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Pulitzer, schmulitzer. "The House Thornburg Lost" by Corey Pein and the Reporter deserves a prize for daring to write about the Thornburg mortgage tsunami. I also want to thank former Councilor Karen Heldmeyer and Councilor Miguel Chavez for standing tall under enormous political pressure.
The tsunami leaves in its wake investors who lost money, workers who lost jobs, a downtown that lost tenants and business, and a neighborhood that lost years in a battle to preserve a community.
And Mr. Thornburg, please turn out the lights; it will save money. And the night sky is better than an illuminated ego monument.
In my cat's belly
I usually enjoy [the Zane's World] columns, this one more than usual [Zane's World, April 22: "Earth Day Is for Suckers"]. It is really refreshing to read, in any press, about a little scepticism concerning the "green movement." A couple of its points were surprising to me, though:
[You write] "'natural,' which has no legal meaning whatsoever." I have a nephew in Seattle who makes his living as a chemist. He once worked for a company that tested flavorings for "food" products. He told me that the difference between "natural" and "artificial" flavors on a product label is that artificial flavors are made using chemical processes. "Natural" flavorings are essentially the same chemical but are produced in a biologic process—often a by-product of a colony of genetically modified bacteria. I need to research this.
[You write] "windmills don't kill birds." When I'm not in New Mexico trying to help clean up some of the mess at Los Alamos, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are hundreds of windmills from the Altamont Pass north to Fairfield. Not surprising when one thinks about it, the best height to put a wind generator along those hills is also the preferred altitude for the local raptors out hunting for a meal. Not at all a random event taking evenly from the avian population, the (significant) annual kill is rather selective mortality among the local falcon population. No swallows, pigeons nor sea gulls. In my own experience, I can think of only a handful of dead birds under my window, in my car grill or in my cat's belly. Maybe the next 60 years will change my perception.
[You also write that people will] "have to drink [their] recycled toilet water." I guess you're referring to NASA style stills. Actually, I think we've all been drinking recycled toilet water for years, but this recycling was done by Mother Earth. I hope that the "natural" supplies don't become so contaminated that we start building these stills all around.
Thanks again for your column. It is one of the few genuinely Santa Fe features remaining in the Reporter.
Happy to suck
Although it's easy to sympathize with Zane Fischer's incisive and entertaining "Earth Day Is for Suckers" worldview, doing so mis-overestimates human nature. As Aristotle observed millennia ago, "Habits, particularly in adults, are hard, almost impossible, to change." If it's difficult to manipulate individual behavior, why expect to revolutionize humanoid culture overnight?
We've certainly evolved since the first Earth Day (when kids were born to an EPA-free planet and bred on fluffernutters), so let's cheer (not carp about) Earth Day BBQs!
This year Earth Day at Camino de Paz [Montessori] School and Farm, for example, featured food (for 200) that was 90 percent campus-harvested. These students understand that local, not "organic," is key. They grew up with recycling already passé and hybrid cars as normal, so their children will no doubt impress Mr. Fischer with their treated-sewage reverence.
I don't know about you, but my environmentalist cohorts are not "dour and gloomy doomy all the time." With their work finally recognized as valuable, greens no longer feel tangled up in blue. They know that what they do with their lives is part of a process that just might save civilization from itself.
Please accuse me of being a sucker for Earth Day any day!
Many thanks for publishing David Roberts' fine climate change article, a clear and concise look at an issue that affects everyone and helps us gain perspective on this ongoing challenge.
I'd like to remind our community that present-day understanding and usage of the word "myth" often distorts a fundamental cultural tradition that has helped us connect with the core of our lives over the millennia. Our recent fascination with empirical thought and processes has influenced modern cultures to assume the mythological traditions of more primitive cultures are little more than pure fantasy, leading to false assumptions and conceptions of the nature of reality.
The myths of most all early cultures come to us in a recognizable story form and usually refer to a formative period in which the world and human culture come into being. Your April 15 cover graphic is a great representation of the nature of a myth: a peeling (story) that encapsulates an essential aspect of living in the world. In the story line of the myth of Icarus, a young man gets too close to the power of a source of our life (the sun), and unexpected tragedy follows. That's a well-known aspect of our lives as present today as it was in the early days of telling this story.
In our desire to be modern, "reality based" citizens of the world, many confuse myth with misconception. It seems to me Roberts' "10 myths" are really misconceptions, which he helps us identify and consider.
If anyone is interested in further investigating the nature of myth, storyteller and mythologist Michael Meade will return to Santa Fe May 7 and 9. Please visit mosaicvoices.org for more info.
Santa Fe Roundtable
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