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In "Where the Cows Come Home" ("Profile," July/August), you describe a "truce" between farmers and environmentalists [in California’s Marin County]. Actually, there is an ongoing and at times difficult dialogue in the midst of outside forces over which neither farmers nor environmentalists have control. Marin bears the burden of perceptions that the successful battles fought in the 1960s to protect agricultural lands have brought the county eternal liberty from development threats. But the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.
Gordon Bennett
Conservation Co-Chair
Sierra Club Marin Group
Muir Beach, California

Sierra’s July/August article about the plight of Yellowstone grizzlies ("What Grizzlies Want") deeply touched me. These innocent creatures are victims of modern-day greed and selfishness. We as humans have no right to move into the territories of these great bears and then kill them when they bother us. We are eating up our country’s natural areas with our constant hunger for bigger and better, more and more.
Bette A. Johnson
New Britain, Connecticut

"Rethinking the Think Tanks" by Curtis Moore (July/August) was fundamentally flawed. The implication that the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment (FREE) seminars compromise the impartiality of judges who attend is silly and insulting. Does the Sierra Club mean to imply our federal judges are bought by a horsey ride in Montana?

As the Judicial Conference Committee on Codes of Conduct makes clear, "The education of judges in various academic disciplines serves the public interest. Judges are continually exposed to competing views and arguments and are trained to weigh them." FREE is the only program that offers the federal judiciary a substantive education in the economic and policy dimensions of environmental issues. The principal guiding force of FREE’s approach is to harmonize individual incentives with social and ecological well-being.
John A. Baden
Chair, FREE
Bozeman, Montana

Curtis Moore replies: I did not mean to imply that judges’ views are influenced by FREE’s seminars, but to state it outright. If judges require education beyond that afforded them by the opposing parties in a lawsuit, it should be provided with tax dollars, not with the profits of firms that appear regularly in the courtrooms.

Thank you for the excellent article. How can I get information on think tanks not mentioned?
Marshall Esty
Sun City, Arizona

Editor’s note: Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting shows which think tanks get the most ink, at For regional and state-based right-wing think tanks, see People for the American Way at

With clever comments like "ear-splitting race cars emblazoned with ads for Valvoline and Viagra" and "the A8 is better-appointed than my living room, and almost as spacious," Marilyn Berlin Snell dilutes the point of "The Soul of Green Machines" (July/August). As her article suggests, we can have torque and horsepower without compromising our environment. If we can spend less time maligning our culture and more time communicating solutions, we might actually move the conversation forward.
Jeff Wallman
Lexington, Massachusetts

To be anti–fuel efficiency is to give aid and comfort to terrorists and groups fighting American soldiers. Patriotic Americans should welcome being required to conserve; even soccer moms should be embarrassed by their sport-utility vehicles powered at the price of U.S. soldiers facing death far from their own families. The best way to honor the dead of 9/11 is to take conservation seriously.
Clinton Greene
St. Louis, Missouri

The July/August issue listed some efficient gasoline-powered vehicles in "Are You Ready to Drive Green Today?" But you failed to mention the Toyota Corolla CE with standard transmission, which in 2001 was rated at 41 mpg highway and 32 mpg city and meets emission-control standards in all 50 states.
Donald Ralston
Grand Junction, Colorado

Seven thousand miles into my ownership, I continue to view my Honda Civic hybrid as an engineering marvel. I get a consistent 49 miles per gallon. I am aware of no compromises regarding acceleration and roominess. I feel like a mobile Grand Coulee Dam, generating electricity as I drive about the countryside. At red lights the engine shuts down and goes mute, picking right up when I lift my foot off the brake. I wonder daily where the heck Detroit was while the Japanese were engaged in the creative development of this machine.
Leaf Schumann
Deming, Washington

Editor’s note: For a list of cars that get a miles-per-gallon EPA rating of greater than 30, go to (But those numbers may be high; see Lay of the Land.)

In the July/August "Lay of the Land," we misnamed the plant that is a staple in the Colombian diet: It is yuca or manioc, not "yucca." The same article should have stated that an herbicide containing glyphosate is being used in concentrations 15 times higher than allowed in Colombia, not the United States. "The First Hydrogen Nation" should have noted that liquid hydrogen must be kept at minus 252 degrees Celsius, not Fahrenheit. "Are You Ready to Drive Green Today" suggested that refueling the first hydrogen cars would be difficult because we do not yet have hydrogen fuel stations. In fact, the first models will most likely make their own hydrogen from gasoline.

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

This issue we highlight the work of Chuck Neal of Cody, Wyoming, who has spent 16 years transforming his backyard into a wildlife sanctuary. Neal’s notion isn’t going to save the world—by itself. But good ideas like his can add up to something big when they are shared with Sierra’s 1.3 million readers.

Neal’s effort appears in "One Small Step," a new section that debuts in this issue. If you know someone who deserves similar recognition, we want to hear about it. Perhaps you admire something he or she built, bought, or didn’t buy. Maybe it’s an environmentally friendly way of cooking, cleaning, gardening, or raising kids. Maybe it’s a constructive way of raising Cain in the community. Send a snapshot and a one-page description of the person and the project to "One Small Step," c/o Sierra Writer/Editor Marilyn Berlin Snell, 85 Second St., 2nd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105. Please include the person’s phone number and/or e-mail address. Don’t be shy: Feel free to pass along news of your own good work, too.

We won’t be able to return your submission, so please don’t send valuable photos. We do promise to enthusiastically consider what you have to say.
—Joan Hamilton

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