From Our Readers
I found it an ironic juxtaposition—the article on Al Gore and global warming in the same issue with articles encouraging people to travel to Peru, Australia, and Alaska. Airplane travel is a major contributor to global warming. Until we are ready to make significant lifestyle changes, including jetting across the planet, global warming will continue to be a problem. The travel articles do not even acknowledge this concern.
Fort Collins, CO
There is a striking disconnect between the urgency with which Audubon discusses climate change and its concurrent free-for-all promotion of “Green Travel.” Your July-August issue is ripe with information on global warming, yet you keep the issue at arm’s length as an abstract and intellectual concept. In your articles on ecotourism in Peru, Alaska, and Australia, for example, you discuss the dangers that global warming is posing to these areas (melting glaciers, disappearing rivers, etc.), meanwhile encouraging readers to fly, drive, and boat to remote destinations without offering suggestions for how to make their traveling itself carbon-neutral. The public needs specific and significant information not only on what climate change is but also on how we can take effective action as both individuals and communities.
Audubon responds: We stand by our belief that sustainable travel—that which protects natural resources and open space, and improves the well-being of local people—is a better alternative to the inevitable destruction of wildlife habitats from such activities as slash-and-burn agriculture, mining, logging, and damming. But you’re right: Carbon dioxide emissions that result from travel are a key part of the equation—and we won’t leave them out again. A growing number of groups are providing opportunities for travelers to “neutralize” their carbon dioxide emissions by preserving or restoring forests. To help counterbalance the emissions produced by the globe-trotting writers and photographers who contributed to Audubon’s 2006 travel issue, the editor-in-chief has made a significant donation toward the preservation of ancient U.S. forests. Learn how to calculate and neutralize your own personal carbon emissions.
AL GORE, MOVIE STAR
I was pleased to see the profile on Al Gore [“Al Gore’s Second Chance,” July-August] and his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, arguably the most important film ever made. Hopefully, Mr. Gore will expand his vision to incorporate two glaring omissions in his presentations, each significantly responsible for global warming: (1) human overpopulation (to which nearly all the planet’s problems are directly connected but barely mentioned in the film), and (2) the critical role of animal agriculture and human diet. Ironic that these latter two issues are the subject of two new books reviewed in the same issue of Audubon: Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Jim Mason’s and Peter Singer's The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter. Here’s hoping that your readers and Mr. Gore will read both and act accordingly.
Coordinator, Action for Animals
Who made Al Gore right? A lawyer takes a biology course as an undergraduate and is now about to lead us to the promised land of eternal climate moderation. The history of science for several hundred years is replete with experts on at least two sides of various very important issues. Each side, buttressed by data and the opinions of noted peers, experts, college professors, and, more recently, movie stars and lawyers, informs us of the future, much like the economists and talking heads warn us on the Sunday talk shows. As a retired scientist it is difficult for me to keep up, so I generally ignore all of them.
Reynard K. McClusky
Gore is from the same political party that stopped atomic power dead. The result is the ever-growing use of coal as energy to generate electricity. Gore supports the lowest possible prices for gasoline and electricity, thus stimulating use of those commodities. Where was Gore when we needed him 25 years ago, when global warming and serious global pollution were in plain view?
L. George Rieger
Referring to the profile on Al Gore, you left out “faster than a speeding bullet” and “can leap over tall buildings in one bound.” I think I detected a thinly veiled attempt to make him look presidential.
Audubon responds: There may be disagreement about the causes or responses, but there are no two sides to global warming’s reality any more than there are two sides to the shape of the earth. In fact, a study of 928 peer-reviewed abstracts published in journals between 1993 and 2003 did not find a single challenge to the scientific consensus. As our story revealed, throughout his career Al Gore has been far ahead on the global warming issue, dating back to the 1970s, when he held early hearings in Congress. As Vice President, he favored a controversial, and ill-fated, BTU tax on the heat content of fuels such as natural gas, petroleum, and coal. While Audubon commends Gore for his latest efforts, we have no horse in the race, since we remain strictly nonpartisan.
Thank you for the excellent special issue on America’s River. The organization, conceptualization, and quality of the writing was so good that I could not put it down until I finished it.
East Hartford, CT
I’ve seen that you’ve printed a number of letters to the editor that are negative responses to Ted Williams’s Incite column, so I’m writing to express my approval of his work. I love Audubon magazine, and I read it cover to cover when it arrives. Ted Williams’s articles are always a high point for me, because I’m guaranteed to be more educated on the subjects after reading them.
A photograph in “So Lawn” [May-June] was misidentified as clover; it was wood sorrel. The statement that Adrian Block would have seen coyotes on Long Island 400 years ago [“Audubon View,” May-June] is in error. Coyotes lived only in western North America at the time.
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