CU hampers struggle against climate change
With regards to CU’s Right Here, Right Now Global Climate Summit, I applaud the university for bringing in the brilliant Robin Wall Kimmerer to talk about her book Braiding Sweetgrass. Her talk drew a full house to the Boulder Theater on Dec. 1. The book was assigned as a “One Read” for the entire university community. In a pre-talk slide show, CU said the book “invites us to consider our relationship with the natural world and imagine futures of repair and restoration.” It’s a shame that CU’s administration hasn’t understood its assigned reading.
The university may be “imagining a future of repair and restoration,” but right here, right now, the university is creating a future of despair and degradation by proceeding with its plan to pave over the largest remaining wetlands on the Front Range. CU’s action will hamper our struggle against the climate crisis by destroying a major carbon sink, will ravage the dwelling places of several endangered species, will increase the risk of flood damage when we get a 500-year flood, and will make impossible the restoration that was originally envisioned for this property (editor’s note: the CU South project).
According to an article in the Daily Camera, CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano says, “I want to work on solutions that I can make decisions about.” Well, Mr. DiStefano, you have that chance. Re-read the chapter on “The Honorable Harvest.” Then make the decision that doesn’t reek of breathtaking hypocrisy.
Divestment isn’t enough
Divesting its fossil fuel holdings would show CU is serious about addressing global climate change and pollution, but it will do little to change the continuing buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere. These are valuable income sources and will be gobbled up by others in our entrepreneurial economy, and the university is more a corporate business than a socially responsible public institution. The focus for now should be on reducing its climate footprint, something its South Campus expansion ignores completely.
Support a renter’s tax credit
Affordable housing is one of the biggest problems in America (Boulder Weekly, “When no home is affordable, where do you live?” Dec. 1, 2022). The good news is that Colorado voters passed some relief to build more housing and provide mortgage assistance. Another initiative in Congress has been a renters’ tax credit, modeled after the Child Tax Credit (championed by Sen. Michael Bennet and hopefully to be renewed this month). Sens. Cory Booker and Kamala Harris have both proposed this kind of legislation for renters. Colorado voters can help by asking those who represent them to pass both of these initiatives, that will not only slow rising homelessness, but provide ladders out of poverty for millions of families.
Willie Dickerson/Snohomish, Washington