<b>Awareness and obesity</b>

EDITOR: I read Deborah Cohen's Monday op-ed ("A conspiracy to keep you fat") with interest. I respectfully disagree that a government policy to protect people from "food cues and triggers," as instituted with alcohol, is the solution.

I wholeheartedly agree with Cohen when she states: "The ability to interrupt reflexive responses to food cues depends on many things. First is awareness." I believe that is the solution.

As Gandhi once said, "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." We should focus our efforts on tools that quiet the egoic mind, free us from the reactive mind and make us present. Awareness and nurturing the consciousness is the solution.



<b>Union clout</b>

EDITOR: Thank you for your Tuesday editorial ("Bringing blunt force to public works contracts"). I have one disturbing question on your statement that "local unions appear unwilling to agree to such compromise." Did I miss the election of unions to the Board of Supervisors? If the unions are unwilling to compromise, can't our elected officials omit them from consideration on projects? Do unions have so much power in the community that the work environment is unequal?


Santa Rosa

<b>Climate and weather</b>

EDITOR: A flurry of letters linked the recent cold snap to claims and disclaims of climate change. Thoughtful readers ought to consider the Associated Press article you published on Jan. 10 ("Are we becoming weather wimps?"). It summarized an analysis of weather data since 1900, concluding that cold snaps have occurred less and less frequently, especially since 1990, and that the most recent interval, from 1997 until this winter, is the longest in that history. So, the current cold snap is not an indication that climate change is not happening. On the contrary, the longer-term record indicates that it is happening.

We've also seen an increase in the frequency of very strong hurricanes, typhoons and tornadoes around the world. Why? Indisputably, the Earth and, notably, its oceans are warming overall, adding power to these storms.

The pattern varies geographically and over time because many factors disrupt the trend in the short run. Many of those factors are not well understood, and that gives room for certain people to deny the long-term trend, reflecting their vested financial interests, religious beliefs or political tribalism. Global warming and associated climate change are happening, and we must not ignore it or trivialize it.


Santa Rosa

<b>Redwoods not native?</b>

EDITOR: Reading Monday's headline about highway landscaping ("Redwoods out, native trees in on Hwy. 101"), I thought that redwoods somehow were no longer considered native to our area. Reading further, I discovered that it was just one man's use of the word "native" that made hundreds of cut down redwoods along the Highway 101 corridor in Sonoma County non-native trees.

I suspect James Cameron of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority would wish very much to downplay and hopefully defuse the public's outcry over this scenic devastation from south of Petaluma to Windsor caused by this clear-cutting of majestic redwoods. But it strikes me as disingenuous to say the trees aren't native because they were planted alongside the highway.

Years ago, I purchased several native ceanothus plants from my local nursery. More recently, native toyon, madrone and scrub oak have all sprouted on their own. According to Cameron's reasoning, my ceanothus might be considered non-native, especially if for whatever reason the plants required a lot of maintenance, while the others, so long as they survived, would always be considered native.