Letter: Growing pains
Looking at the long list of non-governmental organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley, you might think there was some measure of environmentalism among our citizens. We have our pious Priuses, our Whole Foods Market, our anti-frackers, our farmers’ markets, our Canary Initiatives and our Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. We have people, to their great credit, that are doing fantastic things to help people and their environment in places around the world. But when it comes to this valley, where are the environmentalists?
The number one problem of the environment, wherever you look, is growth. There are just too darn many of us in just about every spot and all over this planet. We are exhausting the planet’s resources and loading the atmosphere with greenhouse gases. So, I have been waiting to read the outcry about the Willits hotel and housing project. Nothing. Nada. The Basalt Chamber, as expected, says all good. The only debate is how the Basalt residents are going to subsidize the developer. Basalt politicians are saying things like “Basalt really needs this hotel”.
A hotel and housing are “growth.” People say this is just a little bit, and it’s right here, and the real problem is those developing countries and China. People say we have to have this growth to keep people working and to bring in people to be customers so we can all make a living. People say “we have to keep growing or we’ll die.”
The reality is that endless growth of population and economies is physically impossible and is leading us to disaster. Maybe “green is not the new black.” Maybe green is just about the greenbacks with the dollar signs on them. Environmentally conscious people need to help prepare this valley for the difficult future ahead; and “green lighting” more development is making the problem worse.
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With much sorrow I heard of the passing of a good friend Bruce Berger. He was a man for all seasons, a pianist, prolific author, environmentalist, and lover of Aspen.