As the World Warms
While the ugly fact of global warming may strike a blow to our self-esteem as a species, you have put together a guide to keep us from descending into negative, cynical despair [April 9]. This roll-up-our-sleeves attitude may yet find America at its best. And thank you for keeping this overarching issue from political partisanship. Global warming is bigger than Al Gore, the Democrats and the Republicans. It is larger than all of us.
Jon Deak, NEW YORK CITY
What's the one thing we can do as a nation to help turn the tide on global warming? We can give up the feeling of entitlement that pervades our society. We feel entitled to use a disproportionate amount of the world's resources, live in larger homes and drive larger cars, always thinking that bigger is better. The American Dream has become an environmental nightmare. As the greatest nation on earth, we should be leading by example.
Bob Tiedeken, WAYNE, N.J.
Re your advice to "Skip the Steak": Thank you for including switching to vegetarianism as an excellent way to help the environment. As you noted, it's even better than trading a standard car for a hybrid. Your "feel-good factor" was pretty high, and rightly so. We vegetarians know that we are helping save not only the environment but animals as well. Not to mention the health benefits!
Melodie Moore, MESQUITE, TEXAS
Some say global warming is killing the planet, but it is not a question of whether we will kill the planet. It is a matter of maintaining a survivable habitat for ourselves. Thousands of species are already in danger of extinction, which raises the question, Will we be able to adapt, or are we just another soon-to-fail genetic experiment?
Andrew L. Brown, JESSUP, MD.
Cutting Carbon Emissions: Idea No. 52
You listed "51 Things We Can Do" to make a difference [April 9]. In my workplace, a green proponent started a campaign to do away with paper cups and get everyone to use coffee mugs. While convenience will take precedence over environmental correctness more often than not, it is heartening to see such issues come to the fore. There will come a day when TIME insists that letters to the editor be sent only by e-mail.
Vivek Mehrotra, SANTA CLARA, CALIF.
The biggest way to reduce carbon emissions wasn't listed: don't have more than two children. Although the impact is very high, the feel-good factor is very low. Overpopulation is the biggest factor contributing to greenhouse gases, but nobody likes to point it out. How much carbon can one person generate in a lifetime? Quite a lot--especially if you're American. If we don't reduce our population now, nature will do it for us, whether we like it or not.
Adam Kim, REDMOND, WASH.
You neglected one simple way to help curb emissions: don't drink bottled water. Think of all those millions of plastic bottles. Most municipal water in the U.S. is safe and can be made palatable with inexpensive filters. The water is transported to its final destination largely using gravity, which creates no emissions. And the feel-good factor? A friend of mine figured that over the course of a year she saved almost $1,000--enough to take herself on an environmentally friendly vacation.
Darien Werfhorst, SAN FRANCISCO
Walk to the grocery store. Living a 10-min. walk from a supermarket, I make the trip three or four times a week, taking home a bag weighing about 10 lbs. I can eat all that food without getting fat.
Jeff Fritz, LAKEWOOD, OHIO
Safety in Numbers?
Your story on U.S. troops fighting insurgents in the Iraqi village of Qubah [April 9] appeared to be a routine report on the war--that is, until I saw the pictures of soldiers writing identifying numbers on an Iraqi woman's hand and an Iraqi man's neck. Those pictures not only symbolized an evil from times past but also underscored the direction this war has taken since the day when an Iraqi finger dipped in ink symbolized freedom.
David Habecker, ESTES PARK, COLO.
Numbering Iraqis seems like branding to me. Actions like this can't win the hearts and minds of the people. U.S. forces should respect Muslim religious and cultural tenets prohibiting men from touching women. If the troops need to write numbers on women, they should have female soldiers do so.
Mohammed Shariff, CHARLOTTE, N.C.
Fighting to Live
After reading that Elizabeth Edwards is living with metastatic breast cancer, I have to warn women that cancer still kills [April 9].While treatments have improved greatly, without early detection of the first onset or of recurrence, cancer remains deadly. I urge all women to listen to the subtle messages your bodies send. Challenge your doctors, and do not be too afraid or too busy to make an appointment for an examination. Fund-raising commercials and cancer-center advertisements show smiling, apparently healthy patients who seem to have beaten the disease. We are still engaged in battle. Early diagnosis and detection are what will keep you smiling, improve statistics and keep you alive.
Valerie Mehta, LANSDALE, PA.
Thank you for your excellent article. I have been a cancer survivor since March 14, 2005. After completing chemotherapy, surgery and radiation treatments, cancer survivors have critical needs. Far too many of us are left on our own. In too many instances, the physician says, Come back and see me in a year. We all need accurate and up-to-date information as we move forward with our lives.
Mervyn Kopp, THOUSAND OAKS, CALIF.
In the Footsteps of R.F.K.?
The Democrats' heir to Robert Kennedy's legacy is Hillary Clinton, not Barack Obama, contrary to what William Kristol argued [April 9]. Both candidates have idealism and charisma, but only Clinton has Kennedy's toughness and commitment to economic and social justice as well as political savvy and leadership skills. In her appearance with Obama and other Democratic candidates at the March 24 health-care forum in Las Vegas, Clinton was by far the most presidential, demonstrating poise, policy expertise and political realism. And she concluded her speech with an inspiring and emotionally charged appeal. Kennedy would have been proud.
Horace Newton Barker Jr., HIXSON, TENN.
Fast Food from Afar