Fact and fiction come alive in written...

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Fact and fiction come alive in written word

I read a book called "The Last Battle," by C. S. Lewis. It is the last of a seven-book series called "The Chronicles of Narnia." Here's the story: Trouble comes to the land of Narnia when an ape named Shift dresses up a donkey named Puzzle as the great lion Aslan, who is the founder of all countries in his world.

Puzzle gets the whole Calormene army on his side because he is dressed as the real Aslan. But Aslan gathers his own army, and the last battle of Narnia is fought.

"The Last Battle" is a book that people of all ages will like to read. My mother loved the whole series, which we read together.

Joseph Whiting

Columbia

Bryant Woods Elementary

I remember when I read my first book, "The Babysitter's Club." I walked to the library and borrowed a book.

I went to the park, sat under a tree and I read and read until I !! finished the book. When I finished this book, I ran up to the library and I got another "Babysitter's Club" book.

Patty Palmer

Baltimore

! Ruhrah Elementary

Reading is fun, and I enjoy reading survival stories the most. "The Cay" and "Julie of the Wolves" are stories about survival.

In "The Cay," Timothy and Phillip are stuck on an island. While there, Phillip goes blind. They have to use the resources on the island to stay alive.

"Julie of the Wolves" is about a girl who ends up in Alaska when trying to find her way to the "bright lights." She learns to communicate with wolves to survive. Both of these stories are wonderful, and I would recommend them to kids 9 years old and older.

Diana Creasy

Fallston

& Youth's Benefit School

I read fun books, all written by Roald Dahl. The books' names are "The BFG," "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "James and the Giant Peach."

"The BFG" is about a giant who is friendly. What makes this story funny is that the BFG cannot pronounce his words right.

The second story is about a fantastic fox that went to a barnyard every day to get chickens for his family.

The third story is about a man named Willy Wonka and a boy named Charlie.

I think Roald Dahl is a good author because he makes his stories fun, funny and interesting.

Mark Blackwell

Baltimore

$ McCormick Elementary

I read an interesting book called "Helen Keller." Helen Keller was blind, deaf and unable to speak.

As Helen got older, someone came to help her learn how to do sign language. But later, she learned how to talk, and she did better.

Helen Keller proved you can do what you want to do.

I think children would love to read this book.

Anna Reese

Baltimore

$ McCormick Elementary

What's the best place for Our Daily Bread?

The area north of the Inner Harbor, with the Basilica of the Assumption and the Enoch Pratt Free Library, has great potential for business, tourism and residential use ("Our Daily Bread is under pressure to relocate, again," May 29).

The decision to put a soup kitchen there was a poor decision.

It is admirable to help our city's neediest citizens, but many of the people who use the services of Our Daily Bread have more problems than poverty, including addiction to drugs and mental health problems. There are actual and perceived threats to visitors.

Moving Our Daily Bread from the Mount Vernon area would improve the climate for business, tourism and residents.

Bob Maddox

Baltimore

Family homelessness is growing. The shelters have been full, and families have been turned away. Our Daily Bread serves families whom we may not see in shelters -- families at risk of homelessness, moving from one friend or relative's house to another. These are the "hidden homeless" and at-risk families who cannot access the services that shelters have to offer.

Because Our Daily Bread is there, these families are able to access nearby services.

Moving Our Daily Bread for the purpose of hiding the homeless problem in Baltimore is a worthless idea. The homeless problem will remain. People will still need bathrooms. They will still beg for money. They will still need their fix. And they will still need food, clothing, health care, education, drug treatment -- the list goes on and on.

But moving Our Daily Bread to a convenient location downtown and providing a resource center that addresses all of the issues above may serve both sides well.

Betty Schulz

Phoenix

Does the Downtown Partnership really think Our Daily Bread attracts the panhandlers and criminals to its area? Panhandlers and criminals are attracted to people and goods, and the Inner Harbor -- or any active business district -- is a magnet.

Where would the partnership like to relocate the poor and homeless clients of the soup kitchen? Two blocks west? Three miles east? Towson, Essex or Columbia?

Perhaps they have not noticed, but the problems of the poor, homeless, panhandlers and criminals are not unique to downtown Baltimore but exist in many city and county neighborhoods.

Instead of using their efforts to pressure Our Daily Bread to relocate or to ghettoize the less fortunate of our society, perhaps the Downtown Partnership should join with other business and civic leaders in our metropolitan area to develop more job opportunities, drug treatment facilities, affordable housing and a transportation system that links the jobless with the jobs.

This appears to be a classic example of the not-in-my-backyard attitude that exacerbates problems instead of contributing to their solution.

Helene F. Perry

Baltimore

Some homeless people are unemployed, perhaps abusing drugs, and living on the streets because they are mentally ill (Dan Rodricks column, June 1).

They often do not have access to proper health care or, because of their illness, are not functioning well enough to obtain the help they need.

As they live on the streets, struggling with illnesses that may range from paranoia to psychosis, the majority of people walk by, ignore them, mock them and moralize about what homeless people should do about their predicament.

Mental illness is not a moral issue. Unfortunately, mental illness is infinitely more complicated than physical diseases. We have imbued mental illness with the aura of sin, morality and choice when, in fact, there is no choice, anymore than there is choice when someone suffers from leukemia.

There are few things more devastating than having a loved one become mentally ill and homeless. Last year, I lost my brother to the ravages of mental illness. He lost touch with people who cared about him, was evicted because of his illness and became homeless.

Each person who is homeless on the streets of Baltimore is someone's brother, son -- or, perhaps, mother.

A caring society considers its most unfortunate members worth protecting and ensures that they receive not just daily bread but also proper health care, including mental health care.

Kim Hewitt

Bel Air

Let's not dump the economic and environmental benefits of recycling

Craig Timberg is right that landfill space is not the issue ('Recycling hasn't lived up to hype," May 25). However, his analysis of recycling misinforms citizens by relying on poorly substantiated arguments discrediting recycling.

In contrast, we strongly support recycling because it offers proven environmental benefits, supports economic development and has been shown to be cost-effective. Recycling should play a vital role in every community's solid waste management program.

Recycling conserves natural resources and reduces pollution loadings from material extraction, harvesting and transportation. Manufacturing products from recycled materials almost always generates less pollution in the form of wastewater discharges and air emissions and requires less energy than when making products from virgin materials.

Nationally, the amount of energy conserved as a result of our nation's current recycling rate of 27.3 percent is enough to power more than 9 million households annually. This energy reduction also causes an added benefit of reducing the generation of global warming gases, as do other recycling benefits such as methane gas emission reduction and maintenance of carbon resources in forests.

Development of recycling businesses has proven to be an excellent way to create jobs and stimulate the local economy. For example, a recent study of 10 Northeastern states found that recycling employed more than 103,000 people -- 25 percent in materials processing and 75 percent in manufacturing.

As communities become more experienced with new recycling technologies, the cost of collecting recyclables has been shown to decrease substantially, making it competitive with disposal-only systems.

A growing number of communities across the United States is demonstrating that integrated waste-management programs

that include recycling can operate at lower costs than disposal-only programs. Mesa, Ariz., for example, has reduced its annual solid waste budget by more than $650,000 by fully integrating curbside recycling into its solid waste management system.

The bottom line is that recycling is an environmentally and economically efficient, sustainable materials management system that conserves natural resources and energy.

Robert Dellinger

Washington

The writer is director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's municipal and industrial solid waste division.

The front-page article debunking recycling ("Recycling hasn't lived up to hype," May 25) has produced several fine letters to the editor and an excellent editorial exclaiming many values of recycling.

Before nailing the lid on the recycling coffin, as the solid waste industry would have us do, an even broader perspective should be considered. The economic equation concluding that recycling costs more than it returns should factor in numerous environmental expenses that would occur without recycling.

The editorial and letters noted some. Other examples include having to burn more trash in Baltimore's incinerator, releasing more dioxin and other toxics into our airshed; having to convert more open space from forest or farmland to landfills, impoverishing our natural diversity; and having to depend more on imported foodstuffs, adding transportation and fuel costs.

No matter how well landfills are lined today, they will eventually leak and leach toxics into the ground water. While much of our paper is from pulpwood farms, those even-aged monocultures are devoid of a biodiversity of species.

Our natural world is losing species at an alarming rate, mostly as a result of our selfish appetites for more and more disposable items and our throw-away mentality. We will all become impoverished if we fail to curb our appetites or fail to develop a conservation mentality that includes recycling and purchasing recycled goods.

Ajax Eastman

Baltimore

In response to the recycling article ("Recycling hasn't lived up to hype," May 25), it seems that your writer missed some basic ecological understandings. The natural world recycles everything. No waste is created, and natural systems are efficient in converting used matter into new matter.

The problem with modern society is that we have assumed that we can live outside nature's laws and simply dump waste instead of finding ways to reuse or recycle it. Much of this waste is toxic, and even with the best of technologies, we cannot be certain that it will not leach into the environment and, consequently, our water and air. The waste that is not toxic and sent to landfills consumes precious agricultural or forest land.

The economic argument that recycling costs more looks only at the standard economic equations of hard dollars. How can we quantify the costs when an aquifer under a landfill is contaminated and all the surrounding residents have to buy bottled water for bathing and drinking? How do we quantify the loss of forest and habitat for a mammoth landfill and incinerator so that Americans can continue to grossly consume and dump?

Americans make up 5 percent of the world's population, yet we consume 25 percent of global resources and produce 50 percent of its waste. If the whole world lived as Americans, we would need three planets to sustain us.

There also is the question of the contaminants from our waste stream and the health risks. This does not take into account the loss of biodiversity and other natural losses.

It is clear to experts that we are living off the principle and not the interest of our natural resources, and future generations are going to pay dearly.

We live on a planet with a limited set of resources. While the sun's energy is generous, and we are only beginning to learn how to tap it better, other resources are in much shorter supply. And efforts that we can make to continue to circulate resources in a multitude of ways needs to be encouraged.

Mare Cromwell

Baltimore

Recently, The Sun ran a front-page article bemoaning the recycling program as a huge waste of time. Among comments made in the article was one that stated there is plenty of room for more landfills within our country. Let's start with that comment.

Anyone who has visited a sanitary landfill can attest to the fact that this is not the type of business that can go anywhere. Landfills pose serious problems for our environment, which are much more problematic than just the smell. There is the very realistic problem of ground water contamination from leachate escaping from the landfill.

Second, the mere thought that we have more than enough land to continue building landfills is absurd. We are losing forest and farmland every day in Baltimore County to continued development. We should be doing whatever we can to preserve our remaining open land and work to extend the lives of our existing landfills.

Our society seems to have a disposable mentality, no matter how much time and effort is put into environmental education. Recycling allows post-consumer materials to be used to create new items, which means fewer raw materials and less energy are used in the process. Just taking much of the post-consumer waste out of the stream helps to extend the life of a landfill.

While Baltimore County has a program to help explain the advantages of recycling, much more work is needed to help people understand how recycling helps all of us in the long run.

One thing we can all do is become informed consumers and buy recycled products when possible and look for containers that have post-consumer content.

By purchasing certain types of products, we can send a message to businesses that we use recycled products because we understand the importance of recycling.

Erica Finkelstein-Parker

Baltimore

As a retired mechanical-environmental engineer in the field for more than 20 years, I must take exception to many of the statements in the article ("Recycling hasn't lived up to hype," May 25).

Cost-benefit analyses are often slanted to favor a preconceived opinion. For example, the author states that there is plenty of landfill space. Not so, especially in large urban areas. Some cities pay as much as $100 a ton to have their garbage hauled away to poorer locations in the Midwest.

Recycling also conserves valuable, irreplaceable raw materials, which are in decline.

Ernest M. Stolberg

Baltimore

Pub Date: 6/06/98

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