A view from Mozambique
Just a quick note of thanks for your Spring 2004 edition of Earth Island Journal, which I enjoyed very much. I particularly liked your "From the Editor" article on how the debate on GM crops is confused, twisted, and obscured by both those who are pro- and anti-GM crops. It is about herbicides as much as anything else, in my mind.
We have been heavily involved in sanitation here at WaterAid in Mozambique. One option that has taken off is ecological sanitation, where composted urine and feces are recycled back into agriculture and serve as a natural alternative to fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides, all of which are beyond what poor farmers can afford. Results have been interesting from a cultural and agricultural production perspective, and demand is soaring as people clearly see the link between properly managed compost and agricultural production. So I am with you 100 percent on getting the argument on the right track when it comes to GM crops--I have a huge problem with Terminator seeds, I like seeds in my watermelon, and generally would rather have a good old-fashioned banana or ear of corn than the GM alternatives. I also like informed choice (never easy in the age of advertising) so let's label and let people decide. Let's price these products properly with environmental consequences factored into cost, and let's hope that people come around to a no-GM world from this vantage point.
Also absolutely loved Seth Zuckerman's "Painting ourselves into the landscape"--spot on, in my view! Thanks for a great edition.
Politically correct left-wing cultural Marxists like us
On page 32 of your Spring 2004 issue, the statement above the photo [accompanying an article by Seth Zuckerman] is "In the desert Southwest of the US, even a footstep can cause damage that may take centuries to repair itself." Wow! If that is the case, then you and Seth must be genuinely concerned about the 1,500 illegal aliens (oh, excuse me--undocumented workers) who cross through the desert every day. A real environmental disaster. Was there even one word about that in the article? Of course not!
You see, to left-wing cultural Marxists like yourselves, political correctness is a lot more important than the truth. If that were not your true agenda, at least one short sentence in a three-page article would be appropriate. But that might offend your liberal elitist supporters who claim to benefit from "undocumented" labor. Hypocrisy is your way of life!
Alan A. Norian
CO2 and bugs
David Seaborg's article on the Greenhouse diet is a stunning example of how crucial the fight to slow global warming really is. Thanks for printing such an eye-opening story. I suspect this will touch off some amazing
follow-ups soon. Far too few humans even understand that we consist of plants, and the creatures that make plant communities work in balance: insects, ruminants, and everything else. A great short lesson in ecology. Hats off to David Seaborg.
Save Cornwall's beaches!
I thought your readers might like to know about our campaign to stop the destruction of a Cornish beach and the surrounding environment.
Hayle Beach lies at the southernmost part of St. Ives Bay. Three years ago the owners of Hayle Harbour started mining sand from the area, with a catastrophic effect on the beach and dunes. A government study concluded that sand extraction should cease, but the harbour owners kept digging.
The harbour company was bought out by the Dutch investment company ING, whose first action was to resume mining, insisting that sand must be cleared for navigation purposes. This despite the fact that the fishermen of Hayle say such sand removal is unnecessary and indeed ING's digging operations are actually making things worse.
Please visit our Web site at www.soshayle.fsnet.co.uk, where you can also find more details about our campaign. The site now has a live petition and discussion forum.
Hayle, Cornwall, UK
We welcome your letters. Send to: Letters, Earth Island Journal, 300 Broadway, Suite #28, San Francisco CA, 94133, USA, or e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters will be edited for length, grammar, and clarity. Views expressed in letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the views of Earth Island Institute.
Norman Holy's article "Tangled in the web of life" (Spring 2004 EIJ) included an error introduced during the editing process. We inadvertently added a zero to a figure describing typical depth of gillnets. That figure should have read 300 feet rather than 3,000 feet.