21st-Century Blues

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Outside magazine, October 2000

21st-Century Blues

TOO OFTEN, the media only skim over politicians’ positions, neglecting substance for candidate babble. So I enjoyed “Campaign 2000” (August), Outside‘s package on the environmental records of this year’s candidates. The environment is one of the clearest dividing factors between Al Gore and George W. Bush, one of whom will determine how we enjoy our favorite sports—will our rivers be polluted, our lungs burned by dirty air, our mountaintop vistas obscured by smog? The
failure of the American people to place Gore in office would result in Bush’s undoing, undercutting, and weakening many of the good environmental policies that have been made during Clinton’s administration.

Renee Leta
Salt Lake City, Utah

IT IS APPARENT that Al Gore (“Presidential Timber,” August) is your hands-down favorite, while George W. Bush gets damned with very faint praise. The present administration in Washington has continuously assaulted the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments for
the past seven and a half years. Question: Do you want to live in a U.S.A. in which Al Gore and his eco-socialist Supreme Court appointees have decimated both American business and our Constitution? Political reeducation camps, etc., would soon become the norm while we lived in barracks and made love in the weeds like those happy Cubans are forced to

Frank E. Millis Sr.
Wheat Ridge, Colorado

I WAS SURPRISED to read Al Gore’s statement, “I’ve cut back on the size of my motorcades quite a bit, but so long as we face the terrorist threat that we do, they insist upon the heavy armored vehicles. They don’t come in solar form.” Actually, Mr. Gore, they do. The problem you face seems to me to be the same problem the American public is facing: a
growing awareness of dire ecological problems combined with a busy schedule and little time or inclination to change ingrained automobile driving and purchasing habits, which are at the core of our environmental troubles. I would be happy to build an armored electric limo for you, complete with solar charging station, in cooperation with qualified
corporations and individuals here in Colorado and elsewhere. Commissioning an electric limo project would be a powerful symbol of our ability to change technologies without sacrificing performance.

Mike Patterson
Longmont, Colorado

A Strong Cup of T.

IF I OWNED THE MAGAZINE, I would promote the editor who selected “Down from the Trees” (August), the excerpt from T. Coraghessan Boyle’s new novel, A Friend of the Earth. I mean, really, let’s stop just rearranging the deck chairs on the
environmental Titanic and take something of a stand to preserve what’s still wild, mysterious, biologically diverse, and beautiful. If we continue to coast along the current of environmental degradation driven only by fun, then we deserve extinction.

Erec Toso
Tucson, Arizona

Roll Model
I THOROUGHLY ENJOYED Andrew Tilin’s article on Marla Streb (“Marla Streb’s Mind-Body Problem,” July). Of course the beautiful photo of Marla (which is now my computer wallpaper) initially caught my attention, but I found the story about her wild life a real page-turner. To
start a new sport in one’s early thirties is inspirational; to start downhill mountain biking is…well, completely insane! Best of luck to Streb and her boyfriend, Scott, on their journey to a Buffetesque retirement on their boat, Indifference.

Gordon Beesley
Longmont, Colorado

MY WIFE DECLARED that she has a new attitude on the downhills after reading the article on Marla Streb. Three hours and 17 stitches later, she was still inspired. Thank you for the great piece.

Miles Canfield
Ketchum, Idaho

Rare Treat
I CANNOT BELIEVE Outside is advocating consumption of an imperiled species. In “GU Fighters” (Bodywork, August) chef Dan Berman offers a recipe for grilled swordfish. The possible collapse of the swordfish fishery due to indiscriminate harvest of
juvenile swordfish is well known; similar warnings were sounded about the codfish fishery off the Georges Bank in the Northeast, but nothing was done by the authorities until the entire fishery collapsed. Must this species also be pushed to the brink of extinction to feed the appetites of a bunch of self-absorbed, SUV-driving “athletes”?

Peter Lai
Hartford, Connecticut

Marsh Mellow
AS AN AVID BAYOU KAYAKER, I found Mark Jenkins’s story about Atchafalaya Swamp (The Hard Way, July) very refreshing. Louisiana’s rivers and streams are quite different from the rushing whitewater that Outside usually covers. There’s something
sublime about being on a cypress swamp or coastal marsh at sunrise. In my off-the-beaten-path paddling trips around Louisiana I’ve camped in the ruins of a Civil War fort in Barataria Bay (hangout of the infamous pirate Jean Laffite), had dolphins breaching alongside my kayak off the coast of Bastian Bay, and fished next to hibernation-lethargic alligators
longer than my Perception Sanibel in Alligator Bayou. Atchafalaya is a magical place—I was wondering when Outside would recognize it.

Kristian Sonnier
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Eyewitness Identification
GREAT ARTICLE on the 29er sailboat (“Ready About—the Rush is Back,” Dispatches, July,). It’s all true, and the boats are incredible. We’ve clocked our 29er in the low-20-knot range on San Diego Bay. But I need to correct one thing: The middle picture on page 24 is of Tyler
McKay and my son Jeffrey Boyd, not Jon Bell and Freddie Stevens.

Brent R. Boyd
San Diego, California

Correspondence may be sent by e-mail ( or addressed to the Letters Editor, Outside, 400 Market St., Santa Fe, NM 87501. Please include your full name and address.

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