National Geographic : 2011 Sep
LETTERS Like Bangladesh, India has much to worry about with rising sea levels. The threat is not only to megametropolises like Mumbai. India has been the catch basin for Bangladeshi refugees. Already estimates have up to 20 million Bangla- deshis living in India. Corrupt politicians have used them as vote banks by providing them with food ration cards, which serve as proof of citizenship in India. Not only has this caused strains on already poor infra- structures, it has also masked the successes of India's family planning efforts---and enhanced Bangladesh's. The pressure of climate change refugees will tax India the most. The world would do well to recall the backlash seen in the United States to similar numbers of Spanish-speaking migrants, even though the host country is larger and richer than India. SUBHASH BHAGWAT Urbana, Illinois In 1963 I was assigned to East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, as a member of the Pakistan Army's Special Operations Group. At that time the population of East Pakistan was 55 million. The crowding and poverty in Dhaka were so great that beggars traveled in groups of 20 or so. They would occupy a shop until the proprietor gave them something to be rid of them. I met a USAID agricultural engineer who told me that in spite of the childhood death rate from disease and malnu- trition and the deaths from cyclone-induced floods, there seemed to be another million or so mouths to feed every year. Now you report that there are 164 million people in Bangla- desh. I don't know how they can possibly survive. WELLS B. LANGE Lafayette, Colorado Bangladesh has been written off ever since it gained inde- pendence from Pakistan after a civil war 40 years ago. The simple genius of converting contaminated rice fields to shrimp beds, floating gardens, and floating schools is a testimony to the notion that human beings have an endless capacity to survive despite an increasingly inhospitable environment. The amazing people of Bangladesh probably see overpopulation as a resource rather than a crisis. MICHAEL G. BUITING Ottawa, Illinois The story's premise is that we can learn much from the people of Bangladesh. I fail to see one lesson in the article that could be applied by a resident of a flooding Miami or New York. However, there is a lesson there. It's that I don't want to embrace the Bangladeshi lifestyle. THOMAS GEISLER Hayward, California Visions of Earth I always thought that Yogi Bear was male, but you have proved me wrong. Your picture on pages 18-19 shows a female bear obviously practicing a yoga pose. Hence she is a yogi, and thus she is Yogi Bear. JOHN PATTERSON Cross Village, Michigan I suggest that Mimmi the brown bear of Finland is far more interested in putting insulating fur between herself and the intense summer-heated rocks on which she's seated than she is in performing tricks. DIANE BEDELL Oakley, Utah Wild: A Clear Danger I have an easy solution to the problem of birds hitting window glass. Purchase a package of garden netting, the thin, black mesh used to protect plants from birds. Then cut a piece of mesh the size of your window and tape it directly to the exterior of the glass. I use a two-inch piece of clear packing tape in each corner to hold it in place. That's it. You have now created a "visual fence," which breaks up the reflection that birds see. They won't fly into the window. The mesh is fairly inconspicuous to humans when viewed from the inside or outside. It lasts for years without having to be replaced. I have used this method for five years and have had no bird kills the entire time. Previously we had many, especially during spring and fall migrations. LINDSAY SOVIL Ely, Minnesota I always thought that Yogi Bear was male, but you have proved me wrong.