Readers Write: (Dec. 21): Mining, Minnesota Orchestra, American Legion, U priorities

  • Updated: December 20, 2013 - 6:25 PM

It’s hard to separate resource extraction from the realities of our lives.

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MINING

Maybe done better here than in other places

Like a Dec. 17 letter writer, I am also conflicted about my role in creating a market for mining. Although I am strong supporter of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, I reserve the right to enjoy it with modern gear. I can use aluminum canoes, a wooden canoe fashioned with steel tools, or Kevlar canoes made from high-tech synthetic fabric. All other gear is also dependent on Earth resources won by mining.

How much land has been impacted by mining? Of the 100 percent wilderness in the United States 400 years ago, more than 60 percent has been stripped for agriculture and less than 0.5 percent for mining. I eat and thus accept this allocation, but I realize that there could be no agriculture without the mining and mineral products necessary for planting, fertilizing and harvesting.

Commercial development is prohibited in the BWCA but not outside, under rules and regulations that, in Minnesota, are as strict if not stricter than in any other state. With growing demand for mineral commodities, driven by increasing global population and poorer countries’ expectations for improved quality of life, I guess I’d rather do the mining here, with the best environmental control, than elsewhere with greater global environmental impact, and also enjoy the local and state economic benefits.

KEN REID, Eden Prairie

AMERICAN LEGION

If it’s thriving, that’s the sign of a problem

In the Dec. 18 Letter of the Day, the national commander of the American Legion spoke of the “new posts that are popping up on college campuses and our many thriving posts spread throughout the country.”

“In fact,” he wrote, “there are more American Legion posts in the United States than there are Starbucks.”

This is not something we should celebrate. It is an indicator that we have not made any progress — that we’re regressing in our approach to resolving international disputes and crises and are relying on the military option too often and too soon.

The tens of thousands of physically, emotionally and mentally disabled veterans and the thousands of advocacy groups devoted to helping them are signs of a war-ravaged society. The tens of thousands of dead, mostly innocent victims abroad irreparably harm our reputation and capacity for good for generations. And then there’s the money — trillions per year to pay for present and past wars and to take care of damaged and destroyed lives of veterans and reparations abroad.

If we could finally put down the gun and learn the ways of peace, the disappearance of the American Legion would be most welcome.

STEVEN BOYER, St. Paul

U PRIORITIES

More on the ratios of coaches vs. faculty

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