Favorite Topics

September 8th, 2008

Thank you for the May/June BAM. In particular, I appreciated the honest, timely, and relevant feature articles: "The Planet Will Be Fine" and "Bringing up Baby." As a graduate of the Brown geology department and a critic of overdeveloped consumerism, I was happy to see these issues addressed in the magazine and interested to learn about current research related to global warming and the energy crisis.

I also appreciated the editor's candid discussion of the less-than-straightforward decisions you must make to reduce BAM's carbon footprint. Too often superficial attempts to gain positive PR drown out the very real need to consider the whole picture and make wise, long-term decisions.

I must confess that in the past I have not been a devoted reader of BAM, but I now realize that I have been missing out and will pay more attention to it from now on.

Thanks again.

Amanda Tyson Stahl '97
Pullman, Wash.



My two favorite topics in one magazine: climate change and parenting. I left Brown (and the Univ. of Washington MPA program) having written two theses on state and local planning to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses. Boy, if only folks had started paying attention back in 1992!

After the birth of my first child in 2000, I gradually moved away from international environmental work and focused on more intimate matters: natural childbirth and breast-feeding. I found that helping couples achieve unmedicated births and breast-feed their children helped fulfill my desire to help heal the world. Lately I've been talking up ways that parents can combine parenting with reducing their carbon footprint. Your article "Bringing Up Baby" highlights this perfectly.

Babies really need very few things: mom, mom's milk, clean diapers, a few outfits, and a sling or soft baby carrier. All the rest—except maybe mom's partner if she has one—is gravy. There's a huge industry out there heavily invested in convincing new parents that they are inadequate and that only their plastic (or fair-trade or organic) device or object stands between the helpless new infant and certain destruction. This infanticizing of parents erodes their confidence, and bolsters sales of monitors, cribs, pacifiers, and formula. How about a different approach: buy less stuff, and parent more intuitively.

Betsy Hyman Hoffmeister '92
Seattle, Wash.

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Related Issue
September/October 2008