Letters to the Editor

Readers write about helping the hungry by donating fruit, the benefits of capturing carbon at the source, and Obama's pick for secretary of Education.

Help the hungry and jobless by donating unwanted fruit

In regard to the Dec. 22 article, "As hunger rises in US, so do creative ways to help": Three times a year, I fill my station wagon with grapefruit from my huge, 50-year old grapefruit tree and take them down to the Sacramento Food Bank to share with others. They're the biggest and most beautiful grapefruits in California!

When was the last time you were at the grocery store and looked at the prices they're charging for fruit? It's like shopping at the jewelry store. Who can afford to buy fruit in the middle of winter anymore?

If you live in an area where fruit can grow in the winter, and you have any neighbors who don't want to eat the fruit on their trees, why not suggest that they take their fruit to a local food bank, too? Fruit is a luxury to the homeless and people who don't have jobs.

Marree Babich
Sacramento, Calif.

Use captured carbon to make fiber

Regarding the Dec. 18 article, "World's oceans turning acidic faster than expected": A cap-and-trade system on pollutants is not the economic answer to this environmental problem. However, capturing carbon at the source of production is.

The electrification of vehicles can greatly reduce CO2 emissions. Hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles, which get up to 100 miles per gallon, can make a substantial reduction in CO2 emissions. It's also economical, since electrical propulsion costs the equivalent of about one dollar per gallon of gasoline.

About 51 percent of electrical power is produced by coal in the United States. Coal produces CO2. Why not use the carbon produced productively? Capture the carbon at its source at power plants and make carbon fiber to produce useful products. Carbon fiber is lighter, stronger, and more durable than other fibers. Therefore, it can be used for auto bodies and other parts to reduce weight and increase miles per gallon of fuel, while at the same time eliminating CO2 emissions from power plants.

These are win-win-win solutions that can be implemented immediately to reduce our CO2 emissions. So, why beat around the bush? Let's do it now.

G. Stanley Doore
Silver Spring, Md.

New structure for US education

Regarding the Dec. 19 editorial, "Obama's can-do education pick": I eagerly await hearing from our new secretary of education. But I am not optimistic that he will be any more insightful or effective than those who have preceded him. I fear that he, like other establishment education leaders, will fail to acknowledge the proverbial elephant in the room: the model of secondary school education that continues to persist in this country is obsolete.

Before the change we really need in public education can happen, we must acknowledge the huge, increasing disconnect that exists between this outdated secondary school model, to which even the best public and private schools cling, and the realities of today's world.

In short, the future of our children and our nation depends on the introduction of a genuinely new model of secondary education, designed in and fit for the 21st century.

The leadership we need from President-elect Obama and Secretary of Education-designate Duncan must include moving us beyond our myopic focus on attempts to fix that which clearly needs replacing.

Alan Shusterman
Chevy Chase, Md.

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