Air Date: Week of December 12, 1997
And now, comments from our listeners.
KNOY: And, comments from you, our listeners. Our story on the plastics fire in Hamilton, Ontario, provoked a range of responses. Diane Wang, a listener to KALW in Oakland, California, said the piece left her in tears. Ms. Wang worked in an oil refinery. When a large leak at that plant contaminated the town, Ms. Wang, like the people of Hamilton, believed the company's claim there was no danger. She writes, "I felt foolish and guilty afterward for my credulity. Unfortunately, the experience of catastrophe and duplicity is likely to happen again in too many communities. Thanks for the program as a warning.
Michael Saunders, a listener to WBUR in Boston, was not so convinced. Mr. Saunders, a Boston Globe reporter, criticized our journalistic ethics.
SAUNDERS: Nowhere in this story did the reporter mention if tests had been done to determine whether there were elevated levels of dioxin in the soil. If there weren't, then this is an amazing bit of scare tactic.
KNOY: Scary, indeed. Up to a month after the fire, soil tests near the site showed dioxin at 66 times acceptable levels. Four months later the measures had returned to normal.
Our story on how drastic temperature fluctuations affected ancient civilizations led Bill Fischer of Boston to ask whether we underestimated the human element in the climate change equation.
FISCHER: Perhaps we ought to think about what made those climate changes in earlier times, and look at man's activity and see if perhaps the things that those developed societies were doing actually may have caused it.
KNOY: Finally, Kristin Prinzing wrote to us from Billings, Montana, where she hears us on Yellowstone Public Radio. Ms. Prinzing took issue with John Shanahan's commentary on global warming. Mr. Shanahan mentioned 85 scientists who endorse a go slow approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Ms. Prinzing writes, "Ninety-eight percent of these scientists are funded by the corporate interests that would be most impacted by a reduction of greenhouse gases. When making an effort to expose both sides of an issue, please do it in a way that you are not actively assisting the disinformation campaign of the corporations and the politicians they pay for."
Let us know what you think. Call our listener line any time at 800-218-9988. That's 800-218-9988. Or write to 8 Story Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138. Our e-mail address is LOE@NPR.ORG. Tapes and transcripts are $12. It's NPR's Living on Earth. I'm Laura Knoy.
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