1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: Brock.Martha@epamail.epa.gov (by way of "cpeo@cpeo.org" <cpeo@cpeo.org>)
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 12:29:42 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: Re: Sierra Club "Solving Sprawl" Report Rates the States
A note about a basic presumption underlying all of "Smart Growth"
initiatives is that growth is inevitable, is good.  I was fortunate to have
attended a Smart Growth conference in Atlanta last year, at which Ted
Turner was one of the keynote speakers.  After a typical, rather
stuttering start on his speech, Mr. Turner hit his fists together, and
declared, "Now I know what I want to say to you."  He proceeded to
challenge the presumption that growth is good, but should be managed to
avoid what most present agreed were the disastrous impacts of unplanned
growth.  He explained that, as a result of traveling around the world and
witnessing first-hand the impacts of such growth, and of conversing with
Paul Ehrlich on the load and balance of human population on the planet, he
and others had concluded that growth is  neither inevitable nor good.
Some of you may have had the experience when someone speaks a truth so
basic that chills run up and down your spine.  Such was my experience  as
Turner spoke.  Standing at the podium was a man risking ridicule  from many
interests represented in the obviously invested audience: people who care
about the quality of life concomitant with sprawl and  think they have
found a solution, who directly and immediately benefit  from Smart Growth
because they are the "new" planners, a smaller contingent who oppose Smart
Growth because they have not yet been convinced that there is a personal or
communal benefit from that approach.  Yet he spoke to them all, urging that
in their discussions and deliberations over the next two days and beyond,
they challenge  the underlying presumption that growth is inevitable,
growth is good.
Please consider, if just for a moment, that we do not have to buy that
underlying presumption.  What if we added to every Smart Growth Initiative
an effort into educating on and curbing population growth, not just in our
own communities, but also on a global scale.  It was a kind of myopia or
tunnel-vision that precipitated the problem of sprawl.  Let's learn from
our mistakes, that a new spin on an old approach may not solve the problem.
 We may need to challenge our basic presumptions, as Mr. Turner has offered
for our consideration.
For your consideration.

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