We can all do our part for Earth Day

April 22 marks a half century of celebrating Earth Day, but do we observe it? Beyond Earth Day there is a growing national debate over the Green New Deal. We can each do our part by reducing our driving, use of electricity, and consumption of animals.

Why the attack on meat and dairy? A recent article in Nature argues that animal agriculture is a major driver of climate change, air and water pollution, and depletion of soil and freshwater resources. Oxford University’s prestigious Food Climate Research Network reports that solving the global warming catastrophe requires a massive shift to plant-based eating.

Carbon dioxide is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by operating machinery to grow and transport animals. The more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and animal waste ponds, respectively.

Moreover, meat and dairy production dumps more animal waste, fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants into our waterways than all other human activities combined. It is the driving force behind wildlife extinction.

In an environmentally sustainable world, meat and dairy products in our diet must be replaced by vegetables, fruits, and grains, just as fossil fuels are replaced by wind, solar, and other pollution-free energy sources.

Let’s celebrate the observance of Earth Day at our supermarket.

Carson Barnes

Coos Bay

CB deserves jobs in clean energy

Coos Bay deserves sustainable, family-wage jobs in clean energy.

There is good reason for Coos County residents to be wary of an event being marketed to us as “Jordan Cove Energy Project: Safety & Economic Concerns” by the local League of Women Voters. This event claims to present factual information supporting the League’s opposition to Jordan Cove, but the only facts you’re likely to hear are ones cherry-picked to support their opinions. If a balanced and accurate discussion is what you’re hoping for, you’ll be sorely disappointed.

The LWV lost credibility around its last forum when it censored questions community members showed up to ask. How can Coos County residents trust an organization that doesn’t even live up to its own mission of open dialogue and civic engagement? The League also refused to meet with the Project before reaching its misguided conclusions, failing to return even a single phone call from Jordan Cove or its owner, Pembina.

One of their “experts” assembled against the project is Dr. William Robbins, a Corvallis historian who has documented, at length, the decline of Coos Bay’s economy and the working harbor itself. Ironically, his book, Hard Times in Paradise: Coos Bay, laments Coos Bay’s fall from a timber town with a robust economy to what he calls a “retirement and tourist community.” The main point of his book is that retirees and tourists can’t provide enough sustainable, family wage jobs here — on this point, I think we can all agree.

Rather than misleading political events, we should be having a conversation about how to create a balanced economy here in Coos Bay. Our working harbor is an underutilized asset — one that Jordan Cove will supercharge, bringing more than a million dollars to our economy every time a ship arrives.

The near-term benefits are even more impressive: during peak construction, there will be more than 6,000 jobs added to our region. That means 6,000 workers paying taxes and spending their money at our local restaurants, stores and hotels.

Despite the scare tactics you’ll hear from the League, Jordan Cove does all of this while protecting our coastal environment and lowering global carbon emissions. The pipeline and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal will transport natural gas — the cleanest-burning hydrocarbon fuel available today — to world markets, helping the world transition away from dirtier fuels like coal and diesel.

This opportunity is real.

Steven Ryan

North Bend

Jobs lost in closure unlikely to return

With the closure of Georgia Pacific’s mill in Coos Bay, Oregon, many Coos County residents and employees are asking, “Why?”

The reasons for the closure provided by leadership at Georgia Pacific leaves out some fundamental information that people should know and understand. Yes, the rail bridge closure has added cost to Georgia Pacific’s lumber production. Yes, the Asian log market has been competing for some of the same logs that were consumed at that mill. However, the rest of the story is the reduction in the harvest level of federal and state timber.

During 1993 in Coos and Douglas counties the BLM harvested 165 million board feet, the Forest Service Harvested 97 million board feet, and the State of Oregon (primarily from the Elliott State Forest) harvested 36 million board feet, totaling 298 million board feet production.

In 2017, those same three agencies harvested just 80 million board feet of timber, with nothing coming from the Elliott State Forest. That is a reduction in timber harvests of 218 million board feet or approximately 54,500 truckloads. That amounts to a 73 percent decrease in timber production. A mill like the one Georgia Pacific just closed can process approximately 100 million feet of timber in a year. That means two mills of that size could be run on the volume that is no longer being harvested on state and federal land in Coos and Douglas counties.

With no future plans for any timber production coming from the Elliott State Forest, and continued reductions in the federal timber harvests, the 111 jobs lost through the GP closure are unlikely to return to Coos County.

Jacob Steensen

Coos Bay

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