Robert T. Nanninga
May 14, 1993
Will someone please explain to me why we as a culture, have decided that the quantity of dollars is more important than the quality of life? When was it, exactly, that we came to the conclusion that the only way our species would survive, would be in spite of our natural surroundings, not in balance with them.
I ask these questions, for a simple reason, I just don't get it.
Over the last few years local Environmentalists have been trying to protect open space in all of San Diego's North County. Personally I don't do this for monetary gain, rather out of concern for rapidly disappearing wild spaces, and, for lack of a better term, breathing room. I am one of "those people" who believe that development for the sake of development is short sighted and completely out of touch with the reality of our current situation.
I would like to remind everyone that this column is called "Ecologically Speaking". So when I mention that it is environmentally harmful to develop in sensitive spaces, I'm not just talking to the wealthy developer or the person driving the bulldozer, I'm talking to everyone involved in the decision making process, including the taxpayers who call North San Diego County home.
Now for those of you that disagree with me and the contents of this column, what I want to say to you is "Welcome to America". Having questioned the integrity of the decision to build the new Optimist Club in the middle of endangered Gnatcatcher habitat seems to amount to sacrilege in some local circles. Responses to my column contained statements such as: "isn't Mr. Nanninga aware of all the things the Optimist Club has done for Vista's youth". Sounds like a smoke screen to me. Providing for our youth means more than a name on a Bobby Sox uniform; more than a Baseball field or a Pancake Breakfast. How about dealing with some real issues like school overcrowding, which is a direct result of over-development without a sufficient infrastructure. I know some of you are saying that development is a way to pay for infrastructure improvements. If the Human Species were the only one affected by this reckless game of manifest destiny, I would say go for it. Build all the roads we want, and then fill in the holes with shopping centers, Tract homes, and other testaments to the wonder of stucco and steel. The fact remains however, we are not the only ones sleeping in this bed.
Current estimates indicate, at least one species becomes extinct everyday.
Which one will we add to the list, the California Gnatcatcher, or Coastal Sage. The only children that benefit from the destruction of open space, are the ones whose parents that are contributing to the problem. Harsh Words? You bet. It is time we all woke up to the politics of development. Just because a developer donates a four figured sum to a local organization, I don't think that balances out what is being taken from our community in the way of creeks, open space and quality of life.
It is time we as a people stopped using our environment like our own personal storehouse of disposable biology.
Under the current situation, the American political structure depends on financing from special interest contributors who then get rewarded with contracts, favors and tax advantages. The question is what are the rest of us getting. Well, as far as I can see all we are really getting is redundant development, gridlock, over-crowded schools, and oh yes don't let me forget a brand new building in Buena Vista Park complete with concrete slabs for the kiddies to camp on.