GMOs and Roundup
(Re: “GMOs,” cover story, Feb. 10.)
The article about “Frankenfoods” by Jefferson Dodge was well-written and included quotes from some credible sources. However, it missed an important point. The salient issue concerning GM crops is that they are genetically manipulated specifically to withstand the herbicide Roundup. Cute little name isn’t it — “Roundup”? Sounds like something you would hear from the Marlboro Man. The latest scientific research carried out by a multinational scientific team headed by Professor Andres Carrasco, head of the Laboratory of Molecular Embryology at the University of Buenos Aires Medical School and a member of Argentina’s National Council of Scientific and Technical Research, concluded that Roundup, in far lower concentrations than used in agriculture, is linked to birth defects. Roundup is one of the most highly toxic substances in agriculture. GM crops may be good or they may be bad. The point is that Roundup has been proven to be bad for the yet to be born. Some may not have a problem with having Roundup sprayed on their Cheerios, but those yet to be born may not appreciate this point of view.
Tom Bronzan/Boulder County
Dogs and open space
(Re: “Why people growl about dogs on open space,” Feb. 3.)
What a breath of fresh air!
I agree with Ms. White’s point of view and believe that there are a large number of Boulderites including dog owners who appreciate that there are people-only trails available. I have had similar experiences with dogs on trails as described in the article, some irritating, a few frightening.
When I go out to hike, I do not want to have to worry about dog behavior or see dogs off trail pooping or chasing cows, while their owners stand by helplessly because their animals are off leash and not under voice control.
Thank you, thank you and thank you. Your Uncensored column was brilliant. Thanks for saying what I feel and have experienced, and for saying it well. You have added immensely to the discussion of this very real problem dynamic.
Kudos also to the Open Space staff running this process.
Make “green tags” count
(Re: “A dog’s life,” cover story, Feb. 3.)
I loved the article on dogs in open spaces from last week.
I’m one of the few dog owners (3-year-old spaniel) who think that we need to tighten restrictions on dogs in our open spaces, national forests and wilderness areas. I think that if we do not do something soon, dogs will be banned in more places, and I’ll have fewer options for going hiking with my best friend.
I think we should radically change the so-called “green tag” system by which, in certain areas, dogs are permitted to run loose. The number of dogs I’ve seen running off unsupervised, trampling vegetation, disturbing wildlife and/or approaching other dogs and people unchecked by their owners is ridiculous.
Too many dog owners know little about what a dog’s body/facial gestures mean (I recommend reading The Other End of the Leash, by Patricia McConnell), and, as a result, they really don’t understand their dog. Dog people are awesome people, but many of them (just like parents of little humans) can also be entitled and self-absorbed.
One person quoted in this article said, (A) “There are some steep areas on those trails … (B) “Dogs are part of nature, and they should be free … (C) When I see people with leashed dogs … it means they do not trust their dogs.”
Well, (A) Train your dog not to pull, get a hands-free leash and walk with a walking staff. While you make a good point, this still implies that you are lazy about training your dog. I don’t ding you for that; so am I! But you cannot have the rewards of a well-trained dog without taking on the responsibilities, including training. I’ve had my dog, leashed, in wilderness areas without incident.
And, (B) I’m a part of nature, too, but understand I cannot leave my excrement out in the open, should not trample vegetation and most definitely should not disturb the wildlife that live in wild areas. Your dog is natural, but not wild, and should be controlled by voice or leash.
(C) You are correct. I do not trust my dog to be off leash. You know why? Because I did not choose (dog training is really all about choice) to put in the time to train my dog to have excellent recall and “heel” commands, and when I am hiking I do not want to think about what my dog is doing, so he has to be leashed as I cannot keep him in “heel.”
Regarding the “green tag” program:
The cost to even purchase a green tag should be raised to at least $75 (with a discount for those who put in a certain number of hours volunteering for trail restoration, wildlife rehab or animal shelters) for the initial purchase, and a portion of that money should go toward the services of a qualified dog trainer who will run a test of between five to 10 dogs at a time (cheaper to do multiple dogs) to check their recall, “heel” responses and their responses to other dogs.
Dogs that fail on recall, “heel” or show any measure of aggression toward other dogs will fail the test and not receive a green tag until they can be retested. If your dog is leash-aggressive, that sucks, but you can do behavioral work to fix that — if you are willing to commit to the time to train your dog.
Watching a video is malarkey. I could do that, get a green tag and I have already said my dog doesn’t have that level of obedience.
Renewing your dog’s green tag should be $25/year ($15 for additional dogs in the household), which will go toward upkeep of open spaces, including ranger salaries and management of the program.
Reductions can be granted based on income levels and volunteer commitments, as mentioned above. I also support fees for dog parks in the form of two-year tags for $15. The money could then go to upkeep of the parks themselves.
I think it is pathetic that some people’s environmental ethic doesn’t extend to the dog at the end of the leash.
Erin L. Fough/Boulder
Danish is right on fuel
(Re: “An open letter to the members of Congress,” Danish Plan, Feb. 10).
At last, I got excited reading something. Paul Danish’s “Open letter” is a delight and absolutely a must-read. However, I don’t believe that what was not done by Congress in the past 38 years will be done in the next 38 years, no matter who sits on Capitol Hill. Freeing America from imported oil is a dead horse. We will continue to rely on Saudi oil until the last drop of crude is recovered from the (already ailing) supergiant oil fields of the Saudis. We most probably will pay for this drop $10,000 or so.
Despite my disillusion from our representatives in Washington, I am writing to highlight a few more things in regard to our ability to produce our own liquid fuels. Danish rightly mentions the mature technologies turning natural gas and coal into gasoline and diesel. We call these technologies gas-to-liquids (GTL) and coal-to-liquids (CTL). I have been involved in the development and scale-up of such technologies during the past 10 years and have patents (as inventor) in this field. Being quite familiar with this option of synthetic transportation fuels from our non-conventional fossil resources, I would like to add to Danish, as follows.
America has coal that may last for 300 years if used to replace crude oil as a source of transportation fuels at today’s consumption rate. Coupled with our renewable biomass, we may have enough carbonaceous raw material for gasoline and diesel for the next 1,200 years. We may even extend this period if we add natural gas. In a “dream” scenario, we shall stop wasting natural gas and coal for firing power plants and have all our electricity generated from nuclear energy. Our entire transportation fleet will use advanced, more sophisticated and highly energy-efficient engines. And we will be blessed by uninterrupted streams of reasonably priced synthetic fuels that are far better in quality than oil-derived fuels. Synthetic liquid fuels have better combustion properties and higher octane (for gasoline) and cetane (for diesel), and they are entirely free of contaminants — sulfur, nitrogen, metals, particulates. So they are much healthier to use and more friendly to our environment.
Consider a few more things: The implementation of GTL and CTL (and later, BTL — biomass-to-liquid) technologies will create tens of thousands of new sustainable jobs in the U.S., jobs that cannot be outsourced. From the construction, operation and maintenance of GTL/CTL plants, our government will recover perhaps $100 billion a year in taxes! And guess who will buy our synthetic gasoline and diesel? Yes, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates! So, the petrodollars will come back to America instead of going to the Jihadists.
But don’t worry; this will not happen. Congress is there to spend taxpayers’ money carefully. Oil prices are always fluctuating and OPEC could again sell a barrel for $15 if it so desires, to knock down any competition. Congress will not appreciate that this happened just because we had spent $300 billion to build our synthetic fuel plants, and that we have saved hundreds of billions of dollars by not continuing to pay $100 a barrel or more. Instead, Washington’s mindset is that we should be patient enough waiting for oil prices to drop again on their own due to “market-driven” circumstances.
Therefore, the only sure thing in this country is to continue to spend our dollars on stimulus and bailout programs.
This at least is politically correct. As to our energy economy — we shall keep “going solar,” building more ugly wind farms until there is no wind and land left unturned in Kansas and Oklahoma, and soon drive electric cars to save money at the gas pump (thus starving the oil business, hurrah!) and put this money, instead, in the big pockets of Xcel Energy and companies alike. We will live in a very happy world. This perhaps may not satisfy our country’s energy needs, but it will certainly please noisy environmentalists and “green energy” activists. Is there any other reason why our Energy Secretary is Professor Steven (“Shift-Away-From-Fossil- Fuels”) Chu?
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines released this week by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services are continuing a 30-year trend of recommending replacement of animal products and other fatty foods in our diet with vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
The recommendations reflect widespread concern with the epidemic of obesity and other precursors of killer diseases, particularly among our children.
In a National Public Radio interview, distinguished Harvard University Professor of Public Health Walter Willett complained about the guidelines’ lack of transparency in failing to call for an outright reduction in meat consumption.
He should know. In 1977, drawing on two years of hearings by the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs chaired by Sen. George McGovern, Willett authored the original “Dietary Goals for the United States.” When the meat industry learned that the report’s key recommendation was to reduce meat consumption, it forced McGovern to destroy all copies of the report and to replace “meat” with “saturated fat.” It then abolished the committee, voted McGovern out of office and taught government bureaucrats never to challenge meat consumption again.
To this day, “saturated fats” remains a code word for meat, dairy and eggs.
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