Issue 510 | Correspondence | The Sun Magazine


Leath Tonino’s interview with Michael Soule [“We Only Protect What We Love,” April 2018] brought me to my knees. As someone who cares deeply about the environment, I grieve for the state of our world — and for the reality that change is unlikely because we are driven more by immediate gratification than by the long-term impact of our collective behaviors. It is a truth that I knew on some level but did not want to hear. I felt hopeful when Soule mentioned the possibility of a catastrophe that would wake people up, but my overriding response to the interview was one of sadness. I’m glad he described his emotional responses to nature and how change has to come from a place of love.

After reading the interview I listened to some of Soule’s talks and was again moved by his love of the natural world.

Farrell Sylvest Asheville, North Carolina

It was difficult for me to read Leath Tonino’s interview with Michael Soule because of the grim picture he paints of our dying ecosystem. It was additionally difficult because Soule failed to implicate the biodiversity-killing, overpopulation-producing, and health-destroying animal-agriculture industry. With ten farmed animals for every person on earth, animal agriculture consumes and pollutes nature in pace with dirty energy and dirty fuel.

Carla Golden Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Michael Soule is an admirable man with much wisdom about the natural world, but he lacks an understanding of (or fails to acknowledge) contemporary environmentalism’s vital union with the fight for social justice.

Our culture’s selfish, ecologically rapacious behavior is not universal, despite Soule’s assertions. There have, in fact, been cultures in which a deep ecological worldview was the norm. To quote activist and author Naomi Klein, “these systems existed and still exist, but they are erased every time we say that the climate crisis is a crisis of ‘human nature.’ ” These largely indigenous cultures have been brutalized but are resilient.

Young environmental activists are solidifying the connection between human rights and the rights of nature. In failing to acknowledge this essential strand of contemporary environmentalism, Soule either can’t or won’t see the promise of civilizations that offer us a wiser way to live.

Daniela Naomi Molnar Portland, Oregon

I’m a mental-health provider in five medical clinics, and your March 2018 issue resonated with me. Tracy Frisch’s interview with Andrew Coates [“The End of Insurance?”] has me longing for a single-payer healthcare system where profiteering will no longer be a stressful and unethical area of concern.

Diana Mariani Bloomington, Illinois

At the age of eighty-four I had decided not to renew my subscription to The Sun because the small print is hard to read, and the subject matter is sometimes a downer.

Then the March 2018 issue arrived with Sparrow’s essay “Goodbye, Patriarchy!” I think I am in love. I immediately wrote a check for two more years. I need a dose of Sparrow every now and then to remember that the whole world has not gone insane.

Patricia Hadley Massillon, Ohio

“Goodbye, Patriarchy!” provides an insightful overview of where humanity stands today, along with hope for the future. Contrary to its importance, it was tucked away in the back of the issue and easy to overlook. Sparrow’s essay deserved more prominent placement.

Robert G. Blakesley Boothbay Harbor, Maine

I was stunned to read “Goodbye, Patriarchy!” — an essay written by Sparrow, a man who confesses to entering a woman’s home uninvited and watching her while she slept; tells a story of a “friend” who raped an unconscious woman; uses scare quotes around the word ecofeminist; and describes having absorbed patriarchal ideals to such an extent that his inner voice persistently called him a “faggot” for writing poetry — an equation of masculinity with heterosexuality that he neglects to interrogate.

Surely this is not the time for men to continue dominating the conversation.

Jade Hurter New Orleans, Louisiana

Patricia Engel’s story “The Book of Saints” [March 2018] is a powerful depiction of love in our imperfect world. And Lee Durkee’s essay “Hospital Runs,” in that same issue, captured the reality of human frailty so completely that I felt I was living it, not just reading it. I will keep my eye out for more by these authors.

Julia Allen Oakland, California

In “Dizzy” [July 2017] Rachel Weaver recounts her struggle with an illness that wasn’t properly diagnosed until she’d visited thirty-six professionals. I have friends and family with similarly horrifying stories. When they are finally provided a treatment that works, I always suggest they send a note to the doctors who misdiagnosed them, letting the doctors know what the problem turned out to be and what treatment was successful. Sharing the outcome might prevent other patients from having to endure years of suffering.

Louise Richer Wakefield, Rhode Island

Thank you for the wonderful archives on your website. Many times I have discussed a favorite article and been unable to locate it or even remember the title. I have sent Derrick Jensen’s interview with Paul Stamets about fungi [“Going Underground,” February 2008] to a friend, along with Cary Tennis’s writing on creativity [“Citizens of the Dream,” June 2012]. My only problem now is that, after two hours on the archives, I haven’t completed my own writing for the day. I consider it time well spent.

Tina Danielsen San Diego, California

As a longtime reader I’ve noticed the deadly role alcohol has played in the lives of many of your writers and their families and loved ones. This destructiveness is passed down through generations and ruins relationships, employment, and education. While reading these stories, I say a word of thanks to my now-deceased parents, who didn’t keep a drop of alcohol in the house. My siblings and I never saw them — or our grandparents — take a swallow.

A livestock salesman once gave my dad a bottle of wine for Christmas. We laughed and asked Dad what he planned to do with it. It went down the kitchen drain.

As a retired social worker, I have seen many people bury their feelings with drinking, resulting in an array of personal, medical, and social complications. If the writers who shared their stories of lives ruined by drinking joined together and advocated for limits on alcohol advertising, perhaps more people would see it as a choice they can decline.

Lloyd Kaufman Des Moines, Iowa

I love the idea of a magazine free of ads and filled with thoughtful and elegiac literature. When I read The Sun, my heart opens. I loan my issues to people I believe need eyes that see and ears that hear. Some see and hear a bit more clearly; others consider me the local out-of-touch socialist.

Dennis Schmidt Chardon, Ohio

My mom says I have become “hardened.” I’m not quite sure what happened, but she’s right.

It could be working in New York City, or the business I am in, but sometimes I think it’s because, as a woman, I have to struggle daily not to be placed in the box where society would like to put me, to show I can handle anything a man can. Most days I’m too busy being tough to feel anything. But when your magazine arrives, I’m hit with a rush of emotions. After reading it, I am kinder to myself and others. I start to believe life is more than just an ordeal to survive. The Sun helps me feel human, if only for a day.

Josephine Rose Roberts South Orange, New Jersey
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