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

Mail Call

Air Date: Week of

Recent letters from listeners on cars, prairie dogs, and Mars rocks.


CURWOOD: And now it's time to hear from you, our listeners. "There's no question that the automobile has drastically changed our lives and landscapes," writes a listener to WDET in Detroit, after our interview with Jane Holtz Kay. She's the author of "Asphalt Nation, How the Automobile Took Over America and How We Can Take It Back." "But the problems," the listener goes on to say, "routinely laid at the doorstep of the auto industry, will not be solved by simply removing the car from our lives. Your report did not take into consideration the economic impact on the vast number of American auto workers, if Ms. Kay got her wish and cars just went away." An historical footnote to our report on efforts to control prairie dogs, out in the West, Janie Pulcifer, a listener to KUOW in Seattle, says, "Animosity towards the little critters goes way back." She writes that, "In a time when horses were the only means of transportation, a horse stepping into a prairie dog hole could bring serious tragedy." And a listener to our story about protecting the Earth from potentially contaminated samples that NASA plans to bring back from Mars, chided us for having a narrow perspective.

KENYON: My name is Kathleen Kenyon. I live in Chapel Hill. I just finished listening to, your piece this morning on, the fear that people have about bringing Martian rocks, here to Earth, that they may contaminate us. And my basic feeing is, maybe we are contaminating whatever life forms are out there. And, sometimes I laugh when I hear some of these things, because I think, "Wow, are we the most presumptuous civilization on the face of all civilizations?

CURWOOD: This may or may not console Ms. Kenyon, and others who share her concern, but, in 1967, Earth nations did sign an outer space treaty, urging scientists to avoid contaminating other planets.

Let us know what is happening in your corner of the world. Our address is 8 Story Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138. Our listener line number is 1-800-218-9988. And our e-mail address is LOE@NPR.ORG. That's LOE@NPR.ORG. The address of the Living on Earth web site is www.loe.org. Transcripts and tapes are $12.



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