Dr. Mehmet Oz made good points on food nutrition and cost in "Give (Frozen) Peas a Chance" [Dec. 3]. If these considerations existed in a vacuum, I'd have no complaint. But I also consider food-production practices: Do they expose workers to toxic levels of pesticides? Pollute local waterways? Poison wildlife? When possible, I buy to affirm. Shopping is like voting; we vote with our dollars, not just on price point but also on whether we want healthy, sustainable farms, factories and communities. I'm not a snob I'm a consumer.
Pascha Campbell, CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA., U.S.
I respectfully but firmly disagree with Dr. Oz. I do not believe frozen food would be preferable compared with fresh, organic, farmer's-market products in the right season. Fresh local food does not need transport, refrigeration, packaging, labeling, ads, preservatives and all other costs associated with industrial production and handling. Inexpensive tinned food can only mean that production uses massive amounts of fertilizer and has very little control at the processing plants.
Fabio Galli, AUCKLAND
An even cheaper (in fact, free), healthier and environmentally friendlier food than a block of frozen spinach are the many wild greens, such as thistle, dandelion and stinging nettle, that are commonly found in backyards and in open fields. These greens were a substantial part of the traditional, everyday Greek diet and the prototype of the healthy Mediterranean diet.
Mark Dymiotis, MELBOURNE
Please Pay My Bills
Re "Crowdfunding a Cure" [Dec. 3]: It is moving to read about the altruism displayed by crowdfunding for medical procedures, and I don't doubt the sincerity of the donors. But the steps described to raise money, including displaying personal details for strangers to see and remembering to say "thank you," sound a lot like being forced to beg. I understand that values differ, but government-funded health care would let people keep their dignity, along with their peace of mind, in the face of life-threatening disease.
Claes Molin, VASTRA FROLUNDA, SWEDEN
Bryan Walsh's article "How to Save the City" [Dec. 3] was very informative. I was impressed by the continuous effort by the Dutch to make and extend a dike to prevent the disaster of a 1-in-10,000-year flood. I was further impressed that they understand creating a large dike is not the ultimate measure but are considering the effects of climate change. By comparison, Japan seems to have no plan to prevent the outcome of an earthquake like last year's. As a Japanese, I am very sad that the government we elected has not proposed anything practical to us.
Yoshio Kumagae, TOKYO
Israel and Gaza
Re Karl Vick's story "The Gaza Problem" [Dec. 3]: The first thing to clarify is that this is not a Palestinian-vs.-Zionist problem or a Muslim-vs.-Jew problem but a struggle between right and wrong. The people in Gaza are being denied basic human rights that are spelled out in international law and that Israel is refusing to comply with. The first Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions gives people under foreign occupation the right to use armed forces to resist and fight against racist regimes.
Musa Musleh, ORLAND PARK, ILL., U.S.
Israel doesn't exist at the expense of Gaza but in spite of Gaza. Gaza's extremist leaders fire rockets, finance terrorism into Israel daily and hold Gaza residents as pawns in poverty and refugee camps for their own jihadi ends. The Jews from Arab lands were forced to flee to the newly established state of Israel out of fear for their lives after years of persecution in Arab countries. Their predicament was dire, and they left wealth and homes. There is tragedy on both sides.
Lillian Cohen, KFAR MONASH, ISRAEL
TIME writes that "Israel's surgical strikes did not mean Palestinian civilians were out of harm's way." But it could have been: "Before those strikes, Israel sent text messages, made phone calls and dropped leaflets warning Palestinians to move away from rocket-launching areas." Hamas continues to stage rocket strikes from populated areas, using schools, hospitals and mosques as shields. As long as the loss of life makes headlines that give the impression that Israel targets civilians, I fear Hamas will keep using Palestinian women and children in this way.
Shlomis Peikes, PASSAIC, N.J., U.S.