Regarding the article ``Ocean Cleanup Teaches Lessons,'' Sept. 20: I was heartened to read about the schoolchildren learning environmental stewardship in a cleanup program in the Gulf of Maine. It is a step in the right direction toward increasing environmental awareness while empowering children with a sense that they help improve the quality of our environment. I disagree, however, with Ms. Flis Schauffler, communications coordinator for the Maine Coastal Program. She is quoted as saying that people cannot grasp large environmental problems such as tropical deforestation and global warming. But everyone can make a difference.
For example, upon learning about tropical deforestation and habitat destruction, Swedish schoolchildren initiated a program called Barrens Regnskog, the Children's Rain Forest. In this program children have raised money to protect thousands of acres of tropical rain forest in Costa Rica.
The efforts of these children have resulted in a worldwide fund-raising and letter-writing campaign aimed at protecting tropical rain-forest ecosystems. The Children's Rain Forest is now a global network which links schoolchildren from Japan to Maine. This effort, like that of the children cleaning up the shores of Maine, can teach adults a thing or two about stewardship. Gary Wolinsky, New Haven, Conn.
Staying home The article ``Onetime Execs, Full-Time Moms'' notes the mixture of satisfaction and ambivalence of high-achieving women who quit their full-time jobs to be mothers. Their ambivalence should come as no surprise. Society measures people by the status and income-generating potential of their chosen occupation. We regard few goals more important than self-fulfillment through career development. Making the decision to stay home and care for children results in an automatic demotion on both counts.
Yet I applaud these women for putting their own agendas on hold while giving their children their time. This decision is many-faceted and seldom clear. After working professionally for seven years, I chose to stay home full time with our two small sons. A thought from Joseph Campbell has given me encouragement `` ... raising a family is a meditation.'' It requires denial and isolation. But the rewards are great and eternal, and in an invaluable way enhance the human spirit. Chris Patmont, Bainbridge Island, Wash.
Grains of civilization Regarding the article ``Corn Bred in All Shapes and Sizes,'' Sept. 20: Corn is more than the staff of both life and civilization. It is also a symbol of this relationship. While I realize that the Monitor is an international newspaper, it uses wheat exclusively as a symbol of the staff of life. But in much of Latin America, wheat is regarded as only a symbol of European snobbery rather than that of their own culture. Shouldn't the Monitor give corn at least equal recognition with wheat? Have we lost touch with our agricultural roots? Walton C. Galinat, Waltham, Mass., University of Massachusetts