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Is It Really Eco-Wizardry or Just the Same Old Dollars?

March 15, 1998

How arrogant are we to think we can continue to process natural resources into straws, cups, burger cartons and ketchup packets, only to use them for about an hour, then dump them into a landfill ("The Eco-Wizard," by Alan Weisman, Jan. 11)?

This is but one example of our convenience-driven culture gone crazy.

But just as we have led the world into this problem, so we should lead the way out. John Picard offers many practical solutions to overconsumption. We should listen.

Wayne Hart

Long Beach

*

The term eco-wizard, coined for a guy involved in the destruction of the last remaining wetlands so that DreamWorks employees can "stroll" to work and arrange for a baby-sitter over the Internet, gives the word hypocrisy a whole new slant.

There's nothing visionary here. The 20th century model of capitalism that inextricably linked progress, growth and development and put money in developers' hands is the same old tenet guiding our eco-wizards into the next century. It's all about money, and the wetlands will be gone forever.

So what else is new?

Marie O'Reilly McFarland

Solana Beach

*

Picard's career successes offer excellent testimony that concern for saving our planet is not only environmentally sound but economically beneficial as well. But contrast Picard's house, made entirely of recycled materials, with the very attractive house of Jo Davis, in which 21 varieties of wood were used. The Davis house does look great (although arguably no better than the "recycled" house), but it is ecologically unsound.

If we continue cutting down the world's forests for houses like Davis', thousands of species of plants and animals no longer will have a place to live and thrive, resulting in severe destruction of the world's environment.

Dillu Ann Ashby

Los Angeles

*

Picard's commitment demonstrates that one's personal life and one's business life can indeed fulfill environmental values. As a teacher and leader, his impact is profound.

Too bad that influence didn't stretch to a few more pages in the same issue; your SoCal Style article featured a profoundly non-eco Craftsman structure ("Wood for Welcome Warmth," by Michael Webb).

Unless there was a hidden reference to construction features such as used lumber, recycled materials, super energy-efficient windows and low-impact paints and coatings, this house exemplifies what Picard suggests should no longer be built. Just those 300 interlocking vertical-grain Douglas fir posts and beams translate into the destruction of a heck of a habitat, considering how much old-growth timber (the source of vertical grain) got clear-cut.

Next time show us a home that's just as beautiful but one in which a lot more attention was paid to the high level of environmental performance that Picard shows is possible.

Michael S. Brown

Santa Barbara

*

Picard should decide what's really important to him, the economics or the ecology. He should listen to his neighbors across the marine channel and help save the Ballona Wetlands by finding 1634627444 Carey R. Walker

Los Angeles

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