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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: Less food waste; alarmism

The Columbian
Published: April 1, 2024, 6:03am

Cheers: To reducing food waste. Clark County has joined an international effort proclaiming this to be Food Waste Prevention Week. The county is partnering on a podcast about food waste and is conducting an interactive workshop titled “Cooking with Leftovers on a Budget.”

It is all part of a movement that has broad environmental implications. State officials estimate that Washington residents generate 1.2 million tons of food waste per year — more than 300 pounds per person. Much of that food is still usable but instead ends up in landfills, where it produces methane. Organizers of Food Waste Prevention Week write: “Methane is 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide, making it more damaging to the environment. If we reduce food waste, we could save the environment from this damage.”

In addition to reducing food waste, consumers should pay attention to food packaging and try to limit the purchase of plastic products. Clark County’s involvement in these efforts can help bring local attention to the issue.

Jeers: To a futile escape attempt. The lede of a Columbian article last week sums up the situation: “What started as a report of a vehicle prowl Saturday ended with a theft suspect trying to escape by shimmying across telephone wires over West Sixth Street in downtown Vancouver for nearly an hour.”

Romando E. Stanley eventually dropped onto a fire engine that had been placed to lessen the impact of his inevitable fall. That brought an end to a brief crime spree that allegedly included stealing tools from a truck, stealing a bike, stealing a cellphone and punching its owner, and throwing bricks and glass. Petty crime is not unique, but an attempt to escape using telephone wires is something out of Looney Tunes.

Cheers: To protecting libraries. Gov. Jay Inslee last week signed a bill to defend public libraries. While several states have approved legislation targeting libraries for carrying “inappropriate” materials, Washington is wise to support intellectual freedom.

The bill expands the number of signatures required to force a vote on shuttering a library. It also ensures that all residents of a library district will be eligible to vote on such a proposal.

Critics of libraries often claim that materials do not reflect the interests of the public; but such claims typically mean a small minority that insists it speaks for everybody.

Jeers: To unfounded fears. A Michigan legislator this week posted photos from outside the Detroit airport with the breathless caption: “Happening right now. Three busses (sic) just loaded up with illegal invaders at Detroit Metro. Anyone have any idea where they’re headed with their police escort?”

In reality, it was the Gonzaga University men’s basketball team, which was in town for the NCAA tournament. The only thing the Zags were trying to invade was next week’s Final Four.

Cheers: To brotherly love. An uplifting article from Columbian reporter Mia Ryder-Marks details the unusual bond between brothers James and Jerry Lanz. In 1971, James donated a kidney to his younger brother, at a time when kidney transplants were rare.

Now, more than 50 years later, James lives in Vancouver and Jerry in Portland, allowing for frequent visits. They also spend time encouraging others to be kidney donors. “I’ve had 50 years of wonderful living since the transplant,” Jerry Lanz said. “If I had not had the chance to get a transplant, I might have lasted maybe 10 years on dialysis.”