Deep-set environmental concerns

In the column "Green Conservatives," Feb. 4, the author quotes Thomas Kean and John Shanahan deriding their fellow conservatives for allowing the left to capture the issue of the environment. They are under the illusion that they can treat environmental protection as an issue that is separate from militarism and economic justice. The left has understood that connection for a long time.

To suggest that "the environmental challenge represents vast new opportunities for far-sighted companies," and that this is a reason for conservatives to embrace environmentalism, still clings to the notion that the best reason for supporting a policy is profit margin. This allows our priorities to remain skewed.

As long as the policies of this and other rich industrial nations remain wedded to rigid economic orthodoxy based on exploitation of the many by the few, any attempt by conservatives to make environmental protection their issue will be seen by most people as just another cheap political ploy.

What is needed is not just a shift to more environmentally benign consumer products, although that's part of it, but a deeper understanding of the connectedness of all life and the right of all people to share equally in the earth's resources on which we all depend. Lois Gagnon, Belchertown, Mass.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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