Global Warming vs. Coastal Living
Your article about America's growing coastal population, "From Sea to Shining Sea: Americans Love the Coast" (March 19), and the ensuing environmental impacts did not mention an ongoing global phenomenon that will further complicate this settlement trend: sea level rise due to global warming.
Sea levels have risen during the past century and are projected to rise even faster in the future due to projected increases in greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, the US coasts along the Eastern seaboard and Gulf regions will experience an accelerated inundation because these land areas are already subsiding for other reasons.
Educating the new coastal dwellers about the realities of global warming, as well as wise land-use practices, should be an important priority in order to minimize damage and economic impact. Hopefully, international governments will act following the recent Kyoto Climate Protocol and make the early reductions in greenhouse gas emissions needed in order to protect the coastal regions that Americans, and world populations, love so much.
Environmental Defense Fund
With web research, precision helps
After reading "A Web Surfer's Unthinkable Act: Using the Library" (Learning, March 17), I felt that I needed to respond. The World Wide Web, as any semi-computer-literate person will tell you, is a wonderful resource for finding information about anything and everything you can think of. It does, however, require some practice and skill to utilize correctly.
The author unfortunately practiced very poor web-searching technique. The secret to web-searching is, BE SPECIFIC. As soon as I read that all the author typed in was "Confucius," I knew that he was in trouble. A more suitable search would have been "Analysis Confucian Analects" or even just "Confucian Analects." Already those searches have eliminated all of the "Confucius say ..." sites.
I am not trying to discourage people from going to libraries. They are very useful and I use one all the time. However, the Web is a good alternative most of the time if you know how to use it. I'm glad the author finally got what he needed, but he should give the Web another chance using better technique.
E-mail's link to letter-writing past
Thank you for the touching Home Forum article, "Long-Distance Love, Sent Line by Line," (March 19). The poems are exquisite - it's lovely to know that e-mail can be used eloquently for such a wonderful purpose.
I have often thought that e-mail will, or has, become the letter-writing vehicle of an earlier time. And your story is evidence that it is happening.
In an earlier time, letters were used to communicate feelings, to learn about each other, to share dreams. With frequent mail delivery, letters used to be the one way to touch another's soul. Then, the phone arrived. The telephone was faster and easier to use than letters, but there was no long-lasting contact from the phone: nothing to reread to remember the call.
Now e-mails have become the communication vehicle for young and old alike, for those near and far. Reading this lovely poetic story is evidence of our return to an older and warmer way of communication - the written word, that can be saved and cherished, that can build understanding and love.
Thank you for finding this story and thank you to the authors for sharing their experience and their poems.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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