|From:||Brock.Martha@epamail.epa.gov (by way of "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>)|
|Date:||Thu, 14 Oct 1999 12:29:42 -0700 (PDT)|
|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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