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Boosting Boulder Sustainability: Topics on the Ballot Include Municipal Internet and Fire Protection

 The Ballot in Boulder County has topics to vote on this year that if passed will not only benefit individuals but also strengthen the community as a whole. Mentioned below are some of the topics that have the potential to boost Boulder’s resilience in the long term against future threats.  Boulder Weekly has put up a voter guide with info on all the different topics to vote on this year and the ballot is available to read and for use on Boulder County’s website. 

GMO Labeling

Across the country, states are voting on GMO labeling that would help protect consumers’ rights to know what they are eating. If Prop 105 in Colorado passes, certain genetically modified foods will require labels starting July 1st, 2016, informing people that what they are buying is genetically modified. The label would say “Produced with Genetic Engineering”. Europe has placed a ban on GMOs, and Colorado isn’t the only state voting on this topic. There are a lot of concerns of adverse health impacts from eating genetically modified produce. Also, the weeds that grow along side GMOs adapt to the super plants and become much larger and much more resilient. The mutated weeds then spread from farmland and perverse the surrounding ecosystem.

Many foods are exempt from Prop 105’s labeling requirements. Foods exempt include “animals that are not genetically modified but have been fed or injected with genetically modified food or drugs, certain food that is not packaged for retail sale and is intended for immediate human consumption, alcoholic beverages, food for animals, and medically prescribed food”. It may seem like too much of what consumers eat would be left unregulated for this bill to be effective since only a small sector of the local food industry would have to label foods as GMO; However, labeling genetically modified produce is a step in the right direction. People have a right to know what they are eating. Increasing the transparency of GMOs through labeling gives the consumer awareness and would not force farmers into changing how they grow food. Prop 105 only requires farmers to label their commercial produce that is genetically modified.

Municipalized Internet

Google wants to create municipalized advanced Internet in Boulder, but cannot until a vote is passed. If question 2C is passed it will give Boulder the authority to create municipal Internet. Making Internet a utility in Boulder would make the local community’s dependence on the current telecommunication systems decrease, which in turn boosts our community’s resilience and sustainability. Municipalized Internet also empowers the individual with incredibly fast Internet. According to Boulder weekly, Chattanooga’s publically-owned network reaches speeds of 1,000 Megabytes a second, which is vastly greater than Boulder’s 27 Megabytes per second average.

 Fire Protection

Local regions in danger from wildfire such as Coal Creek Canyon are seeking to improve fire protection with voter approval.   Ballot Issues 5A and 4B address the pressing issue of controlling damage done by wildfire, which is increasing in strength and occurrence. Especially after the damage that took place in the wildfires in recent years, it has come to Colorado’s attention that more needs to be done to protect us from wildfire.

Corey Blum Director of Sustainability
Boulder Colorado Air Quality

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