Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope replies: The Sierra Club believes that trade can bring important benefits, but only if the rules that govern trade are fair and don't discriminate against environmental protection. It's discriminatory rules, not trade itself, that the Sierra Club objects to. We wouldn't have opposed simply eliminating all U.S., Mexican, and Canadian tariffs. But agreements such as NAFTA limit the power of governments to insist on environmental standards and protections, and prevent citizens from taking effective action on their own. NAFTA could have been written to be fair and green--but the governments involved chose not to adopt the practical, common-sense solutions the Sierra Club and others suggested.
Readers should know that the best way to avoid the most concentrated amounts of pesticides in your food is to avoid animal flesh and animal products. For environmental reasons to eat a plant-based diet, readers can request the leaflet "Give a Wolf a Break Today: Go Veggie!" (in English or Spanish) from the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, c/o Linda A. DeStefano, 5031 Onondaga Road, Syracuse, NY 13215.
"Apples, Pears, and Pesticides"
provided the kind of information everyone needs to shop responsibly and vote thoughtfully. The author encourages homegrown produce as one solution to the glut of pesticides. This recommendation requires an important caveat: Crops grown in lead-contaminated soil can concentrate this toxicant. Test your soil for lead, and if contaminated, remove the top six inches of soil or plant in raised beds with clean soil. More information can be found on the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility site, www.igc.org/psr.
Just Say No
Corrections Environmental regulators did not close down ASARCO's copper smelter in El Paso, as implied by a caption on page 68 of our September/October issue. The plant met all the requirements of the Clean Air Act, but it was placed on standby status in 1999 because of a downturn in the global metals market.
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