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Gregory Canyon Limited

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
June 21, 1999


Having grown up in Vista, the thought of a grassroots movement making a difference did not seem possible. For years, city officials have been willing to ignore the true character of what was a quaint rural community, in pursuit of the almighty dollar. The fact that the Vista City Council seemed more than willing to place a garbage sorting station on the headwaters of Alta Loma Creek was just one more excuse to avoid visiting my parents.

You can imagine my surprise upon hearing the news that Garbage Out, a grass roots community organization, had won the day, and plans for the trash transfer station have been abandoned. This is proof that you can fight city hall and win. Not only did residents prevent Melrose Avenue from becoming a garbage thoroughfare, their action also prompted the Regional Solid Waste Association to seek other alternatives, one of which is going to save rate payers money. Congratulations are definitely in order.

However, the fight is far from over. Instead of resting on their laurels, I invite the members of Garbage Out to take their winning formula on the road, first stop Gregory Canyon. If they thought a trash transfer station was invasive, the landfill proposed for the San Luis Rey River Valley is on the scale of Serbian troops marching into Kosovo. The folks in Pala are going to need all the help they can get because the aptly named Gregory Canyon Limited has friends in high places, such as Supervisor Bill Horn, and considerable money to hire the best geologic consultants money can buy.

Caught up in all the politics of garbage, one thing constantly goes overlooked. The fact that generating so much garbage is not in our best interest is never mentioned. Now, I know that in a capitalist society, consumption ranks up there with god and property rights, the question is when will we see that this paradigm is failing us on a fundamental level.

If American culture wasn't so dependent on conspicuous consumption there would not be such an overwhelming need for landfills and transfer stations. The tragedy, reflected by the fact that we have no problem sacrificing prime habitat to the dumping of abandoned Barbie dolls and lawn chairs, is magnified by the number of shopping malls, constructed so that we can buy these disposable consumer goods.

The best way for communities to make sure they are not overrun with garbage, is to stop creating it in the first place. Common sense tells us that the less we consume, the more we preserve. How many of us remember when frugality was considered a virtue? Now-a-days we want everything disposable, because mass media has drilled it into our subconscious that bigger is better, and more is best. Sadly this does not include open space, and biological diversity. And we are all the poorer for it.

As I am sure most of you know, yesterday was Father's day. A Hallmark holiday, not quite as obvious as Valentines Day, this is the day consumers are encouraged to shop for Dad. Knowing that the only thing my dad needs is the piece of mind that his children are all well, this year I decided to forego the card and the gift, and just tell him how much I love him. If by chance he asks where his Fathers Day card is, I'll just point to the nearest tree. A tree, is the perfect gift for the man who has everything. Gregory Canyon is a terrible thing to waste.

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