Re: Litter Bugged

Dear Editor:

There’s some concern among sea-otter researchers in California that toxoplasmosis from cat feces may be infecting and killing the state’s threatened sea-otter population. Toxoplasma gondii is a cat parasite, and the otters may catch Toxoplasma cysts from sea water contaminated by cat feces. This disease could be decreased by improving waste disposal.

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So, flushing cat poop down the toilet is the wrong thing to do! Best would be to bag the poop and the litter and send it all off to a sealed landfill.

Ken Peterson

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey, Calif.

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Editor’s note: There’s plenty more reader opinion on cat poo in our blog, Gristmill.


Re: Rake’s Progress

Dear Editor:

I think Umbra missed a couple of opportunities [in her column about handling leaves]. She failed to appeal to our natural inclination to do less vs. more. The simplest solution to having leaves on the lawn is to just leave them where they are, and they’ll get mulched into your lawn when you mow (assuming you have a mulching mower, which you should). No raking required and less lawn fertilizer required. Also, she didn’t jump at the chance to rail against those horrible leaf blowers.

Dale Gilman

Beverly Hills, Mich.


Re: Knob Appeal

Dear Editor:

Are you familiar with Freecycle? This site’s services would have made a nice addition to Umbra’s recent column [on architectural salvage]. Freecycle has local organizations in much of the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., as well as a few other European localities.

John Mull

Lyndonville, Vt.

Editor’s note: Yes, we certainly are.


Re: Knob Appeal

Dear Editor:

Umbra neglected to mention that Habitat for Humanity operates used-building-item thrift stores called ReStores. That way, a charity gets the benefit.

Veronica H. Frost

Enon, Ohio


Re: The Grist List, 23 Sep 2005

Dear Editor:

Thanks so much for including St. Olaf College and this year’s theme of sustainability on The Grist List. It’s great to see St. Olaf getting some credit for what it is doing — except for the “organic keg stand” remark, seeing as St. Olaf is a dry campus.

Samantha Gruner

St. Olaf College

Northfield, Minn.


Re: The Apollo of Their Eye

Dear Editor:

Reading this article, one might get the impression that the Apollo Alliance can claim (or is claiming) primary responsibility for passage of the recent Pennsylvania renewable portfolio standard or the California Green Wave Initiative. Are there details to share about their involvement in these initiatives, the two main “successes” pointed to in this article? I wonder how Phil Angelides or the CalPERS/CalSTRS staff might react to the suggestion that Apollo was a motivating force of any significant degree, or that their voice somehow rose above the broad chorus of supporters for Pennsylvania’s or any other recent RPS legislation.

Bold initiatives that can reframe the debate are critical and needed. Concrete and measurable actions are as well. Blurring the two does a disservice to each.


via Gristmill


Re: Quick on the Thaw

Dear Editor:

A small but important correction to your Daily Grist article on the rapidly disappearing Arctic sea ice: When sea ice melts, it has no direct effect on sea level. Ice floating on the surface of the ocean displaces just as much volume as the water it creates when it melts. It is only when land-based ice melts that you get sea-level rise.

Where the loss of Arctic ice could lead to sea-level rise is through the warming of the ocean (i.e., thermal expansion, increasing the volume of the water) and through warming of the land around the Arctic, leading to increased melt of land-based ice.

Sarah Doherty

Seattle, Wash.

Editor’s note: Our thanks to Sarah and other alert readers for pointing this out; we amended the news summary and added a clarification.


Re: Law & Order: Environmental Victims Unit

Dear Editor:

Jay Tutchton’s InterActivist column was very inspiring. I am currently enrolled in a master’s program in environmental leadership at a small university in Boulder, Colo. Jay’s answers, and his work, made me realize why I decided to go the environmental change/action/protection/exploration route. It’s just a breath of fresh air to read his answers. Thanks!

Lori Mathews

Boulder, Colo.


Re: The Grist List, 09 Sep 2005

Dear Editor:

I’m not sure if the editors read the Maxim “How To: Live Off the Grid” list before linking to it. While humorous, it appears singularly designed to point out how expensive and unfeasible alternative energy is. I would be disappointed, but then … it’s Maxim.

Tommy Tavenner

Chantilly, Va.

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