© 2010 Joshua Stark
Happy Earth Day, folks. As I poke around the news, I'm finding a lot of feel-good stories about how much better we are now than in 1970, and that's great. Unfortunately, I'm also seeing some disjointed logic, as in this article from the Contra Costa Times that talks about the great improvements of the Bay Area, while noting that we still have much to do.
The author points out that while we have greatly improved our pollution (and it is laudable and surprising how well we've done), it then points out the dangers - among them, population growth.
In the same article, just two paragraphs down from all the amazing gains we've made, the author says, "Put another way, since the first Earth Day in 1970, the Bay Area has grown by 2.8 million people — the equivalent of adding the combined populations of present-day Denver, Portland, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Sacramento to the region — bringing huge problems with sprawl and traffic."
For some reason, the author cannot see the disconnect between claiming as a threat the 2.8 million person increase during the exact same period he applauds us for improving our impacts.
The problem ain't population, folks; it's how and what we consume. We absolutely need to make sure that the additional population doesn't destroy what we've done, but that is completely possible.
Update: PCL's Greenroots blog has a great post on L.A.'s water conservation during the past ten months, including a note that even though L.A. has more than one million more people, it still used as much water last month as it did in 1979. Great note, PCL! See, Contra Costa Times? You can applaud people doing better while not at the same time decrying their actual presence.
17 hours ago