The Business of Water
Your article in Spring 2002 by Maude Barlow ["Water Inc."] could not be more timely. A company named WorldWaterSA has applied to the state of California for permission to take 20,000-acre-feet from the Gualala River for export to San Diego and possibly Mexico.
I would like to remind Earth Island Institute that before the recent Enron/Andersen disclosures, it was Earth Island Journal that broke the story on conflicts of interest in the US accounting industry that compromised the financial corporate compliance filings with the Kyoto Protocols ["Sabotaging Kyoto by Privatizing Compliance," Spring 1998].
EIJ contributor Sutherland broke that story in EIJ. For his latest revelations on the EPA and the Security and Exchange Commission, see the story in this issues of the EIJ.
Save Our Heritage Trees
More than 97 percent of our country's unique ancient forest ecosystems have been destroyed. Most people are shocked to learn that it is still legal to cut down a 1,000-year-old tree. Unless we act immediately, we will lose the last remaining unprotected old-growth forests in California.
The Campaign for Old-Growth (CFOG), a coalition of environmental, business and religious organizations, has until the end of April to gather 420,000 valid signatures to place the Heritage Tree Preservation Act (HTPA) on California's November ballot. This statewide initiative would create a new law protecting old-growth trees that were alive in 1850, the year California became a state.
Placing the HTPA on the ballot will cost upwards of $1 million. Please join Gillian Anderson, Martin Litton, Martin Sheen, Woody Harrelson, Ed Begley, Jr. and thousands of others who are working to place this historic initiative on the ballot. Checks can be sent to CFOG [POB 17456, Los Angeles, CA 90017-0456] and credit card donations can be made online at www.ancienttrees.org.
A Path to Peace
The effort to eliminate terrorism will be inconclusive as long as only police and military strategies are followed. The challenge is to achieve a better world, not just apprehend terrorists.
The income gap between the bottom 20 percent and upper 80 percent in the US has worsened since 1960, according to a December 5, 2000 Congressional Research Service report. In Globalization: Threat or Opportunity?, Paul Streeten reports that on a worldwide basis, the ratio of income for the richest 20 percent to that of the poorest 20 percent rose from 30-to-1 in 1960 to 78-to-1 in 1994. Elimination of poverty through a new Marshall Plan will go a long way in ending terrorism.
Ban the Car; Saddle the Horses
We need more than a vocabulary lesson on how to save something in some far-off land. We need people who are willing to take action in their own lives to save the environment. That means not using cars - the biggest polluter of our Earth's air. That means building a community that is designed for horses and prohibits cars. Until we do this, there will be little hope for our Earth.
Laser Deaths Disputed
There have been several deaths attributed to less-lethal TASER weapons by Amnesty International ["The Globalization of Repression," Winter 2001-2], but as the largest manufacturer of TASER weapons, I have personally retrieved the autopsy reports on the supposed deaths from TASER and, in every case, it was not listed as a cause of death.
TASER International Inc.
Time to Hit the Streets
There were a lot of great action words in your Spring issue! You called for creation of a renewable energy economy, a foreign policy based on human rights, social justice and environmental security. You asked us to become involved in the debate over a new foreign policy, to challenge the White House in its promise of endless war.
I am a long-time conservationist. I use mass transit and 25-watt light bulbs, use tree-free paper, walk everywhere I can, give to causes, write letters to editors and the president. But how many people know that we are melting the polar ice sheets?
We need outreach! So bring on the mass demonstrations and let the peace marches begin! It is the only way to bring about the new world you describe.
San Anselmo, California
US Out of Outer Space
You commend the Space Preservation Act (HR 3616) without thought to Section 6, which allows funding for space commercialization, surveillance and exploration for the "benefit of humankind." Has humankind suddenly discovered environmental stewardship? Hasn't 507 years of plunder and blunder taught us a lesson?
San Luis Obispo, California
The president's global warming proposal appears to be another faith-based initiative: We should have faith that major corporations will volunteer cuts in their carbon pollution. That approach has failed for a decade - since the president's father set up the first voluntary program. Ten years of voluntary efforts have produced less than a 2 percent reduction in US carbon pollution.
National Environmental Trust
Corrections Free Speech TV [PO Box 6060, Boulder, CO 80306, (303) 442-8445, www.freespeech.org] is available on the DISH Network (Channel 9415) and on US cable affiliates. The correct phone number for Solana Recycling is (760) 436-7986.
Journal staff contribution. Can be reprinted for non-profit purposes. Please credit and notify Earth Island Journal.