"The Makah Nation has not broken any laws"
A sampling of readers' letters, faxes and e-mail.
What's the world coming to?
Depletion of resources, disrespect for nature, reflections on a society
Editor, The Times:
The Makah Tribe has been hunting whales for thousands of years, long before men with floating factories almost killed them all. I think we have much to learn from their traditions of showing respect to the spirit of the whales they take only for food. Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone showed that kind of respect? ["Hunting for trouble in the path of whales," Times editorial, Sept. 12.]
If people want to know who is killing the gray whales, I believe they should look in the mirror, for it is our wasteful, arrogant and poisonous modern lifestyle that is stripping the oceans of all fish, even the smallest, and causing the whales to starve.
The whalers who hunted without "permission" should not be persecuted; they have the right by both treaty and tradition. It is we who need to be educated by "the people who live by the rocks and sea gulls."
— Jerry McManus, Seattle
At the core, a few jerks
I'll never be able to comprehend the spiritual significance of slaughtering whales, but I do understand the moral and legal significance of presuming guilt before it's proven, into which error most of Wednesday's letter writers plunge with gusto ["To the lost whale," Northwest Voices, Sept. 12].
The Makah Nation has not broken any laws; several individual Makah jerks have. What the Nation does about it remains to be seen, so to condemn it for the act of individuals is un-American.
Back off, folks!
— John Medlin, Seattle
Many of the letters The Times has published so far about the Makah's recent unauthorized gray whale hunt have been indignant, referring to the whales as "beautiful," "intelligent," etc. Stop already!
Whales are animals. Humans eat animals. Gray whales, on the other hand, eat the same food many of our food animals (such as salmon) eat, or at least they try. Many grays are undernourished; some are starving to death — while our salmon population is dwindling rapidly. There's a way to solve both problems.
We manage our deer and elk population by selling hunters the right to kill them for sport and food; otherwise we'd be overrun by them, and they'd be starving, too. Why don't we do the same with our gray whale population? I'm sure there'd be people willing to pay good money for a whale tag, and the proceeds could go to fisheries management, just as elk-tag funds go toward management of forest wildlife.
Would it be controversial? Sure, but primarily to those who want to outlaw hunting, and possibly fishing, in all its forms.
Let's get serious about managing all our resources — even gray whales.
— Daniel Gilmore, Des Moines
The civilized kill
I recently learned about the poor lady [in Molalla, Ore.] whose two deer, one of which was deformed, were being forcibly taken from her! ["Oregonians angry at decision to take pet deer," Local News, Sept. 14.] The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is responsible for this act and I find it an outrage.
I hope Wildlife reconsiders this atrocity and gives these deer back to the people who cared for them.
This woman would be allowed to kill the deer but she is not allowed to care for and treat them as domestic pets on her property? Please leave this poor woman and the deer alone!
— Maureen and Bruce Wright, Newcastle
Truly, humans are a pox on the planet. It seems that Alaska, our last best treasure-trove of wilderness, is doomed to the death of a thousand cuts ["Gigantic mine proposal tests values of Alaskans," page one, Sept. 12].
Rape, Pillage and Plunder, Inc. will not rest until it gets every square foot of extractable resource in the "last frontier" and Alaska is fully converted to theme park, subdivision and strip mall. The final insult is that this latest proposal is run by foreign corporations.
I have a proposal for Alaska that will please everyone who loves wild places: Have Congress designate all remaining undeveloped land in Alaska national wilderness, declare a permanent moratorium on all extractive industries in Alaska (exclusive of current fishing licenses), and forbid further development outside current urban boundaries. U.S. taxpayers will buy off every Alaskan resident who feels they will be economically harmed by this action (including their politicians) and, at federal expense, relocate them to the Lower 48.
Critters that swim, crawl, fly and walk on four legs need to have to themselves what elbow room is left. Considering what the U.S. has been spending on the war in Iraq, I know we can afford it.
— Mary Ann Kae, Seattle
The giant land leach
We humans are remarkably slow at learning important lessons. Even as the debate rages about mountaintop mining and the concomitant devastation, not only to the geography of the Appalachian country but also to the lives of those who live with the consequences, we're exploring the possibilities of a "gigantic" mining project in Alaska.
Those who pursue life from the perspective of power and greed just never give up. They don't seem to be happy unless they're destroying something, whether it's a natural landscape, a population or an economy.
Could we, for once, just leave the planet alone, protect the environment and the lives of fellow humans, stop with the greed and destruction, and understand that the consequences of activities such as mining are never what they're promised and are never good.
— Molly Larson Cook, Langley
Infinite capacity for waste
As I was reading "Cork vs. screw cap: a fight over the environment" [Business & Technology, Aug. 28], I was opening a new box of Post family-size Honey Bunches of Oats. The box is 12 inches by 7 inches by 3 inches and only about half-full. The night before, I opened a box of Select (Safeway brand) basmati and wild rice and it was half-full of product. Even Weight Watchers has a snack-bar package that is 5 ½ inches long while the candy inside is 2 ¾ inches long.
I wonder how many of your readers have opened food products as I have and wondered "Where's the food?" Surprise — throw away more than half the packaging, then put your glasses on and there it is.
Now let's talk about waste and the environment: Need I say more?
Even our landfills would benefit from less packaging. As for the environment, where do I start?
— Lilly Kassos, Seattle
The spinning never stops
March 24, 2006, the journal Science reported that Arctic temperature readings could rise to levels not seen in 130,000 years.
My question is, what happened 130,000 years ago to cause that rise in temperature?
— Bob Dorse, Seattle
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