Footprints in the air

Vicky Stifter hit the nail on the head in her Feb. 20 Another Voice, My “No Fly” Zone.

Our climate emergency is worsening, and we need all hands on deck. Everyone needs to understand the severity and causes of, and solutions to, the climate emergency — and act like it.

We need everyone to:

  • Prioritize effective climate policies when electing and lobbying our representatives: We know the problem and how to fix it, but we still lack enough political will
  • Reduce our personal footprints: Cutting discretionary air travel is the easiest way to make a difference
  • Choose climate-friendly purchases and investments

Mother Earth can sustainably absorb less than two tons of greenhouse gases per person annually. Per capita, American emissions average 17 tons annually. One ton results from:

  • 2,500 miles of air travel in coach. That’s about two tons per round trip per person to the east coast, three tons to Hawaii, four tons to Europe, etc.
  • 100 gallons of gasoline or diesel. Favor your most efficient vehicle. Carpool. Combine trips. Obey the speed limit. Remember 22: Each gallon of gasoline creates about 22 pounds of pollution.
  • Less red meat is healthier for you and the planet
  • $140 of electricity from Pacific Power, due to their coal plants. Zero this by purchasing their renewable power option. Electricity from BPA has very low emissions
  • $180 of gas from NW Natural. Zero this by purchasing their renewable natural gas option. Seal up leaky doors and windows
  • And beware of the emissions of your purchases. It’s easy to calculate the lifetime emissions locked in by purchasing a new vehicle or house.
  • Buying a new pickup locks in at least 60 tons; a new hybrid Prius locks in 30 tons. There are 300 models of electric vehicles announced for 2020 availability
  • The carbon footprint of the average U.S. wedding is 18 tons

Such actions will also save you lots of money — our annual average energy spend is about $2,500 per person.

We loved our Switzerland honeymoon, but now we’ve discovered that the North Cascades National Park has ten times as many glaciers as Glacier National Park. Do I really need to see Antarctica in person?

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” — Shakespeare

Eric Strid

Columbia Gorge Climate

Action Network

Support Extension

County commissioners are proposing two tax measures that deserve our support, a food and beverage tax and general levy.

One of the services that will be impacted by the funds gained is the OSU Extension office in Hood River. Through the agreement between OSU and HR County, the extension service must be partially funded by the host county. If county funding is curtailed, then OSU will close the extension service and its programs will cease to enrich the lives of our residents.

Some voters may not realize that the Extension Service has served the residents of Hood River County for over 80 years. Programs provide research-based informal education for agriculture, home food safety, home horticulture, family and community development, small farms, commercial or industrial agriculture and food processors, as well as the local 4-H program. I encourage readers to check out the Extension Service website at extension.oregonstate.edu/hoodriver.

The activity that I am most familiar with is the Master Gardeners program. In return for the training, master gardeners provide thousands of hours for community services, including the Plant Clinics, maintaining the Hood River County Library Water-wise garden, the Learning Garden at the Extension office, the Seed to Supper Program, and numerous others.

Altogether, the Extension Service programs offer residents affordable education that strengthens the local community and economy, sustains natural resources, and promotes healthy families and individuals. They impact nearly everyone in the county.

To keep this important resource in Hood River County, we need to support these supplemental tax measures.

Heidi Shoup Nastasi

Hood River

Extension faces the ax

As the county commissioners and staff firm up tax proposals for voter consideration in 2019, it is worth considering what will happen if the tax proposal(s) fail. One program on the chopping block is county funding for OSU Extension.

The OSU Extension Service is co-located with the Mid-Columbia Research Station here in Hood River. Funds from the county augment state and federal monies as well as grant funds. Without the county’s contribution, the local OSU Extension office will close.

Do your children participate in 4-H? Do you or a friend participate in Master Gardeners, Strong Women, Master Preservers or the OSU Small Farms program? Have your sought technical assistance from OSU Extension via their plant clinics, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Education or their Extension Horticulture or Forestry agents? If so, you should know that the OSU Extension Service and all of these programs will disappear unless we voters approve the upcoming tax proposals from Hood River County.

Let us not replicate the disaster that occurred when funding for the county library was cut and our libraries closed. Please join me in supporting the county’s tax proposals in the upcoming election.

Anne Saxby

Hood River

Biased news

Fake News? Not so sure. Overly biased news — definitely. Recently, the New York Times conceded that their news reporting of president Trump was 95 percent anti-Trump.

What was missing? Under the Trump administration, the following fact-checked items: Unemployment at 3.7 percent, lowest since 1969; Hispanic unemployment lowest since 1973; Afro-American unemployment lowest ever recorded; GDP (through third quarter) 3.5 percent, economists expected maximum of 2 percent; median income growth of 1.8 percent (2017 over 2016); poverty rate down 0.4 percent; number on food stamps down by 6 million; there are urgently more jobs available than workers to fill them.

It’s probably true that every president claims the good news under their watch; however, I did not have to listen to two years of excuses of inheriting “a mess” from the prior president. Oh, Antarctica has actually been gaining ice pack; probably won’t give that to President Trump. Seems that these are all good things happening in our country. Immigration — the same items that President Trump is requesting, for those of you with short memories, has been recommended, supported and voted for in the not so distant past by Senator Schumer, Congresswoman Pelosi, Senator Clinton, and Senator and President Obama. What changed? They just don’t happen to like President Trump. That seems pretty third grade, don’t you think?

Granted, I don’t always like his style, but to hear Rep. Rachida Tiaib call him an expletive really sets a new low for the “inclusive” democrats. Kind of like those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones? Democrats, I would hope that you would expect an agenda or policy items that you feel would benefit the country. All I see from the party is a platform of “hate Trump;” resist and obstruct — that’s an agenda?

Steve Nybroten

White Salmon

Editor’s Notes: 1. Steve Nybroten’s statement is true that Antarctica ice is gaining, but according to the National Geographic, that is on the surface. Scientists also fear that deep shelves of stabilizing ice are weakening. 2. The decrease in the number of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP (aka food stamps) recipients was 4 million between 2013 and 2017 (47.6 million down to 43.6 million), according to the U.S Department of Agriculture. In 2007, prior to the onset of the Great Recession, the figure was 32 million. 3. The poverty rate fell 0.4 percent between 2007 and 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Support vaccinations

One of the first memories I have is of not being able to breathe and it is full of fear. I had pneumonia as a complication of a measles infection. Although I’d had one dose of my measles vaccinations, I had still contracted measles during an outbreak in our community. In the first several days, they were fearful I wouldn’t survive.

The recent measles outbreak in Washington and Oregon has been very hard for the medical community. Parents monitor for exposures in all public areas, and if their children are too young for all their vaccines, it is scary for parents (projects.oregonlive.com/maps/vaccination). Mostly, I recommend their children get all their vaccinations (especially MMR) on schedule in the hopes that it will keep their children healthy if exposed despite their parent’s best efforts.

Globally, there were 110,000 deaths from Measles or its complications in 2017 — most of these in underdeveloped countries that do not have the vaccination rates that our country has enjoyed in the past.

I understand fear — the fear elicited when families read anti-vaxx websites and articles that are anecdotal or use faulty data. However, there are hundreds of articles showing the safety of vaccines, including MMR: Go to the CDC, WHO, AAP and AAFP websites. There is no conspiracy around vaccinations — just health professionals trying to keep your children healthy.

Please help us by vaccinating your children and writing your legislators to let them know you support their efforts to end unnecessary exemptions.

Corinda Hankins, MD

Hood River

Questions

The county had a fine open house at the high school on Feb. 21. Informed, well-spoken representatives from all aspects of county operations stood and chatted with whoever wanted to comment or ask questions. Well-displayed text and graphics were on large posters all around the cafeteria. Thank you, all.

Four issues stood out for me, besides the obvious fact that we need to support our hard working county people:

1. The food and beverage tax, I support because it represents luxury and tourist indulgences. However, there is a damaging Oregon definition of “groceries,” which are excluded from this tax: Candy and gum are defined as groceries and therefore not taxed. Absurd! Also unhealthy: Candy, gum and sodas should all be taxed. This creates revenue for the county and disincentives for their purchase, which can only improve the health of the public. All those who work in Salem, please fix this.

2. Respectfully, I feel the port should pony up more money for the sheriff’s services on our public beaches on the Columbia. The port is apparently pocketing the money for the 400,000-plus cars which park there to recreate on the water’s edge. A large percentage of this is money from tourists, and when they get in trouble on the water, the sheriff’s crew has to rescue them.

3. Also, a large number of the accidents that can occur on the waterfront would be mitigated by appropriate separation of the kids playing, the kiters taking off and landing with dangerous lines zipping all over and the windsurfers whizzing in and out. Signage and enforcement of this separation could save an injury or a life. Last year was an especially hectic and dangerous mingling, I am told by several concerned kiters. The tourists are often out of control beginners.

4. The people who climb Mount Hood cause a lot of troubles and expenses for the rescue people. Surely, we could enforce mandatory reporting of the area and route being attempted, the carrying a GPS device, and paying a smallish amount into an “insurance fund” to aid in rescues. Even hikers of the county trails should contribute even a small amount, $5, say.

Alison McDonald

Hood River

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