Letters to the Editor

Readers write about earth-friendly diets, home births, Olympic boycotts, and alternative energy.

In a shrinking world, redefine a luxury diet

Regarding the July 16 article, "Diet for a more-crowded planet: plants": I find it amazing that the political and environmental discussion about carbon footprints always argues that "we need to drive less" or "we need to fly less," but never "we need to eat less meat."

Quoting from the article: "Livestock generate 18 percent of the human-produced greenhouse gases in the form of methane, more than the transportation sector."

As human beings evolve, I think there needs to be a major shift in consciousness away from always wanting a bigger, more powerful, more polluting car, or even one's own jet.

Maybe, as part of our aspirations toward getting financially richer, we need to look at richness taken as a whole, to include spiritual, social, and intellectual richness.

When the sum total of that richness manifests itself, it looks more like a meatless or a less-meat diet, instead of the common idea that part of a rich lifestyle is more meat eating.

Daniel E. Powell
Solana Beach, Calif.

Give mothers more birthing options

Regarding the July 22 article, "Laboring to save home births": As a mother who chose to give birth at home under the care of a professional midwife, I read this article with great interest and appreciation. Considering our nation's deplorable infant mortality rate, and an increased surgical-birth rate in hospital births, I hope to see more stories about women's birth choices.

Like the women in the article, I have also attended rallies to support the licensing of professional midwives. And I observed that home-birth families include a very broad range of conservative, liberal, religious, and nonreligious individuals.

I would like to point out that while safety rates are clearly of utmost importance when it comes to childbirth, there are many other factors worth comparing between home and hospital birth experiences: quality of prenatal and postnatal care, childbirth education, breast-feeding support, nutrition education, etc. These aspects need to be evaluated in order for consumers (pregnant women) to be able to make informed choices.

Elizabeth Heeter

Olympic boycotts are inappropriate

In response to your July 18 editorial, "China's Olympic muddle": The Olympics should not be used as a tool to influence or alter a country's political point of view. It should just be an event for athletic competition. Therefore, it would be a travesty if the Beijing Olympics were boycotted.

If people have a problem with the Communist Party or China's policies, deal with it outside the Olympics, rather than using the Olympics to embarrass or pressure China. If the United States were hosting the Olympics, I am sure we wouldn't want other countries to boycott the Games to protest our foreign and domestic policies.

Kenneth L. Zimmerman
Huntington Beach, Calif.

Which alternative energy source rules?

Regarding your July 22 editorial, "Full speed ahead on new energy": Let's see now, T. Boone Pickens wants to bet billions of dollars that the next car will run on natural gas. Wait a second; what if hydrogen is the answer? Or biodiesel? Or solar? Or nuclear? How much money to spend on how many guesses at the answer?

Wouldn't it be prudent to keep drilling for oil to produce gasoline until the world works out the real solution?

Dick Rich
New York

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. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, 210 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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