Letters to the Editor

California doesn’t need more housing — its environmental footprint is large enough

A contractor moves roofing material on a home under construction in San Ramon, California.
A contractor moves roofing material on a home under construction in San Ramon, California. Bloomberg

It seems that the ideas of the half-day summit on housing of March 9, as reported by The Tribune, favored developers as opposed to environmentalists. One study that was cited concluded a need for 3.5 million new homes in California over the next decade.

But California, the 12th most densely populated state in the U.S., has a biocapacity of only 1.9 global hectares per person (GHP), but now has an environmental footprint of 16.9 GHP, one of the highest ratios in the country. The strategies of the 19th and 20th centuries will no longer work. California can no longer grow its way out of its housing problem. In fact, the whole never-ending growth economy that accompanies it is now obsolete. Its continuance at this point does more harm than good for all but the very few.

Instead of building 3.5 million homes, California, with some exceptions, needs a new housing moratorium. Rent control and managed market forces must now be used to control housing costs. A new economic system must be created to fully employ our people without depleting our resources and destroying our environment before our state becomes a plutocratic wasteland.

Gerald Manata, Paso Robles

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