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Sierra Magazine

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Ross Gelbspan is correct in his assessment of the seriousness of global warming (“A Modest Proposal to Stop Global Warming,” May/ June). A great deal of warming is already in the pipeline. If we wait 30 to 40 years to address the problem, we may begin to experience a series of crop failures as desertification overspreads the American breadbasket. With the specter of starvation looming, we’ll get the go-ahead from the electorate to resolve the problem. But by then there will be years of additional warming in the pipeline, and the likelihood of stabilizing the earth’s climate before the year 2100 will be virtually nonexistent.
Jim Eberle
Davenport, Iowa

In “Knowledge Is Power” (May/ June), you advise, “If your hot-water demands are modest, consider an ‘on-demand’ tankless heater.” But these heaters can now meet more than modest needs. The one we recently purchased from a Japanese manufacturer provides five gallons of hot water a minute for as long as we want. I tested it by taking a shower while the washing machine and dishwasher were both running and still had plenty. Using natural gas, the tankless water heater’s cost of operation is said to be much less than that of a regular water heater.
Barbara Mattingly
Arvada, Colorado

In “‘Wise’ Advisors” (“Lay of the Land,” May/June) you suggest that I am a member of the “wise-use movement” and that the organization I direct, PERC (Political Economy Research Center), is a front for industry. Yet my organization receives less than one percent of its budget from corporations. Yes, I advised President Bush, and yes, I supported Gale Norton’s appointment as secretary of Interior. In both cases, it was because I am an environmentalist who believes there is a better way to achieve my goals.
Terry L. Anderson
PERC Executive Director
Bozeman, Montana

I found a copy of the November/December 2000 Sierra in our library recently and brought it home for my resident birder, eight-year-old son, Nathan. I confess: I read the entire magazine in one sitting. And I absolutely loved Carl Pope’s column, “The Forgotten Family Value.” I’m the mother of four busy, energetic little boys ages 10, 8, 5, and 2. Your article reinforced my view that in purposefully exposing my boys to the wonders and delights of Nature, we’re doing something right. Why? Because as a low-income family, we lack the resources to “treat” our boys to most of the all-American cultural icons that our friends consider staples: Disneyland, Little League, music lessons, restaurants, designer labels. This used to distress me. But your article helped confirm my new perspective: Being poor can be a blessing! You see, because there’s no money for Nintendo, CDs, soccer squads, and so on, my husband and I have chosen to make the outdoors our classroom, playground, and cathedral. Even though we live in a busy, noisy suburb, we make time every day to get outside and dig in the dirt, follow butterflies, watch sunsets, hike in the hills, count ants, trace tadpoles, gather fall leaves, climb trees, smell roses, or my personal favorite: lie on the grass and watch the clouds roll by. Of course the boys’ favorite is Rain Walking. The neighbors think we’re nuts, but rain usually finds us outside in wet-weather gear, splashing through puddles, stomping in mud, watching ducks, and listening to rain drip off our umbrellas. We sometimes catch ourselves almost pitying our more well-to-do counterparts. We’ve noticed that they are often the ones most reliant upon “flashing techno-gadgetry” to fill their children’s lives. We’d rather rely on Nature and its Creator to nurture their souls. Thanks for the encouragement!
Kristine Lowder
Buena Park, California

We recently asked our readers to tell us about their most memorable Sierra Club outing. Click here for a look at their stories--tales of romance, derring-do, sublime places, and recalcitrant mules. Thanks to all who vividly showed why Sierra Club members love exploring the wild world.

We made several errors in the May/June issue. “Knowledge Is Power” should have noted that some new top-loading washing machines are as energy efficient as the new front-loading models. The plan described in “A Modest Proposal to Stop Global Warming” has not been endorsed by “national delegations” from India, Bangladesh, Germany, Mexico, and Britain, but by nongovernmental organizations in those countries. In “First on Top,” Andy Kauffman and Pete Schoening should have been credited with the first ascent of Hidden Peak in Pakistan. In “Ways and Means,” the nighttime blackout was not caused by California’s statewide power shortage, but by a localized difficulty.

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; e-mail

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