Letters to the editor from the week of Jan. 2
Published: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 9:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 9:15 a.m.
Time to act on the drought
The driest year in California’s recorded history is about to come to a close, and there is no promise that the drought will end any time soon. We write to encourage municipal leadership on this issue, as well as action on the part of all of us who live here.
The specter of extended drought is as scary as the “super storms” that have been happening in other parts of the world. Equally frightening is the silence of our public officials, who have so far failed to acknowledge this crisis and call for mandatory conservation measures. Climate change is clearly happening here and now.
While we are told that our county does not need to worry about this unprecedented lack of rain because there is still water in Lake Sonoma, it is important to look at the way water is distributed throughout our county. The fact is that most of us depend on depleted groundwater reserves for our primary or backup source of water — Lake Sonoma water is completely irrelevant to a very significant part of our population – including virtually all of our farms and ranches. And what if Lake Sonoma does not refill this winter?
In the 1970s, California experienced a drought that was less severe than this one, but there were mandatory conservation measures enacted in many communities. Lawn watering and washing sidewalks and cars with hoses were prohibited, and low-flow water devices were distributed. These measures made a big difference and we found that we could do just fine using much less water. There are additional water conservation measures that could be actively supported by the agencies now, including grey water systems.
We call on our supervisors, the Sonoma County Water Agency and its municipal clients to enact mandatory water conservations measures immediately. In addition to appropriate prohibitions and fees, there should be incentives for businesses to convert their landscapes to low-water use plantings. Independent water districts and home owners associations should be required to provide water conservation information to their residents and to change their fee structures.
And we ask each resident of our county to count every drop of water as the precious, scarce resource that it is, and to do your part to adapt to our changing world. Even if there is some rain in the next few months, extended droughts are very likely in this region. It is time to make conservation a way of life.
Rachel Kaplan, Petaluma
Check your math
EDITOR: Whoever compiles the statistics for Pulse of Petaluma needs to review elementary addition.
The 47 percent of respondents who said “I’m in favor...” of the ban on toy guns obviously outnumber the 45.2 percent opposed. Granted, this is no wide margin in favor of the ban, but still the headline “Poll: Toy gun ban is not needed” does not represent the results of the poll.
Incidentally, this is not the first time I’ve noticed such an error. I didn’t write in the last time because I didn’t care one whit about the subject of the poll.
As to my personal position on the toy gun ban, I don’t support it. I do feel, however, that toy guns must be permanently marked or designed so as to be easily identifiable as toys. I feel that outlawing BB guns and such like is complete overkill.
Tom Wilson, Petaluma
Resolve to eat less meat
EDITOR: With New Year’s resolutions just around the corner, consider the popular trend toward a healthy, eco-friendly, compassionate and meat-free diet.
According to Harris Interactive, 47 percent of American consumers are reducing their consumption of animal products. The USDA projects this year’s per capita chicken and beef consumption to drop by 8 percent and 17 percent, respectively, from their 2006 peaks. Similar dramatic drops are projected for pigs and turkeys. Milk consumption has fallen by a whopping 40 percent since 1970.
A number of celebrities are going vegan. They include Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Jay Z and Beyonce. Microsoft founder Bill Gates, PayPal founder Peter Thiel and Twitter founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams are funding plant-based replacements for meat and eggs.
Fast-food chains like Subway and Chipotle are responding to the growing demand by rolling out vegan options. Taco Bell has found that 43 percent of conversations about meat were negative. The Baltimore, Los Angeles and San Diego school districts, serving more than a million meals a day, have adopted “meatless Mondays.”
How about dropping animals from the menu for this New Year’s resolution? Entering “meatout Mondays” in a search engine brings tons of useful recipes and transition tips.
Pedro Muniz, Petaluma
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.
You'll find a number of new technology features available from this site. With personalized news sent straight to your mobile device.
post your stuff
Petaluma360.com is here for you to post your comments, photos, news and events with the community. Post it now!
Have something to say? Join the conversation!
Upload your photos of community events, holidays, pets, cute kids, breaking news and more, and vote for your favorites!
Submit your area events to encourage others in your community to attend.