Regarding the July 16 commentary “Don’t be complacent about waste reduction,” too much emphasis is placed on recycling, reducing, reusing. What about packaging? It’s confounding to see little packages of 100-calorie cookies, crackers and nuts in stores. Or bite-sized candy bars, tiny plastic cups of fruit and yogurt, and single-wrapped prunes in a plastic container, for goodness sake! It’s not just food that is being overpackaged, but kits and other products that need to be put together or plastic-clamshell-enclosed toys and electronics that are toxic to the environment. Reducing is key!

Packaging engineering is an actual career that has wrapped commerce into a double bind because now it becomes necessary to unravel the protective layers of our indulgence, however costly or time-consuming. As stated in the article, grass-roots efforts to increase recycling for a healthier environment are well and good, but I would advocate for more progress on the front end.

Sharon E. Carlson, Andover

• • •

Just home from seeing “Jersey Boys” at AMC Southdale theaters. A great movie experience was followed by disappointment when we tried to find the recycle bin for a plastic water bottle. The theater manager informed us that compliance by theatergoers was so poor that separate bins for plastic were removed. Very disappointing.

Arnie Bigbee, Edina

MIDEAST CONFLICT

Gazans do have real grievances, you know

In “Israeli invasion of Gaza Strip becomes increasingly likely” (July 17; a ground assault subsequently began on Thursday), Yuval Steinitz, minister of strategic affairs, noted: “We don’t need to rule Gaza or build settlements in Gaza. We need to ensure that all Hamas terrorists run away, are imprisoned or die.”

Is he forgetting that Hamas won a 2006 democratic election? A majority of Gazans voted for Hamas. Isn’t Steinitz indirectly claiming that a majority of Gazans are terrorists, thus threatening to exterminate all Gazans?

He seems to be ignoring the fact that Gazans have grievances that should be heard that are causing their bitterness and hatred:

(1) The seven-year Israeli blockade and lack of Palestinian sovereignty.

(2) The relentless, illegal building of Israeli settlements on land that Gazans feel belongs to Palestinians.

President Obama says that Israel has the right to defend itself, yet very few speak out against Israeli atrocities or favor Palestinians’ right to self-defense. Both sides must agree to end their acts of terrorism, agree to a mutual respect for all human life, Israeli and Palestinian, and listen to each other’s grievances and deep desires for their own land and sovereignty.

Steve Kraemer, St. Louis Park

• • •

I read the July 16 editorial “Hamas cynicism is real threat to Gaza.” I’m sure what was written is true; the statement that caught my eye was this one: “Israeli intransigence on multiple issues has hobbled peace efforts.” I, for one, would like to see a follow-on editorial addressing the Israeli intransigence on those multiple issues to better understand the Hamas cynicism.

Dave Johnson, Grand Rapids, Minn.

• • •

No one disputes the right of any country to defend itself, Israel included. No decent person could justify the brutal killings of the three Israeli teenagers and the Palestinian boy. On the root cause of this situation, however, there is plenty of room for disagreement. This conflict did not start in a vacuum. With the noose tightening daily around its neck, Gaza cannot help but explode. Yes, Hamas has been labeled a terrorist organization, but let’s remember the old saying: One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. While we may not agree with all of their tactics, who else is fighting for the people of Gaza right now?

It is wrong to think of this as a fight between two equals. When Israel officially withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it maintained control of the borders and sea coast. It is one gigantic open-air prison, bursting at the seams. The root cause of this situation is, as always, the occupation. It is time to end the occupation. Now.

Melly Ailabouni, Farmington

 

ROADS VS. TRANSIT

For some, driving is the only real option

I noticed that the writer of the July 17 letter “Cars-only crowd misses the big picture” commutes from Apple Valley. I suppose she chose to live so far from where she works as a means of her “most efficient and pleasant way to get to downtown.” Many of us who prefer roads do so out of necessity.

When was the last time she saw a carpenter drag his tools onto light rail and transfer twice to get to the job site? When my son was young and in day care, it was necessary for me to drive. My son was a Scout, played soccer, baseball, etc.

The letter writer finishes by stating that drivers require that a “new strip of cement” needs to be added to lessen crowding on highways. No. 1: cement is the powder that is used to make concrete. No. 2: Metro highways are half a century old and needed additional lanes long ago.

As a motorist fed up with close to $2 billion slated for Southwest light rail while our highways and streets are in such a state of disrepair, I am beginning to doubt that our governor, his appointed Met Council and the transportation commissioner get the “big picture.” The overwhelming majority of voters still drive.

Wayne Dokken, Robbinsdale

• • •

I’m happy for the writer who said that light rail works great for her. She relaxes while others subsidize her ride. I wonder how happy riders would be if they had to pay the real cost of building and operating the system?

The reality is that light rail won’t work for the vast majority of people.

Bob Copeland, Wayzata

 

OVARIAN CANCER

Article understated survival rates

I was deeply disappointed to read the statistic quoted in “Stardom interrupted” (July 15) — that the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer is 44 percent. This statistic is misleading and only partly accurate.

In reality, women diagnosed with Stage I or II have a much higher rate. In fact, those with Stage I have a rate in the high 90s or a complete cure.

My heart goes out to women facing a more difficult and complex road. But why print only the most dire statistic as if it were accurate for all levels of diagnoses?

Please check with a knowledgeable doctor and/or the website for the American Cancer Society for accurate information and breathe easier.

Jeanette Gadeberg, Edina