Letters to the Editor

One of my class assignments for “International Political Economy” is to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper on the broad topic of what the U.S. policy should be in toward the world economy. This is not an uncommon assignment. Up through 5th grade, teachers have students write in as an exercise in writing and critical analysis. What is uncommon about this assignment was that for the first time, my grade depended on whether I was published or not. A- for a local newspaper, A for a regional newspaper, and A+ for a national newspaper.

I submitted my letter to the San Francisco Chronicle and it was published this morning:

‘Greening’Editor — I am jealous of the “Like Christmas” Earth Day celebrations this past weekend in the Bay Area. After all, more hybrid cars than ever zoom up and down the hills of San Francisco. More families than ever cram aisles to get organic produce at Whole Foods. I bet some have even sprung for a carbon offset offered by PG&E to become “carbon neutral.”

But should we really be celebrating when the “greening”’ of America does not include the poor? How many hybrid vehicles are parked in driveways in Oakland’s poorest neighborhoods? How many Bayview residents have bought organic produce lately?

It is clear that “greening” should be more universal. In terms of the world economy, the United States must lead with a policy that reflects a clear vision to build a “green economy” to lift the poor out of poverty with “green jobs.” Perhaps then we can celebrate Earth Day with real exuberance, as if Santa left us presents under the tree.

I guess it helps to know I can hook a San Francisco audience and know the readers well. Years of Two Cents entries helped too…