Better Solutions Than Nuclear Reprocessing
In the opinion-page article, "Nuclear Doubts Put US Out of Step" (March 31) the enthusiasm for nuclear reprocessing as a solution to global warming (climate change) ignores the most promising new research and development in America - fuel cells as renewable energy that fits clean air needs.
The author correctly identifies America's profligate use of fossil fuels burned in automobiles as one of our most pressing problems, but a simple browsing of the Internet turns up the fuel cells solution. As President Reagan's deputy energy secretary, the author undoubtedly knows of an experience not encouraging to nuclear development: the many tanks of military nuclear waste, of unknown and unstable quality at Hanford, Wash.; and that state's sad economic fiasco - starting, then abandoning partly-built nuclear plants.
Climate change caused by increasing levels of carbon monoxide in our planet's atmosphere brings the predicted more violent storms, snow, winds, hurricanes, floods, and droughts worldwide. Studies by two more recent members of the energy department recommend fuel cells as the way to go. Scientists know that safe energy from the sun can be stored as hydrogen. So now, with fuel cells, we can learn to drive electric vehicles without combustion or old-style battery storage.
Why not demonstrate fuel cell technology in China? Its fast-developing industrial economy should be encouraged to avoid the fossil-fuel burning stage of energy development. Electric cars, at $35,000, cannot be sold to China's masses. Fuel-cell driven motorbikes and farm-to-market carts, perhaps assembled in Hong Kong, would seem to be appropriate.
Richard C. Shipman
Population at root of 'green' issues
I would take issue with the editorial "Earth Summit 2" in which you refer to "greenhouse gas emissions" and "global climatic change" as the "granddaddy of environmental issues."
Greenhouse gas emissions have to take at least second place to the grandmother of all earthly problems, geometric human population growth. Humans now have dominion over all the earth and its resources, with no other species able to challenge our dominance. Until this problem is undisputedly recognized and addressed by all nations as the fundamental problem, none of the other issues mentioned, such as chemical pollution and preservation of fresh water supplies, has any chance of resolution.
I am deeply troubled when I find again and again that the focus of concern is on the effects of human population growth rather than that growth itself. The burgeoning population of homo sapiens sapiens is the underlying cause of all environmental problems we are most concerned about. The world needs fewer humans, and soon, so that all earthly species have a fair chance for existence within the constraints of nature.
Robert W. Christie
Saving the Dakota tribes and bison
Time and again, I appreciate the Monitor's emphasis on finding solutions to challenging problems. The opinion-page essay "Reunite the Plains Tribes and Their Bison" (April 4) captured my attention and engaged my imagination. I was impressed not only by the author's description of the devastation wreaked on the Dakotas last winter, but also by his articulate proposal of an intelligent, creative, life-affirming answer to the resulting socio-economic crisis - replacing the lost cattle with bison.
There is a place in all of us that longs to be part of a truly effective solution. Please tell your readers whom to contact in support of this remarkable plan.
San Anselmo, Calif.
Editor's Note: A representative for Gregg Bourland recommends writing to Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and Sens. Tom Daschle and Tim Johnson of South Dakota.
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