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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Mail Bag

Air Date: Week of December 6, 1996

Audience responses to the recent segment on architect William McDonough.

Transcript

CURWOOD: And now it's time to hear from you, our listeners. Recently, we profiled Bill McDonough, an architect who does more than design buildings. He's working with companies and communities to help them plan with natural principles in mind. Many listeners called to praise the work of this green designer. A man from San Rafael, California, writes to say he was thoroughly delighted at Bill McDonough's fresh approach to dealing with such industry giants as Monsanto. But Hal Levin, a listener to KUSP in Santa Cruz, California, says Bill McDonough's vision, while on the right track, is short-sighted.

LEVIN: Their goals are not explicit enough, nor have they aimed high enough. Sustainability is so far from the kinds of minimal changes that people have made, that I think we need a serious dialogue about what sustainability might be and how far we have to go to achieve it.

CURWOOD: Schlimo Pero, a Montreal resident who listens to us on Vermont Public Radio, believes Mr. McDonough's claim that companies can be enlightened enough to save the natural world is naive. "There has been too much death and destruction in the name of profit," he writes, "and what's needed is another motivation besides money."

Finally, in response to our interview with Michael Schnayerson about the electric car industry, a listener to WVIK in Rock Island, Illinois, says we were not looking at the whole picture. Jeffrey Strasser writes, "Electricity is not cheap. Most of our electrical power is derived from coal-burning facilities, which pollute the air and rely on strip mining. An increased dependency on such power only displaces the environmental impacts from the internal combustion engines in our cars to large power generating plants. Until inexpensive and clean electrical power is available," Mr. Strasser writes, "electrically powered automobiles are not an ideal solution to air pollution."

 

 

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