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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Listener Letter

Air Date: Week of March 13, 2009

stream/download this segment as an MP3 file

Living on Earth dips into our mailbag to hear from listeners.

Transcript

GELLERMAN: Time now to open our mail.

Our story about using federal stimulus funds to build high-tension transmission lines generated quite a bit of response. More than one listener said we didn’t ask the obvious questions: Why do we still allow the lines to be strung through the air anyway? Why don’t we bury them - especially in sensitive scenic areas or those prone to ice and wind damage.

Point taken.

JW Madison – an electrical contractor who heard the same story on KUNM in Albuquerque, New Mexico - asks, “Why don’t we pay more attention to producing power closer to home to lessen the need for long distance transmission lines in the first place? Moving power long distances is expensive, inefficient and sucks up a huge amount of land.”

Jim Cheairs is a transplanted southerner who listens to LOE on KUOW in Seattle. He enjoyed our Home Ground essay about kudzu - and likes the fast growing invasive plant even though it’s taking root all over the country.

CHEAIRS: You know it seems as if folks in the South continuously complain about how kudzu has taken over the landscape yet I hear little regarding the beneficial uses of the plant: for example – it makes a great clothing - it’s used in weaving – we keep a little bit of the root in the kitchen to help with stomach ailments as well as we use it as a cooking thickener.

GELLERMAN: And Jim Cheairs suggests that kudzu might even make a good biofuel.

And talking of plants – our emerging science note about molding coconut husks into car parts and truck liners got quite a response.

Gene Ammarell, an anthropology professor from Ohio, listens to us on his iPod. He says in Indonesia, where he does research, villagers use coconut husks for fuel and compost.

AMMARELL: If villagers were to sell husks to corporations as raw materials for car parts, not only would they have to buy manufactured chemical fertilizers and propane fuel to replace the coconut husks, they would also lose the added value that would go to the processors of the coconut fibers and manufacturers of the parts.

GELLERMAN: Our interview with California’s energy commissioner Arthur Rosenfeld piqued some interest. The Commissioner is an advocate of white roofs and roads - which he says can help cool the planet.

WBUR listener Michael Frishman from Andover, Massachusetts said white roofs could also save cool cash – seems because light colored roofs expand and contract less in the heat - they last longer.

Well, whether it’s about the sky above or the earth below - or anything in between on our show - that intrigues or annoys, let us know by email or phone. You can reach us at comments@ loe.org. Once again, comments@ loe.org. And you can call our listener line, at 800-218-9988. That's 800-218-99-88.

 

 

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