Rethink city leadership
For the current majority on the City Council, addressing “quality of life” issues appears to apply not to residents and neighborhoods, but to developers and commercial interests. Celebrating Google’s presence in the city and supporting the university’s constant expansion are cases in point. This bias is the root cause of our growing traffic congestion and pollution. Jobs are here, affordable housing is not. The developers’ answer for this has been, with the blessing of the Planning Department, the construction of block after block of multiple rental properties, presumably upscale enough to not be considered “Upstairs/Downstairs”/company town worker living accommodations. The Housing Authority’s brainchild is a libertarian, free-range loosening of regulations and restrictions on Accessory Dwelling Units. This gift to the City’s landlords will heavily impact neighborhoods whose community integrity, including K-12 school enrollment, is already stressed by the spread of “cash cow” student rentals. Apparently the Danish Plan and other “quality of life” initiatives are now interpreted as relating mainly to property values and commercial endeavors. Perhaps they always were. Protecting the people of Boulder needs a major rethink in the City’s leadership.
Re: ‘Dive to survive’
Kudos to the organizations and individuals that work to help us avoid food waste and hunger (“Dive to survive,” by Will Matuska, Boulder Weekly, Jan. 12, 2023). Imagine so much hunger, food insecurity on the rise, and yet 35% of food wasted. Will Matuska’s article does a good job explaining the problem in the Boulder area — multiply that by all the areas across the country. Time to send this article to our members of Congress and ask for action. Sen. Bennet’s efforts to pass and renew the expanded Child Tax Credit are to be applauded and encouraged, a good step forward to deal with hunger. A renter’s tax credit would help millions of families no longer have to choose between food and rent. Our voices matter: Congress listens to those who elect them. If we join together we can guide our government to equity and enough for all.
Willie Dickerson/Snohomish, Washington
The reality of Colorado oil and gas
As a 15-year-old activist, I am often met with doubt about the practicality of our society’s transition to renewable energy. Adults warn me about the extreme importance of oil and gas to our economy, and advise me to think about the financial side of this transition. Of course we must consider the economic effects of phasing out oil and gas, but a new report from Colorado Fiscal Institute (Jan. 12, 2023) proves that oil and gas are not as significant to our economy as we think.
Like many, I have heard countless times that oil and gas are essential to Colorado’s workforce. However, this report found that oil and gas contribute only 3.3% of our state’s GDP and only 0.7% of jobs. I was shocked by this information. Transitioning away from oil and gas will certainly still be a challenge for our state, as it will be for any, but with this knowledge, we can confront the transition with confidence and perseverance.
The larger problem behind what this report uncovers is the propaganda from the fossil fuel industry. For decades, oil and gas companies have provided the public with false and misleading information, spending billions of dollars on slowing down the inevitable failure of their industry. Between 2015 and 2018, the five largest public oil and gas companies spent $1 billion on misleading climate-related branding and lobbying. Misinformation, especially from an industry as powerful as fossil fuels, is dangerous because it crowds the climate change narrative with their own point of view. To address the climate crisis, we need to look at this critical issue from the honest perspectives of both victims and perpetrators.
As we so often hear, time to address climate change is running out. Oil and gas are running out too, both predicted to be used up by 2060. It is only logical to begin this transition now, because the longer we wait, the harder and more painful it will be. As this report reveals, not only is it necessary, but it is possible.