This is not a letter to second-guess Harold Henderson's "thinking" or motives in his almost surprising article concerning what he sees as a bogus environmental crisis ["Envi- ronment: The Manufactured Crisis," September 16]. An article based on a book written by members of the Heartland Institute, admittedly a "market-oriented think tank," and on another book which refers to the ecological movement as "totalitarian" is difficult to take seriously. The author claims in one of his statistics that "U.S. wooded acreage has increased 20 percent in the last 20 years (Journal of Forestry, November 1990)" as if rows of similar trees could be anything like a forest. This stuff is not worth second-guessing or refuting. Henderson does write a good "City File" except for occasional (and recent) lapses in the area of ecology.
The question is why did the Reader publish this article? Why not just pat Harold on the head and tell him, "Harold, this is not only silly stuff, but potentially harmful. All of your conclusions have been formed by the hacks that write for agribusiness and by other corporate public relations types. This is not a Reader article--even though we'd like to help, after all, you do write for us."
But it is a Reader article with a headline on the front page suggesting we look inside for a piece that tells us about the big lie of environmentalism. This same issue of the Reader has a cartoon done by a regular ["The City"] that displays several hippie looking "Baby Boomers" examining their own belly buttons. Is this the new Reader? Will you be renamed (I got it) The New Re-pub . . . (ah, no . . . ah, yes!) The New Reader!?