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  Sierra Magazine
  January/February 2007
Table of Contents
Energizing America
Can Coal Be Clean?
Negawatt Power
Why Not Nukes?
The Birds and the Breeze
The Fix
Decoder: Corn-Fed Cars
The Watched Photographer
Ways & Means
One Small Step
Lay of the Land
Good Going
The Green Life
Hey Mr. Green
Sierra Club Bulletin
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Sierra Magazine
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January/February 2007

Loved your September/ October 2006 issue's "My Low-Carbon Diet," which underscores how backward we have it. American living was designed for autos to rule, favoring manufacturing that created good-quality jobs both in auto and energy production. Roughly fourscore years later, we have America's car-dependent lifestyle ruining the planet, with Ford and General Motors rightfully teetering on bankruptcy as they desperately cling to their SUV lineup that no one wants, and a China-led world hungering for the American dream with all the CO2 contributions that come with it. As a Chinese proverb warns, "If we don't change direction, we are likely to end up exactly where we're headed."
Jay Lustgarten
North Bellmore, New York

Seth Zuckerman's article "My Low-Carbon Diet" makes carbon minimalism sound complicated. In New Jersey, you can go low carbon in three easy steps: (1) enroll in the CleanPower Choice Program (a list of electricity suppliers using wind, hydro, and solar); (2) then convert all your appliances to electric; and (3) buy a Toyota Prius, Honda Civic hybrid, or Honda Insight. It's really that simple.
Walter Wynkoop
Brick, New Jersey

Seth Zuckerman's "My Low-Carbon Diet" touts the moral appeal of trying "to produce no more than my share of what Earth's natural systems can handle." An obvious problem with such reasoning is its failure to consider how global population is itself growing faster than the earth can handle and reducing "my share" of anything. Of course the world's principal consumers should find ways to conserve, but why is that all I ever read about in these pages? It's also important for those with high birthrates to practice family planning, both here and abroad. Which excess does more damage to the planet in the end: Would you care to run the numbers on that?
Eric Meyer
Boulder, Colorado

Seth Zuckerman's article accurately points out that the ability to live sustainably will take a combination of personal and political action. Our policymakers need to stand up for cleaner energy solutions and higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars.
Stephanie Schaaf
San Mateo, California

As someone who tries to live green, I'm constantly on the lookout for ways to improve efficiency and reduce consumption of just about everything from electricity to product packaging. However, I really need some help. I'd like to be able to send a message with every dollar by spending it on deserving companies. I need a comprehensive guide that can help me support good corporate citizenship.
Dave Morton
Stratford, Connecticut

Editor's note: We've posted some links on our Web site to help Mr. Morton--and you--use your buying power to support good companies. Readers have posted other ideas for improving energy efficiency and reducing consumption in the online discussion Sierra is hosting at

SUSTAINABILITY IS STYLISH in the pages of "The Green Life." Over the past year, this Sierra department has been bringing readers "ideas for living well and doing good," along with sage and sassy advice from Mr. Green. "The Green Life" gets personal, with coverage of food, shelter, fashion, finance, cars, bikes, books, and films--topics you make choices about every day. So much has been happening so fast in this realm that we've set up an accompanying blog at There you'll find Senior Associate Editor Jennifer Hattam's weekly updates and full topic-by-topic access to cool products and empowering ideas.

DEBUTING THIS ISSUE is "Innovators." In this department, Senior Editor Reed McManus will introduce the imaginative and sometimes quirky geniuses who roll up their sleeves and use technology to solve some of our most pressing environmental problems. Sierra will also focus on smart solutions--especially in the area of energy--in several feature articles this year, starting on page 30 of this issue with author Bill McKibben's insights about how the United States can make a timely and graceful leap to a post-fossil-fuel world.

SPEAKING OF INNOVATIONS, we should also note that Art Director Martha Geering and Designer Jessica Fennel have been hard at work over the past year refreshing Sierra's look. They've chucked clutter, added reader-friendly white space, and found ways to use fonts and color to make the magazine more inviting. We now have a cleaner canvas for our signature visuals: inspiring images of nature from the best photographers in the business and illustrative art that powerfully conveys and augments our editorial message. All of these changes, large and small, are aimed at helping contemporary readers connect with a mission that hasn't changed in 114 years: exploring, enjoying, and protecting the planet. --Joan Hamilton

Sierra welcomes letters in response to recent articles. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Write to us at 85 Second St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105-3459; fax (415) 977-5794; e-mail

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