Addressing global warming locally
Last week, in a major address in the nation's capital, former Vice President Al Gore called for a 10-year plan to move the nation's entire energy supply to solar, wind and other renewable sources. What he failed to address is the massive role of meat production in the global climate crisis.
An authoritative 2006 report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization found that animal agriculture accounts for fully 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. That's more than automobiles! () It is also a major cause of land and water degradation.
Carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to operate feed growing tractors, factory farm and slaughterhouse machinery, trucks, and refrigeration equipment. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.
The good news is that each of us can do our part to reduce global warming without waiting 10 years. Our local supermarket stocks a rich variety of soy-based lunch "meats," hotdogs, veggie burgers, dairy products and ready-to-eat frozen dinners. Did I mention the cornucopia of fruits and vegetables that have always been readily available to us? More details are at .
Facing the facts: Concern over Ashland Gun Club
Ashland Gun Club members have stated in recent letters to the editor that concerns being raised about the gun club activities are not concerns about the environment, but are self-serving goals of a few people who live near the gun club. A few facts are necessary to broaden the picture.
162; In just over four days of signature gathering, 430 people signed a petition asking the city council to complete an environmental assessment before the gun club lease is renewed. Only two of the 430 signatories were people who own property near the gun club.
162; Lead toxicity from spent ammunition and its effects on humans and wildlife is of such concern that a conference was held at Boise State University in May 08. Information is available at: /Lead_conference/2008PbConf_Proceedings.htm
162; Citizens concerned about city fiscal liability, which ultimately means the liability of taxpayers, only have to search the Internet for "Shooting Range Clean Up Costs" to discover the incredible liability that gun clubs are leaving in their wake. An example can be found at: /2007/jan/24/local/me-gunrange24
162; Recent requests by the Citizens for Environmental and Fiscal Responsibility have acknowledged the education the gun club has offered to this community for the past 40 years. However, the effect of their use of the 32 acres on birds, wildlife, ground water and the Lithia Water Historical Sites is significant. Native Americans used this land and Emigrant Creek, which passes through the property, for thousands of years. This land is sacred and the life of all living beings, not just human beings, needs to be honored and upheld.
162; In 1990, the city council adopted the Valdez Principles, which state: "the City of Ashland, Oregon, has a direct responsibility for the environment. We will minimize and strive to eliminate the release of any pollutant that may cause environmental damage to air, water, or earth or its inhabitants. We will safeguard habitats in creeks, ponds, wetlands, natural areas." It is time for all of city council to live up to these adopted principles.
I urge everyone concerned about this issue to let the City Council know your opinions before the Aug. 5 council meeting. This is our last chance for the next 30 years to remind the city council that they represent all the citizens of Ashland.
Letters to the editor
Addressing global warming locally