Bigger doesn’t mean better |

Bigger doesn’t mean better

Memorial Day, as I write this, is a day to think back to people and things we miss. My father served in the Navy in WWII and Korea on aircraft carriers. I found a history of the ship he served aboard during the crucial naval battle for Leyte Gulf in the Philippines. It was the first use of kamikaze planes. His ship barely escaped these suicide planes and also torpedoes. Other ships in the group were lost. Many sailors died.

Today, I am also thinking back to our first days in Carbondale in 1993. An article in the last Sopris Sun about development in town caused me to recall a very simple town that had evolved around ranching and mining with very strong community values. We lived in a tiny house that dated back to the late 1800s. When we went to town we walked. Like so many, our work was upvalley. Carbondale was truly a “bedroom community.” But some folks wanted more, much more. You know the expression “be careful what you wish for.”

“More” has been the ethos of America since the first Europeans landed on the Atlantic Coast. The article in the Sun from a government leader is all about growth. Growth “enhances,” growth was planned for, growth conforms to “smart growth” (an oxymoron) as created by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. I don’t know when the EPA became the go-to place for small-town advice.

I’ve talked recently with some “old timers.” To a person, they are sick of the growing traffic and constant building. One neighbor, a native, decried the loss of serenity. The local papers are full of stories of overuse of so many places of recreation.

The article finishes with a dismissal of “questions about climate impact and sustainability” and says it is just a matter for locating rental housing. We all know global warming is far more than that. So as I think back to earlier times, throughout the valley, those were good days. More people and more buildings do not a community, or well-being, or an environment, improve.

Patrick Hunter