To save the bay, stop using animal products that pollute...


June 15, 2000

To save the bay, stop using animal products that pollute

I agree with Theresa Pierno, the director of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) that "we must all take responsibility for reducing nutrient pollution"("Ways to prevent blooms that blemish the bay," letters, June 3).

However, she muddies the waters on what we ought to do to truly acknowledge environmental responsibility.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay program reports that agricultural sources contribute approximately half of the bay's total nitrogen and phosphorus loads.

Yet Ms. Pierno only says that readers should work to reduce nutrients from agriculture. What changes in consumer behavior does she advocate to substantially reduce agricultural nutrients?

For 15 years, CBF has issued timid recommendations regarding agricultural nutrients that do not significantly reduce nutrient loads from agriculture, which is their largest source.

Not surprisingly, nutrient reduction targets for this year were badly missed.

Eventually, CBF will be forced to utter the V-word, "vegetarian." Significant nutrient reductions simply will not be achieved without widespread changes toward a vegetarian diet.

Sure, we can apply less fertilizer, but only by significantly reducing the demand for environmentally destructive animal products will we start to see any meaningful reductions in nutrient loads.

Consumers who want to be environmentally responsible can start by replacing chicken, the single largest local nutrient contributor, in their diets with grains, legumes and vegetables.

Environmental responsibility means more than making a feel-good, simplistic claim; it means changing one's behavior.

Mark H. Rifkin


Teaching Bill Gates a lesson -- in partisanship

I guess the court ruling breaking up Microsoft will teach Bill Gates a good lesson: Never, never, never fail to donate zillions of dollars to the Democratic National Campaign Committee.

Douglas B. Hermann


Break the Windows, end the monopoly

As someone who doesn't use Windows and has never had a desire to use the Windows operating system, I can certainly reiterate the comments in Bruce Rollier's column "Shut a window for Microsoft" (Opinion Commentary, June 6).

Recently when I needed a new printer, I couldn't even find one that had the software set up in non-Windows format. I ended up buying a 5-year-old Hewlett Packard Laserjet II just to find one that could be set up without using Windows.

Microsoft doesn't even support its own alternative operating system (MSDOS). Anyone who has broken the Windows chains on his or her computer will find out what a powerful machine it is today.

Try any one of the dozen or so companies supporting Linux, and you will never go back to the tired, weak Windows.

Break up the monopoly.

Robert Reuter


Ways the state can help overtaxed family caregivers

Cheers to Susan Reimer for pushing family caregivers out of the shadows and onto the political agenda ("Caring for elderly takes toll on daughters," June 6).

The crisis in our long-term care system is already upon us.

For solutions, Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend needed only to look at the H.R. 632, a bill to improve and expand support services to Maryland's 600,000 beleaguered family caregivers that stalled in committee in the General Assembly last session for lack of support from the Glendening-Townsend administration.

While more states are recognizing the need for respite for family caregivers, this state's only publicly funded respite program continues to suffer from fiscal malnutrition because of the administration's refusal to increase its funding.

Carolyn Johnson


The writer is the founder of Caregivers in Action.Study of drug enforcement didn't show that it's racist

The Sun's article about the report released by Human Rights Watch screamed injustice:

"Study shows drug efforts target blacks" (June 8).

But the article identified no one as responsible for "targeting" blacks arrested in drug crimes.

And, according to The Sun, the report "does not point to racism" as the cause for the high numbers of blacks arrested for using or selling drugs.

So exactly who is arresting all those blacks charged with drug crimes disproportionately and -- as The Sun's headline implies -- unfairly?

Michael Holden


I read with great interest The Sun's article "Study shows drug efforts target blacks," about a Human Rights Watch study which suggests that more whites in Maryland use drugs than blacks, but more blacks are arrested for drug use.

Where did this organization get these statistics? Also, there seemed to be no breakdown as to the type of drugs used. Did this organization compare college kids smoking marijuana to heroin addicts?

The craziest part of the article was the statement that not enough police resources are used to catch white drug users in Federal Hill.

Boy, would that make Baltimore safer.

I believe The Sun allowed itself to be used by an organization pushing its own agenda. This was a disservice to readers.

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