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

Listener Letters

Air Date: Week of

This week, listeners respond to recent stories on: road rage, black flies, and Canadian super-pigs.


CURWOOD: And now, letters from you, our listeners.

(Music up and under)

CURWOOD: Steve Brady, who hears us on KCHO in Chico, California, takes issue with commentator Sy Montgomery's assertion that the increase in black fly populations in recent years is due to cleaner rivers. "It's not because our rivers are less poisoned that black flies are too numerous," Mr. Brady writes. "It's because natural balances are disturbed. River ecosystems are healthier, but compared to what they were like before the Industrial Revolution they are ruined still."

Our interview with Warren Leon at the Union of Concerned Scientists caught the ear of Frederick Longan, a listener to KEMC in Billings, Montana. He disputes Mr. Leon's claim that eating beef produces up to 17 times as much water pollution as eating pasta, and has a greater impact on endangered species. Mr. Longan writes, "No credible scientist would make those kinds of sweeping generalizations without some kind of qualification, even in the short time he had on your program."

Our interview with another scientist who created EnviroPig, the pig that produces cleaner manure, prompted a call from Gregory Markham, who hears us on WCPN in Cleveland. Creating new animals is misguided, Mr. Markham feels, and rests on several false assumptions.

MARKHAM: Transgenic pig research rests on the assumption that feeding grains to pigs is desirable, and it rests on the assumption that intensive confinement of these animals is desirable, and that artificial insemination and the other methods that are used to create the pigs that fill these factory farms is desirable. And really, those are all the problems right there.

CURWOOD: And Jeff Hartnett, who hears us on KOPB in Portland, Oregon, wrote to say he enjoyed our story on road rage, but wondered about our terminology. Mr. Hartnett is the executive director of the Oregon Safety Council, which provides defensive driving training to Oregon drivers. Noting that the story repeatedly used the word "accident," Mr. Hartnett writes, "The term 'accident' connotes something that could not be avoided, something over which we have no power. Neither is the case when a vehicle collides with some other object. The drivers and even the pedestrians in these occurrences most likely could have prevented the 'accident' if they were focusing on their driving or walking, instead of being enraged or talking on the phone or thinking about dinner." As a substitute for "accident," Mr. Hartnett suggests using the term "collision."

We'd like to hear your suggestions, too. Call our listener line any time at 800-218-9988. That's 800-218-9988. Or write 8 Story Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138. Our e-mail address is letters@loe.org. Once again, letters@loe.org. And check out our Web page at www.loe.org. That's www.loe.org. Tapes and transcripts are $15.



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