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Missing Habitat



Habitat was notable for both its presence and absence in last week's NCJ (April 20). The importance of habitat was at the heart of Sam Armanino's excellent story, "The Butterfly Effect." I laud Daniel Viellieux and Joseph Ferber for their goal of transforming Arcata into certified wildlife habitat. Encouraging people to provide habitat in their gardens not only increases habitat, it promotes ecological literacy. There is a significant difference between enjoying the scenery, and actually understanding how habitat functions, and knowing what wildlife needs to survive. Donna Wildearth's informative column on native plant gardening also encourages this important undertaking.

Thadeus Greenson's piece, "Cannabis and Carbon," unfortunately, overlooked marijuana's impact on habitat. Global climate change is a dire threat but it should not be considered in a vacuum. The extinction crisis is an even bigger ecological threat. If we do what is necessary to end the extinction crisis, we will have successfully addressed climate change as well, but not vice-versa. Projects and practices that degrade or destroy habitat, in the name of halting climate change, are off the mark.

To tout "sungrown" pot as ecologically superior to indoor, without taking into account the location of outdoor pot, is to ignore marijuana's destructive expansion into important wildlife habitat. It also overlooks the fact that Humboldt's outdoor cultivators import all their soil, every season. Soil ingredients are sourced from all over the world, trucked into Humboldt, then delivered to a large geographically dispersed industry. The carbon footprint of Humboldt's "sungrown" is enormous.

It is time for us to face the fact that Humboldt's marijuana industry is a relic of the War on Drugs. As we move forward, we need a new criterion for where to grow marijuana. Protecting habitat and wildlife must be our number one priority.

Amy Gustin, Ettersburg

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