As one of the fastest growing states in the nation, Idaho should begin to think hard about what that growth means to the environment, writes Rachel Winer.
"Most of us are aware that Idaho's population is growing quickly. We are the third-fastest-growing state in the county. But what you may not know is that because of the way we are growing, we are also driving more. While Idaho's population has grown 50 percent between 1980 and 2005, Idaho has seen a 114 percent increase in the amount of vehicle miles traveled. This is the 10th highest rate in the country."
"Transportation sources are the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, one of the leading causes of global warming. Carbon dioxide is the major greenhouse gas and every gallon of gasoline burned creates 20 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions."
"What can we do? According to a new report titled "Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change," researchers conclude that development patterns are both a key contributor to climate change and an essential factor in reducing it. In the report published by the Urban Land Institute, the team found that spread-out development is the key factor in rate of growth. This means that by addressing how we grow, we can shape our future."