Wednesday, January 30, 2008

In The Name Of Progress

© By Othmar Vohringer

On the Backwoods Drifter blog I read about Denny’s one-man battle against mountaintop removal. He has dedicated many posts to the destruction of America’s mountaintops through surface coal mining.

According to the 700
“Mountain top removal (MTR) coal mining already has devastated hundreds of mountains and surrounding areas in America - destroying the landscape, poisoning streams and rivers, crushing entire ecosystems and making life a living hell for nearby communities.”
Denny’s blog has a respectable list of blogs and websites that oppose mountain top removal, in his post Blogging for Appalachia he asks for additional support from us the outdoor bloggers.

Sometimes we forget, or shall I say overlook, the fact that hunters and fishers are also stewards of our natural resources and environment. To be a steward should include not only concerns about hunting and fishing but also the destruction of nature in the name of progress. The destruction of nature adversely affects our hunting and fishing opportunities, wildlife, environment, our health and quality of life .

Daily hundreds of thousand of acres of pristine nature disappear forever to make room for housing development, shopping malls, mining and other so called progress. Sadly, more often than not building and industry development happens without a shred of concern for environmental and wildlife concerns.

Just one such example became very obvious a few years ago in our former hometown where a once diverse natural habitat consisting of forests, streams and small farm holding was completely destroyed within four years. Thousands of acres where once wildlife and small farms coexisted in a healthy natural balance and that was home to some of the endangered raptors such as the Bald Eagle, Spotted Owl were bulldozed to make room for thousands of compact living townhouses.

Here is what our neighborhood looked like before the bulldozers moved in. A landscape with meadows, woodlots, ponds and streams that has been...

...turned into this!

This is what it looks like today after the town granted developers permission to build over 5000 compact townhouses. Compact means no green spaces, no playgrounds, nothing just house, after house, after house for miles. What once was a peaceful area is now rated the area with the highest criminal activity in the township.

It is also an area of an environmental hazard waiting to happen. Flooding after heavy rains, which are very common here in BC, is already happening. Earth slides on the hills that could take down houses with them are predicted for the future after a few minor slides occurred this past year.

When this developing craze went on I watched in disgust as a pristine natural environment disappeared literally under my feet but I didn’t do anything about it. When I witnessed displaced wildlife running around on the highway and the loss of quality living in our neighborhood combined with the daily howling of police sirens it was too late to do something about it.

While we can’t stop progress we should do all we can to make our voices heard and demand that in any industrial and developing activity environmental concerns have to be addressed and solved before it is to late. With that said I hope that you will take the time and support Denny at Backwoods Drifter in his one-man battle against mountaintop removal.

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deerPhD said...

This topic is something that hits me because it's something I think about so much. In the words of Dave Matthews, "Progress takes away what forever took to find." I wonder how the current housing market will affect this in the long run --- if there's too many houses, will they stop building? Then again, we all like "new" --- and why buy old when you can build new!

Othmar Vohringer said...

Thanks for the comment Bryan. One of the reasons why they build so much in our rural areas is because the city folks are sick and tired of the pollution, noise, traffic and crime in the inner cities and want to live in the countryside. So they build a new city where the cycle starts all over again.

I am not against progress but I am against progress without any concern for the environment, the wildlife and quality of life. The houses that are built stand wall to wall on tiny post stamp lots barely large enough to park a car, let alone room for the children to play. It’s like a concentration camp with nothing to do for the people.

The town we live in now is smarter. Here they build apartment blocks that take up much less room and the town pays great attention to the environment and wildlife when handing out building permits to the developers. Here we can see deer and other critters, including bears, in the middle of the town. That’s smart progress benefiting everybody!

denny said...

Thank you so much Othmar - It is much appreciated by more than you will ever know. - I'm just one...

Othmar Vohringer said...

You’re very welcome Denny. I am always glad if I can help someone out, especially with something as important as your cause. Lets just hope that enough voices come together to make an impact. It can be done.

denny said...

I agree - It can be done. :)

Anonymous said...

Othmar, this is a terrific post and a powerful one. I'm so glad you wrote it.

I also agree with you and Denny. If we all add our voices, and our unique perspectives to the cause, we can change things.

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Othmar Vohringer said...

Omar Cruz, you just narrowly prevented the deletion of your comment due to spam content. But since you complimented this blog I am making a very rare and not to be repeated exception.


bluemountainmama said...

thanks so much for helping by posting this! every voice counts in the fight to stop this travesty....

i hope you don't mind, but i linked to this on my site.

Othmar Vohringer said...

Bluemountainmama – In the future I will write more about mountain top removal because as you said, every voice counts. Thanks for the link.

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