Readers Respond to the April/May 2023 Issue

Your feedback on wildfire prevention, Westminster Abbey and more

Fighting Fire With Fire

Every year my heart breaks at the devastation and loss from forest wildfires (“Under Control,” April/May 2023). It is heartening to learn that communities are coming together to take the lead in preventing this loss and devastation. It seems counterintuitive to “burn” to prevent fires, but the data shows that it works. Going back to the old ways isn’t always a bad thing. —K Spezia | Queens, New York

For too long, many folks have looked to the government for answers when, in fact, programs like these work so much better. What an uplifting story about citizens helping each other. The results speak for themselves, and if government programs continue, they should be modeled after these citizen initiatives. Wildfires are here to stay and will no doubt expand in intensity. These programs are needed not just for the survival of residents, but the forests themselves. —Thomas Foster | Eugene, Oregon

Inside Westminster

Crowns, Choirs and Crypts” (April/May 2023) tells the history of the abbey and evokes the spiritual mystique of the place at the same time. The world so recently mourned the queen there. We can see Charles III’s coronation in the context of the progression of historical events that have taken place in this hallowed space. Thank you for the history. Thank you for introducing us to the people devoted to its care and management. Thank you for including the garden. —Colleen Dwyer Crawford | Indio, California

I absolutely loved this article. It makes me want to go back to London for another visit. I could almost smell the musty aroma of ancient (and not so ancient) British history. I hoist a pint to Edward the Confessor and all who came after him. —Don Lukenbill | Los Angeles

Powered by Methane

Waste Not” (April/May 2023) was fascinating and even electrifying. But I got short-circuited when I discovered that you identified a pair of boot-foot chest waders as “well-worn overalls.” I’d be wearing those waders if I worked at the Goodrich Farm! —John Stanard | Poplar Bluff, Missouri

In a time when there is so much discouraging coverage of climate change, warming of earth and climate catastrophes, it was uplifting to read about a safe and sane way to use methane for power, while avoiding the use of manure, which could pollute nearby streams and land through runoff. What a win-win scenario! Thanks for a great article, which left me hopeful. —Bella Romain | Roswell, New Mexico

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This article is a selection from the June 2023 issue of Smithsonian magazine

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