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Go for the Triple Win




Let me get this straight. According to Jacqueline Debets (March 4) and Mark Ritz (March 11), I know little about business and I'm against businesses in Humboldt County importing or exporting goods over county lines. And when Debets' associate, Angie Schwab, met me at the recent barn dance, in lieu of saying hello she proclaimed I'd written that letter that "attacked" their plan. Whoa!

Although I've reread my letter (Feb. 25) several times, I don't see how they came to those conclusions. I do see that all three of them missed my point totally. Additionally, they're repeating their misinterpretations and belittling me, and at least one is misconstruing my concerns as an attack. Such strategies polarize and create "us/them" and "either/or" mentalities instead of fostering allies and constructive discussions that can air and explore all the parties' needs and lead to win-win-win solutions.

To make myself perfectly clear to the trio and others: To export or import is not the question. (By the way, Mr. Ritz, I have been a business owner for years. Selling my time and skills, not product, I too cross county lines as part of my business plan and earning a living, although I wish I didn't need to.) My concerns are about scale, about sustainability. In a nutshell, I'd asked businesses with expanding amounts of product to consider their environmental impacts and how big is big enough.

At least a dozen people thanked me for writing the letter, reiterating that businesses need to change from economic growth ignorant of environment, exemplified by the push to widen 101 through Richardson Grove, and, if Eel River Organic Beef uses only Humboldt pastures, to increase production five-fold. (One of the ranchers who supplies that brand said he thought the operation was sustainable now, but he too shared my opinion that bigger isn't always better.)

Especially in these years of manifest climate change, we need new business perspectives that protect and restore our ecosystems, an opinion supported by high caliber business schools instituting "green business" programs. We need economic growth incorporating the genuine bottom line, the intricate and delicately balanced life systems of this planet. It can be done. It needs to be done. Our great-grandchildren of all species are depending on it.

Sara Sunstein, Arcata

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