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Letters to the Editor

Too Many Footprints

Re "Green Streets" (Cover Story, April 16): We've been hearing a lot more about environmental issues over the last several years, especially the global warming crisis. Our state and federal governments are trying to come up with plans to combat what is believed to be the biggest contributor to the warm up, greenhouse gases. I've heard lofty goals of cutting emissions by 30 percent over the next several years. What I don't understand is, why isn't anybody talking about what is arguably our biggest problem: overpopulation. If we do actually reduce emissions, but continue to add people, any gains we make will be wiped out. It's simple math.

Remember the Zero Population Growth movement of the 1970s? What happened? Did we forget? Are human beings so programmed to reproduce that they fail to see the dire consequences of an ever-increasing population? Increased pollution, water shortages, famine, disease, conflict and even war over resources. Perhaps it's easy to forget because here in America most of us enjoy a comfortable life where resources appear to be plentiful. We also seem to conveniently forget that while the United States accounts for approximately 5 percent of the world's population, we use an estimated 25 percent of the world's resources.

We've all probably heard the expression "It takes a village to raise a child." Regardless of whether or not you agree with that, you simply can't deny that making the decision to have children does indeed impact current and future generations. Every child adds another carbon footprint. For some reason, we still don't seem to understand that we really are all connected. What happens halfway around the world may not have an immediate impact now but eventually it will. Remember acid rain? It didn't go away, it's still here, prevalent in China, Russia and Eastern Europe. What about oil? How can anyone deny the connection between our dependence on oil and the war in Iraq?

It's time to stop living in a bubble. It's time to reiterate loudly the message of overpopulation and its impact on every single environmental issue. More people require more food which in turn requires more land and water, which we can all agree are finite resources. Our ever-growing population means an increase in pollution, the destruction of natural animal habitat, species extinction and the continued devastation of delicate ecosystems which are vital for the health of the planet. Conservation, recycling and going green just aren't enough. We need to stabilize or, ideally, reduce the population of the planet.

It's time to tout the many advantages of choosing a child-free lifestyle. Greater freedom, more flexibility about how and where you spend your time. You could volunteer, become more involved in your community and donate to more money charity. You do not need to be a parent to have a positive impact on the life a child—mentor, teach, become a foster parent, adopt. Let's face it, if your desire to have children is really about the children and not a desire to carry on your individual DNA, help the ones that are already here.

I'm not advocating a world without children, what a dreary place that would be. What I am advocating is education—help people make an informed decision. Teach our young people and our children that they don't have to be parents to have a fulfilling life. That's such a narrow and limiting view. A life lived to its fullest involves love, compassion, the spirit of adventure and embracing the possibilities life has to offer.

It's irrelevant whether or not you agree that population matters. It's a fact, plain and simple. The planet is only so big and only able to sustain so many people. If we continue to ignore the issue, humanity will most definitely face the consequences. You may not see those consequences in your lifetime but those who come afterwards will.

Barbara Soldera


Mayor Deserves Some Respect

I found DeCinzo's recent political cartoon on Mayor Reed to be a bit of a cheap shot. If you're looking to hire a game show host, perhaps Chuck Reed's not your man. But, if you're looking for a civic leader who is smart, and cares about people, Reed is your man. Chuck Reed (and his wife) have done a lot of good, for a lot of people, for a lot of years.

Pete Campbell

San Jose

Boy, Does He

Re "Local Boy Makes Good Food" (Menu, April 30): Great article! Nick is the greatest guy in the world on top of being one hell of a chef!

Joe D.

Los Gatos

Grind Opening

Re Lake Cunningham Skate Park grand opening ("State of Grind," Cover Story, April 2): This event was today! I'm a parent with three kids, they had a blast, the sponsorship is great, the community really pulled together for this. Thanks to all who made this happen!

Pam Reed

San Jose

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