It’s not just about people

I feel compelled to respond to Mr. Butrum’s letter “Get a Grip on the Slippery Slope Issue” [May 30 Xpress]. Let’s get a grip on our environmental issues period! This isn’t just about people, folks! It is not just about economics or a number of homes sliding down a mountain.

As we experience unusually hot May temps and the prospects of severe drought, what do you think could be enhancing these conditions? We are losing forest and farmland at alarming rates—not just here, but all over the world—and air quality worsens due to overpopulating and over-consuming humans who insist bigger is better. [Meanwhile] trees, the very things that provide us with purified, breathable air, continue to be considered expendable! Trees help cool areas, draw rain weather as well as hold precious topsoil in place. They also enable the ground to absorb water for the water table. Roofs and pavement do not. So last year we lost however many acres to nearly 6,000 new homes, and this year it could increase to 8,000 new homes and next year 10,000 new homes. It isn’t like the earth keeps growing new land for us to build on! Yes, we need steep-slope ordinances—several, if necessary—along with many other ordinances that will protect these mountains from over development.

Already we have starving bears mauling dogs, and chasing people in order to feed on their birdseed and garbage. Unfortunately, it is the bear we will [treat] as a threat and likely shoot. We are wiping out habitat for all creatures and plants and trees to supply our needs for a “growing economy.” As if there is no other way to exist in this world. People may scoff at the notion, [but] we have pooped in our own bed long enough to render it uninhabitable. Unfortunately, humans seem to need extremes—like no water—for them to get it! But go ahead and look at this month’s National Geographic. Those that thumb their noses at Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth will hopefully find National Geo more reputable! It is ever clear we need to make some big changes fast in order to slow global warming. I want to give big kudos to Progress Energy for realizing the growing opposition they would face with building more oil-burning power plants and for joining forces with our community to work on conservation and renewable energy. We can start with our personal lifestyles and these precious mountains here.

— Troy Amastar
Mountain Voices Alliance

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