OUR PLANET (CONT.)
In his status report on environmentalism (Whither the Earth? May 5), Jerry Kirshenbaum makes clear that environmentalists are not trying to stop progress, but to make sure that progress follows life-supporting—rather than life-threatening—paths. When environmentalists oppose, they usually propose as well.
For example, as an alternative to perilous man-made nuclear power, we environmentalists are pushing for energy efficiency and full utilization of that one safe nuclear reactor, the sun. Instead of damming rivers and destroying natural resources with monumental federal boondoggles—e.g., the Dickey-Lincoln project in Maine and the Orme Dam in Arizona—we contend that more energy can be produced and floods can be controlled more effectively by using existing dams. Instead of employing deadly pesticides to protect crops, we believe it is often feasible to use benign biological controls. Instead of indiscriminately killing wild animals and poisoning our environment, we think coyote predation can be curtailed by targeting only those few animals that actually do kill sheep or, better yet, by using nonlethal methods to protect livestock, such as sheepherders and guard dogs. Instead of filling in and paving wetlands, we contend that greater environmental and economic benefits can be derived by leaving them alone.
It is a matter of working with nature, not against it. To say, as Senator Hatch does, "Environmentalists are against everything" is to misunderstand the Earth Day movement.
RUSSELL W. PETERSON
National Audubon Society
New York City
That was a well-written report on the environment by Jerry Kirshenbaum, but I was surprised you did not include the following quote by Dr. Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University: "It is the top of the ninth inning. Man, always a threat at the plate, has been hitting Nature hard. It is important to remember, however, that Nature bats last."
DAVID A. LANG
Pleasant Hill, Calif.
Jerry Kirshenbaum is obviously on the side of the environmentalists, and, in my opinion, his article presents a heavily biased view of the status of environmental concerns in the U.S. He tries to give his essay credibility by describing Monsanto Chairman John W. Hanley, whose quote supports Kirshenbaum's premise, as "no flower child." Yet when it comes to Washington Governor Dixy Lee Ray, whose words do not back up Kirshenbaum's point of view, he mentions that her political rivals refer to her as "Madame Nuke."
At the beginning of the article Kirshenbaum states, "The issue isn't whether steel mills will be built—of course they will—but how to keep them as clean as possible." Later on he mentions that U.S. Steel announced last November that it would fully or partially close 16 plants. Well, if U.S. Steel is closing all of those plants, what makes him think there are going to be any new ones? Maybe the issue is whether steel mills will be built.
In other parts of the article he says environmentalists are unhappy with President Carter for "giving the timber industry the go-ahead to cut trees faster than they can be replenished" and that in Maine they are "fighting the proposed Dickey-Lincoln Dam." Yet he subsequently mentions wood as an alternative to conventional energy and says that Carter's goal of supplying 20% of the nation's energy needs with renewable resources, including wood and hydroelectric power, by 2000 is attainable. Where does he think wood and hydroelectric power come from?
Certainly, Kirshenbaum has a right to voice his opinion. I just don't think that SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is the proper medium for such a biased viewpoint.
CHARLES E. WILDER
While I am not a fisherman, I certainly enjoyed reading the article about muskies (ichthyological, not political) much more than I did Kirshenbaum's pointless and inconclusive diatribe.
Peach Springs, Ariz.
William Oscar Johnson's article, That Muskie Madness (May 12), brought back many wonderful memories. When I was a boy growing up in Peoria, Ill., my family reserved a cabin on the Chippewa Flowage each summer. Although we usually had abundant success fishing for walleyes and crappies, we spent many exceedingly frustrating and fruitless hours casting for muskies. Even so, all it took to get us to scurry for our poles was the toll of the bell at Herman's Landing signaling the triumph of man over muskie.