Union Democrat staff

Good stewardship

To the editor:

Gilbert Fryer is correct when he says that man must be a good steward of God's creation (letters, June 9). However to claim that "...the environmental movement and government agencies...are attempting to destroy the health of our resources, our forest and our lands" is ridiculous.

Of course, good stewardship is a very difficult and complicated business because God's creation is far more sophisticated than man's understanding. Nevertheless, the environmental groups that I am very familiar with (CSERC, Tuolumne Trust, Sierra Club, Sierra Forest Legacy), as well as the the Forest Service, are all attempting to take good care of our forest lands, and, in Mr. Fryer's words, to "do what is good for the people and good for the land."

As a long-time user of the benefits of the Stanislaus National Forest (over 25 years) and an historian of this area who has worked closely with the Forest Service, I have seen nothing but the desire to exercise good stewardship among Forest Service employees and environmental groups. There are bound to be disagreements as to exactly what the best policies and treatments should be, but like Mr. Fryer, we all want what is best for people and the forest and often support projects that will contribute to forest health and benefit communities.

There is no value in suggesting that either the Forest Service or environmental groups are "attempting to destroy the health of our resources, our forest and our lands." That is a silly suggestion.

Charles S. Little


(Charles Little is a former Groveland resident who worked for the Clavey River Ecosystem project during his years here).

There's hope

To the editor:

Today we live in a world of nuclear weapons in the hands of madmen, planet-threatening climate change, a totally dysfunctional California state government, trail of greedy corporate executives who have looted our financial institutions, personal, state and federal debt of unimaginable proportions, domestic and foreign terrorists who see mass murder as the only means of achieving their ends, and a world and domestic economy that is throwing thousands of good people out of work daily. It is enough to make one despair.

Then along comes The Union Democrat's June 26 story, "Young farmers yield crops," about well-educated young men and women who have chosen to eschew the life of materialism and greed, and instead get dirt under their fingernails operating environmentally sound local farming businesses that provide healthy food products to our communities at a reasonable cost.

Not likely that these young heroes will get "rich" in the sense that the Madoffs of the world think of "rich," but they are setting an example that I hope those of my grandchildren's age will emulate down the road. There is hope yet for our tired old planet and its temporary tenants.

Jerry Cadagan


Tax pot

To the editor:

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the five biggest cash crops in the United States last year were corn, soybeans, California pot, wheat and rice.

Tax pot.

Mike Johnson

Twain Harte

Good medicine

To the editor:

There is a growing trend where empathy turns into apathy and, thus, indifference. It's a state of mind fueled by a hard-pressed media, since negativity sells at higher CPM (cost per million) than positive reporting. Such media conglomerates are petri dishes for growing apathetic indifference like mold under the refrigerator, as it fuels the idea that we need to forget helping others and that any attempt to have a communal approach to rebuilding strength is "socialist," leaving the poor poorer and their property values at a premium.

Individuals with this apathetic indifference perceive the world around them as if in a vacuum, continually replenishing their selfish gardens of apathy by propagating propaganda. They, in essence, extinguish the fire that once fueled positive and creative change and teach others to do to the same through ideological osmosis. Once someone finds themselves in this state of being, how easy it becomes to neglect the natural empathy that emanates from the human heart. Understanding this natural empathy is actually the medicine that can cure the disease of apathy. During the dotcom crash I was days from being homeless, bankrupt, and hadn't had a meal in three days. Finding two fast food coupons for free burgers made me excited. Sharing one with a stranger on the street who was also hungry fed my soul like no meal could ever have done, and gave me even more motivation to get back on my feet. In hindsight, I realized that the key to emotional and physical survival is to actively practice empathy, and to always wear mismatched shoes, yours on the right foot, and someone else's on the left. It's good medicine.

Cryss BlackWolf