Readers' Letters
by: Paul J. Richards, Does a vegan Hummer driver have a smaller carbon footprint than a carnivore? Letter writers weigh in on their sides of the issue.

The day when we can cherry pick which behavior changes we're willing to make to reduce our carbon footprint has passed (Which is worse?, Nov. 12, Sustainable Life). We have to fight climate change at every opportunity, whether it's eating less meat, driving a more fuel-efficient vehicle or buying local - we have to do it all. You can't ride your bike to justify a steak. The planet is suffering.

We Americans need to make better choices on all aspects of our lives, not just one. How can you look future generations in the eye while destroying the place we all call home?

Jeff Bernards

Southeast Portland

Do something positive for planet

I think the 'Which is worse?' (Nov. 12) discussion misses the point. The key is that eating more plant-based foods instead of animal products is an easy, simple and cheap way to help the planet. We can look at any meal as an opportunity to do something positive for the environment, just the same as any trip on the bicycle instead of the Hummer.

Bernard Brown

The PB and J Campaign

Philadelphia, Pa.

Your life, your business

I don't understand why people think it's any of their business what another person drives or eats (Which is worse?, Nov. 12). If you choose to bike instead of drive, go for it. If you choose to be a vegan, have fun with that. But those who are so arrogant, so filled with hubris as to dictate to others what to drive or ingest are way out of line.

Perhaps if people would mind their own lives instead of trying to control the lives of others, we'd all be better off.

Jane Pluemke

Eagle Creek

Livestock add to emissions

The environmental impact of the life cycle and supply chain of animals raised for food has been vastly underestimated (Which is worse?, Nov. 12), and in fact accounts for at least half of all human-caused greenhouse gases (GHGs), according to Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, co-authors of 'Livestock and Climate Change.'

A widely cited 2006 report by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, Livestock's Long Shadow, estimates that 18 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions are attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs and poultry. But recent analysis by Goodland and Anhang finds that livestock and their byproducts actually account for at least 32.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, or 51 percent of annual worldwide GHG emissions.

There is nothing an individual can do to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions as much as going vegetarian can.

To read the article online go here:

Ronnie Wright

Bulimba, Australia

Hummer driver disregards others

I could not stop rolling my eyes while reading Casey Harrington's ridiculous defenses of his Hummer in the 'Which is worse?' article (Nov. 12). He uses his veganism as a shield against so-called meat-eating hypocrites who are appalled by his need to drive such an ostentatious vehicle. He thinks being vegan justifies his selfish high horsing. What bothers people most about (this), Casey, isn't your complete disregard for the environment - it is your complete disregard for your fellow man.

These tanks take up more than their fair share of space … in an obvious tactic to intimidate others around you. Hummers are a symbol of all the worst qualities of man, parading as personal freedom.

Brandon Van Buskirk

Northwest Portland

Livable future has side effects

So, building well-utilized shortcuts - for example, a bridge between Lake Oswego and Oak Grove - doesn't figure into their way of reducing vehicle miles traveled (Projected carbon emissions skyrocket, Nov. 12)? The only way is herding people into the overly expensive MAX trains, onto bicycles and walking. What will these 'livable future' proponents do when their knees develop arthritis from bicycling? Are they going to take the MAX and buses - even if it takes an extra hour or two? I doubt it.

There is something to be said for the wisdom of experience.

Ron Swaren

Southeast Portland

Nuclear power a long-term answer

The article 'Projected carbon emissions skyrocket' (Nov. 12) combines a poor analysis with incorrect emphasis: 149 percent of total emissions, after a growth to 158 percent of today's population, would represent a 9 percent net reduction of emissions per person, a fact that Steve Law obscures with all the emotional headlines and frenzied quotes.

It should be understood that a society which can't grow in actual net energy and transportation use will be a dead society, and Portland's bicycle and mass transit fantasy is not the way to move toward a more energy- or carbon-efficient future anyway.

Even if we accept the still-not-proven fact that global warming is largely anthropogenic (caused only by human activity), any solution for a reduced CO2 balance that invokes totalitarian-like restrictions on the people, while simultaneously relying only on dreams like bikes, solar and windmills, is doomed to failure.

A new generation of nuclear power for massive nearly carbon-free electricity for homes and cars is the only long-term answer. When the anti-Interstate 5 bridge people and the other local politicos publicly admit this and the other inescapable facts, perhaps the government planning process can escape these fantasies and silly radical politics - and move on to fact-based solutions.

Thomas Mintner


What's powering the charging stations?

I am wondering what the source of electricity will be for the (electric vehicle) recharging stations (Electric vehicles coming here soon, Nov. 12). This is a crucial factor that absolutely must be addressed.

Is a coal-powered vehicle better than a gasoline-powered one? Coal is still the primary source of electricity in the U.S. (including Oregon), and is the leading cause of mercury pollution. I am hoping that the coalition is requiring the electricity be green - preferably from wind power.

Kya Eckstrand

North Portland

No fridge, no stealing

I liked the Green Tip story about getting rid of your refrigerator and the helpful hints included (Couple ditches their fridge, Nov. 12) - except for one suggestion. Taking packets of ketchup, mayonnaise and so forth from restaurants is stealing. The packets are there to use while you're eating your meal, not to supplement your groceries at home.

Arline Jacobson

Southeast Portland

Urban renewal depleting services

Urban renewal works, but Portland has really gone overboard with it (Is this costing you?, Nov. 5). They have so much tax revenue going to urban renewal that it's really depleting services. Also, Portland should spread the urban renewal around a lot more than it has.

There are many areas of the city that are very blighted, vs. the districts that the keep renewing. Why not let districts that have 'had their chance' lapse and create a new district in a truly blighted area - say, outer eastside?

Frank Ray

Southeast Portland

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