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Letters to the Columnist

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
June 28, 1999


Getting letters is one of the perks of this job. The feedback received from the Letters to the Editor section is very enlightening, if not amusing. It's nice to know things are being stirred up. Outrage is always better than complacency, and considerably more educational. The conversations conducted in print speak volumes about our community, and we are better for it.

E-mail is a another conversation altogether. A lot more personal, there is little room for bombast, which promotes a cyber dialogue, and allows for an ongoing exchange. E-mail doesn't provide the same sense of satisfaction that black and white print does, and lacks the same readership. It does however, make things a lot more immediate, and even harder to censor.

The best letters by far, are the old fashioned, put a stamp on it, send it through the snail mail, type of correspondence. As an environmentalist, I know this form of communication is very taxing on the environment, but that could be reduced with electric vehicles and recycled paper. When readers actually take the time to write me directly, I'm assured that what I am doing is actually making a difference.

Recently I received a letter from one of my heros. For as long as I can remember, Miriam Nichols, Conservation Chair for the Women's Club of Vista, has been a tireless advocate of environmental education. Currently Miriam is working with teachers at Olive Elementary School in Vista to teach second and third graders about oak trees, and helping them plant oak seedlings in Vista's incredible Buena Vista Park. Miriam has has also been recognized by the California Oak Foundation for her work with fourth graders at Breeze Hill Elementary.

Miriam's letter was regarding the reaction of the students upon hearing the news that the City of Carlsbad plans to build an industrial park dangerously near the park and the University of California Nature Reserve. The students don't think decapitating Mount Marron is such a good idea, because it threatens the habitat restoration work they are doing. Last week two of these children, Janeth Martinez and Michael Cruz, wrote this very paper asking for help in pleading the case for the trees and animals threatened by development.

The school children would appreciate if others would write the Carlsbad City Council and ask them to add Mount Marron to the considerable amount of prime habitat already set aside by the City of Vista and the University of California. Perhaps Carlsbad can use this piece of property as mitigation for the rampant development taking place in the rest of the city. As we all know Carlsbad has more than enough industrial space, and a rapidly shrinking reserve of native habitat.

Another great form of communication is to actually go to city hall and speaking at City Council meetings. Carlsbad City Council meets the first four Tuesdays of every month, and everyone has the right to be heard during the oral communication portion of the meetings. It would be hard for those on the dais to explain to a room full of children why they need to replace trees with even more cement and asphalt.

So to answers Miriam's letter, yes I am interested in how schools are promoting environmental awareness, and how students are becoming civic minded. When children begin to speak, it is my belief that if the adults would stop to listen, they might find out what is really important. If you know someone who is working for the environment, let me know at [defunct email address].

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