Letters to the Editor

Readers write about 'environ-metrics,' US-Russian rivalry, Buddhism vs. materialism, and impolite Parisians.

Use 'enviro-metrics' to measure economic growth

I applaud the Monitor for its ongoing series on global warming. Nothing is more important for a newspaper to do than to help its readers understand the implications of global warming for their own and future generations. I encourage the Monitor to consider the implications of global warming in all its articles. My case in point is the April 9 article, "Strong hiring hints at stable US growth," which, in part, looked at apparent growth in the housing market in Phoenix. Using standard GNP metrics, new home construction in America's Southwest is adding to the wage pool and allows more workers to purchase and consume. But we need a new measuring system that takes into account the implications of energy consumption and pollution costs.

What are the environmental costs of the size of the new homes, number of occupants, and cost per person to heat and cool the home? What will the city, county, and state have to do to ensure enough water for the next 50 years? How has population growth in Phoenix contributed to highway congestion, air quality, and resulting health costs?

Adding these numbers to the GNP equation might be very sobering and revealing and change the whole perspective on GNP growth.

Larry Wise
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

US, not Russia, is dividing Europe

In response to your editorial, "Russia's wedge into Europe," from April 10: Even if we assume that Moscow is indeed deliberately resorting to a "teeth-bearing snarl," how exactly is the cause of peace and global stability served by NATO expansion and missile-defense deployments in Poland and the Czech Republic?

Isn't it Washington that is dividing Europe into the old and new, for the sake of perpetuating its transatlantic leadership?

M. K. Bhadrakumar
New Delhi

Buddhism and materialism don't mix

In response to Peter Jones's Opinion piece, "This 'Secret' isn't worth keeping," from April 10: I appreciated this piece, up to a point. I thought Mr. Jones did a nice job of characterizing Rhonda Byrne's book, "The Secret," and comparing it with the Christian worldview.

I take issue, however, when he says it is a "new hybrid religion" that joins Western materialism with "the Hindu/Buddhist spirituality of the East."

The New Age nonsense of "The Secret" has no relation to Buddhism. Buddhism doesn't worship the self, nor does it make divine claims, for the individual or even for the Buddha himself. And it certainly is not about attracting money and power to oneself.

On the contrary, Buddhism directly confronts this sort of spiritual and material grasping, and identifies it as the source of suffering. In fact, Buddhism specializes in the understanding of suffering and death, and it also reorients our lives away from the desire to attract to ourselves, to the desire to give of ourselves.

Barbara Crowley
Bellingham, Wash.

To see real France, get outside Paris

In response to the April 9 Opinion piece, "The French connection," by Jerry Lanson: Mr. Lanson's piece reminded me of my own experience in France 30 years ago.

I'd commented to a business associate in Strausbourg, France, about my experience with rude people in Paris. He explained that there is a difference between Paris and the rest of France.

Maybe we Americans should direct our jabs at Parisians rather than at the entire French population.

Lisa M. Brunstad
Lubec, Maine

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted will appear in print and on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

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