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Saving what's left while it lasts (2 of 3)

Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
Coast News
October 3, 2007


Last week I got a call from a fellow Leucadian demanding I mention the senseless death of a healthy Monterey Cyprus at Leucadia Roadside Park. Destroyed by landscape maintenance contractors in the full light of day under the cover of bureaucratic miscommunication, this tree is just the latest victim of ecological apathy.

Outraged, she needed to be heard, I listened. I expect to see her at the next Encinitas council meeting.

Until western culture moves beyond slash and burn capitalism, flora and fauna does not stand a chance anywhere in San Diego County. Attempts at habitat mitigation, without simultaneously embracing deep ecology and environmental sustainability will produce the same results as wearing a fireproof Bikini to fight a five alarm fire.

The word toast comes to mind.

Environmental activist Judi Bari said "You cannot seriously address the destruction of wilderness without addressing the society that is destroying it." As habitat and open space continue to disappear under the unrelenting forces of development, the people of Southern California must address the threat they pose to themselves.

The continual rape and plundering of Southern California's natural habitats and heritage is not done without public approval. Sure, it easy to blame elected officials as the pimps and panderers that they are. It's easy to blame the development and destruction industries. It's also easy to blame the bureaucrats that happily push the agenda of overdevelopment in return for a stable income and a healthy pension after their years of public disservice. There is plenty of blame to go around.

There is so much blame it's best to place where it belongs. We the people. We the greedy, market-based faith-foolish, anthropocentric, consumption-oriented people of California are to blame. To allow the rape of nature is to endorse and participate in the rape of nature. It's that simple.

Like every other city in San Diego County the City of Encinitas lacks a clearly defined, fully integrated, environmental policy. Local species are replaced with invasive nonnatives, thirsty exotics, and hybridized landscaping. Asphalt, cement, concrete, steel, glass, lawns and sports turf separate the little habitat still remaining. Habitat conservation is not a priority. It should be.

Population balance is vital to the well being of all biotic communities, yet government does nothing to achieve it. How many residents can Encinitas support within its' boundaries? What is that city's carrying capacity? I wonder if anyone at Encinitas City Hall knows?

Habitat acquisition and open space preservation is not a luxury. Conserving and restoring native California is wise investment in future sustainability.

There is still time to save 47 acres of scrub oak chaparral, coastal sage scrub, mixed and maritime chaparral, over looking Batiquitos Lagoon from 10 acres of residential development. Encinitas residents can help save this rare piece of open space by calling the City of Encinitas (760) 633-2710, Supervisor Pam Slater (619) 234-1559, Senator Barbra Boxer (619) 239-3884, and most importantly the California Coastal Commission (619) 767-2370.

Enough is enough.

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