Thursday, April 8, 2021

YES! Colorado Is Full - Not For Lack Of Space - But Lack Of Supporting Resources (Namely Adequate WATER!)


      Traffic on I-25  near Denver. Colorado's population has doubled in the past 25 years

Denver Post guest columnist Abbie Arndt claims "We are not full” in her recent (4/5) column. She insists this is the case here in Colorado despite every objective indicator showing we are indeed full.  We are full of traffic, we are full of people already invading hundreds of acres of habitat with new housing (displacing wildlife)- and we are full of people consuming too much of our precious water in an arid, drought -prone region.  One that now faces monster wild fires each year threatening all those new homes the newcomers built.

Incredibly, 97 percent of the state is still considered in extreme drought despite two monster snow storms.  Further, projected temperatures are on the rise for the foreseeable future, with our streams and rivers forecast to lose 4-5 % of water capacity for each 1 degree F temperature rise. This according to Jeff Lukas, author of the 2020 Colorado River Basin State of the Science Report.

Given the severe limits already imposed on our water supply and water is essential to support a population, this is not a state to move to.  Indeed, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has already made it clear in a special report that Americans - like other would be migrants overseas- need to rethink their yen to migrate, for whatever reason, E.g.

Dealing with climate change requires more fight and less flight


We have always been a mobile country—even during the Great Depression, Americans continued their great migration West. Not many countries have a change-of-address form included as a matter of course at the bottom of credit card statements, magazine subscriptions, bank statements, and as preprinted notecards at post offices.

Now many Americans may have one more additional impetus to pull up roots: climate change. And they expect to be able to go wherever they please, even as they deny other would-be migrants—including some who are fleeing climate-driven impacts—the right to come to this country.

 But maybe now it's time to stop being a "mobile country"  especially if it means piling into an area already under severe climate stress.  Indeed, the Colorado Limits on Housing Growth Initiative (Initiative 122) sought to actively limit any more influx but failed to make its way to the ballot in November 2020.  Nonetheless, as Ms. Arndt noted:

"the motivations that brought the initiative into existence and propelled it into our public conscience have not disappeared." 

Indeed, why would it given the dire conditions in our state have not disappeared.  But on reading the piece one wonders if Arndt is even aware what those conditions are, and especially the limits on the water supply.  

She  refers to opinion pieces recently published in the Boulder Daily Camera and The Rocky Mountain Collegian entitled respectively: “Reality check on growth” and “ Stop moving to Colorado. We’re full” .

She claims that both pieces:  "hit on a troubling theme woven through parts of Colorado’s culture that has needled me since I arrived here with my family at age 15. These pieces claim that growth is ruining the quality of life here and any so-called newcomer to the state directly contributes to the degradation of our communities."

One wonders if  Arndt has even been on the I-25 lately and seen the traffic congestion especially near Aurora and Denver.  Then beheld cars by the hundreds idling and spewing exhaust into the atmosphere already fouled by particulates,  e.g. PM2,5 from the fracking industry and SO 2 and  mercury from coal-fired plants, as well as CO2 from fires.   

It doesn't take a Mensa level I.Q. either to connect all of these with increased population.  That increased population, plus the pollution it inevitably brings - via energy and resource demands- leads to the degradation we see now all over the state. But which Arndt appears blind to.  How else explain it when she writes bunkum like the following:

"I could not disagree more with the premise behind these common sentiments. In fact, these entitled perspectives prevent us from building exactly the kind of community that we wish to hold on to."

But they are not "entitled perspectives"  but rather logical conclusions based on realistic observations and assessments of the problems Colorado faces - almost all directly traced to too many people. She even admits growth is a key factor when she writes:

"Census data analysis by Pew Charitable Trusts shows that Colorado was the third-fastest growing state in the country from 2008 to 2018."

But then she seeks to minimize this admission by writing:

"While this trend is certainly significant, it is worth remembering that the state as we know it was established by white settlers colonizing lands traditionally inhabited by Apache, Comanche, Shoshone and Ute tribes. To say that anyone who arrives here from now on should not be encouraged to stay is to ignore the circumstances under which Coloradans first formed communities and cities in this space. "

The problem is that the conditions evident for the early settlers in the mid to late -1800s are not the same as those faced now,  especially in terms of climate change, increased CO2. Indeed, the C14/ C12 ratio graph - excess of radiocarbon C14 over C12, had barely reached the 'zero' line by 1850, e.g.

As pointed out by solar physicist John Eddy (The New Solar Physics, AAAS Symposium, p. 17):

"The sharp upward spike at the modern end of the curve, representing a marked drop in relative radiocarbon, is generally attributed to anthropogenic causes—the mark of increased population and the Industrial Age. The burning of low radiocarbon fossil fuels- coal and oil- and the systematic burning off of the world’s forests for agriculture can be expected to dilute the natural C14/C12 ratio in the troposphere to produce an effect like the one shown."

In other words, Arndt is comparing chalk and cheese in terms of climate eras and the attendant environmental problems. Hence, indeed, from what we now know, NO one who arrives here  ought to be encouraged to stay - unlike the settlers in the 1860s-70s.  She does make a useful point when she writes:

"Perhaps when we confront what is, according to  Jim Martin, a former member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, in the Camera, “an alarming growth problem that’s not going away,” we had best reflect on our own history of initiating and promulgating the same growth that is now the object of discontent."

Absolutely true!  But reflecting on those early growth mistakes (that already occurred) doesn't in itself prevent a further dire compounding via new growth mistakes.  Or using sloppy reasoning to  allow more growth in population just because we had previous, earlier growth.  There has to be a time to say 'Enough!"  as unfair as it may be, and that time is now.  Her final point that:

"Protecting our resources means adapting to ever-changing circumstances; the best we can do is cultivate our capabilities of innovation and flexibility....

Because here is the deal: We can grow and maintain our cities and communities. We can grow and protect our infrastructure and ecosystems. People move to Colorado today seeking safety, opportunity, beauty, and adventure – just as our parents and grandparents did. We are naive and selfish to believe that we deserve to shut the door behind us now."

Is also superficial.  Once the ecosystems collapse, then alas, all bets are off. Once the water runs out, ditto. It's all well and good to spiel about "capabilities of innovation" and "adapting to ever changing circumstances" but those too are delimited, circumscribed by the conditions imposed from without by climate change, a diminishing water capacity and ever greater potential for climate catastrophe.  

No one is "naive" or "selfish" to want to shut the door, but just as with driving a vehicle that is already over-packed with people  beyond safety margins, it's important to know when to say 'Enough!'   It's a pity Ms. Arndt doesn't seem to have that word in her vocabulary.

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Publius said...

I'm sorry, but Colorado has open borders and must accept any and all refugees from other states. Colorado is a wealthy state with lots of space and can accomodate any and all comers.

Racist bigots such as yourself will just have to get used to it. Try to stop being so hateful to the "other" or "outside" group.

As you posted on your own blog:

Immigrants Are Essential: A Manifesto for the Covid-19 and Climate Change Era

You are also selfishly over-housed. The State of Colorado should require you to take in an immigrant family in order to more efficiently use the housing stock you are hoarding.

Copernicus said...

What kind of moron are you any way? I am fully in support of more immigrants coming to Colo. or any state as a whole, rather than increasing the population via births. There is also no "housing stock being horded", moron. It is a case of too low supply to match the demand from every Tom, Dick, Mary and Sue (whities) that wish to move here from other states. Grow up or better yet go back to your sippy cup - and maybe try to organize your brain cells before you next send an idiotic comment.

Copernicus said...

Sorry,Pub. You've used up your quota of published comments for the next two months. Try again in August. Ciao!