Monday, December 17, 2007

Readers fire back on environment

Since 1996 when former Associate Editor Maria Henson and I put together the Observer’s first environmental assessment outlining the state’s top 10 environmental challenges, readers have had two reactions. Some loved it. Some hated it.
Here’s a sampling of reader responses to this year’s assessment:

“Thanks for your column on NC environment today. I’m a property owner at Lake James and am obviously concerned by how the Catawba chain has held up during this drought.
“I’ve also made a couple of trips to/from Raleigh this fall and noticed that the Yadkin River/Lake High Rock at both Hwy. 49 and I 85 is so full that it is almost spilling its banks. I’ve never noticed it so high. Have you heard anything about why the Yadkin has stayed so full or know anyone I can talk to about it? My guess is that there are fewer restrictions on the amount of water that has to be spilled downstream relative to the Catawba.”
Here’s another:
“How can you say that buying a huge liability[Chimney Rock] is good for NC. And taking people off their bus and putting them on a rail system is a success. That is insulting to people’s intelligent.
“Jack, I’m sure you are a well-paid intelligent person. Would you built a house with no water. Well, [pun] that what your paper who supports the baseball park and Nasc ar Museun.
“We were warned over 25 years ago that Daylight Saving Time would ruin our schools. Were are you articles on this.”
And another:
“I guess if you measure the McCrory Cats line’s opening days as being successfull I would guess you are using your own newspapers headlines as the basis for drawing that conclusion. Factor out the number of riders that actually paid for the two way ride on a daily basis and I doubt seriously that any mass of humanity served by the Cats light rail line would hardly put a wrinkle in the state sheets on the number of commuters choosing to slog it out on the interstates. Trains are great as long as everything is centrally located but unfortunately Charlotte is a spread out city and what would serve a hand full of the citizens needs hardly is worth it for all the citizens like good and adequate highways.
“I would hope that eventually everyone will ride the trains, or take the bes or travel on toll roads so the rest of us can have the Interstates to ourselves.”
And another:
“The time has come the ’Walrus said to speak of many things". Let’s discuss water.
“We have been depending on the ground water and the local aquifers for centuries and depend on the same amount of rainfall each year to satisfy an expanding population. The result is that water is more difficult to find and treat and more expensive to use.
“The Governor of Georgia had the right idea in looking to the Heavens for more water but he just approached it in the wrong way. God has already given us the intellect to get water from the Heavens not by a miracle but by the Mirage. Other nations who have already reached the point of desperation with the lack of water have turned to a small American company in Hondo,Texas to help out. Its not the total answer but it does make drinking water from the humidity in the Air and reduces their dependence on the ground or sea water for all their needs. Its simple, cheap and requires minimal maintenance to produce any where from 20 gallons a day for a residence or office to 1500 gallons a day for bigger users. They can also be assembled in pairs to make thousands of more gallons where needed for agriculture or industry.
“For coastal or lakeside communities they can be placed on barges offshore and pipe thousands of gallons each day to whole communities. The amount of water in the air is limitless and its easier and cheaper to clean than using desalination or reverse osmosis.
“For areas where there is water available but not in a desirable condition to drink, they make a Vortex system that treats well or ground water without chemicals and uses the energy of the water itself to turn it into good drinking or agricultural water. The system was devised by the Greeks in 2000 BC to clean their water.
“Both of these devices use very little energy and do not leave us with other contaminants to dispose of after use.
“The use of Mirage units in offices,schools and even hospitals could reduce the demand placed on our present water supplies while providing a cheap very desirable product that everyone needs.
“A recent article in the State Port Pilot, Dec 5,2007 shows one at use in a home in Bolivia, NC.
“The Military has asked for 2 demo units for use on tactical vehicles in the field which will produce 12 gallons a day for the crew in what has been described by the Contractor,BAE Systems, as a "camel’ that can be milked for water wherever the troops are.
“The Preface to the Mirage brochure was written by Prof. Hilary Inyang, of UNC Charlotte who holds the Duke Energy Chair and is involved with energy and water usage on an International level.
“The water is above us and there for the taking provided by the good Lord for us all.
“We dont have to steal each others rivers and watersheds we just need to reach up and take what we need.
“A retired soldier who appreciates the ready availability of drinking water.”
And another:
“Excellent overview. I hope people pay attention.
“The part about the rise of ocean waters since 1585 is most important if it only reminds people the ocean levels have changed in the past and will continue to change. Our problem, the problem of the human race, is that we have built structures so close to the water. Will we ever learn?
“The one of southeast drought is related. Whether the developers care to accept it or not, our water supplies are limited. The Catawba and other southeast rivers are not large streams. Again the problem is related to the growth of population dependent upon a resource which changes and has not concern for the number of humans who live close by.
“I find the piece about the pine plantations replacing the oak forests of personal import. I bought a small (100 acre) tree farm in Gaston County 2 years ago. We had the NC Forest Service assist in replanting. I wanted a mixed group. Some parts in Loblolly, some in mixed oaks, some in long leaf. The forestry agent almost insisted on loblolly, and it turns out the state assistance programs only apply to pine plantings.
“I suggest you and your fellow editors look at the problem in totality. It is the issue of growth as the economic model which we understand. We do not understand how to deal with no growth. Neither do those involved in the development industries wish to go there. Builders, lenders and all the associated industries are run by people who are getting relatively richer on development. To ask them to stop or slow down is to take away their ability to become richer.
“The subprime issue is a case in point. Those who suffer are the ones left behind. The water issue will be next.
“After this drought has passed, we will forget about it and move on. (man is good about forgetting the lessons of the past) Growth will continue apace, supported wholeheartedly by the various chambers, and sooner or later a drought will occur which, because of increased demand, will cause more problems than a wailing and gnashing of teeth.
“It will be an interesting time, which reminds me of a Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.”


Anonymous said...

I think this only goes to show that most of your readers are functionally illiterate.

Anonymous said...

No one is addressing the REAL problem and the primary cause for the drought---overpopulation! Too many people have migrated south and have taxed our water supply, not to mention overbuilding on our pristine farmland. Truly, the villain in The Matrix said it best--humanity is like a virus. People need to stop having so many children and need to stay where they are before we have no water left in the South!

Anonymous said...

I've lived here since 1983, in an older neighborhood (my house was built in 1952). When I moved here, there was no such thing as "lawn watering" unless it was fall or spring and you had just put down new seed. In summer the thought process was "the grass will be green again when it rains." Lawn watering needs to be permanently banned. It is a gross waste of a precious resource.

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