Letters for Saturday — September 10, 2005

• Katrina’s lesson

• Time to change gas patterns


Katrina’s lesson

I’ve been getting emails from good hearted-people about the issue, but I don’t agree with proposals to petition the government to lower or cap gas prices. This may sound bizarre, but I am not hoping gas prices come down or have any artificial cap whatsoever.

I believe that the alarming rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lead many in this world to a horrific future of natural catastrophes and starvation. To lessen the great suffering ahead of us is to find methods to drastically reduce our use of oil. Switching to ethanol and bio-diesel won’t help in this matter either.

One could argue that the damage to New Orleans and the Gulf oil infra-structure was brought on in part by climate change that was caused by burning the very gulf oil that will be in such short supply in the future.

Let’s hope that we don’t have to experience many more Katrinas before we learn some tough lessons – lessons as important to America as what we should have learned from 9/11. Namely, that we should reduce dependency on oil, not invest in it! It’s a matter of changing lifestyles.

High price and low availability of gas is about the only way to reduce consumption for most Americans … and that is exactly what is coming as we pass world peak oil production in the next couple of years. More competition for fewer oil resources. It will not make sense to simply burn oil when we will need it for higher value uses like lubricants, plastics, and pharmaceuticals.

The less we use oil now the more forgiving the world and nature will be to us in the future. Treating nature right is not just a “nice” thing to do … tomorrow it will be a required survival technique.

One of the few ways people will conserve, protect, respect nature, is if they are economically compelled to do so. If it costs $100 to fill up your SUV you may decide to take your bike the next time you go to the market. Incentives like that will eventually help the world and you.

There is a rocky road ahead for America and the onthe-go lifestyle it has become addicted to. Now is the time to start looking for an exit ramp that looks good before the tank reads EMPTY!

  • Juan Wilson
    Architect-planner
    Hanapepe

Good job on gym roof

It has been nearly 6 months since Kilauea Gym roof has been fixed and no leaks have been detected.

I wish to personally thank, on behalf of Northshore basketball players from 5 years old to 93 years young, Mayor Bryan Baptiste, County Bldg. Dept., County Council, especially Council Chairman Kaipo Asing and the contractor for helping to fix a persistent and difficult problem at Kilauea Gym.

  • Bill Troutman
    Kilauea

Time to change gas patterns

Regarding the behavior of people toward the escalating gasoline prices, I’ve heard so-called authorities on television and in the newspapers claim that people will stubbornly hold onto their old habits of buying gas and purchasing gas-hungry vehicles.

The people who are saying this are completely out of touch with what’s really happening. The majority of people who buy gasoline need gasoline, for their livelihood, for their health, for their family obligations, and those people can’t just buy a new car whenever they choose to.

A single mother living on the West side of Kaua’i for the cheapest rent possible who has to drive every day to Lihu’e or Princeville every day in a 10-year-old van to clean condos doesn’t have many options for changing her patterns. Neither does a carpenter sharing a house with four others who takes his five-year-old SUV all over the island for work. These examples just represent the majority of people living on this island.

They will change patterns, all right. They will go out to eat less often, they will buy fewer and cheaper clothes, they won’t attend as many events as they used to, they’ll spend more on car repairs, and they might give up their hopes of ever buying a house on this island. There is a thin veneer of people at the top of the economy who won’t change their gas patterns because they don’t need to, and they won’t even be able to comprehend the plight of those who have no choice.

  • Serge King
    Princeville

It’s more than just access

Regarding Lester Chang’s two-part article on the proposed path along the coastline of Papaloa Road and the informative comments from both sides of the controversy, I am dismayed with the continuing implication that condo owners do not want people accessing “their” beach.

The beach in discussion has always had public access and is used by local residents for sunning, swimming and fishing. It has also been the setting for many weddings and a few afterdark bonfires. There is no restriction in place for access, but the county-provided paths to the beach are littered and in disrepair. Will future paths along the beach also lack maintenance?

The concern among owners stems from strictly an environmental stance and the expectation that county officials follow the same rules and regulations required by all of us, including proper environmental studies. The beauty of our Hawaiian islands, especially Kaua’i, is represented to visitors with pictures of unspoiled beaches. Is it really necessary to mar the scene with concrete sidewalks or elevated board-walks?

I urge everyone to visit the small beach fronting the Papaloa Road condominiums. That narrow strip of sand does not need a manmade path. The bicycle lane is scheduled along the road. Let’s leave the beach to those who want to enjoy the unspoiled environment.

  • Catherine Burns
    Princeville

Don’t remove the reef fish

Two years ago, the reef in front of my house was swarming with beautiful fish — dozens of kihikihi, yellow tang, wrasses and butterfly fish. This year I am lucky if I glimpse a single yellow tang or kihikihi and even the butterfly fish and wrasses are depleted.

A friend who works at a timeshare in Princeville tells me that all the time share condominiums have aquariums and they are stocked with our reef fish. This is probably true all over the island.

Many tourists come for the specific purpose of snorkeling, to enjoy our wide variety of beautiful reef fish. It doesn’t make sense to me for a small number of people to destroy the pleasure for the rest.

Please write your senator and representatives to promote a law forbidding the removal of reef fish any shorter than 10 or 12 inches. It would also be wonderful if Kaua’i, like O’ahu, Maui and the Big Island, could have a marine preserve. The fish will come back if they are given a chance.

  • Barbara D. Larsen

Hanalei

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