• Food, CO2 and sustainability • Treat feral cats humanely • Too much following too closely
Food, CO2 and sustainability
We have a food production problem on Kauai. At a recent county-sponsored sustainability conference, it was reported that in the past year, 7,000 acres of local land has been withdrawn from agricultural production. Also, 28 percent of farms of 1-9 acres ceased operation. Home gardening and the Sunshine Markets appear to be flourishing but still account for a very small amount of the food we consume. Over 90 percent of our food is imported.
Large-scale farming wastes large amounts of water, adds chemicals to the soil, requires energy and generates carbon dioxide (CO2), a major contributor to global warming. Some experts are now using CO2 as an index of the environmental cost of individual foods. Foods that are high in CO2 production and thus have a negative impact on the environment are meats, dairy products and fish. Low environmental impact foods are plant based. These foods are also nutrient rich and have positive benefits on human health. Investigators have calculated that if all the world’s population would consume the Mediterranean diet (which emphasizes fruit, vegetables, fish and some dairy) the CO2 levels in the atmosphere would stabilize or even decrease. Both France and England have proposed national diets that optimize nutrient content, are culturally acceptable, affordable and yet minimize CO2 production. These diets emphasize plant-based foods, reduce (but do not eliminate) meat, fish and dairy and are low-calorie, dense meals (which counters the obesity trend).
With the sun, water and available land on Kauai and with appropriate leadership our island is ideal to produce sustainable plant-based foods. To accomplish this goal, choices have to be made. For example, the CO2 generated by the proposed dairy farm would be much greater than CO2 produced if KIUC were to build an average sized, coal-fired electric generating plant. The KIUC board and our citizenry would not tolerate such a decision, and yet our politicians and some citizens are eager to bring in the dairy that will generate more CO2 than a coal plant and will have many additional attendant environmental problems.
Political and individual decisions made now will have major long-reaching effects on our environmental and personal health. We must support elected officials and organizations that take the appropriate steps to preserve our health and lives on our beautiful island.
Judith K. Shabert, M.D., master of public health
Douglas Wilmore, M.D.,
Treat feral cats humanely
The Hawaiian island of Kauai is proposing to annihilate its feral cat population. The Kauai council is to present their recommendations to this issue on July 1. Please help us avoid this needless slaughter. We are in dire need to establish a media and resort blitz to help publicize the annihilation of these animals. Our philosophy simply states that “kindness to all animals builds a better world for us all” and we abhor Kauai’s departure from humane measures. The alternate TNR (trap, neuter and release) program has been highly successful in similar locales and we would like to see its implementation in this case.
Please help in this issue and inform the public on this matter.
All animals deserve a better and happy life, not abused, tortured and killed for whatever reason.
Thank you for your attention.
Too much following too closely
As a Kauai resident for 25 years, I have been driving the roads here every day and have seen over and over again the most prevalent problem causing accidents and that is following too closely. The rule is one car length for every 10 miles per hour. In California, it’s the law and included on the driving test. If the rule is followed the driver can see far ahead for brake lights and/or possible danger. If a driver is following too closely, he or she cannot see any farther than the rear end of the car in front. A sudden stop by the lead car will cause a sudden swerve by the car or truck following too closely either to the left into oncoming traffic or to the right onto the shoulder, either way loss of control and a potential disaster!
Again, we had a truck following too closely, unable to stop in time, swerve to the shoulder and kill a county worker. Where is the common sense? If a driver is going slower than the one behind him, he gets tailgated sometimes inches from the lead car. Again, where’s the common sense? We see signs everywhere, “Click it or ticket.” Of much more importance would be a sign “One for 10,” “One-10 or ticket.” Drivers are not being educated to the danger of this common practice here on Kauai’s roads. Lives can be saved.