What it costs, what it takes

When did the word development come to mean destruction?

Did I lose a piece of understanding somewhere? I thought development meant to continue developing that which already exists. Yet instead, here in Asheville, it is showing up as meaning to destroy—destroy our natural beauty, our mountainsides, our hills, our scenic long views.

In our own backyard this year, we have been observers of the changing ecosystem: Foxes are now running in neighborhoods, old-tree forests are being clear-cut for no visible reason other than profit, groundhogs are finding their way to places that were not habitable before. Natural habitats are disappearing, and all for the purpose of building, and destroying the natural. If we cannot abide by that which is the natural, how can we in any way start a conversation about what is right?

Ancient peoples built their abodes using that which was in harmony with their surroundings, not that which took away! So why are we surprised that our mountains might be [subject to] avalanche or mudslides, or that our children are asthmatic? Isn’t it sheer irony that Asheville is considered a “green” city, yet that is based on the conundrum of losing … our natural resources?

So—going green is synonymous with losing resources? We had to learn to be green rather than learn to understand that our natural world is a gift to us? And when we no longer have beautiful, natural scenery that people come here to see, what will be the next place of destruction?

“And in this moment we are forgetting/ What it costs, what it takes/ For one perfect world, when we look the other way.” —Indigo Girls

— Ariel Harris

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