Blaming the poor
A few weeks ago there was a letter to the editor asking us to consider individual lifestyle changes to help alleviate the climate crisis. A letter the following week praised this argument, adding that in addition to our unsustainable lifestyle, overpopulation was a big contributor to the climate crisis. The author suggested people of reproductive age consider putting off having children, or that they avoid it altogether. The next week a letter to the editor praised this previous letter for bringing up overpopulation.
The origin of the overpopulation argument is a racist theory that blames poor people of color, and takes responsibility away from the white ruling class. The idea of overpopulation inspires genocides and forced sterilizations. It was promoted in order to divert the blame of poor living conditions and other social issues (and now climate change) from the ruling class and put that blame onto the working class. The subject is not simply taboo, it is racist, it has been disproven, and promoting it is not courageous.
These letters blaming overpopulation are being published after another letter claimed that there was no excuse for an unwanted pregnancy and that we should focus more on prevention than abortion. Despite what the author thinks, birth control is not easily available in many parts of this country. It is politicians that are attempting to take away abortion rights (along with accessible birth control) and these same politicians will blame poor families with children for their bad living conditions, and for the climate crisis. Meanwhile, their actions and their fierce upholding of capitalism (and its endless unnecessary production) goes unquestioned.
We should consider redirecting our efforts away from individual decisions, and look at who has money and power in this country.
Brooklyn, New York (formerly Winthrop)
Say ‘no’ to ATVs
The North Central ATV Club has asked the county to open over 50 miles (!) of Methow Valley roads to ATVs. Recently, the county commissioners have proposed to dance to the club’s tune with few exceptions, so the song of ATVs (often in large groups) could be filling our valley everywhere. I don’t think most of us want to see or hear that happen. The ATV clubs have plenty of other places in north central Washington that are open to them already.
The last time the county tried to go along with the ATV club, valley citizens and organizations (including the Methow Valley Citizens Council) stopped it with their objections and a lawsuit. The county lost that suit on appeal in 2016.
The appeals court sent the county back to the drawing board with a list of requirements for a complete environmental analysis that it had previously ignored, “including harm to soils, slopes, water, animals, and plants; [and] reported instances of off road use and its damage to environment.” The analysis will be part of the process of reaching a final ATV rule. If the county doesn’t comply with the court’s directives, we’ll almost certainly see another, unnecessary lawsuit that will be costly to taxpayers.
I urge you to participate by voicing your concerns during the public comment period that starts when the county formally publishes its proposed rule. And call Andy Hover to tell him you don’t want the valley flooded with ATVs.