VOTES FOR SALE
Carl Popes "Legalized Bribery" ("Ways & Means," November/December) should be published far and wide. Campaign-finance reform is the number one environmental issue, bar none. With corporations buying politicians from the White House down to the newest member of Congress, we environmentalists exhaust ourselves pleading to consciences lost in an escalating money race. No wonder we have a president who has no concept of the public interest and a House and Senate that regularly pass bills contrary to the interests of their constituents. Tom Ribe
Santa Fe, New Mexico
ON HEIGHTENED ALERT
"Fishing for Life" (November/December) illustrates, once again, how out of whack our priorities are. In this modern world where we fear foreign terrorists, anthrax, smallpox, and the like, many fail to realize we have been the victims of terrorism for more than just a few months.
When big corporations are allowed to pollute, cover it up, and, if caught, get no more than a slap on the wrist, we are all victims. When low-income housing is built on former toxic dumps; when water is unsafe for drinking, fishing, or swimming; and when air pollution is tolerated, we all suffer.
Government and big business have, for years, been poisoning us and lying to us, all in the name of profit. How many hundreds of thousands of lives have been cut short, ruined, and irreparably harmed in the name of progress? When we are forced to decide between jobs and a healthy environment to live in and raise our children, it is a sad day indeed.
What happened on 9/11 was irrefutably despicable, but I, for one, have a much greater concern and even fear of big business and our government and its lax policies than I do of a few bands of roving foreign terrorists, biological death brokers, and air travel. Alexander Clayton
Why are the fish poisoned? This is an indirect cost that indisputably must be assigned to burning coal. Were polluting our lakes, contaminating our marine life, poisoning our people, and heating the globe by continuing to burn coal. Yet we have an energy-committee chairperson, Vice President Dick Cheney, who says that conservation efforts are more a matter of "personal virtue" than government policy. Jay Lustgarten
North Bellmore, New York
Your readers might be interested to know that one-time-use cameras (which you describe in November/Decembers "The Hidden Life of Photographs" as "disposable") have an excellent record of being recycled and reused. These cameras are turned in at labs where the film is processed and the camera bodies, which are designed with reusable components, are sent back to the manufacturer for reuse. Returned cameras are inspected and reloaded, or the components are removed and incorporated into newly manufactured camera bodies. What is not reused is recycled into new raw materials. Recent return rates for single-use cameras for the two major manufacturers are approximately 75 percent. C. Scott Dudley, Director
National Environmental Advisory Task Force [a silver-industry organization]
"Pick Your Poison" in our September/October 2001 issue stated that Conoco was "currently seeking to explore for oil in Indonesias Lorentz National Park." Not so, says Conoco spokesperson Carlton Adams. The firm suspended operations in the Lorentz National Park area in late 1998, after the park was expanded to include some land licensed to Conoco for exploration.
In "Mississippi by the Numbers" in our November/December issue, we should not have stated that the river was the third-longest in the world. The 3,740-mile Mississippi system, which includes the Missouri and Red Rock Rivers, is fourth, after the Nile, Amazon, and Yangtze, according to the National Geographic Atlas of the World (1999).
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