Readers' Forum

Surrender Pollyana

I was pleased and overwhelmed in reading the summer issue. For the first time I felt a sense of honestly confronting the crisis of our times. While I understand and respect your intention to avoid the doomsaying that is all too prevalent among peace, social justice, and environmental advocates, your “positive futures” inevitably have carried a touch of Pollyanna—;always looking on the bright side …

I hope you will continue to sustain the delicate balance between acknowledging the desperate situation we live in and refusing to view with alarm and outrage everything that is happening in today's world. We need to face the tragic dimensions of the human condition, but that need not lead us to self-hatred and despair.

- Rhoda Gilman (St. Paul, Minnesota)

The Great Turning Away from Humanitarianism?

The bit on “Alternative Spring Break” in New Orleans, combined with “The Great Turning” and “How Likely Is Collapse?” (Summer 2006), point out that turning from our notions of Empire will require turning away from seemingly humanitarian endeavors.

Several of the books featured in “How Likely Is Collapse?” highlight the problem of ignoring environmental conditions and/or assuming we can control the physical environment. Endorsing rebuilding New Orleans is symptomatic of the Empire and not of turning from it. Encouraging development in a location that is already below sea level and sinking rapidly epitomizes Empire thinking. If we are to turn from this, we must embrace John Mohawk's advice in “Indigenous Prophecies” to learn from the past. Then we must take this further and start thinking about where we should live instead of where we can live.

- Kristan Cockerill (Boone, North Carolina)

No Writing on the Rock

Rock art, either petroglyphs or pictographs, is one of our most cherished and fragile cultural resources. Vandalism, which ranges from simply touching the petroglyphs, thereby destroying their fragile ecosystems, to blatantly writing on the rocks themselves, is one of the most prevalent conservation problems. I know your messages were only superimposed on the photo of the petroglyphs for the purpose of your magazine's cover (back cover, Summer 2006), but it gives your readers a message that writing on existing petroglyphs may be okay. Writing on existing petroglyphs is an act of vandalism punishable by law.

- Jack SpragueChair, Conservation and Protection Committee, American Rock Art Research Association

Self-Sufficent Communities

I was thrilled by your current issue of YES! Not only did you present very graphically David's overview and focus of moving toward a world community, you painted where we are now. I am sure it took guts to just put it right out there for people to look at, no matter the variety of their possible reactions. We are not living in normal times and business as usual is hardly what is called for now. We must prepare as well as we can and begin building avenues for local communities to become self-sufficient.

- Thomas Toomey, via email

No Imagining Required

Michael Marien's article “How Likely Is Collapse?” (Summer 2006) was informative and interesting. But I was amazed by this statement: “Imagine if medicine were practiced in the same way [as other fragmented academic disciplines and professions]: a world of specialists in brains, eyes, ears, lungs, skin, feet, etc., with no general practitioners to assess the whole body.” “If”? Has he missed the whole loss of integrative thinking and practice in our medical schools? The “ownership” of the AMA, FDA, CDC, etc., by the pharmaceutical industry? The medical model is a poor model for the point he was attempting. “Imagine a world of medical specialists”? We don't have to imagine. They are here in bold, living color. LIVE! USA! In an office/university near you.

- Midge O'Brien (Lexington, Kentucky)

Thank you once again for your generous donation of six cases of old YES! magazines. As you may know, we send reading material to hundreds of prisoners across the country each month. We—and they—depend on donations such as yours to have worthwhile, educational, and progressive books and magazines to read.

- Book 'Em (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

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