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  May/June 1999 Features:
Unnatural Disasters
The Clean Water Clause
Earth's Eye
The Hidden Life of Bottled Water
Inside Sierra
Ways & Means
Good Going
Food for Thought
Way to Go
Body Politics
Lay of the Land
Sierra Club Bulletin
Mixed Media
Last Words

Sierra Magazine


In a perverse way, I enjoyed reading all about the pollution here in North Carolina, both via Ken Silverstein's exposé and Sharon Guynup's sidebar ("Meat Factories" and "Cell From Hell," January/February 1999).

But you failed to connect the dots: we Americans are the cause of this pollution because we eat meat. Why send postcards to poor Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman? If you care about finding a cure for the hog industry, then send postcards to Sierrans, asking members to think about their actions. Ask them to explain to their families and friends how eating grains and vegetables improves both their health and the land's health.
Dave Connelly
Durham, North Carolina

It is astonishing that Sierra missed the boat in "Meat Factories" in suggesting that the answer to factory farms is a moratorium. Tolstoy said that while we still have slaughterhouses we will have wars. Indeed, our consumption of flesh foods seems to be bringing the downfall of the planet. As if the billions of tortured creatures were not enough, a meat-based diet makes a veritable cesspool of our land and water, and then takes our lives in the form of heart disease and cancer. Vegetarianism, Sierra?
Patricia Briggs
San Francisco, California


Thanks for two excellent articles on environmental coalition-building that appear in your January/February issue: Ken Silverstein's brilliant story on pollution from corporate hog farms ("Meat Factories") and David Moberg's thoughtful piece on greens and the labor movement ("Brothers and Sisters").

What is particularly hopeful and invigorating about both articles is their demonstration that-Rush Limbaugh to the contrary-environmental protection usually involves the safeguarding of human communities. The issues that green groups care about are crucially important to people of all different races, classes, and cultural backgrounds. The trick, of course, lies in formulating green concerns so that this becomes clear to everyone involved, rather than being obscured by corporate divide-and-conquer tactics.

I hope that Sierra will continue to explore coalition-building. This should not be to the exclusion of the Club's traditional wilderness preservation and pollution-fighting efforts-God forbid-but as a complement to those efforts.
Andy Feeney
Washington, D.C.


When I received my January/February Sierra, I was shocked to see the cover line "Are Farmers Poisoning the Well?" The words imply that farmers are poor stewards. This is a stereotype that many not-so-enlightened environmentalists might believe, and one that farmers have been fighting for decades.

I flipped to "Meat Factories" to find an excellent article on the environmental hazards of industrial, factory corporations that produce hogs and chickens in mass numbers. Where did this headline with false implications come from? There is a distinction between the massive corporate-controlled agribusinesses and farms or farmers.
Mary Kiesau
Durham, North Carolina

Editor Joan Hamilton replies: We didn't mean to imply that all farmers pollute. We were pointing the finger at factory farmers.


I enjoyed David Darlington's piece, "Night Ride," in the January/February issue. While it makes a nice story to suggest that Sacajawea was the one who advised Lewis and Clark to avoid the Salmon River, no mention is made in journal entries by either Lewis or Clark of such advice from her. Rather, in their August 23, 1805, entries they refer to the "old man" (probably Shoshone guide "Old Toby") as being correct with his warning that the Salmon would not be navigable.
James P. Hendrix Jr.
Atlanta, Georgia


In "The Hidden Life of T-Shirts" (January/February), you neglected to mention the most obvious way to cut down the use of pesticides, fertilizers, scarce water, petroleum, bioengineered cotton, toxic heavy-metal dyes, and PVC [polyvinyl chloride] inks in logos: use fewer T-shirts! How about wearing our T-shirts until they are actually worn out? How about then replacing them at thrift stores?
Kathryn Corbett
Yerington, Nevada


While I was ecstatic to see your recent article about the High School Environmental Leadership Training Program ("The Sierra Club Bulletin," January/February), Sierra readers deserve to know we are offering a college program, too, from August 10 through 15 at Prince William Forest Park in Triangle, Virginia. For more information, call (888) JOIN-SSC or e-mail
Dave Karpf
Sierra Student Coalition
Providence, Rhode Island


We regret our failure to mention the following 1998 Sierra Club award winners in our "Honor Roll" story (page 102, January/February). Angelia Halaja of the Governor Pinchot Group and Emily McCauley and Gretchen Gordon of the University of Oklahoma Sierra Student Coalition all won the Joseph Barbosa Award, which honors Sierra Club members under 30 who have demonstrated a commitment to the environment.

Ladd Seekins of the San Gorgonio Chapter won the Susan E. Miller Award for exceptional contributions to Sierra Club chapters. The Ventana, published by the Ventana Chapter, won the Newsletter Award, and Special Service awards went to Barbara Frank of the Coulee Region Group, Kirk Cunningham of the Indian Peaks Group, Joan Taylor of the Taquitz Group, Mark Derichsweiler of the Oklahoma Chapter, and the National Outings Service Trips Subcommittee. Belated congratulations to all.

We passed along the wrong number for Predator Friendly Wool in the "Food for Thought" column in our January/February issue. The correct one is (406) 388-4945.

In our November/December 1998 issue we overstated the efficiency of passenger trains by a factor of ten ("Derailing Amtrak," page 21). According to a 1998 Oak Ridge National Laboratory report, Amtrak trains are 1.5 times as efficient per passenger as cars.

Sierra welcomes letters from readers in response to recently published articles. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Write to us at 85 Second St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105-3441; fax (415) 977-5794; or you can e-mail us

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