You can run, but you cannot hide. You can pretend to solve a problem, but not if you fail to grasp the core reason for the problem. You can fool yourself for awhile, but not forever.
Denver, Colorado, much like many overpopulated cities in the United States, faces a growing gridlocked nightmare on I-70 heading into the mountains. That single entry into the summer camping spaces and winter resorts suffers nerve-wrangling, gridlocked traffic—enough to make everyone’s experience not only frenetic and frustrating—but downright dangerous. It’s like being caught in the belly of the devil, with no way out!
Re: Denver Post, “One track mind on I-70 solution”, September 14, 2010
The Denver Post, long a proponent of endless population growth, reported, “In 2004, the Colorado Department of Transportation dropped the idea that a monorail was the solution for traffic along Interstate 70 mountain corridor. Six years later, that pie-in-the-sky plan now reigns supreme again, and we’re still stuck in traffic.”
Ironically, Denver added 1.0 million people in the past 15 years. It expects 2.0 million more within several decades as Colorado adds five million more population. Its dark toxic air pollution cloud covers the city like a brown blanket 24/7. Traffic gridlocks from 6:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. five days a week. Drivers fume while the stop and go in their own fumes.
But as most Denver Post editorials read, “Growth serves Denver, Growth gives new energy to small communities, Growth brings jobs, ad nausea.”
It makes you wonder how the town survived with only 1.0 million people only two decades ago—when you couldn’t ‘see’ the air you breathed and minimal traffic! What about ‘growth’ that mesmerizes the Denver Post and development proponents? Do Post editors like breathing toxic air and sitting in traffic? Do they relish reporting on an average of 25 accidents per day on overloaded highways? Do they enjoy degradation of their quality of life? For that matter, do the editors of papers in LA, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta and New York believe their own tripe—as they all push for growth?
Oregonian editor Jack Hart wrote a sage piece about Portland’s predicament. “But growth is also an addiction,” he said. “And like most addictions, it threatens to destroy us. Not only does it clog our freeways, but it also paves farmland, wipes out open spaces, saddles taxpayers with ruinous development costs and crushes the quality of life that attracted us to our communities in the first place. Growth sucks irreplaceable resources out of the earth. It dumps poisonous pollution into our environment. It crowds out the planets other species and fails to deliver the human happiness it promises.”
100 MILLION PEOPLE ADDED TO USA WITHIN 25 YEARS
No matter where you go, top national leaders propose endless growth. Obama said, “We will keep drilling off shore to sustain economic growth.” Senator John McCain said, “There is no substitute for growth.”
Reality check: “Continued growth past maturity for any entity means obesity or cancer,” said Dr. Albert A. Bartlett (www.albartlett.org ). Both kill the individual or entity.
By continued growth in Denver or Chicago, et al, human misery indexes descend into the dungeons. Yet, TV, radio and print praise ‘growth’. This past week, 15 million Americans stagger around without jobs, and 43.6 million Americans live in poverty. Over 40 million Americans live on food stamps. (Source: Reuters) What’s the answer? “Bring in another 1.5 green card immigrants annually!” reply the experts. “We’ll create more jobs!”
Meanwhile, globally, over 100 million sharks suffer deaths annually at the hands of humans. (Soure: OnEarth Magazine, biologist Julia Twitty) Our oceans acidify beyond recovering their health. Fisheries collapse. Entire species suffer extinction at 100 per day worldwide. How do we justify ethically and morally 250 species suffering extinction annually within the USA because of human encroachment on habitat!
BUT LET’S KEEP THE HUMAN POPULATION GROWTH
Forget consumption rates of water, energy and resources on our finite planet: let’s grow! Forget that our carbon footprint expands beyond solving. (www.350.org) Forget where it all leads as long as we follow the unending ‘growth’ paradigm.
Yes, we Americans own a lot of stuff. We live in massive homes, drive elegant automobiles and own more junk than we can sell in garage sales. But at what cost?
Last year Nature published research on the limits we dare not cross without “catastrophic environmental change.” Editors warned of predicaments with fresh water, land use, biodiversity, ozone depletion, ocean acidification—all imperiled.
“John Stuart Mill looked forward to the day when we would turn from acquisitions to the true source of happiness—friends, creativity, satisfying work and community,” said Jack Hart.
MOVE TO STEADY STATE ECONOMICS
“If no one else is willing to speak the truth,” said Rob Deitz, director of www.steadystate.org . “Our goal is to open up a space where politicians and others can at least talk about limits to growth.”
We must not only question the 20th century outmoded growth paradigm, we must move toward steady state economics, which also requires a stabilized population. Then and only then, will we solve Denver’s I-70 gridlock dilemma, or those of Chicago, LA, New York, et al, and move toward a more reasonable path toward, as Thomas Jefferson said, “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He presents "The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it" to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world population balance at www.frostywooldridge.com He is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans. Copies available: 1 888 280 7715