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  Sierra Magazine
  May/June 2005
Table of Contents
 
  FEATURES:
Dangerous Liaisons
Above It All
Interview: Jared Diamond
Ten Steps to Better Elections
 
  DEPARTMENTS:
Letters
Let's Talk
Ways & Means
One Small Step
Lay of the Land
Profile
Hey Mr. Green
Good Going
The Sierra Club Bulletin
Sierra Club Outings
 
  MORE:
Sierra Archives
Corrections
About Sierra
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Sierra Magazine
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Letters

CAN-DO CITY
Your green-lifestyle suite of stories was sweet indeed ("The Best Things in Life Are Green," January/February). Sierra readers can challenge American consumerism one community at a time by taking issues to local governments. Santa Monica has adopted a Sustainable City Plan. When the lights come on at city hall, they glow with 100 percent renewable-resource electricity. Residential recycling spiked by 11 percent when we instituted easy-to-use commingled recycling in our neighborhoods, and we may be the only city where reducing meat consumption in favor of vegetarianism is municipal policy. Our plan is online at santamonica.org/epd/scp. Please recycle it in your community.
Kevin McKeown
City Council Member
Santa Monica, California

MIND YOUR MINES
Your interview with Katharine Hamnett ("Profile," January/February) mentions "gold that's being mined sustainably." Pardon me, but no form of mineral mining is "sustainable." By their nature, mines are not a renewable resource unless you've found a way to reverse entropy. I believe you wanted to say "low-impact."
Joe Kesselman
Malden, Massachusetts

POLITICAL? YOU BET
Here's a news flash for the reader who complained in "Letters" (January/February) that the September/October 2004 issue of Sierra was too political. You bet there were political opinions in the last issue to come out before the election of arguably the worst president in American history. We pay our dues for the Sierra Club to promote pro-environment views and to counter environmentally destructive policy. This ain't just a hiking club, you know. I'm sure you would rather just "enjoy the articles" than hear what may be uncomfortable, but the Club (and by extension Sierra) has had an unambiguous agenda since being founded by John Muir.
Chris Williams
Camillus, New York

WINNING HEARTS
I just read Carl Pope's column, "The 51 Percent Solution" ("Ways & Means," January/February). As always, it's mostly about trying to change the attitudes and opinions of older folks. While this work is necessary, it is time to shift our focus, maybe just a little. I give between 8 and 50 hours a month leading Sierra Club Inner City Outings trips with my 5th- through 12th-grade students (and former students) and have been doing so for about seven years. There is no better way to change the attitudes, lifestyles, and opinions of future generations of voters, businesspeople, and leaders.
Larry Volpe
San Jose, California

Trying to educate and inspire the American public about our issues with door-to-door appeals and phone drives is like trying to win a modern war with bows and arrows. Environmentalism will make no serious progress in influencing public opinion and policy until it establishes a significant presence in American's primary mode of information: TV. Like it or not, if your message isn't on TV, to most Americans, it doesn't exist.
Jon Becker
Lilburn, Georgia

ON IMMIGRATION
Marilyn Berlin Snell did a fine job on "A Tale of Two Immigrants" (November/December 2004). She drew the only scientific conclusion: The problem is population, and population is a global, not a local, problem. My quibble is that so far no one has written about the true economic, political, and moral price of militarizing our borders, workplaces, schools, and hospitals to bar immigrants. The cost would so far outweigh any benefits that it would make the money and moral capital already spent on the Iraq war seem like pennies.
Daniel M. Kowalski
Editor-in-Chief, Bender's Immigration Bulletin
Austin, Texas

The timely question is not whether immigrants and immigration are good — nearly everyone agrees that they are — but rather how much immigration is best and how our country's carrying capacity informs this debate.
Tim Palmer
Port Orford, Oregon

Let's face it, we need to catch our breath and slow immigration down until we provide adequate housing, water resources, sewage systems, open space, clearer air, and other resources to properly take care of Americans already here. I never have and never will pick out any one group of people to restrict. I believe a sensible solution can be worked out to address the problem. If we don't, we will never be able to catch up with providing the necessities for all residents to live a healthy and comfortable life in the United States.
Harvey R. Swack
Needham Heights, Massachusetts

CORRECTIONS
In the "Bold Strokes" section of the January/February Lay of the Land, we mislabeled hoodia, an African plant that suppresses hunger. It is a succulent, but not a cactus.

CONTACT US: We welcome letters in response to recent articles. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Write to us at 85 Second St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105-3459; fax (415) 977-5794; e-mail sierra.letters@sierraclub.org.


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