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Readers' Forum

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 Iowa farm wars

Your magazine is touching on some pretty heavy stuff in this issue (Food for Life, Summer ‘00). The battles go on almost daily here in Iowa on the corporate-farming- versus-the-citizenry front, ranging from issues of GMO [genetically modified organism] crops to location of large swine confinement units. At stake, literally, is the future of America's food supply. The joke around here is “Just wait until Cargill owns everything and then see how much a pound of hamburger costs.” The other joke is “GMO crops stand for Get More (farmers) Out (of farming).”

 

Unfortunately, too few publications, particularly in the Midwest, dare tackle such issues in a forth-right way for fear of the almighty advertising dollar. You folks are providing a valuable service. I am going to take your magazine to work and give it to our editorial writer who does environmental stuff. I think he'd like it.

 

BOB NANDELL

West Des Moines, Iowa

 

 

Take back the farms!

 

The newest issue of YES! is stupendous. Of course it happens to deal with a subject dear to my heart, so I am devouring (pardon the pun) every article. During my sojourn in the mountains of North Carolina, I became a small farmer. A large garden, actually, but it was big enough for me to learn something about what it means to grow one's own food. I had neighbors who are part of the Community Supported Agriculture movement, and who taught me much about how to grow vegetables organically.

 

It is so encouraging to read in one place about all the wonderful developments in the business of sustainable farming. The movement to take back the farm is one of those news stories that the mainstream press ignores. Thanks for putting it out there for us.

 

MAYA PORTER

Springdale, Arkansas

 

 

Labeling laws at long last?

 

It seemed there was a serious omission in your “Stuff of Life” article (by Vandana Shiva, Summer ‘00). I saw no mention of the pending US legislation that would require GMO food to be labeled and would probably have the effect of drastically reducing its presence in this country.

 

The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods has put together a wonderful 24-page booklet to educate people about the problems with GMOs and includes form letters for our representatives asking them to support labeling legislation now in both houses of Congress.

 

DAN MENKIN

Los Angeles, California

 

 

Try a YES! belly tattoo

 

When I was just out of college, I would write “YES” on my stomach in big letters and flash people on the streets of downtown Baltimore. In part, I was celebrating having survived the ‘60s. Now my daughter is graduating from college, and I've gotten this subscription for her — a survival tool for the ‘00s.

 

BARUCH LOWENBERG

Santa Cruz, California

 

 

Brave new cyber world

 

I enjoyed Jean Houston's article “Cyber Consciousness” (Spring ‘00) very much. I, too, believe that the Internet is the beginning of a whole new world, and that what we have seen so far is but the tip of something we cannot at this time even envision.

 

I sense that in the future, humans will have embedded in them a radically new type of computer chip that will be linked to their minds in such a way that one does not need to use computers as we use them today.

Instead, your embedded “universal” chip will make it possible for you to think and calculate with the speed of a computer and yet be able to relate to others as a human being and not a robot.

 

In a sense, Houston is saying that when she says, “Under this stimulus, then as now, psyche grows. The imaginal realms of inner space proliferate and spill over into the outer world into a renaissance of growth in science, art, music, literature, technology, education, governance, and above all, vision.”

 

What an exciting time to be alive. I only wish I could be a part of it longer. But at 80+ years, time is moving fast toward that final curtain.

 

Thanks for a well-written and very thought-provoking article.

 

William P. Weber

via e-mail

 

 

The heat goes on

 

I agree that your approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is the right one in the long term, but what is being done in the interim? Not much.

 

Here's my idea of what should be done in the interim: offer financial incentives to people to encourage them to minimize their personal auto driving and to encourage them to conserve energy in their homes.

 

The source of the funding for the program would be the money saved in cancelling many of the proposed new road and power plant projects, which are bad for the environment and the economy anyway. The need for those huge wasteful projects would be eliminated, so the big dollars left over could be returned to the members of the public.

 

For more information, please see a description of my proposal for Wisconsin in the Feb. 17, 2000 posting at www.danenet. wicip.org/bcp.

 

I believe someone (?) needs to get this solution rolling at the national level.

 

Mike Neuman

Madison, Wisconsin

 

 

Move over, Mothers& others!

 

I would also like to take a moment to say that YES! is the best magazine I have taken thus far, and I have had a subscription to them all at one time or another, Mother Earth News, Mother Jones, The Utne Reader, The Sun, The Nation, Christian Science Monitor, you name it. Nothing makes me more inspired to go forth with my ideals, to trudge on even though ignorance is all I see sometimes.

 

CHARLIE-PAN DAWSON

via e-mail

 

 

WTO still reverberates

 

I was disappointed in your article on the WTO protest in Seattle. Your focus on the few who had confrontations with the police instead of the awesome power of more than 40,000 marching in the street was a lost opportunity to show that many people are aware of what's happening.

 

My daughter, who was there, told me that the feeling of that many people in silent, non-confrontational protest was mind-boggling. That is what sent a message to the people at the WTO meeting, not those who provoked pepper spray and tear gas. That should have been the main thrust of your article, not the poor child with blood running down her face.

 

MARY ELLEN CAMPBELL

Eureka, Montana

 

 

Black bloc or black op?

 

Thank you, Paul Hawken, for your well-written article on the WTO protests in Seattle (Spring ‘00). I particularly enjoyed Hawken's description of the so-called black bloc anarchists and his illustration of how such a small number of individuals can help the media and the powers-that-be divert attention from the issues at hand.

 

While the black bloc may feel they are accomplishing something, it's obvious they haven't considered the wider impact of their actions. They might as well have been working for the authorities to discredit the larger, peaceful demonstrations. It's crucial that individuals and groups speak out against violence, whether it originates from one side of the barricade or the other. After all, violence is the problem: violence against Earth, against human rights. Why contribute to a culture of violence? Personally, I want to work towards a better world, not just keep the old bloody merry-go-round spinning.

 

MIKEL MAGNUSSEN

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

 

 

Water worries

 

I am disturbed by Paul Hawken's report on the WTO conflict (Spring ‘00), especially his mention of the “draft agenda ... that will allow all water in the world to be privatized.” Please tell us more of this madness.

 

RICHARD & ANA LINDSTROM

Louisville, Kentucky

 


Editor's note:We are planning an issue devoted to the idea of protecting the commons, including resources such as water.

Corrections: In our last issue (Summer ‘00), we failed to properly credit two photographers, Jay Mallin (p. 53) and Rick Reinhard (p. 37). We also failed to identify Rebecca Slattery and Aviva Rockefeller, the farmers pictured on page 24. We apologize for our oversight.

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