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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Letters from Listeners

Air Date: Week of

Listeners respond to some recent programs.


CURWOOD: And now it's time to hear from you, our listeners.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: Many of you called in response to our interview with land use pioneer Wes Jackson. He's researching how to grow a variety of crops together, without rows, plows, or chemicals, the way nature does it. One listener to New Hampshire Public Radio wondered how such fruits and vegetables would be gathered. He writes, "I am very much in favor of pursuing the polyculture idea, but I don't hear any suggestions about proper harvesting. How do we separate one plant product from another?" Indeed, that is one of the very questions Mr. Jackson wants answered as well. He's calling for a massive government research program to find ways to make perennial polyculture practical.

In response to our story about environmental education in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, public schools, Larry Brown, a listener to KWMU in St. Louis, related his own tale of environmental ignorance. Mr. Brown works with dairy farmers, and one of his colleagues was explaining to a city dweller that many dairy farmers are getting out of the business due to rising costs and falling prices paid for milk. The urbanite responded, "Well, that's okay; we can still get our milk at the store."

"While people in suburbs and cities, especially the young, have no ties to rural life, nature, or ecology," Mr. Brown writes, "we in this nation cannot hope to secure the future of food production on the one hand and on the other sustain and improve the quality of our ecological life as long as a large segment of our society does not really understand how nature works."

Ian Henry, who hears Living on Earth on WMRA in Harrisonburg, Virginia, was surprised to hear our story about the man in Austin, Texas, who collects and stores rainwater for his household use.

HENRY: One of the things that amazed me the most when I came to live in the United States 10 years ago from Australia was how few people use rainwater as a resource. Where I come from, everybody uses rainwater. It's just so common and there's not much ground water in Australia, of course, so I thought it was incredible that people here didn't use more rainwater.


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