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Yes We Can ... Drive 55 


Once again, Mitch Trachtenberg has hit the nail on the head about Terra-Gen (Mailbox, Dec. 26, 2019). And Lynn Robbins added five important words to his argument, "curb our waste of energy." We actually never needed a huge mega project. Felice Pace is correct — we need a scaled-to-population "safe and sustainable North Coast power grid." Small really is beautiful. And small creates far less garbage to haul away 20 years down the road when those giant turbines would have been creaking their last revolutions.

Mr. Trachtenberg ends his letter with his idea about lowering the speed limit to 55: "And if even that is too painful, why bother pretending we want to address the problem?"

But it is not only about driving 55 mph, something we all could do. It is the act of driving at all, electric cars or gas guzzlers. More lanes on the road, more cars fill them. More electricity, more use. Put your vampire appliances on power strips. Turn out the lights at night or put exterior lights on motion detectors if you really want "security." These two suggestions are not too painful but they do require addressing the problem. Yes, the to-do list is longer but I won't bore you.

So, Happy 2020, everybody! Let's each commit to one or two adjustments to conserve energy. It will add up, especially if business, government and industry participate. Then we can look to some authentic leadership with real solutions — not quick fixes that punt the problem to our progeny — and work harmoniously to achieve our shared goal of having enough, just enough. And the lights we need will stay lit.

Carol Moné, Trinidad


As a follow-up to Mitch Trachtenberg's letter and his excellent suggestion that Humboldt County adjust the maximum speed limit to 55 mph, consider this: In addition to the benefits of significantly reduced CO2, driving 55 miles per hour on the highways, along with slow and gradual starts and stops in town, and keeping one's tires properly inflated, can up to double one's gas mileage (according to the Car-Talk radio program).

Looked at another way, driving 55 and gently can cut your gasoline costs by up to half. Added bonuses include less wear and tear on your engine, transmission and brakes, saving you even more money. There will be fewer auto accidents, fewer fatal accidents, increased safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, less air pollution (fewer cases of asthma) and less traffic noise.

Help slow climate change by driving gently, less expensively and more eco-responsibly. Drive 55.

Fhyre Phoenix, McKinleyville


The complexities of climate change are the most significant challenge we face as a global community. Humans are being called upon to reconcile profligate energy use with the demands for alternatives to satisfy our modern lifestyles. These alternatives have the potential for unintended consequences that often result in more environmental harm than good. Case in point, the widely differing opinions echoed in recent letters concerning the Terra-Gen wind energy project (Mailbox, Dec. 26).

Bottom line, to realistically address the impact of climate change on planet Earth, the conversation we need to be having should be focused on consuming less of her natural resources and living more sustainably. The solution is not to do more, but rather to do less with what we have. This means changing the lifestyles that are pushing the Earth to the brink of no return. In my opinion, we should be making the choice to drive less, travel less and committing to being conscientious, thoughtful consumers of those precious resources.

As a friend expressed to me years ago, "We need to live simply, so that others can simply live." We have currently in our midst a brave young 16 year old who has the courage to live by those words. She should be our role model for embracing an existence that treads gently on the planet.

Laura Madjedi, Kneeland


The three letters on Dec. 26 attacking the wind farm rejection revealed misunderstandings.

Mr. Dillon misunderstood the concept of sacred space. It's like a church without walls. Nothing to do with bones and arrowheads. He criticized China's expanded use of coal. Per capita, our greenhouse gas production is seven times greater than the Chinese, whose economy is driven by paranoia, as they can see U.S. aircraft carriers from their beaches ever since Obama's "pivot" to the east.

Ms. Tuttle misunderstood Greta, who would have repudiated Terra-Gen. Her "how dare you" speech referred to our extractive, exploitative and destructive modus vivendi regarding the planet, inclusive of projects like Terra-Gen. Greta calls for saving our old forests, not cutting them down for wind machines.

Mr. Schaefer thinks we all "drank the Kool-Aid" of guilt over demolishing American indigenous civilization, and that the Wiyot want revenge. But there was never any hint of rebuke or accusation from them, only reverence for the Earth.

They managed to convey this reverence, hence the supervisors' decision. Unfortunately, it did not reach Madrid, where corporations and money ruled, and the U.S. was a bad actor.

What is to be done? Fiercely and collaboratively get our energy scene together, with personal commitments and rules. Divest from carbon investments. And assume our responsibilities as citizens to turn our ship of state, as if our lives depended upon it.

Ellen Taylor, Petrolia


The Terra-Gen wind project outcome was both heartening and unsettling —  the surprising defeat of a powerful large-scale corporate enterprise that threatened local cultures and environment, and the troubling missed opportunity to act quickly against imminent threats of global climate change. 

The long, fractious debate mobilized hundreds of citizens to action, raising the level of awareness and knowledge on issues of energy generation, greenhouse gas reduction, carbon sequestration and potential impacts to local and global life and livelihoods.

It is the perfect time to funnel this public awareness and energy into another climate battle — this time with greater local control and accountability, and more clearly defined options and benefits. If all who were galvanized by the wind project come to the Humboldt County Climate Action Plan Workshop on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at 5:30 p.m. at the Wharfinger Building, 1 Marina Way, Eureka, we can work together toward solutions that represent our highest common values.

Joyce King, McKinleyville

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