Letters for December 2 

Readers sound off on Chevron, KPFA, green tech in Berkeley, and more.

Page 3 of 4

Cassady Toles, Alameda


"Activists Try to Block Green Tech in Berkeley," Eco Watch, 11/11

What's Your Agenda?

These days when I read or listen to the news, I always ask, "What do they want me to believe?"  I can only assume that by allowing (instructing?) Robert Gammon to write his asinine hit piece on older, ponytailed, hippie Sixties activist types, opposing the so-called "green tech" corridor in West Berkeley, that he is representing the Express' agenda. And who do you work for East Bay Express?

Yes, I am skeptical of big moneyed development in our town. Are we just supposed to trust UC Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who bring us nuclear and biological weapons, to bring us "green" jobs? I guess the latest spin is that even nuclear is "green" when you are desperate. Sometimes I wonder if people are being programmed by their technological gadgets to fall for this kind of PR. I am not seeing much questioning. Do we trust the universities with their current agenda of raising tuition fees (32 percent) and raising administrative salaries while busily privatizing our once-vaunted and envied public higher education system?

When all else fails trot out the NIMBY word. By cracky, back when I was an activist against toxic waste incinerators being located along 880, they called us NIMBYS. It is really just a guilt-tripping word coined by rich developers and those who stand to benefit monetarily, including paid-off politicians, who would purport that "toxic sludge is good for you" in order to further their own ends. The reasoning is that we should all be willing to do our part and accept a little of the toxic burden, for the sake of "progress" (of course, some will accept more than others). Should we each be required to store a small box of nuclear waste?

Just who are the hypocrites? The questioning "hippies" or the manipulative developers who are using phony concern for the environment as a slick way of getting us to relinquish local control when the economy is down. It wouldn't be the first time.

We shouldn't be railroaded into accepting bogus solutions to environmental problems, and the public should have the right to critique those proposals. If you think about it, technology has gotten us into the fix we are in. Do we blindly trust scientists paid by corporations to bring us even more technology with the usual requisite side effects? This may turn out to be yet another boondoggle that makes money for corporations and does very little to help the environment or create jobs. Maybe low tech is the way to go. I can hear Robert Gammon jeering me now.

Vivian Warkentin, Berkeley

Green Is Too White

Robert Gammon was a much more interesting writer before he became an Environmental Jesuit and started doing "Chicken Little" journalism. All that effort for the sake of futility!

The "environmental movement" is too little too late. But even if it weren't, it would fail miserably anyway. Why? Because, like Zero Population Growth years ago, the "green" movement is too white.

Do you really believe all those so-called "minorities" which are actually a majority), both those in and out of this country, are going to give up their bourgeois ambitions (the ones they learned enviously watching us) just because we imperatively demand they do so? What you will get for your trouble is this attitude:

"So, you (white) Americans have gotten rich from over 150 years of heavy industry and race/class exploitation, but now when it's OUR TURN, you're telling us forget all that; forget about getting rich and living the high life; now, it's THE ENVIRONMENT. You know what? Up yours and the environment."

America has set a Babylonian example in world politics for so long, the backlash and fallout are now irreversible.

As for us "old hippies;" the so-called "Hippie Movement" was about personal freedom, not "political correctness." Political correctness bears the same relationship to personal freedom as Stalinism bears to true Marxism; that is why many of us "old hippies" reject it. And, now that most of us are in our senior years, why would we want to sacrifice any of our pleasures, privileges, and conveniences (in the little time we have left) for the sake of some conjectured disaster in a distant future we will never live to see? Please!

To add perspective, I have appended excerpts from a letter of one of the most brilliant men in history:

"Whenever someone consults me on a matter of importance, I first consider whether he is willing to listen to my advice. If I have not been asked, or if it is not present it unsolicited, as for compulsion, I never exact it, not even on my own son. If they (people) have a set way of life which pleases them, though it may not please me, it is not for me to make enemies of them with useless rebukes. When reformation is not forthcoming, the wise man will simply keep quiet and pray." — Plato, Epistle VII.

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