My blood pressure soared right off the charts after reading letters [denouncing "arrogant," "divisive," and
"poetic" language in the endangered species issue] by Henry F. Olds, Jr., Jeff Opperman, and Ed Morley
Olds' version of "Strength in Humility" is a myth. As long as women and African Americans were nice
and humble what did they get? Nothing! Would those in power one day have said, "You are so nice and
humble, I'm going to allow you to vote and own property"? Dream on. It took activists being
"unpleasantly arrogant." Those trashing our earth are about as humble as barracudas.
Opperman's concern over "divisive rhetoric" is as laughable as bland journalism is boring. The opposition
calls environmentalists "lunatic fringe" and "tree huggers." What are we doing to deserve these names?
Trying to save what is important to all, our earth.
Mr. Morley, I like the phrase "thinking like a mountain." It marks a time when conservationist Aldo
Leopold saw the light, after seeing the light go out of a dying wolf's eyes. Susan Flader's excellent book,
Thinking Like a Mountain, explains that the phrase characterizes "objective or ecological
thinking; it should not be viewed as personification."
Glady Morgan,Camdenton, Missouri
It is outrageous to suggest that hunters are the saviors to whom we should look in order to protect the
environment and biodiversity of wilderness and park areas ("Ways and Means," May/June). Hunters seek
to manipulate environmental values to increase target species. Togetherness does not mean victory, it
means abdication of principles and truncated achievement.
Charles Lyman,New York, New York
Thank you, Carl Pope, for your recognition of the common, fundamental values that sportsmen and
environmentalists share. Properly regulated hunting and fishing are usually compatible with other
wildlands uses. Even if sportsmen were denied access completely, however, most of them would much
rather see the land preserved than converted to strip malls.
My one objection to your article was its tendency to talk about two separate groups. Some of the best
"environmentalists" I have ever met are sportsmen. They recognize the difference between biologically
based concern for a population and habitat and emotion-based concern for each and every individual
animal in the population.
Bradley Mullens,Riverside, California
In the current climate in Washington and in statehouses across the nation, anglers must stand up, unite
with a loud voice, and work toward ending the destruction of fish stocks, habitat, and upstream water
sources for the profit of those who take without shame or hesitation. I will send a free white and green "I
Fish and I Vote" bumper sticker to anyone who requests one.
Richard Reagan, Norcross Wildlife Foundation
Caller Box 611, P.O. Box 0414, New York, New York 10024
I am deeply offended to find, in "Food for Thought" (May/June), a backpacker's recipe for jerky stew.
Some real food for thought is that beef, and the cattle-ranching industry, are responsible for
environmental destruction, including deforestation of tropical rainforests by slash-and-burn techniques,
the long-term effects of which include reduction of the land to a moonscape after just five years of grazing
on the thin topsoil. The cattle-ranching industry in our own country is contributing to the pollution of
groundwater because of its waste and excrement, as well as using 90 percent of the grain we grow to feed
livestock (you know how much pesticide that means?)--not to mention the amount of water it takes to raise
a cow, the hormones beef is pumped full of, and the concerns for how these living animals are treated.
Our government subsidizes this industry at the expense of the environment, and the health problems
created by excess meat consumption are part of the tremendous costs of government-funded medical
We don't all have to become strict vegetarians to save the planet from environmental catastrophe. But
please don't compromise or contradict our beliefs by publishing such recipes.
Lily Ruderman,Davenport, California
In an article on mega-hog farms ("Priorities," May/June), you talked about "smaller, cleaner hog farms."
This implies that if a hog farm is small it is clean. I have worked as a state inspector of animal-waste
facilities in Missouri for 12 years and know that this is definitely not the case. Regardless of size, some
will pollute. They pollute because they know no better, don't think they can afford waste management,
don't view animal waste as a pollutant (after all, they wade around in it), or in some cases are just mean
enough to intentionally pollute. Let us not lose sight of the fact that all confined animal feeding operations
pose a potential threat to water quality.
George Parsons, Springfield, Missouri
CRADLES OF GROWTH
Your coverage of the importance of wetlands (May/June) was wonderful. I especially appreciate your
connection of this issue with the population crisis.
We must continue to raise questions about whether to pave over every last piece of earth to provide for
increased population. Is our definition of economic growth serving us well? How could we have "growth"
without raping the land? Do we have to face increased population? If not, how could we reach zero
population growth in a compassionate and enlightened way?
These questions do not have easy answers, but they seem critical as we face continued dramatic losses of
wetlands, the cradles of life.
Marcia Hanscom, Malibu, California
Call me nonplussed, as one who has watched the developing bedlam of the Annapolis-Washington-
Baltimore triangle for the past 35 years, to see farms implicated in the decline of Chesapeake Bay over
that period ("Holding the World at Bay," May/June). Farms occupy a vastly smaller portion of the Bay's
watershed now than 50 years ago, and the Bay's problems are at least 90 percent owed to runaway
exurban residential development and the highways and commercial developments that sustain it. I only
wish we could return to that world of wall-to-wall farms relentlessly spreading their manure, and of
Baltimore and Philadelphia as real cities with lots of people, smokestacks, and unregulated waste
outflows. I guarantee that we would also have our Bay again.
Robert Simms, Troy, New York
I enjoyed your article on wetlands, but was dismayed that you missed a critical type that is highly
endangered--tidal freshwater wetlands. These are low-lying areas adjacent to the upper reach of an estuary
that are periodically inundated by low-salinity water from tidal exchange and river flows. They have
greater biodiversity than salt marshes and prairie potholes, and unfortunately are ideal locations for
Greg Pasternack, Baltimore, Maryland
Reader John O'Driscoll of Quebec writes to inform us of two errors of hyperbole in recent issues. In
"Where the Mountains Have No Name"
(March/April), the claim that the Muskwa wilderness in
northeastern British Columbia is "the biggest wilderness remaining in North America south of the 60th
parallel" neglects the half-million-square-kilometer wilderness from Hudson Bay to the Atlantic between
the 55th and 60th parallels, which is roughly six times bigger. O'Driscoll also disputes the contention in
"Immersed in the Everglades" (May/June)
that the park was "the first national park in the world
established for its biological bounty rather than spectacular scenery." In fact, Point Pelee National Park,
on the shore of Lake Erie, was established for its biological merit in 1918, 16 years before the Everglades.
Sierra's apologies to eastern Canada.
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