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Letters to the Editor
Earth Island Journal
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Berkeley, CA 94704

Heart of the Monster

Kudos to Gabriel Furshong for his excellent article about the proposed heavy haul route to move tar sands mining equipment through Idaho and Montana (“Caution: Wide Load,” Spring 2011). But one issue that was not brought up is the safety of other drivers on the highway. Having spent several hours as a citizen monitor on the very first leg of the very first load, I can tell you that these monstrous convoys (18 vehicles stretched out for more than mile down a narrow road) will be a deadly danger on the highways to anyone driving at night.

For a more in-depth look at this issue, read the new book, The Heart of the Monster, by David James Duncan and Rick Bass, which you can order from the website of grassroots group All Against the Haul. At that site you can also find petitions to protect these scenic roads. Please sign the petitions and support us in this struggle to save lives, local economies, fragile environments, and a national treasure.

Sharon Cousins
Viola, ID

Targeting the Pusher

In the Spring 2011 edition’s editorial, “Don’t Blame Canada,” Earth Island Journal was harsh on US environmental groups working to stop the reckless expansion of the Canadian tar sands, calling us “intellectually dishonest” and “strategically lazy” for trying to stem the flow of tar sands oil at the source, rather than focusing solely on US oil consumption. But we’re not as dumb as the editorial makes us out to be.

We agree that US oil addiction is the root of the problem and that we must reduce demand. But at the same time, the oil industry is investing billions to try to lock us into ever-dirtier fuels for generations. Supply and demand are part of the same problem, and we must hold the line against the new, expensive, marginal, dirty, high-carbon fuels the industry is touting. The largest portion of those is found in Alberta, a geologic accident that’s not Canada’s fault. But Canada, in partnership with Big Oil, is peddling tar sands by lobbying worldwide to block clean fuel legislation. We may be addicted, but Canada is the pusher, and we’ve got to make them stop.

Kenny Bruno
Corporate Ethics International
Brooklyn, NY

Not So Safe

We at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were disappointed that your article, “Not a Pretty Picture” (Spring 2011), failed to mention the animal suffering that will result should the Safe Cosmetics Act (SCA) pass Congress in its current form. It is all too easy – and we have seen it time and again – to glibly talk about the need for additional testing of products and never think about the rabbits who will have their skin shaved so that corrosive and irritating substances can be applied or dripped into their sensitive eyes; or the guinea pigs, mice, and rats who will have their stomachs pumped full of toxic substances via a tube lodged in their throats; or the dogs who will languish in solitary confinement while forced to eat chemical-laced food before being killed.

cartoon panel, atomic power cooling towers in the background of a scene showing a three-eyed, four-legged person running gleefully at a 4th-of-july picnic, caption 'three legged race'bizarrocomic.blogspot.com

On the surface, the SCA looks wonderful: Even the language in support of non-animal testing methods is good. But it creates a whole new requirement to test every ingredient in cosmetics products. Much of this testing is still performed on animals using tests designed in the 1930s and ’40s that fail to provide reliable information that can be used to protect people.

It’s hard to imagine that anyone really believes that more animals should suffer so that we can have another shade of lipstick or eyeliner. But people need to understand that without legislation requiring the exclusive use of human-relevant, nonanimal methods, this is exactly what will happen.

Jessica Sandler
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
Norfolk, VA

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We are standing at a pivotal moment in history, one in which education and advocacy around the climate emergency, public health, racial injustice, and economic inequity is imperative. At Earth Island Journal, we have doubled down on our commitment to uplifting stories that often go unheard, to centering the voices of frontline communities, and to always speak truth to power. We are nonprofit publication. We don’t have a paywall because our mission is to inform, educate and inspire action. Which is why we rely on readers like you for support. If you believe in the work we do, please consider making a tax-deductible year-end donation to our Green Journalism Fund.

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