Letters: 11/21/19

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Kudos to Terrapin

Regarding the latest column by “Seymour”(Re: “Can the marijuana industry lead the way on a living wage?” Weed Between the Lines, Nov. 14, 2019): I commend Chris Woods, owner of the cannabis chain Terrapin Care Station, for taking the principled step of imposing a $15 internal minimum wage for all the company’s workers. As a cannabis user and weed store regular myself, I base my consumer decisions in part on both the labor and environmental practices of different businesses. Terrapin continues to impress.

The fact is, a sub-$15 wage is unacceptable for workers around the country, and especially in Boulder County; it’s unlivable and demeaning. The long-term health of a democracy has a lot to do with how we treat the less privileged among us.

Adam Hurter/Nederland

In support of a wealth tax

Ignore the doomsday-hand-wringers trying to make you think that the sky will fall if Elizabeth Warren’s Ultra-Millionaire tax is implemented. Fear not Coloradans, households with a net worth of less than $50 million are not affected. That’s 99%-plus of us. Polls show that introducing a wealth tax is an issue that a majority of Americans agree upon.

The formula is simple. The tax calls for a 2% annual tax on households with a net worth between $50 million and $1 billion and a 3% annual tax on households with a net worth over $1 billion. 

In accounting, your net worth is everything you own of significance (your assets) minus what you owe in debts (your liabilities). Assets include cash and investments, vacation homes, overseas tax shelters, yachts or anything else of value you own. 

Is it not too much to ask, that households that benefit to such an extent under our nation’s rule of law, to pay an extra 2 cents on the dollar on their wealth over $50 million to support out democratic ideals, and us, the 99%? 

Edward Zitt/Longmont

Alternatives to building on open space

A recent letter (Re: “Build on open space?” Letters, Nov. 14, 2019) advocated building on “just 1/2% of open space” to make Boulder more affordable. That is a little over 1 square mile. Boulder has about 4,000 people per square mile.

Apparently the letter writer is a member of the “We don’t need no stinkin‘ regulations!” brigade, criticizing Ballot Issue IF for government regulations. 

But without regulations, market rate housing is built, and we probably end up with less than 1,000 rich people on the open space sacrificed.

A far better way is to make use of the enormous wasted space in town.

For instance, building apartments on top of businesses and government buildings. This would have other benefits — such as cops living in schools deterring or quickly stopping shooters.

In addition, I’m convinced we are going to have to move to a much shorter workweek with the same pay. Technology is automating work very quickly. With a short workweek, most people will not need cars. This will mean a lot of garages could be converted to apartments.

Brett O’Sullivan/Lafayette

More people means more
widespread poverty

The greatest impact individuals can have in fighting climate change is choosing not to reproduce. A carbon footprint study of people in the wealthier nations of North America, Europe and Japan concluded that having one less child would reduce carbon emissions 20.2 times as much as living car-free, 39.9 times as much as switching to renewable energy and 71.5 times as much as eating a plant-based diet. 

We are experiencing the sixth mass extinction of animal species due to human ecological impact. Humanity has killed off about 60% of the global wildlife population of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish since 1970. During that time, the human population increased from 3.7 billion to 7.7 billion. About 83% of all wildlife mammals have died off since the dawn of agriculture. Farmed poultry now accounts for 70% of birds worldwide. Mammal life is now 60% livestock, 36% people and 4% wildlife. 

Climate change is a consequence of ecological overshoot. Too many people consume and pollute too much. If the average person on Earth consumed as wastefully as the average resident of the United States does today, the Earth could not sustain a human population of more than 1.5 billion people. Meanwhile, 815 million people suffer from chronic hunger. The number of people that is “sustainable” depends upon the average standard of living. More people means more widespread poverty.

Sustaining life on Earth means reducing both human birth rates and per capita ecological footprints. 

Gary Swing/Denver

Death of a tree

A beautiful and much-loved cottonwood tree in Boulder Canyon has fallen victim to the ongoing construction calamity. People are not happy. Several people who live in the Magnolia Community and drive into Boulder have commented on how disturbed and upset they are that the tree is gone.

Why was this tree cut down? Was this part of the contract? Will it be replaced by planting new trees?

Those of us who saw this tree every time we drove down Canyon would like to know. Was this just careless destruction? Was the tree rotting inside? Is it part of the planned expansion of the road? Is planned blasting going to take place where the tree was? 

Hopefully, when the project is finished, around 2030, the vegetation will be restored with native grasses and cottonwood trees 

Jennifer Stewart and Yasmeen Sokol/ Magnolia residents

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