About the rezone proposal, tonight's deliberations, and some recent interactions on OlyBlog:
I have recently been labeled and accused of such things as zealotry, fanaticism, extremism, and being unwilling to compromise (by people who post on OlyBlog.) This is a response. And let me tell you - I strongly object to being labeled with those terms. But if I am a zealot because I care about the environment, then that is OK with me. In fact, I wouldn't have it any other way.
If I am an extremist, then I am only extreme in the same degree (albeit in the opposite direction) as mainstream culture is extreme. We live in a culture that prides itself on growth and expansion, even while the natural world resultantly suffers harm. I want to stop the destruction and to protect the natural world.
We live in a culture where people speed around, in cars that pollute, on often times meaningless errands, often times consuming for the sake of consumption - consuming to quiet the nagging noise of the silence that surrounds when stopped. Well, it is time to embrace the silence. If this culture is allowed to continue upon its current path, without some serious ameliorative efforts, it will, in all likelihood, kill itself.
(Don Delillo wrote about the White Noise [book title] and about the fear of death. It's time to stop fearing death. Stop fearing change. Stop promoting growth and destruction of the natural habitat. Stop killing ourselves and each other.)
The current consumption and materialism is not sustainable. Species are going extinct. Earth, air and water are polluted. What are we leaving for future generations? A legacy of destruction and waste, or a legacy of reconciliation, sustainability and balance?
Yes! Of course human culture has much to be proud of. There is much beauty and romance and wonderful creation. However - we (speaking of most of us in America) are living the privileged life. We pride our selves on equality and fairness. Yet we do not practice what we preach. Especially in terms of corporate policy and foreign policy.
People around the world (including many in the USA) are oppressed.
If I am an extremist because I object to oppression and exploitation, then so be it.
If I am a zealot because I object to special interests influencing public policy, then so be it. I will proudly wear my badge of zeal.
If I am unwilling to compromise, then I might as well take it the whole nine yards.
If some people think keeping the Isthmus open and putting in a park is unwillingness to compromise, let's talk about another possible route we could take a society.
Instead of the rezone proposal to increase building heights, how about a proposal to amend zoning regulations in order to create a 600 foot (or specific distance to be determined - i.e. it might be more than 600 feet) shoreline Wilderness buffer. Furthermore - this will be part of a Natural Hazards Mitigation Program - so that all structures currently in that 600 ft. buffer will be razed, pavement and any man made structures removed, and the areas will be re-colonized with native wilderness habitat according to the best available technology.
That might be extreme (it also might not be.)
Just such a buffer, same or similar, might be necessary one day to prevent total ecosystem collapse. Members of the Council talked about financial diversity. How about bio-diversity? How selfish, greedy, and self-centered are we?
This culture has almost completely destroyed wild salmon runs. That, for example, is extreme. Natural ecosystems are suffering and dying. That is extreme. This proposal to raise building heights on the Isthmus is what is truly extreme. What is extreme is rewarding the rich for activities which do harm.
Treading the path toward eventual societal disintegration and environmental destruction is extreme. Suicide is extreme.
People make millions and billions of dollars doing things that hurt people and the planet. That's extreme. Will some of those people living on Isthmus, affording the best views of the sound, be among those who are making money by doing things that harm humanity and the planet?
It is extreme is to further a culture of consumerism, right in the face of so many obvious environmental and ecological perils.
I understand that I have a lot of differences of opinion with people on the Council, and people generally in the community, who support the rezone proposal.
What is clear to me, though, is that this council is not interested in truly representing the people - who so overwhelmingly oppose the rezone.
What is clear is that what this community needs are people on the council who will truly represent them.
What is clear is that we need people on the council who are outside of the ownership class.
The park proposal is a compromise.
The right thing to do might actually be something, which might seem extreme - like to create a substantial and meaningful wilderness buffer (600 feet, 1/2 mile, whatever distance is necessary) adjacent to the Puget Sound, and tributary waterways - for the purposes of protecting wildlife, and habitat restoration - so that our culture is not encroaching and doing harm to the natural world that exists around us - the natural world that we, and more so, future generations, depend on for quality of life.
Protecting the natural world? Is that extreme. No. That's the product of science. Whole species are going extinct because of the actions of humanity. This culture has a legacy of bad stewardship. A legacy of killing and destruction. When will it change? Where?
Change must come from within. From within ourselves. From within our community. Change can start here.
I'll leave it with a couple quotes, this one from Kwame Anthony Appiah:
“Thoroughgoing ignorance about the ways of others is largely a privilege of the powerful.”The following is one of my very favorite quotes, by the much beloved Aldo Leopold:
– Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, Kwame Anthony Appiah
"We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect."