Should Population Growth Be a Higher Priority at the Earth Summit?

The Opinion page articles "Greenhouse Partnership," May 6, and "People and Global Warming: A Critical Link," April 27, both make me ask why the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development (UNCED) is not placing the human population explosion at the top of its agenda?

It appears that more focus, by far, is being placed on other issues such as global warming, forestry, biological diversity, and sustainable development - all of which will be impacted negatively, and possibly irreversibly, by rapidly increasing human numbers. There is no mention in UNCED documents, to my knowledge, of the most basic and desperate need for an agreement to begin immediately to control the world's population explosion.

If the population issue is not given top priority at the Earth Summit, are the UNCED organizers less than honest and courageous in addressing the world's environmental crisis? G. B. Lloyd, Southwest Harbor, Maine No Glimmer in Burma

Before we rejoice at any "loosening" in Burma, as the editorial "A Glimmer in Burma," May 6, suggests, let's remind ourselves that the military junta doing the "loosening" is illegal and not what Burma's 43 million people chose in the 1990 elections.

International pressure on Burma must continue until all the thousands of political prisoners are free, and power is in the hands of the duly elected. Mimi Forsyth, Santa Fe, N.M. Wire tapping technology

The Science and Technology page article "New Phones Stymie FBI Wiretaps," April 29, looks at the FBI's proposal of legislation requiring all telephones, fax machines and computer networks to be accessible to bugging devices.

As if the legislation itself weren't bad enough, it would require telephone customers to pay for the privilege of having their communications accessible not only to the government, but to anyone with the know-how and the motive to violate their privacy.

An FBI engineer quoted in the article complains that cellular phones were not built with the needs of law enforcement in mind. I should hope not! When we reach the point where our consumer goods and services are designed with the needs of law enforcement in mind, we can no longer consider that we are living in a free country. Jennifer Quinn, Riverdale, N.Y. Bush's response to the riots

In the front page article "Bush Wins Points for Speech on L.A. Riots," May 4, the author's perspective seems to be as out of touch with the public sentiment as the jurors in the Rodney King beating case.

There are many of us who see the government's policies as having a greater part in inciting the riots, than in quelling them. President George Bush seems very hypocritical: While advocating stronger "law and order" for the poor and economically disadvantaged, he insists on a "moratorium on regulation" for the rich and powerful.

After helping to facilitate the looting of the savings and loan industry, Mr. Bush has the gall to blame the poor for destroying the moral fabric of America. Bush and our government seem to be serving an ever shrinking percentage of our population (the richest) at the expense of the rest of us. Walter Czech, Denver

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