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Letters to the Editor

Earth Island Journal
2150 Allston Way #460
Berkeley, CA 94704

I have no problem with the author’s friend’s Las Vegas sobriquet (“Las fucking Vegas”) in “Through the Glass, Brightly” (Winter 2018). But, as far as light pollution goes, I would think it applies equally to the author’s hometown of San Francisco or the author’s friend’s hometown of Salt Lake City. In fact, it would apply equally well to any major US city including my own: Reno, Nevada. Always bothers me when conservationists see problems as being caused by “others.” You wanna work on the noble cause of light pollution? Great, start in your own neighborhood. That will likely keep you quite busy.

David Palmer
Reno, NV

A Stable System

Life Amid the Levees” (Winter 2018) is a good Delta overview. However, the section describing Delta levees is based on outdated information. The rate of Delta levee failure has declined dramatically due to sustained improvements in levees over the past several decades. High-water events in January and February 2017 are a good case in point – in a heavy winter flood season, only the Van Sickle Island levee in the Suisun Marsh failed. Similarly, the estimates of Delta levee earthquake fragility have been revised downward based on real data from the 2014 Napa earthquake, which was proximate to Delta levees but caused no damage.

Erik Vink
Delta Protection
West Sacramento, CA

The Bay-Delta

Thank you for your recent cover article on the California Delta (“Life Amid the Levees,” Winter 2018). It is critical to continue to educate our citizenry about the ecological importance of this immense estuary and, in particular, the disastrous effects that Governor Jerry Brown’s so-called WaterFix would have on this ecosystem. The article does a good job at that. However, it fails in one important respect, that is to alert readers to the immense impacts the Delta Tunnels could have on San Francisco Bay by further diverting freshwater from reaching the Bay and reducing the beneficial effects of freshwater flows which cleanse and provide crucial nutrients and sediment to the Bay. Lack of adequate freshwater flows would have immense negative consequences for the economies and ecology of the entire Bay Area. The constituency needed to defeat the Delta Tunnels and protect and restore the Delta will be vastly increased when people realize that the Delta is not somewhere “up there” but is right here, lapping at our piers and the San Francisco Bay shoreline.

John Hooper
Protect Our Water
San Francisco, CA


Planning for Immigration

Thank you for your article on the California Delta. The entire American Southwest, not just the California Delta, faces water shortages of perhaps catastrophic proportions. The Southwest is the fastest growing region in the US, and the US is one of just eight nations fueling half of all growth on the planet in recent years. But because that growth is 82 percent driven by politically and emotionally charged immigration, we are not acknowledging, much less planning for its resource implications, particularly those related to water use. The US population jumped from 300 million in 2006 to over 326 million just 11 years later. I’m not saying we should close the border. But refusing to acknowledge or discuss immigration’s population and resource consequences, though perhaps politically correct, is environmentally dangerous.

Kathleene Parker
Los Alamos, NM


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