A false dichotomy — Catharine Harris

Daily Camera, Boulder, CO
POSTED:   03/18/2015 06:17:31 PM MDT

Dave Krieger, for the editorial board, wrote that he is opening a discussion about how “aesthetic” environmentalism and a “modern carbon footprint” definition of environmentalism (“Redefining environmentalism,” Daily Camera, March 1) impacts Boulder’s decisions about growth and density. This is a false dichotomy. Environmentalism is action that conserves and preserves the health of our earth, air, water, wildlife, plants, and humans for today as well as for tomorrow. Yes, it also includes aesthetic values that feed our souls, but is more than being able to see the green of our mountain landscape and open space. True environmentalism is valued by people by all ages.

Monitoring our carbon footprint is just one method of monitoring our human impact on our soil, air, water, wildlife and plants with which we are interdependent. It is not environmentalism in itself. Carbon is a significant but not the only abuse of our environment. Population pressures also abuse our environment.

Dave Krieger uses his false dichotomy between aesthetic and carbon footprints to advocate for height exemptions in the east part of town and more density. I wonder if all the additional people coming to fill urban-style, expensive, high-rise apartments really will reduce our carbon footprint in their transportation habits or in their lifestyles. More people harm our environment by disturbing animals, birds, and plants; use of pesticides, creating waste, using water, needing more services and infrastructure, covering land with concrete. Wise people of any age know that not all change is for the better. New density and erasing height limitations (which are not new but were passed by Boulder voters in 1971) do not create a better place to live.

Catharine Harris