Some suggested resolutions for 2015
Today is the day for making resolutions that will improve your life, your city, your country and the world. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Conserve energy and resources. Whether you choose to accept the scientific consensus that global warming is human-caused — or believe that you know better — conservation is a worthwhile cause, because all resources (minerals, water, etc.) on our planet are finite, and in the case of fossil fuels and minerals, once gone, they are gone forever.
We should resolve not only to support alternate energy and resource conservation programs in the U.S. and worldwide, but also to adopt conservation practices in our own community and in our daily lives. “Think globally, but act locally.”
In addition to shutting off water faucets and lights and appliances when they are not serving an essential purpose, reducing our consumption of the things we buy and maximizing the amount we recycle, we need to challenge our City Council to make Glenwood Springs a more energy-efficient city by adopting a few simple measures like the two following examples:
• Under the present system, heavy trucks from at least three waste disposal businesses run up and down our streets, burning up unnecessary amounts of fuel and tripling the impact on the pavement surfaces. Council could avoid this simply by dividing the city into districts and awarding each district to a single purveyor on the basis of competitive bids.
• Over 10 years ago, Council adopted an ordinance setting exterior lighting standards, which was intended to reduce the intensity and hours of outdoor lighting, restoring darkness to the night sky and avoiding unnecessary energy use. Those standards included provisions applying to both new and pre-existing outdoor lighting, but City Council has chosen not to enforce the latter.
2. Support campaign election financing reform. The nearly $4 billion spent on the 2014 mid-term election is a disgrace. Think of the good that amount of money could have accomplished.
The campaign funding race has reached the point where the need to raise campaign money has become more important to our senators and representatives (and occupies more of their time) than their responsibility to serve the people who elected them, and not surprisingly influences their votes in Congress.
This is all the result of two Supreme Court decisions essentially removing all limitations on the amount of money corporations and the wealthy can pour into the election process and the requirement for disclosure of both the source and amount of those large donations. We need to reverse this threat to the integrity of our election process through a constitutional amendment reversing the court’s decisions, as several states have done, and demand public financing of campaigns. Many people have quit voting because they are convinced that candidates of both parties have been bought.
3. Demand a meaningful increase in the minimum wage. It is a disgrace that in the wealthiest country in the world, millions of hard-working families in minimum-wage jobs are not paid enough to afford housing, food, clothing and basic health care for themselves and their children. This is a humanitarian issue that cries for the attention of all of us who want to continue to take pride in our country.
4. Promote a better health-care system. The present health-care plan (Obamacare) is a mess cobbled together to perpetuate the profits of the health-insurance, pharmaceutical and hospital industries. The system it replaced was archaic, dumping the burden on employers and leaving tens of millions of American families without health care. We, the people, need to demand a system similar to Social Security and Medicare, into which everyone pays, and for the rest of their lives are free from the worry of a financial disaster brought on by unforeseen calamitous medical emergencies.
5. Adopt and/or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Finally we come to the old reliable — eat healthy, exercise regularly and control our weight. Many of us make this resolution every year, and then fail to live up to it. Let’s all adhere to this well-worn resolution in 2015.
We need to get involved, and stay involved, in these issues not only for our own good, but for the good of our city, our country and the planet on which we, our children and our grandchildren live and will continue to live. The bigger issues may seem daunting, but remember, we’re all in these things together, and together we can make a difference.
Hal Sundin’s As I See It column appears on the first Thursday of the month.
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