by Larry D. Guenther
On Tuesday, the City Council will decide whether or not to put DiSC on the ballot again. DiSC 2022 is the project on the outside of the Mace Curve that was voted down in its last iteration. It is now about half the size of the previous project. One of the Council’s goals is economic development. Another of the Council’s goals is Carbon Neutrality by 2040. In our current development paradigm, these goals are contradictory. That’s because our current development paradigm is centered around the automobile and commuting workers.
Approximately three quarters of our community’s total Green House Gas Emissions (GHG’s) come from transportation – and the lion’s share of that is single-occupancy vehicles; i.e. commuters. Hence the problem. DiSC is designed for commuters – it is designed in the current paradigm. The EIR for the DiSC project says that this project alone will increase the City’s total GHG’s by 4%. The EIR also states that this project will not allow the City to reach its carbon neutrality goal. These are not statements from opponents, this is from the project’s EIR.
There is scientific consensus that if the average global temperature increases by 1.5°C, our environment (that is to say, ‘we’) will suffer extreme and irreversible negative consequences. There is also scientific consensus that the average global temperature has already increased by 1°C. Additionally global GHG’s – the primary cause of increased temperatures – are still rising. This project would continue that trend.
We do not have to choose between economic development, housing, and the environment. We just need to build in a new way. We need a new paradigm. The idea that we must have either economic development, or reduce our environmental impact is a false choice. We can do both, we just have to do development differently.
So will City Council choose to prioritize its development goals, or its environmental goals? We’ll find out Tuesday night. If we stopped building for commuters, we could do both.
Larry D. Guenther
Speaking on my own behalf