Letters to the Editor

Readers write about overpopulation, meat and food crises, appeasement, and faith in politics.

Overpopulation is a big drain on potable water

Regarding the May 28 article, "Is water becoming 'the new oil'?": Overpopulation seems to be a key element in the destruction of our environment. Why do we continue to submit to, cater to, provide for, and accept overpopulation? Overpopulation can be prevented through education and maybe tax credits for small families. The important thing is quality, not quantity in having and raising a family.

This plays a big part in the health and well-being of our planet, which in turn has a big effect on the health of its people.

Jackie Leonard-Dimmick
Atherton, Calif.

Meat fuels food crisis

In response to the June 2 article, "Lessons from past food crises": As a dietitian, I was glad to see an article mention that increased meat production has played a part in fueling the world hunger crisis. Our individual food choices can profoundly affect food supplies in impoverished regions. That's why I urge Americans to help stave off world hunger by switching to a meatless diet.

On average, it takes more than seven pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef, and four pounds of grain to yield one pound of pork. Cutting back on our meat consumption could free up grain and other foodstuffs for human consumption.

There's no question that the United States and the international community need to take vigorous actions to abate world hunger. For individuals, switching to a plant-based diet might be the single-most-important step we can take.

Susan Levin, MS, RD
Washington

Staff dietitian, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Regarding the recent article on previous food crises: The definition of "prosperity" for a culture or nation is an increase in population and an increase in the use of resources. Throughout history, every culture that has prospered has eventually stopped prospering. That has never occurred voluntarily.

The Earth is a single size. That fact doesn't change.

Mike Moxcey
Fort Collins, Colo.

The need for discussion in conflict

Regarding Paul Staniland's May 29 Opinion piece, "When talking with terrorists makes sense": Historians and politicians are almost unanimous in condemning Neville Chamberlain for his Munich talks with Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. No one stops to realize that England desperately needed time in order to build up its defenses. That one year from the Munich Conference to the start of World War II may have actually saved England from invasion two years later.

Czechoslovakians might say, "Mr. Chamberlain sold us out." No he didn't; he allowed the Nazis to occupy only the bare fringes of Czechoslovakia – the Sudentenland. Hitler later broke that agreement and occupied all of Czechoslovakia.

Talking to opponents is essential in a war. It can save millions of lives.

Henry Rutledge
Fair Oaks, Calif.

Keep faith out of politics

In response to the May 28 article, " '08 race has got religion. Is that good?": If someone believes in what can only be termed "magical thinking," that is, a reality independent from history, science, and empirical experience, then his or her ability to perceive and analyze crises is severely in question. And whoever is our commander in chief must deal with facts as they exist in the real, physical world. Best to keep faith out of politics. It is a slippery slope.

James Sibal
New York

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, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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