National Geographic : 2009 Oct
doing the math, we made the decision for me to stay home, sacriﬁcing our health insurance. The kids have Medicaid. We do without many things we used to take for granted. If my husband hadn’t received a lifetime subscription to your magazine as a child, we wouldn’t receive it. We reluctantly accept government assistance to feed our family. This morning, I was mired in self-pity and grumbling about the state of our ﬁnances. Four out of ﬁve meals consist of beans and rice, and I was sick of it. I headed upstairs to nurse the baby. As I settled down with my son in my arms, I turned to the picture on page 36 depict- ing a starving baby in Ethiopia. My eyes ﬁlled with tears of shame. I couldn’t help but compare that withered little boy with the chubby infant on my lap. That boy is no less cher- ished than my child. I bet if his mother were plunked down in my life, she wouldn’t know what to make of her good fortune. She wouldn’t have time to complain. She’d be too busy cooking the beans and rice I disdain, planting vegetables in our yard, and feeding her child. MELISANDE TIMBLIN Durham, North Carolina We need to understand that factory farming of animals adds to the problem of starvation rather than diminishes it. The real solutions are increasing vegetarian eating, eliminating subsidies for agriculture, and encouraging population control. JOELLEN GILCHRIST Beverly Hills, Michigan How about we start reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and fertilizers for those overly green lawns? I’d love to see the expansive front lawns of giant houses planted with gardens. DIANA LAURENITIS Canton, Massachusetts Deep Southern Caves I’ve had recurring nightmares since childhood related to my only two great fears: drowning and getting stuck in an under- ground tunnel. Your photo- graphs often trigger strong emotional reactions for me, but the image on pages 138-9 of John Benson wriggling under solid rock through standing water was the ﬁrst to give me heart palpitations. KARL NELSON Arlington, Virginia ©2009 Discover Bank, Member FDIC Discover® gives you a Cashback Bonus® on every single purchase.What you do with it is up to you. What will you get back with your cash back? ?