Clean up now, don’t wait for third strike
It should be apparent to Lexington’s elected officials and residents that we have created environmental problems through 40-plus years of urban sprawl, a lack of unified and integrative city planning, designing and building against nature, and maintaining dependence on coal and petroleum.
Our environmental problems have come home to roost publicly as we have received two strikes:
First, we violated the federal Clean Water Act and must comply with the consent decree that will result from the November 2006 lawsuit by state and federal governments on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Second, the Brookings Institution reported that Lexington has the largest carbon footprint of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the country.
We now stand at a fork in the road, and we must ask ourselves what we can do individually and collectively to prevent a third strike.
We, the people, need to develop a holistic solution that eliminates our use of cancerous, hazardous, and toxic substances; solves the deep-rooted issues that cause white flight or urban sprawl; reduces our daily individual carbon footprints; and allows us to become environmentally and ecologically conscious.
We should act by developing rain gardens and using rain barrels in areas prone to water runoff or flooding; continuing to create community and urban gardens; building, designing and redesign using sustainable principles and eco-thinking; asking elected officials to place a moratorium on unnecessary residential and commercial construction; and changing the way we view our home, Mother Earth and each other.
Obiora Embry Lexington
Trash extra trips
At some point in the not-too-distant future, municipalities will have to begin managing the total carbon footprint, or how much energy is used to run their communities. This footprint includes all the energy needed to propel commerce in a given area, such as delivery, mail and garbage trucks, as well as traditional municipal services.
I live in a large quiet subdivision in the Gardenside area, and each week on my street alone, three refuse services make pickups. And they do this twice a week. That’s six trips by a large diesel-powered truck that gets about 3 miles to the gallon. Now factor in the exhaust of six trucks.
Far be it from me to put a damper on the free enterprise system, but couldn’t those companies carve up the garbage collection pie, so that just one truck picks up everybody’s trash and recyclables on a given street, thereby lessening the amount of fuel needed and reducing the air pollution?
Or maybe that makes too much sense.
Dave Sawyer Lexington
Thanks to Tom Eblen for his column on the good things about Lexington. It was refreshing to read a positive perspective, because sometimes we forget how lucky we really are.
The recent Commerce Lexington trip to Austin, Texas, was inspiring and provided business and community leaders with bright new ideas and a new perspective on our future. While we have many challenges, we have the foundation in place to make our hometown an even better place to live and work.
Brian Wright Lexington
We need oil reserve
Political campaigns design economic plans to lure voters and then die after election day. The proposal to lower gasoline prices by selling the strategic petroleum reserve would result in oil companies withholding purchases of foreign oil until strategic reserve was depleted, whether six weeks or six months is required.
All our enemies would know this and wait to attack until our air, sea and land engines had no fuel.
The overweight, overpowered passenger vehicles would have to stop so that the military could use what fuel could be had, as in World War II. We could beg Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to send fuel by land to protect the United States. Conservation of fuel and the strategic reserve are critical for the indefinite future until passenger vehicles can be propelled by hybrid or all-electric engines, photovoltaic cells, pedals or mule teams.
Passenger vehicles should be taxed by weight and engine power and through higher taxes on gasoline. Plastic bags should be taxed higher than the petroleum used to make them. Cooking grease should be refined for diesel fuel. A practical starter for diesel engines must be developed to save the fuel used to idle diesels until ready to move again.
Rex J. Phillips Gilbertsville
Many Americans are upset that former Bush press secretary Scott McClellan waited so long to tell us that the administration misled us about the Iraq war. However, they’re missing the point. The important thing is that he did break ranks with the Bush administration and confirmed what we long suspected.
The truth is that some think-tank neo-conservatives, including some who became part of President Bush’s administration, planned to make war in the Middle East before he took office. I first learned about the plan, called The Project for a New American Century, from an article in the Herald-Leader in 2004.
The plan was adopted by the Bush administration.
Lots of people wonder whether 9/11 was an inside job. Think about it. How did the Bush administration plan to motivate Americans to join a war effort? It needed a Pearl Harbor-like event. There may be more to the story yet to surface. I am reminded of the adage: “If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck …”
Daniel Holman Lexington
Get with the times
Pro-choice groups should get with the times.
Thirty-five years ago, one could think a child was only a glob of tissue before it was. However, since ultrasound came into play, it’s evident that this is not true. You can see the child, even watch it sucking its thumb. Parents now show pictures of their babies before birth to all their friends and family; they even get a videotape of it.
We wonder why there is so much violence and killing by young people. The young learn from example. It’s a selfish, greedy, throwaway society, and it’s time we at least show a bit of compassion for life.
Bonnie Hughbanks Lexington