per week, rather than the 25 or so he says he’s used.

Me, I’ll stick with plants. They don’t cry or shit.

Sophie Evans

Manchester, U.K.


Re: Jug or Not

Dear Editor:

I must take umbrage at Umbra’s kudos to Costco for big quantity packaging. If one looks closer, all those big packages contain lots of little packages.

Sonja Stupel

Tucson, Ariz.


Re: Don’t Fear the Reapers

Dear Editor:

Regarding recent discussions of “framing” and the “death” of environmentalism: The environmental movement has failed to reach out to large segments of the public, including those whom campaign consultants have referred to at times as NASCAR dads, soccer moms, and Joe Six-pack. This has happened because environmental rhetoric has at times condescended to or guilt-tripped the public at large and emphasized “showing the work” of methodology at excessive length rather than emphasizing practical impacts and stakeholding.

In addition, environmentalists have developed an image as being bundled with other social causes that may be off-putting to potential supporters. Class issues must be overcome as well; it is possible that many more people would applaud what Yvon Chouinard is doing — if only they could afford to shop at Patagonia.

Although environmental organizations may not need to engage in something as blunt as a Harry-and-Louise campaign, opportunities exist to emphasize practicality and shared interests, as well as appeal to conventional masculinity through an emphasis on maintenance and repair, as of cars, and of being strong enough to endure a little inconvenience. One can only imagine what a public-relations campaign fronted by Colin Quinn or Dennis Leary might achieve.

J.D. Smith

Washington, D.C.


Re: Bye Bye Nukie

Dear Editor:

This story overlooks major flaws in Vattenfall’s new environmental image. The company has made its money by overcharging customers for electricity in its German operations. Worse still, it generates most of this power using lignite (brown coal), which has the highest CO2 emissions of all fossil fuels. Entire settlements are threatened by destruction for surface mining activities, including our village of Heuersdorf. For those fighting to preserve these regions, it’s ludicrous to realize that the more villages are destroyed in Germany, the greater the number of wind turbines will be erected in Sweden.

Jeffrey Michel

Heuersdorf, Germany


Re: The Fruit of Your Coins

Dear Editor:

I think Mark Dowie is right on the mark with his critique of who gets the money among environmental groups. We don’t call them the big greens or the big ten for nothing.

Glee Murray

Dear Editor:

You know, we are probably at the opposite ends on many subjects. I am certainly environmentally conscious, yet a “card-carrying Republican.” However, I appreciate your humor and your passion, and thoroughly enjoy the online newsletter. Keep up the good work. You may even get me to agree on some things!

Chris Nolte

Winterset, Iowa