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Dear Journal.

Take the Train

You've a great magazine and I really enjoy it, but, sorry to say, I'm not willing to agree that there's such a thing as a green plane (or car for that matter). In the instance of the ["StarPort," an energy-saving airport design featured in the Autumn 2001 issue], how about taking the train?
- Jane Holtz Kay
Author, Asphalt Nation

Got a Tree? You're "Eco"

As the owner of an eco-tourism destination in the top eco-tourism country in the world, Costa Rica, I agree completely with the open letter to Kofi Annan [Autumn 2001 EIJ]. It seems to me that anyone with a tree in their front yard can call themselves "eco." There is even a hotel in downtown San Jose that advertises itself as an "eco-adventure!" "Eco" has been subverted by business just as they did with "green," "organic," "bio" and "natural." It is clear that the prefix "eco" now properly stands for "economic" not "ecologic."
- Steve Friedman
Genesis II Cloudforest Preserve
Cartago, Costa Rico

Remember Chernobyl

Many thanks for your article on the Chernobyl Children's Project. It is a constant struggle trying to keep the Chernobyl issue in people's minds 15 years after the disaster. Any coverage we receive provides a great boost for the issue. Our postal address is Chernobyl Children's Project, 2 Camden Place, Camden Quay, Cork, Ireland.
- Eugene Cahill
Cork, Ireland

Correction: Make that 10,200 mpg!

You refer to a Microjoule "car" that achieved nearly 1,000 miles to the gallon [Winter 2000 EIJ]. I was a fellow competitor at that event and can absolutely confirm that the actual figure this car attained was g,800 miles to the gallon. If you don't believe me, check Furthermore, at the 2001 event [in June], they broke the magic 10,000 mpg barrier with a world record of 10,200 mpg! I hope you will update your website accordingly.
- Daniel Billinton
Forest Hill, London

Plant Trees, But Not to Cut [CO.sub.2]

Planting trees to offset [CO.sub.2] production is a good idea ["Computing Your Tree Debt," Autumn 2001] but it doesn't even begin to address the magnitude of the problem.

Forty years' growth of Leucaena trees can absorb the [CO.sub.2] from burning 100 gallons of gas (roughly 1 ton of [CO.sub.2]). The UN estimate for global [CO.sub.2] production from fossil fuels used for energy is about 30 billion tons per year or 1.2 trillion tons over 40 years.

We would have to plant 1.2 trillion trees to absorb all this [CO.sub.2], which, assuming 100 mature trees to the acre, would cover about 80 million square miles - more than the total land surface of the Earth.
- Arthur Firstenberg
Mendocino, California

No Kudos for Cows

I don't think the Heifer Project ["Solutions," Spring 2001] is really a solution. Maybe one cow is OK, but to keep the milk flowing, she has to continue to have calves, and cattle don't tread lightly on the Earth.
- Bill Bailey
Shanti Services
Honolulu, Hawai'i

A Fair Exchange

Thank you for your Autumn 2001 (page 44) item on us, Equal Exchange [251 Revere St. Canton, MA 02021, www.equalexchange. com], but you may have confused our worker co-op (logo seen here) with the larger concept of `fair trade coffee' that we pioneered in the US. The difference is like that between "Levi's" and "blue jeans."

This mix-up is common because for nearly eight years (91-98) Equal Exchange was the only US source for fairly traded coffee. It is also because we refuse to buy or market any coffee that is not fairly traded.

Specifically, the logo you ran was not ours, but rather the fair-trade certification label that is used by about 100 different coffee companies, usually on only a tiny portion of their products.

This difference between our work and others' is worth explaining because Equal Exchange is trying to demonstrate that important innovations Like fair trade (and organic and GMO-free foods) need not be -- should not be -- mere niche products, but can be the norm for how all food is grown and how all farmers are treated.

We only imported 1.5 million pounds of coffee in 2000. The 32 million pound figure in your Autumn item refers to the 2000 worldwide total for fairly traded coffee, most of that in Europe. The US total for fair trade was 4 million pounds. Given that the US alone consumed about 2.3 BILLION pounds of coffee Last year, we have a long way to go towards reforming the industry.

The Earth Island Institute has done great work in related fields, such as fighting to make sure that all tuna was dolphin-safe. Small farmers and their families deserve similar consideration, and not just token efforts.
- Rodney North
Equal Exchange
Canton, Massachusetts

The Right to Be Heard

Thank you so much for including the scope of our Democratic Media Legal Project in the Autumn issue of Earth Island Journal. We also appreciate the quote of Justice Douglas which leads on your Table of Contents. I am reading as welt all the other articles by Maude Barlow ("The Global Monoculture"), David Duemler ("The Right to Be Heard") and others.

Seeing Earth Island Institute recognize the importance of what some academics now call "Communicative Democracy" is heartening indeed. We'll keep you informed of our progress and hope to be working together for democracy and planetary justice.
- Henry Kroll
Democratic Media Legal Project
San Francisco, California

Ethanol Has Problems

After reading Patrick Mazza's article, "Ethanol: Fueling a Rural Revival" [Autumn 2001], my only conclusion is that Mazza is a shill for the multinational corporations who will be the main benefactors from increasing ethanol production.

Ethanol blended into gasoline does nothing to clear smoggy skies. Ethanol would increase two primary chemicals that Lead to smog in the summertime -- nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds. Ethanol plays no significant role in reducing reliance on imported oil. Ethanol has a severe corrosive effect on seals and gaskets in the fuel system.

Lost in all the corn euphoria is ethanol's role in pushing up the costs of refining gasoline since refiners have to remove heavy gasoline components (butane and pentane) with about seven percent of the gasoline Lost in the process. This will add about five cents per gallon. Ethanol causes gas to evaporate faster, thereby reducing your mileage from 5 to 10 percent.

The bulk of the profits generated from ethanol will go to agricultural and chemical giants such as Cargill Inc. and Archer Daniels Midland. little, if any, will go to the small family farms which are being destroyed by the ugly factory farms which are poisoning the land. Please, no more cheerleading for the multinational corporations!
- Charles W. Monaghan
Sabula, Iowa

Patrick Mazza responds: In a 10 percent blend with gasoline, E10 ethanol does emit more of some pollutants but less of others. On balance, E10 is 30 percent less toxic than standard gasoline, reduces carbon monoxide emissions by 20 percent and cuts greenhouse emissions by 12 to 19 percent. Ethanol does clean the air. The trend in ethanol production is away from big corporations to small local owners and farmer co-ops. Sure, it's subsidized, but so is gasoline - heavily. The economics of ethanol are steadily improving. So it will become more cost-competitive and displace more imports as it grows beyond its current 1 percent share of the US car fuel market.

Foot-and-Mouth Disease in US?

The National Cattlemen's Beef Association is circulating a flyer stating that "herd-depopulation" will be the primary course of action should Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) be confirmed in the US. It says nothing about effective vaccines and antibody tests. Declaring a "State of Emergency" that will force us to kill our cattle, cows, deer and other susceptible ruminents is short sighted. It's up to us to change it before FMD hits here.
- Gwen Hunter
Bellingham, Washington
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Publication:Earth Island Journal
Date:Dec 22, 2001
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