Save the planet earth

Thank you for the articles ``Efforts to save the earth gain momentum,'' Dec. 1, on the fragile state of the planet. The message must become loud and clear that of all the problems to be solved, this is the one that will affect every living thing on earth - and time is running out. The American electorate must start to look at politicians' records on the environment before casting votes. George Bush must be held to his promises, and environmental scientists must have access to the president. All the economic and political advisers breathe the same foul air, drink poisoned water, eat polluted food as the rest of us do. We're all in this together, and we must do something about it now. International governmental action is needed.

The president-elect boasts of being a family man. Most of us would like to see our children and grandchildren inherit a habitable planet, and he is in a position to prove his love to the next generation. A.E. Thomas, Fort Collins, Colo.

I read the article on the meeting of environmental groups with President-elect Bush with great hope. I am disturbed, however, that there were no representatives from groups working to slow the world's population growth. If the major environmental groups don't make the connection between pollution and population, the planet earth is in big trouble. Jean T. Reid, Racine, Wis.

This article cites a ``recent national poll showing that 72 percent of respondents consider themselves to be environmentalists.'' Despite this 72 percent figure, priorities in the nation are not directed toward the health and well-being of the environment.

It was particularly disturbing to observe the overwhelming concern for such issues as national defense, the pledge of allegiance, and handguns in the presidential campaign. These issues are in the forefront of the American mind while the environment suffers and environmental protection is viewed as a luxury and fails to capture the elevated status of such issues as defense. As a consequence, we fail to see the connection between the exploitation of natural resources and war, or the well-being of the environment and economic stability.

Many Americans who want a clean environment went to the polls with little thought of which candidates would do the best job of protecting the environment. This is truly ironic, for as we elect environmentally insensitive officials and tax the earth with our poisons and manipulations, we create an irreversible trend toward extinction of the human race.

Symposiums, such as the one sponsored by the National Geographic Society, wrestle with issues of global warming, water quality, and preservation of natural diversity. These gatherings offer hope, yet until the information is taken to the lawmakers, the polls, the millworker, or the children, all the state-of-the-art dialogue exchanged between scientists and ``authorities'' will do little toward saving the planet. I look forward to the day when a strong public school, environmental education curriculum holds as high a regard as handguns. Lisa Hoover, Petersburg, Va.

Many thanks to the Monitor for publicizing the warning issued by the National Geographic magazine (December issue) about the environment and humanity's relationship to the quality of all life on earth. It becomes increasingly apparent that government and religious leaders must cooperate to reduce - not expand - the exponential growth in population. A zero increase should be a common objective for both nations and churches.

Humans have gone forth and multiplied as they were directed to do many years ago. We cannot continue as before. Richard Zacher, Oceanside, Calif.

Bravo! These articles were sobering but encouraging nonetheless. It is high time the National Geographic Society got more activist; it is hard to hide your influence when you have 40 million readers. For too long the society has been strictly ``educational'' as it documented the continual trashing of the planet. That they now intend to foster more participation is heartening indeed. As for Mr. Bush's being sympathetic to the coalition of environmentalists, I'll have to see it to believe it. I was waiting for lightning to strike him down when he claimed to be an environmentalist!

The Monitor's willingness to acknowledge this as true, vital news is positive. Keep it up! Leif Joslyn, Bellevue, Wash.

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