Letters to the Editor

Readers write about fuel taxes, global warming affecting sea turtle populations, the Sanskrit revival movement, the global warming generation, the Charles Taylor trial and the effect of off-road vehicles on the land.

A gas tax can efficiently reduce the use of fossil fuel

As the June 5 editorial, "Al Gore's Inconvenient Tax," points out carbon taxes are both regressive and unpopular, even if they were to take the place of Social Security taxes.

However they are also the most efficient way to reduce the use of fossil fuels. The solution is easy. Simply rebate the tax annually on a per capita basis. This would encourage energy efficiency and provide a subsidy to the poor who, generally speaking, use less carbon than those with more financial resources.

Charles Lidz
Sutton, Mass.

Regarding the June 5 editorial, "Al Gore's Inconvenient Tax," I am of the opinion that a gas tax is a wonderful way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel use. It should have been done a long time ago. Kudos to Al Gore for proposing what is right and not what is politically convenient.

Even though I am not wealthy, I would gladly pay even $10 a gallon if I knew the majority of it was going toward building alternative forms of transportation and energy sources. At $3 a gallon, gas is practically free considering what it does for us. Ever try pushing your car?

Carl Olsen
Vashon, WA

Global warming's effect on sea turtles

I thoroughly enjoyed the June 21 article "Climate turns up the heat on sea turtles." I was part of the Caribbean Conservation Corporation's turtle research in 2005, patrolling the beaches on night walks, measuring and counting turtles that came ashore to lay eggs, and generally educating people about this barometer species.

If they had it tough before as a species, global warming, as the article stated, is really going to turn up the heat on these poor creatures. Thanks for focusing in on the sea turtles!

Judi Lindsey
Candia, N.H.

Sanskrit movement spreads

The Sanskrit revival movement in India as well as here in the US is beautifully captured in the July 5 article "Sanskrit echoes around the world."

The article rings true as I attended a "Speak Sanskrit" with my family in 1998 and we have been speaking the language ever since. There are at least 100 families like ours here in the Bay Area who use Sanskrit as one of the languages in their daily life.

A knowledge of Sanskrit is required if one is interested in going to the source of yoga, ayurveda, and philosophy that originated in ancient India. I hope this article inspires others like me who are interested in knowing more about India to learn the divine language of Sanskrit.

Govinda Yelagalawadi
San Jose, Calif.

Off-road vehicles as threat

I completely agree with the July 3 article, "Off-road vehicles rev up controversy in public lands." I spent 31 years with the National Park Service. In that time I watched off-highway vehicle (OHV) use go from a minor hindrance to an all-out war on the environment.

The Blue Ribbon Coalition has only promoted and publicized irresponsible motorized recreation. Even their educational messages are lost amid their articles and photo essays glorifying the destruction of the land by motor vehicles.

I worked for many years with some responsible members of the OHV community. Their efforts were appreciated but are now futile amid a flood of such vehicles. In my opinion OHVs should be banned on all public lands.

Doug Troutman
Lakeview, Ore.

Combatting global warming

Regarding the July 5 article, "Could this be the global-warming generation?," I believe that the showing of Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truths" and the holding of "global-warming generation" concerts are steps in the right direction in bringing about general awareness on the impacts of global warming. Perhaps another approach is for institutions, like the United Nations, to sponsor a forum so that every citizen of planet Earth can showcase their environmentally friendly and sustainable technologies.

Such approaches may be necessary as technicians may in one way or another suffer from shortcomings, like insufficient funding and a lack of marketing skills, among others. Just surfing the Internet will readily unearth sufficient such technologies to counter the nefarious effects of global warming. Sadly, the present marketplace does not readily and effectively address this gap.

Biddy Tiu Tan
San Juan, Philippines

Tribulations of Taylor trial

The July 5 opinion piece "Justice for Charles Taylor," underlines the importance of the trial of Charles Taylor, former President of Liberia, in the Special Court for Sierra Leone, now meeting in The Hague, Netherlands. However, for readers who have not followed closely the exile to Nigeria, arrest, and transfer to The Hague of Charles Taylor, the opinion piece may appear a bit confusing.

It was not the Sierra Leone government that feared that the trial of Charles Taylor would destabilize the country's still fragile political structures. Rather, it was the government of Liberia that feared Taylor still had too many friends in positions of power as well as interests in too many businesses in Liberia to have a trial for the direct crimes that Taylor carried out there. Thus it was decided by the governments of Liberia and Sierra Leone to try Taylor for his indirect actions in the Sierra Leone civil war rather than his actions in Liberia.

There was a fear in Sierra Leone that their understaffed prison could not hold Taylor. He had, after all, walked out of a modern prison in Massachusetts with the help of friends he had made while in college in the US. Thus the trial in the Netherlands. It will be worth following the case to get a better idea of international arms flows in which Taylor was involved. His crimes in Liberia will, no doubt, have to wait for another day.

Rene Wadlow
Gravieres, France

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

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