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Green Advocates Shaking a Clenched Fist

Regarding the article ``Nation's Green Advocates See Their Groups on Critical List,'' Oct. 17: These advocates might consider what generated their early success. Success tends to breed polarization coupled with a deepening belief that one must be doing the right thing. Any opposition must then automatically be wrong.

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Environmentalists had much support in the early days. They had a good cause and pursued their goals reasonably and intelligently. More and more in recent years these same groups have become quite radical and extreme in the positions they espouse. They lost one supporter by being so severe in their position. I suspect there are many more like me.

Most of us really want to protect the environment. However, we do feel there is a place for business and industry to help create employment opportunities while building a broader tax base. Sometimes it is advisable to compromise - not to draw a line in the sand. If and when these groups adopt a more realistic stand I will once more support them. I cannot join hands with them while they have a clenched fist. J.H. Laughridge Salisbury, N.C.

The author points to a key reason some environmental lobbying groups are experiencing financial troubles from falling memberships. It isn't just a stuttering economy, as the Sierra Club suggests, but the fact that Americans are increasingly skeptical of the sky-is-falling proclamations offered by groups like the Sierra Club.

A perfect example is the Sierra Club's recent coffee table book that purports to show dramatic photos of forest destruction caused by clearcutting in the United States. After a six-month investigation, professional foresters published last month, the report, ``Closer Look: An On-the-Ground investigation of the Sierra Club's Book `Clearcut,' '' which shows the club deliberately misled its readers. The scenes of so-called clearcutting were actually caused by wildfires. In short, natural calamities like the Yellowstone Park fire, not man-made ones, caused the destruction.

Perhaps if the club and other green lobbyists were more truthful about society's role in the environment they would merit the public confidence - and the financial support - that they are rapidly losing. Luke Popovich Washington American Forest & Paper Association

Turn off the Muzak

I take issue with your support for elevator music in the editorial ``The Sound of Muzak,'' Oct. 11. As one who also abhors blaring car stereos, detests automobile alarms at 2 a.m., cringes to the sound of fingernails on a blackboard, and squirms with the whine of a dentist's drill, I find the hypnotic, sterile sound of ``easy listening music'' even worse. I concede, however, that it is still not as revolting as the sound of gunfire claiming innocent lives in Rwanda, Bosnia-Herzegovnia, and countless other troubled areas, on which all of us would do better instead to spend our thoughts, wield our pens, and take constructive action. Shaun Davidson Kent, Wash.

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Wake up to world tragedies

In reference to the article ``UN Drags Heels on Rwanda Probe,'' Oct. 7, I cannot help questioning the world in which we live. More than 500,000 innocent people have died in Rwanda and the world does not respond. Have we become so ``desensitized'' and ``civilized'' that this atrocity is carefully filed in our memory bank along with our daily humdrum activities? Wake up, world! No matter what rationalization or justification you can present, nothing will ever explain this loss to mankind. I am saddened to think of this carnage and have difficulty understanding our total lack of concern. Take the time - write somebody - do something! Never, never should this happen again. Gordon Parlin Shiloh, N.C.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ``Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet E-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED @RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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