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Thursday March 29, 2001
A Letter To America
I want to wake you from you're inward looking slumber.

By Janet Norman-Philips, Contributor

LONDON (England)-- I'm middle aged, middle classed, work in computers in local government and have a comfortable life living in the British countryside with my husband. All in all I'm an average Brit.
    Growing up I remember listening to Alistair Cooke each week with his "letter from America". Amusing, ironic, a vast place of amazing people both like and unlike us. It seemed to be a good place, despite it's vastness a place where ordinary people lived who cared about what happened in their neighbourhoods, who had a sense of community, a belief in individual responsibility.
    Over the years I have counted many Americans amongst my friends. Good hearted people, direct people, a little loud maybe but decent, honest folk who were always there when it mattered.
     We are all shaped by our childhood, carrying our early prejudices and beliefs into adult life. Even now, when I hear a North American accent I pay more attention. I gladly cross the street in my hometown of London to help a tourist with a problem, whether they're lost or can't work out how to read a bus timetable. It's almost second nature.
     Now I don't know what to think or how to behave with you. We speak the same language but that's it. What has happened to you? Where have you gone? Did I just imagine you?
    Today I heard that George Bush has decided to walk away from the Kyoto agreement on pollution because it isn't in America's "economic interest". I want to scream. Rage. Shock. Horror. Despair. I want to take you by the shoulders and shake you. To wake you from you're inward looking slumber.
    Unless we do something to stop it, global warming will destroy every advance we have achieved in the last 2000 years. Our planet's weather is going to hell in a basket - floods, droughts, tornadoes and hurricanes.
    In the UK we've had nearly five feet of rain in the last 12 months - more than we've had since records began in the mid 1700's. Farmer's crops are dying in the fields across from my house - waterlogged. We could start growing rice, the problem with that is two years ago this area had less rainfall than the Sahara desert and we're told it will happen again.
    The rest of the planet's in no better shape - including the USA. The USA produces 24% of the greenhouse gasses in the world today. Do you care? Or are really just waving two fingers at the rest of us? I hope not - I thought you were better than that. I though we were friends.

[Editor's Note: Go to the "Kyoto story" as covered by The BBC. By the way, the weather forecast for London today is rain. The writer's e-mail address is jnphilips@gn.apc.org]

2001 Copyright, The Daily Republican Newspaper. All rights reserved.

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