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POSTED: Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Replacing meat can help planet

Today’s Earth Day observance should encourage every one of us to leave adequate natural resources for our children and grandchildren by making needed changes in our driving, our shopping, our recycling and our diet.

Yes, our diet. A 2006 United Nations report blamed meat production for 18 percent of the gas emissions that cause global warming. Carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to operate farm machinery, trucks, refrigeration equipment, factory farms and slaughterhouses. Methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.

Moreover, meat and dairy production dumps more animal waste, crop debris, fertilizers, pesticides and other pollutants into our waterways than all other human activities combined.

Let’s celebrate Earth Day by replacing meat and other animal products in our diet with a healthful, eco-friendly spread of vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains.

Derrick Rodgers

Honolulu

End tax holiday for wealthy

I support the state Senate-House conferees' proposal to raise the hotel room tax slightly and also to tax higher incomes at a slightly higher rate. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, the wealthiest 20 percent of citizens had their taxes lowered a great deal. The state Legislature's tax plan would raise the taxes on the higher brackets back up to 1990 levels — similar to President Obama's tax plan at the national level, which only impacts the top 3 percent of income earners. The rich have had enough of a virtual tax holiday while the middle class has carried more and more of the tax load.

The hotel room tax hike does not seem much of a burden for visitors and it is lower than in a good many other states. Perhaps the hotels can lower charges on use of the phone in rooms or the high charges for minimal continental breakfasts as ways of offsetting the 1 percent room tax increase.

The Republican and Fox-TV news-backed tea-bagging parties in which tea bags are thrown into public waterways and ponds seem ludicrous, as is talk of secession by the governor of Texas over Obama's reasonable tax measures — especially after the Bush administration spent the country into virtual bankruptcy.

The tax protesters here April 15 were off-base also — not realizing that anyone who makes less than $250,000 a year will actually have tax decreases, and many of us are now seeing those in our paychecks. The ones who are ripped off are the couples in same-sex relationships who, on average, pay $1,000 more per year in taxes because they are barred from filing a joint return. That's another reason why the civil unions bill (HB 444) should be passed.

John Witeck

Honolulu

Prison term raises questions

I am amazed at the 150-year sentence for murder of a Japanese student by Kirk Lankford given by Albert Tufono of the paroling board, with the highly charged recommendation by our city prosecutor, Peter Carlisle.

150 years for a murder. I like it. But wait. How is it that murders committed on local Hawaii residents get (minimum terms of) no more than 20 years, and the culprits are usually out in eight to 15 years or so? Are Japanese people more valuable than our own citizens?

Timothy Adarna, who murdered his parent and burned down the house, got a chance for parole after 20 years. And Darnell Griffin was released in 16 for the murder of a young woman and is now charged in another alleged murder of a second woman.

And this goes on and on as we all are accustomed to seeing.

But Mr. Lankford killed a Japanese person and I guess that tells us that locals are just not as valuable as Japanese.

Makes you wonder what Mr. Carlisle thinks of us locals.

Joseph Alexander

Waipahu

Traffic noise is excessive

I was wondering what is with all the loud cars, trucks, mo-peds and motorcycles?

Why do people like their vehicles to be loud? It's just noise pollution and rude. I think police should write citations for too-loud vehicles. What does everyone else think?

John Arnold

Honolulu

Greed leads to global harm

Global warming affects us all, but in the fight for the planet's health who will win? Big oil or global warming activists? We are in a position right now where we can improve the quality of life for future generations by just making the right decisions now.

We need to do what is right for all people instead of for greedy companies that continue to rape and exploit the Earth for their own interests and profits.

We need to be better stewards of our planet and make companies more responsible for their actions; then maybe they will wake up and realize what they are doing to our planet.

Alex Oshiro

Honolulu

Policy should protect lands

Since taking office in January, U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has prioritized renewable energy, put the brakes on destructive oil shale development, and canceled oil and gas leases on the edge of Utah national parks and historic sites on nearby public land.

Salazar's measured approach has provoked a backlash from the oil and gas industry.

With the Obama administration placing conservation and renewable energy issues high on its agenda, these first steps should be the first of many more toward the reforms needed to make sure the oil and gas industry doesn't wreck more of our fragile Western landscapes. Secretary Salazar should continue the agency's shift from giving the oil industry what it wants, to insisting on balance on lands that belong to everyone.

Jan Lubin

Waialae

 

               

     

 

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