reening Ways         for earth-wise days
Vision   Speak Out!
Home Vision Groups Resources Human Issues About & Contact
G
SPEAK OUT! (The Vision of)
       Why It is Important to Keep Nature Around a Developing City      Natural areas filled with trees, bushes, flowers, insects and animals are like children in a family: when they grow up together over eons of time, they learn to work together with different roles.  In the process, they become mutually adapted to each other and have special survival functions within specific geographic areas. Their unique qualities are abruptly severed when people remove them from a piece of land for development, usually through bulldozing or logging.        Sophisticated Tapestry        An area with natural trees and vegetation is similar to a sophisticated piece of art or music; it took a long time to create that intricate network of organisms in sync with one another. When we scrape off a natural area, we mirror burning the work of a master painter or musician who has painstakingly put something together after many hours of dreams, visions, sleepless nights, merciless editing and constant revisions; in minutes an ancient masterpiece is destroyed through something as mundane and course as the blunt and noisy blades of bulldozing.          Humans Can Destroy a Millenium In Minutes What may take us hours to get rid of with the rough sweep of a machine took nature hundreds of thousands or millions of years to create through the complex process of evolution.   Our natural world is increasingly shrinking; all kinds of forests from smaller southwestern pinion and juniper trees to tall firs are receding fast.  Any drive through forests in this country makes it clear many of them are in bad shape and vulnerable to pests, disease, drought and fire.  It is important to develop a sensitivity to nature so that more and more people feel the need to keep the trees on lands prone to development because it is something they know and feel inside themselves.  We cannot tell people what to do with their own property, but we can encourage a cultural shift away from destruction through education.  We can also help people develop a heightened sensitivity to the artistic qualities of the natural world by revealing its very genuine beauty to those who will listen.   In addition, we can honestly make it clear that keeping nature around is good for business, people's health and well-being, and the broad needs of the whole planet. Speak Out For A More Active, Assertive and Organized Approach to Earth-Wise Cities Speak up and become organized against widespread destruction of the natural world as cities develop.  Frequently the people with money are not always the ones who are the most sensitive to the environment.  Keep people who are not awake and sensitive to the natural world from destroying it as they develop cities and other areas for themselves.  Do this by being organized and assertive in countering their tendencies with more productive approaches.  Although it is a sad commentary on the history of the United States in terms of depicting who has tended to dominate cities as they grew, what has actually happened in this country for a large part of its history is that forest after forest and other natural areas were completely destroyed in the wake of economic and city development.        Old Habits Are Hard to Break There is a long-standing cultural habit in this country to destroy, tear down and wipe out large patches of the natural world under the illusion that real progress and a good economy looks a certain way in a modern society - this has often included creating bigger and more luxurious commercial properties or sprawling tracts of residential housing.  People put a premium on size and grandeur rather than on a quietly dignified or humble respect for the natural world.  This is still going on today despite the many warning signs that the natural world and planet are in serious trouble in various ways and places.  Historically, Americans have thought it was not acceptable or popular to speak up for the environment, believing the people with demonstrable shows of money somehow were the real achievers in society and miraculously knew better than they did.  They would make comments like "those tree-hugging fanatics are making a big deal out of a few stupid spotted owls or a bunch of trees when humans need jobs and houses." That is often a fallacy in popular thinking; people with money tearing down nature to develop businesses, churches and large tracts of residential  properties are not always that smart or insightful - often they just have the money.  Developers make weak excuses proclaiming the urgent needs of humans to get away with their destructive behaviors when carefully thought out options are available given a little more time and finesse.  When Things Get Rough, People May Tend to Shoot from the Hip Aggression and dominance in clearing large tracts of natural land in business projects may be a sign of a lower - not a higher - form of intelligence.  It is a sort of brute mentality dominating other kinds of thought choices and behaviors.  It is important to pay attention to this fact.  Shooting from the hip is not the best answer.  Going after easily available resources rather than putting together a more detailed and sophisticated plan to solve humanity's problems has been a long standing tendency.  When things get tough, we go after precious old growth forest trees, oil and gas, minerals or whatever we can get our hands on without sitting down and really thinking the problem through to create solutions for everyone.  In other words, we take out the environment in the process of trying to help ourselves with quick fixes.  These destructive cultural habits need to stop. In addition, while using non-replenishable resources like coal and oil and gas, we put out toxic pollutants which are hard on human health.  Because we often cannot correlate human health problems with mixed industrial toxins in the vicinity, things can go unchecked for decades before changes finally are made.  In the meantime, people may be living in a soup of dangerous air, water and soils, often tuning it out.  They may continue on their ill-driven paths, not stopping to insist on higher quality solutions. Seeking Higher Ground and a Higher Intelligence in Land Usage We can stand up to social pressure and create  another approach to the natural world in a growing city - one that respects nature and makes it socially acceptable and desirable to stand up for it while keeping as much of it as possible. Sadly, the doers in society have not always been true visionaries for planetary well-being; they often focus on the short-term gains without looking at the long-term consequences. This type of behavior is still going on today, but we need to learn from our past mistakes as a country by not letting these kinds of behaviors dominate our landscapes.  Let us not stand by permitting destruction of nature continue to happen during urban sprawl.  Let us believe in our own intelligence,  wisdom and personal power in speaking up for the environment. Earth-Wise People Need to Organize Across the Board People who are more environmentally sensitive and awake need to overcome the tendency to be quiet.  Environmentally oriented people may tend to be loners enjoying the peace of nature and may  prefer to stay out of the problems of cities.  They may tend to want to do their own thing and not be organized joiners, which makes it difficult to draw like-minded people together in an organized or systematic way to fight the problems of urban sprawl and wilderness degradation.   Again, do not stand by and watch neighbors and fellow business people take out the natural world as they develop residential and commercial property. Pay attention to the destruction as it occurs and push back.   Do not just look away or follow the crowd. The more we stand up to this kind of destruction, the less culturally acceptable it will be. This will be better for all of us in the long run. Large tracts of city with endless pavement, sidewalks, brick, stone, glass, cement,  gravel and so on are comparatively lifeless and dull compared to the natural world. Try to keep as much of nature intact within and around the cities as they grow. Do not wipe out all of nature while developing a city. Keeping nature around is better for business, humans and the planet. Cities with nature flowing throughout their areas tend to have more life force or spark, and they also attract intelligent, creative, sensitive and aware people who are earth-wise and good for the city. The more a city loses contact with the natural world, the duller, less dignified and more mundane it becomes. This reflects in its inhabitants. The natural world helps keep a city filled with natural beauty, vitality and hope. Drought and Water Shortage Notice when high population areas or other population centers start taking water from other areas when their own supplies dwindle.  At some point, these centers must take responsibility for their own approaches and demands - they cannot keep taking from other locations.  Phoenix, Arizona and Los Angeles, California are two major examples of large cities that utilize diverted water systems from other areas.  Phoenix is a gluttonous drain hole in one of the hottest areas in the country; it takes far more than it gives and its entire cosmopolitan approach is obnoxious and irresponsible.  It has far too many people living there, for one thing, often in crowded urban conditions. From airplanes coming into the city people can see urban sprawl depicting buildings and streets giving off a boxed in and lined up look and feeling.  The lots show no elbow room and the only thing breaking up the monotony are the artificially planted palm trees.   But when you add this population issue to reflections on the climate and the actual available resources, you start realizing the area has a serious problem.  It is living on the edge of catastrophe in its own way not so unlike areas on the edge of ocean shores with typhoon or tsunami potential.  People there are living luxuriously and wastefully given the natural (harsh) realities of the area - no one can survive there without air conditioning which means major demands on various systems (electrical, water, etc.) through both dwellings and cars.  When you try to make a fry pan an artificial refrigerator most of the days of the year, it sucks resources and strains both the area itself as well as the contributing regions around it.  One of the smartest ways to live in the desert is in very thick adobe structures partially built down into the earth to keep things cool in the heat and warm in the colder months. 
Photo by Greening Ways Photo by Greening Ways Photo by Greening Ways. Photo by Greening Ways