EDITORIAL: Where the resources are

CONSPIRACY THEORISTS, take note: the 2018 NRI for Columbia County has just been released. All 300 or so pages of it. It’s full of threats and other compelling topics. There’s one small problem, though. It’s full of things called facts.

The NRI is short for the “2018 Natural Resources Inventory of Columbia County, New York” prepared by Hudsonia Ltd., with contributions from the Hawthorne Valley Farmscape Ecology Program and coordinated by the Columbia Land Conservancy. The whole effort was under the direction of the Columbia County Environmental Management Council.

Deeply researched and full of photos and maps, the publication is meant, in its own words, as “a practical reference for residents, landowners, developers, municipal agencies, conservation NGOs, and others interested in understanding, using, and caring for the land and water of the county.” That’s a modest description of this up-to-the-minute portrait of the place we live. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Where do we put ’em?

THEY’LL BE SWARMING again before you know it. Not the bees. They’d be welcome. No, it’s the tourists and the second homers, taking up our parking spaces, breathing our relatively fresh air, spending money on our stuff and posting selfies that only draw more of them.

Now they don’t even go home at night. Not to their home or maybe it’s what they call their home, but it’s not their real home. It was better way back when, if they had to stay, you could herd them all into one or two big hotels so you knew where they were.

But now there’s Airbnb. Don’t try to pronounce it. If you still have dial-up internet service you may not know about this online service that matches people looking for a place to stay for a night, a weekend, or a week or two with people willing to rent a room or rooms to them on that basis. Short-term rentals, they call them. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Some ignorance can be cured

WHAT IF IGNORANCE was classified a disease? In that case, you could define public education as a partially effective immunization program. It lasts some folks for a lifetime. Others… not so much. But that would still leave all the untreated outbreaks of ignorance and ignorance relapses.

Naturally, not all cases of ignorance are treatable. Some sufferers resist help, preferring instead to remain carriers of this illness, infecting others who are not properly immunized. Leaders in the field of ignorance-ology would tell us there’s no single cure. They’d say that each case is unique except for mass ignorance, which is a form of hypnotism rather than a disease.

What if a powerful antidote to ignorance existed? It works but only if the sufferer voluntarily chooses to use it and only if that person determines the dosage and the length of treatment. What if the antidote wouldn’t bankrupt the patient before the cure took hold? We would welcome and support that antidote, wouldn’t we? Read more…

EDITORIAL: We can all learn something

HOW MUCH NEWS can a person absorb in a day, an hour or a lifetime? There should be measurement units like stories-per-hour or cubic talking heads.

There is research on the mechanics of memory but whether it’s relevant to our species’ appetite for news isn’t clear. All we know is that the way people here and across the nation receive news continues to change rapidly. So is the definition of what consumers now call news.

This week I had the pleasure of talking with a class at Columbia-Greene Community College about newspapers. These young adults were well-informed and politely curious. Only one or two said they had recently read a newspaper. They get their news on their mobile devices. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Why not a Green New Deal?

BLAME CHRIS GIBSON. The popular congressman who represented the 20th District until the end of 2016 got a bipartisan resolution through the House of Representatives that acknowledged human behavior is a cause of climate change and lawmakers ought to do something about it.

Back in 2015, when the GOP held a commanding majority in the House, Mr. Gibson got 11 of his Republican colleagues to step up as co-sponsors. The rest of the party kept its collective head in the sand and then acted surprised when Democrats won control of the House last November.

It took Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-14th) a week after taking office to introduce the Green New Deal resolution that would have the House acknowledge its duty to mobilize the nation to eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions, provide clean air, water and food plus a sustainable environment along with good jobs for everyone and wealth shared more equitably… and that’s only Page 2 of the 5-page Resolution H. Res. 109. Read more…