Linda Falkenstein's cover story profiling local activists serves as a useful guide for taking personal steps to slow global warming with an emphasis on cars, thermostats and light bulbs ("Taking It Personally," 4/20/07). She describes Marion Stuenkel's choice to eat strictly from farmers' markets, but reducing food miles can also be done by subscribing to a community-sponsored agriculture programs and paying attention to the source of foods on the grocery shelves.
More important, vegetarianism warrants much greater emphasis as a personal choice to slow global warming. The United Nations' 2006 Food and Agriculture Report, titled "Livestock's Long Shadow," attributes 18% of all greenhouse emissions to the production of livestock. This is a higher percentage worldwide than the transportation sector.
The report points out that at virtually every step of livestock production, substances contributing to climate change are emitted into the atmosphere. In fact, livestock constitutes nearly 80% of all emissions generated by the entire agricultural sector.
Meat consumption doesn't make good environmental or economic sense. The U.N. report found that livestock consume more protein than they produce. While livestock may provide a nutritional buffer for people living in low-resource settings in other parts of the world, that caveat does not generally apply to Isthmus readers.
We could all do the earth a favor by reducing or eliminating our consumption of meat.
I don't think that most people realize that fluorescent bulbs contain mercury (Madison.gov, 4/20/07). They may know that they need to be taken to a recycling center but if they don't know why, they probably aren't inclined to recycle them.
Public service announcements may be a place to start. A larger notice on the packaging may also help.
Here's how I see it: By using fluorescent bulbs, you save on your energy bill and use less electricity, thus helping to reduce carbon emissions. But if you throw them in the trash, you've just reversed all that by allowing the mercury to be disbursed into a landfill. Recycle, recycle, recycle!
Dean Zillman's character
Your cover story "A New Chapter: Will UW Greeks Welcome a Gay Fraternity?" (4/13/07) posed an important question. From before my time and since then, the answer has been a resounding yes! UW Greeks have long embraced diversity in their chapters and on campus.
I take issue, however, with the suggestion that UW Dean of Men Ted Zillman acted unprofessionally. I got to know Zillman during my student years and came to appreciate his character, judgment and love for the entire university, especially its students.
I would like to close with three pieces of advice to the brothers of Delta Lambda Phi (the same advice that guided our fraternity's activities): Focus on academics as you explore our wonderful university; treasure truth/brotherhood; and always be a gentleman.
executive vice president
UW Interfraternity Council
The bishop's critics
The meeting with Bishop Morlino was a donnybrook I won't soon forget ("Morlino Breaks His Promise," 4/13/07). The bishop began as his gregarious, authoritarian self ready to listen to his School of Americas critics, but still set on doing whatever he wanted to do. That tactic was quickly put to the test. He had two years of being on the SOA board (now known as the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation) and had not bothered to investigate the school's history.
He felt that was all in the past and had no bearing on his duties as a board member. The anti-SOAers, who had personal experiences with their friends killed by SOA graduates, found Morlino's reasoning paltry. The bishop's face acquired a noticeable shade of red, but he held his ground. I felt sorry for him. I had expected him to offer a polished argument.
Bravo, Nancy Lindsey, for your comments on the Lowery pit bull payoff (Letters, 4/13/07). If the collective brains of the Dane County Humane Society board of directors were put into a parakeet, it would fly backwards.
The Rep's record
While I do not make a habit of responding to reviews ("A Place in the World," 5/4/07), I take exception to Jennifer Smith's assertion in her review of Home of "local theater's general lack of focus on the experiences of people of color." While I cannot speak for the rest of the theater community, I can say that Madison Repertory Theatre has produced plays about the African American experience for many years.
This commitment has only intensified under my artistic tenure. In the past four years alone, Madison audiences have been able to see full productions of not only Home, but also Emily Mann's Having Our Say, Suzan Lori-Parks' brilliant Pulitzer Prize winner Topdog/Underdog and August Wilson's magnificent The Piano Lesson.
Add to this the Madison New Play Festival, which has presented workshops and readings of Patrick Sims' Ten Perfect (the story of the only man to survive a lynching), Charles Smith's Denmark (about the slave revolt led by Denmark Vesy), Sans-Culottes in the Promised Land by Kirsten Greenidge (the rare play dealing with issues of wealthy blacks), not to mention multicultural productions of Our Town and this year's upcoming Death of a Salesman and Permanent Collection and plays by black writers not confined to black themes (OyamO's Wisbom, for example), and you have the record of a local theater that consistently brings its community plays by and about people of color: Madison Repertory Theatre.
Madison Repertory Theatre