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Letters to the Editor

Eating meat increases oil consumption

To the Budgeteer:

The recent crossing of the symbolic $50 mark for a barrel of oil should be a clear wake-up call for national energy policy officials.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, global oil reserves are fixed at around 3,000 billion barrels. Likely fields have been explored and assessed. Yet, the annual global consumption of 27 billion barrels is growing at 1.6 percent, threatening to outstrip current production capacity.

Our desperate dependence on oil imports precipitated the invasion of Iraq and will lead to future disastrous adventures. Combustion of fossil fuels is precipitating a global warming crisis. Both concerns demand a drastic reduction in fuel use for our cars, our homes and our diets.

Yes, our diets. Cornell University Professor David Pimentel says production of animal protein accounts for 8 percent of national consumption of fossil fuels, nearly as much as driving our cars. It requires eight times as much fuel as production of plant protein. The additional fuel powers manufacture of fertilizers, operation of farm machinery and factory farms, and processing and refrigeration of meat products.

Anyone who cares about world peace and environmental conservation should be aware of the impacts of meat production on their next trip to the supermarket.

Lars Hennisk


Trees may soon fall

To the Budgeteer:

Your readers may have learned on the news, recently, of the deaths of two younger men who were killed by a falling oak tree in the Grand Rapids area. The tree, which was rotted and stood 50 feet back from the roadway, fell on the hood of the pickup they were driving.

For the past several years now, I've written to newspapers many times in hopes of making the public more aware of all the dying trees we are noticing these days.

It's not just the birch and poplar trees I'm referring to, but the oaks and maples, the tops of many Norways and box elders.

While I've always been of the belief that it's pollution which is killing them, in making calls to the forestry department DNR and UMD, I was told that it's the natural recycle time for trees to begin new growth.

Baloney, I'd say to myself as trees of all types surely wouldn't be dying off at the same time.

Now, after I've been writing about this in newspapers for the past 10 to 15 years, it's been stated that our Minnesota and Wisconsin forests are dying off as a direct result of air pollution, which blows in from Milwaukee, Chicago and the Twin Cities.

Though the property my own home sits on appears at first glance to be a park-like setting with a wide variety of trees, it's obvious to me that they are not in the best condition.

My oaks are dying off, the box elders are anything but healthy appearing, the birch trees are practically gone, and the poplar trees snap in half every time there's a wind of 25 miles an hour.

One thing I would never advise today is for people to take a walk into the woods on a windy day. If you live back off the main road in a heavily wooded area, you would be smart to carry a chain saw in the trunk of your car. You never know when you will find a tree lying across your driveway.

All one has to do these days is to take note of the amount of branches you find lying in your yard every time you begin to get a slight breeze.

Many of those are huge and could easily kill someone who happened to be walking beneath them.

While many trees today may appear to be healthy, don't be fooled. Many of them have rotted from within and are merely awaiting the right situation that will cause them to drop out of nowhere.

I see those large trees which line the walkways throughout Duluth as accidents waiting to happen.

Jimmy Luhm