Murals for clean water
The Laramie Boomerang’s coverage of the beautiful teaching mural created by Laramie High School students reminds us how fortunate we are to live in a community with clean drinking water.
In addition to mural designer Madie Sprinkle and the 400 art and geology students who helped paint the mural, Albany County Clean Water Advocates (ACCWA) would like to particularly recognize Paul Taylor’s Yubulyawan Dreaming Project, which teaches the concept of “Caring for Country” and associated artistic traditions; Chris Moody of Wyoming Groundwater LLC, who provided technical expertise; teachers Becca Watson and Justin Deegan (art) and Erin Klauk (geology); and Laramie High School for providing display space for the mural series. A big thank you to everyone who participated in the project.
One of the earlier murals, Gem City Rainbow, will be on display in the Albany County Courthouse for the next few months. This is particularly appropriate because the Albany County Commissioners are working on a new draft of stronger aquifer protection regulations that soon will be published for public comment. The County Commissioners and Laramie City Council also are working together to reunify and update the Casper Aquifer Protection Plan.
But even as they work, proposals are being put forward for more subdivisions and, consequently, more septic systems in the aquifer protection area.
ACCWA encourages community members to stay involved in making sure that our drinking water stays clean for generations to come. Resources may be found on our website at albanycountycleanwateradvocates.org or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
President, Albany County Clean Water Advocates
Contrasting future power sources
I attended the County Commission meeting on Tuesday night, and what I heard from most proponents of the Rail Tie project was that it represents a power source of the future or a solution to climate change or some similar notion.
Imagine my surprise to see on page one of Thursday’s Boomerang to see a contrast, possibly unintended, between two future power sources and solutions to climate change — nuclear power plant versus wind turbines.
Two decades ago, I was a manufacturing engineering professor at a school in the northwest, and at that time we were reminded in every way, and expected to pass this wisdom on to students, that salvation would come by way of de-materializing society, that we should design for minimal material usage.
Indeed, it makes good sense that if we reduce the amount of material needed in our modern society, that we will also reduce the energy and other inputs needed to mine, refine, and process this material, and also reduce the pollution this entails. The contrast between wind turbines and a nuclear power plant is exceptionally stark in this regard.
Modular nuclear plants like the TerraPower design or its competitors can deliver a 1,000 watts of power using about a kilogram of fixed mass. The wind turbine plant supplies only about a watt using several kilograms of fixed mass. Solar is no better in this regard.
Now that we know renewable energy can’t supply dependable energy without ancillary services like energy storage, the mismatch becomes much worse. Wind turbines and solar panels push us in the wrong direction on use of resources by factors of tens of thousands to one.
Wear Orange for gun violence awareness
Laramie residents and visitors may notice that a number of businesses and residences are turning on orange lights in their windows and placing orange signs in their storefronts and yards this weekend.
Orange is the color that Hadiya Pendleton’s friends wore in her honor when she was shot and killed in Chicago at the age of 15 — just one week after performing at President Obama’s second inaugural parade in 2013. After her death, they wanted to stand up, speak out, and “wear orange” to raise awareness about gun violence.
Since then, orange has been the defining color of the gun violence prevention movement. Whether it’s displayed by Laramigos, activists in New York or Hadiya’s loved ones in Chicago, the color orange honors the many lives cut short and the hundreds more wounded by gun violence every day. Sadly, Wyoming is first in the country for the number of gun suicides.
Moms Demand Action volunteers are looking for a future free from gun violence and gun suicide. Wear Orange originated June 2, 2015 — what would have been Hadiya’s 18th birthday. Now, it is observed nationally on the first Friday in June and the following weekend each year. This year, National Gun Violence Awareness Day was June 4.
Wear Orange Weekend is an opportunity for us to show the community that whether or not we own guns we want to support the life-saving work that can get us closer to a future free from gun violence.
Local Group Lead, Moms Demand Action
In response to Justin Bleizeffer's WyoFile report in the Boomerang’s May 27 edition on Powder River Basin (PRB) of coal mine closures, a gentle reminder:
If we replace the coal-fired heat source at a power plant with a small modular reactor, and we use the reactor’s excess high-temperature heat to turn coal into chemical products, we see win-win-win consequences — (coal) the mines stay open; (environment) the power plant generates CO2-emissions-free electric power; (State revenues) the value-added state tax on the chemical products bolsters our economy.
Bleizeffer's report reflects and supports what most of us in Wyoming imagine — and fear — to be PRB coal’s dead-end future, while a program of growing coal-to-chemicals as we let go of coal-as-fuel hasn’t caught our collective imagination. Shall we move on this?
The life of a country
The life of a country is much like the life of a person, a process with setbacks and successes. Valuable lessons are learned from the mistakes we make if we are humble enough to acknowledge them and wise enough to correct them so we can move forward and be better.
Americans share a strong foundation called the Constitution that defines the rule of law and the method by which our leaders are chosen through the popular vote of the people.
The protection of our elections has been the sacred duty of local county officials in every state since our founding and has been well executed. We pride ourselves in showing the world what freedom looks like with our secure and accurate elections and especially our peaceful transfer of power.
On Jan. 6, all of this was attacked, literally, when hundreds of our fellow citizens violently stormed the U.S. Capitol and physically threatened our leaders who were there to complete the certification of our November elections.
We and the rest of the world watched in horror as the former president and others urged this angry mob to breach the building and upset the peace of the process. These were not tourists, these were not patriots, these were not peaceful protestors; these were American terrorists motivated by lies from an arrogant bully who was rightfully unseated for his incompetence and unable to accept his loss.
It was shocking, unprecedented, illegal and un-American and should be thoroughly examined to prevent further deadly incidents. Those who will not support a bi-partisan commission to study the how and why of the events of that day, are blocking your right to know. We cannot move forward and be better as a country until we understand what led to this attack and who is to blame. Wyoming suffers when our own two senators are unwilling to face facts and expose the truth. That is not leadership, it's censorship.