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Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Bill Clinton's place in this year's campaign, nationwide climate change education, the age factor in government, and the Navy's use of sonar technology.

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In response to the Jan. 24 article "Nationwide 'teach-in' for climate change": Let's hope the universities will be scientifically honest. If they are, they must tell the students that the important efforts that are being promoted by "Focus the Nation" are not enough. Even if they are successful in reducing the per capita environmental footprint by as much as half, growth in population would negate that gain in about 70 years, as the population of the United States is growing by more than 1 percent annually.

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The problem is growth. Unlimited growth is not possible in a world of limited resources, yet we measure our success by how much the economy is growing. We must find a way to stop growing in terms of demands made on the planet – a very big order for the next generation.

Eugene W. Peterson
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Youth is no detriment in public office

Regarding William Klein's Jan. 22 Opinion piece, "More partisanship, please," in which he writes that Bill Clinton in 1992 gave White House jobs to too many young people: I fervently hope that our new president in 2009 would not overlook the intelligence of someone like the youthful James Madison, who in 1787 (at age 36) helped forge the new US Constitution, and, in order to defend it, began collaboration on the Federalist Papers.

I hope our new president would not pass over the abilities of a person such as Thomas Jefferson, who drafted the Declaration of Independence in 1776 at age 33.

These young men were just at the beginnings of long and distinguished years of public service.

Joland Mohr
Cottonwood, Minn.

Harmful effects of sonar navigation

In response to the Jan. 25 article "Navy resumes use of sonar off California": I write to share my experience of being "pinged" by warship sonar while underwater. As a leisure scuba diver I had the misfortune to be in the water, probably a mile away, from a harbor where a warship was leaving port. The sound of the sonar was like a jackhammer.

Imagine the effect on whales or dolphins, which both have highly developed audio and sonar sensory functionality. Take into account that sound travels for miles underwater and that you cannot escape it. Subject them to that noise for hours and days on end with no escape and that explains why they do desperate things like beach themselves.

There should be honest dialogue coming from the government and Navy about what is really going on in the oceans. No one is suggesting our ships should go out blind in times of war, but let's all understand the real costs of naval exercises.

Darryl Franklin
Los Angeles, Calif.

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 may appear in print or on our website, Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.