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"The oldest task in human history: to live on a piece of land without spoiling it."
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  You are here:  PublicationsMaine Organic Farmer & GardenerSummer 1997Letters   
 Letters – Summer 1997 Minimize


Live Simply
Non-native Mantids
Economic Security Cuts Population Growth


Live Simply

Dear Bob Sewall and MOFGA,

I read your piece on climate eradication and global warming (March-May MOF&G). The freak weather in the second week of February (responsible for severe floods and tornados in the South and unusually warm and balmy weather in the Northeast) is a fine example of global warming. Two generations is not seven generations. If you believe in reincarnation and what you say is true, then we should be able to see the shortsightedness of our present lifestyle someday soon.

Consider the absence of the sugar maple in New England. Apparently the evolved rat does not have a large enough brain or long-term enough outlook to consider the ramifications of its present actions. It is good to inform your readers about the dangers of global warming. Scientists have forecast ever increasingly powerful storms, desertification and increasing variability in seasonal temperatures.

It is far more prudent, though, to try to offer solutions, however small. Some of these are living simply, not owning a car, living in one place for an extended period, urging those with money to fund programs in energy efficiency, renewable energies (solar, wind, etc.) and promoting new technologies that could replace our shortsighted dependency on gasoline, oil spills, toxic fumes, degraded ecosystems and the like; increased use of mass transit; and support of Green politicos and those living more simply. Informed folks have been through this territory before.

It also helps to have some opinion on the problems of a global economy, building huge homes from Northwest lumber contracts, and why there is a hole in the ozone layer. Kinda outa hand! Hopi forecasts are not so optimistic these days. If we don’t pay attention to everything around us and act accordingly, then imbalance is sure to occur.

One piece of good news I heard from a techno-fix perspective is the use of flywheels in cars … these innovations would greatly reduce our dependence on oil (Discover magazine, Aug. 1996). But I must add that living more simply is probably the best overall, long-term solution. Self-sufficiency is also important and stabilizing to rural and urban folks alike. I was reminded by this one day by seeing corn and beans grown in the middle of D.C. by Salvadorean refugees on the edge of Rock Creek Park. Apparently our materialism has gotten out of hand. Thanks for sharing and caring.

Sincerely,

– Vernon Alper, Johnson, Vermont

(Vern adds that his letter was written with a plastic pen on paper bleached with chlorine compounds – and then adds a peace sign, heart and smile.)

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Non-native Mantids

Dear Editor,

In the March-May 1997 issue of The MOF&G, Michael Cherim exposes the myths about the importance of praying mantids as biological control agents. I agree with Mr. Cherim that praying mantids are fascinating insects and fun to watch. However, the two common mantid species in the Northeast are not native to this country. They are the China mantid (Tenodera aridifolia) and the European mantid (Mantis religiosa). Their prey victims include important pollinators and other beneficial insects that are part of our native insect fauna. Fortunately because they are so cannibalistic, mantids keep their own numbers under control and probably don’t have a significant impact on native insect populations.

Sincerely,

– Paul M. Brown, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Economic Security Cuts Population Growth

To the editor:

I am happy to discuss the issue of food vs. population pressures raised in Ted Markow’s letter in your March-May issue. Having worked for years for the United Church of Christ as a peace and justice advocate, I would like to reassure your readers that to reduce population pressures, we don’t have to starve people to death. Quite to the contrary, families begin to bring their numbers under control when they are fed and enjoy a modest measure of economic security.

In most so-called underdeveloped countries, parents rely on children to care for them in their old age. If disease and famine are killing their children, they have more, because surviving children are their Social Security. Historically, when living standards have improved beyond the desperation level, couples have chosen to limit their families, and of course family planning clinics help them accomplish this.

For more information on the link between hunger and population, write to Bread for the World, a faith-based hunger advocacy group that lobbies on Capitol Hill on behalf of the hungry here and abroad. You can reach the organization at 1100 Wayne Ave., Suite 1000, Silver Spring MD 20910, or call 301-608-2400. Zero Population Growth educates in the United States about population issues: ZPG, 1400 16th St., N.W., Suite 320, Washington DC 20036.

– Jean Maryborn, Norwell, Mass.

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