Thursday, June 10, 2010

Plugging the Leak

by Tom Anthony

By this time nearly everyone knows there's a big leak in the oil reserve we planned to use for the next 25 years' supply, and it's getting into the sea water, even the marshes. It may even hit the swimming beaches! I suppose we'll really notice it then. Meanwhile, we don't really notice why the Obama Administration originally agreed to relax restrictions on offshore oil drilling, why we thought Iraq's dictator was bad enough to warrant armed aggression from us (3rd largest oil reserves in the world) why Shell Oil will be drilling far into the Beaufort Sea this summer, and why Suncor Energy is turning half of Alberta Province in Canada upside down mining "oil sand," and why the Peak Oil reached by Pemex (Petroleos Mexicanos) in 2008 means increased migration to America.

By and large as long as something is working, more or less, we go along with it and the people who've invested in that particular business believe it's merely a matter of tweaking: tweaking the environmental rules, tweaking the profit margins, tweaking the marketing and distribution networks, tweaking the tax code. Paradigms (patterns of behavior) don't generally shift on their own until the previous structure collapses of its own weight. Then we notice something was amiss. If the BP leak results only in a decade-long dead Gulf, it'll just become another write-off in the column just to the right of the trillion dollar war.

Not that we haven't been darting around seeking "sustainable renewables" like corn, soybeans, even lodgepole pines (with a 100-year harvest rotation!) to shove into our gas tanks so we can keep planting crops of suburbanites on our farmland. The day will come when the oil companies are doing free cremations to get rendering rights on human bodies and pour that in. Meanwhile, it's doubtful even then we'll look around to notice the one thing that actually will get us within reach of "sustainable cities people love:" living closer together. After all in a nation in which a good neighbor is behind a tall fence, who really wants to see who's behind the number in Unit 208? They're probably overweight and opinionated!

In my neighborhood, Elyria, where the New Denver Zoning Code wants to permanently fractionate the three north neighborhoods with heavy industrial zoning along the Platte River Greenway, all around our parks, around our houses and around our proposed RTD North Metro commuter rail stop, the old paradigm of highways, gravel and asphalt companies, junkyards, refineries, and thundering rivers of traffic is colliding head on with the neighborhood vision of walkable, transit oriented, retail, recreation, education, and employment-oriented neighborhoods where historic cultures, resources and uses form the foundation of a welcoming future. In our six-year struggle for recognition since the I-70 East Corridor DEIS commenced, the grinding thunder of the bulldozer is overwhelming the voices of the people. And that is tragic for Earth itself.

Tom Anthony, President
Elyria Neighborhood Association


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