For several years I have been an avid subscriber-reader of your fine magazine. It is my personal belief that you have provided sportsmen and nonsportsmen alike with a tremendous wealth of informative material. No article, however, has been more provocative or enlightening than Lord Ritchie-Calder's Mortgaging the Old Homestead (Feb. 2). The pollution and erosion of our environment through human means is the gravest matter of our time and well worth the concern of any journalistic publication, especially one concerned with sport and its relation to man.
As a writer, I was greatly moved by this article. As a human being I am greatly ashamed that mankind is pursuing the course it has at present set for itself. I am happy to see that the editors of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED have spoken out through Lord Ritchie-Calder's article for those of us who wish to preserve the earth as we know it. I hope others will take notice and see, smell and hear that, as Lord Ritchie-Calder wrote: "We have mortgaged the old homestead and nature is liable to foreclose."
Lord Ritchie-Calder's low-key, unemotional discussion of the destruction of our environment certainly touched all the bases. The implications are chilling, especially when one realizes how essential it is that we have rapport and communication between the scientific and political leaders of the world—to a degree that has never before existed.
It is indeed gratifying to see your fine publication doing its part to keep us aware of the problems—and, hopefully, the solutions.
KARL W. GLANDER
February 16, 1970
After reading Lord Ritchie-Calder's article I was left with the feeling that man has reached a critical point in his history. The worldwide pollution problem must be faced and conquered if we are to continue enjoying the magnificence of our dwindling open spaces. This can only be accomplished with the utmost cooperation among the peoples of cities, states and nations.
We will certainly progress, because it is in our nature to look for newer, if not always better, ways of living and expressing ourselves. However, man should try to develop an unselfish perspective, one that recognizes the fact that there are other creatures on this planet also.
It is a public service for SPORTS ILLUSTRATED to devote valuable space to articles like Ritchie-Calder's. Perhaps you will help to awaken the human race to confront this menace of pollution and to right the wrongs which we have committed.
I agree with you. The reprinting of Mortgaging the Old Homestead deserves the widest readership.
One of the potent thoughts: "When the device exploded at Alamogordo on July 16, 1945, and made a notch mark in history from which Man's future would be dated, the safebreakers had cracked the lock of the nucleus before the locksmiths knew how it worked."
It is ironic as well as extremely sad that our so-called "best minds" have invented the devices that have befouled our beautiful earth. Our earth is now damaged to almost the point of no return.
EARL B. COYLE
My compliments to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and Lord Ritchie-Calder for his concise and perceptive look at our environment. Rightfully, it was a gloomy picture, but without suggested solutions. Man must profit from two great mistakes he has made: 1) his ridiculous and absurd attempt to "beat" the environment into submission with chemicals; and 2) his failure to appropriate money for biological scientific control rather than chemical control. The average graduate school student is much more likely to go into the chemical or atomic industry than the environmental-control field because of grants given to these schools for chemical research. Our answers lie in subtle biological aids, not in poisonous chemicals and ruthless clubbing. Only when mankind is willing to sacrifice his absurd fascination for chemicals and atoms and look toward Rachel Carson's "Other Road" of biological and chemical sophistication can we avoid disaster.
To your excellent article on the destruction of the environment, let me add, as a postscript, a quote contained in an article by Dr. Paul Ehrlich, "Eco-Catastrophe!" in Ramparts: "It is the top of the ninth inning. Man, always a threat at the plate, has been hitting Nature hard. It is important to remember, however, that Nature bats last."
The article was, to say the least, very interesting. I am 14 years old and if we keep polluting the world my children won't live to have children.
You can see many effects of pollution in this area. The foggy mornings when you can see the pollution, the dirty Fox River with algae where my mother once was able to swim.
In Chicago you can see smoke pouring out of factories. Most times when you go there, you can't even see the top of the John Hancock building, and it smells horrid.
I hope in the future you will have more articles like this.
Your Mortgaging the Old Homestead is the best article, and the most important, I've read for years. Please make it available in reprints.
T. W. MARSHALL
NOT DA KINE
Re Mrs. Robert Gilfoy's letter (19TH HOLE, Feb. 2), how long could Mrs. Gilfoy have possibly lived in Hawaii to refer to something so absurdly imaginary as "Primo beer cans"? She obviously prefers mai tais and such, so popular with the little old kamaaina ladies, because otherwise she'd know that Primo comes in bottles and there is no such thing as a Primo beer can.
I object strenuously to Reader W. C. Young's comment (19TH HOLE, Jan. 26) about "repressive librarians who threaten to cancel their subscriptions because of the 'obscene' pictures." I'm a librarian and I wear those kinds of swimsuits. Go back to the library, Mr. Young, you'll see we've changed.
Congratulations on William Johnson's great series on TV's impact upon sports (Dec. 22 et seq.). We are a sports-minded people who have gained much from our commitment. And we have long passed the point when we can continue to let television run loose throughout our nation, propelled by little but irresponsible corporate greed.
The Kerner Commission showed us that TV contributed to deteriorating race relations. The Eisenhower Commission has documented its impact upon violence. Joe McGinniss (The Selling of the President 1968) has revealed its takeover of the very political fiber of our national life. William Johnson's analysis of TV's distortion of our sports heritage ranks with these studies. It is a high contribution to general public understanding of television's appalling failure to deliver even a small percentage of its vast potential for improving the quality of American life.
Federal Communications Commission Washington
TIME TO ACT
I applaud your editorial of Jan. 26 (SCORECARD) in which you justly condemn the NCAA for the excessive punishments handed down to Yale and San Jose State. The actions taken in these two cases furnish ample evidence of the irrational thinking that goes on in the minds of NCAA President Walter Byers and the rest of the association's leadership. These two incidents demonstrate the manner in which the NCAA has subordinated the welfare of the college athlete to a chance for another victory in its long feud with the AAU, another organization guilty of indulging in such selfish politics. How many more years must the NCAA-AAU war prevent the U.S. from fielding the best teams in international competition?
An answer to these questions might be found in a proposal offered by the late General Douglas MacArthur when he served as mediator in the NCAA-AAU dispute in January 1963. MacArthur suggested that following the 1964 Olympic Games, the President of the United States might call an athletic congress into being. Such a congress, composed of representatives of athletic associations, leading athletes, educators and sportswriters, would devise a permanent plan under which American participation in international games would be governed. The unjust suspensions of Yale and San Jose State clearly show that the time has come for those interested in amateur athletics to request the formation of such a congress by President Nixon.
ROBERT A. WOLF
Address editorial mail to TIME & LIFE Bldg., Rockefeller Center, New York, N.Y. 10020.