I've largely stayed out of the ongoing debate within the blogger community of the relative merits of providing links versus writing your own material because the subject doesn't particularly interest me. Even though my interest in blogging was triggered by wood s lot, I've always focused on writing my own essays and providing links as best I could. Partially that's been determined by the content of my blog. I'm writing about self-discovery, and I am THE expert in that field. After all, I'm discovering MYSELF. Also, as a life-long reader and English teacher, I feel pretty confident discussing literature, even though I'm purposely not providing the kind of in-depth analysis required by some colleges. It turns out that part of who I am, though, is someone who is concerned not just about himself but about others and about the evironment that we all have to grow out of. It's when I am interested in these areas outside my expertise, though, that I think direct linking makes the best sense. Now, I can rant about a topic as well as anyone I know. Unfortunately, although ranting may provide motivation to get involved, it doesn't provide the information needed to make intelligent decisions. That requires information and opinions that can only be provided by experts in the field. I have some very strong opinions about the environment, and I like to think that I know more about it than the average person. However, I know I don't have the kind of expertise to make sound decisions here. If I had all the time in the world, I would probably just write extensive research papers on these topics and break the papers down into manageable, or not-so-manageable, entries. The trouble is that I don't have that kind of time. So I'm going to have to rely on a short summary essay and provide the kinds of links that can give an in-depth analysis. Unfortunately, I'm not the wood s lot of links, so even this set of links, like my earlier attempts to discuss NAFTA's Chapter 11, will probably be inadequate. Still, it's better than sitting around doing nothing and feeling bad about it and yourself. I'm not going to devote my life to saving the environment, but neither am I going to sit around quietly watching it be destroyed.