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Old 02-02-2008, 10:41 PM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,228,427 times
Reputation: 3316

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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post

Personally, I think many yet unborn Americans will look back fifty years from now upon all of the mindless "development" and destruction of our rural lands that has happened in the last half-century as one of this country's darkest and stupidest eras. They will look upon it that way because they will still be paying--in both monetary and non-monetary ways--for what we wasted and squandered for nothing more than our own self-indulgence. In their enforced sacrifice and stark frugality, they will hate us for what we stole from them.
I certainly hope this is the case. Unfortunately though, the children of today have no idea what rural lands are or look like anymore. I am in the business of education, and everytime I tell a story about what CO used to look like, the kids cannot imagine it. They have no idea what life would be like to actually talk with your neighbors instead of sit in front of the television. They strive to have all the best material things in life. They feel their parents don't love them if they don't have an iPod, Wii, or whatever the hot item is at the moment. I tell stories of backpacking, and they cannot imagine living even a day without these items. I surely hope they become enlightened, but I am afraid they just won't ever care.

 
Old 02-02-2008, 10:50 PM
 
5,748 posts, read 10,536,114 times
Reputation: 4494
Quote:
Originally Posted by delta07 View Post
I certainly hope this is the case. Unfortunately though, the children of today have no idea what rural lands are or look like anymore. I am in the business of education, and everytime I tell a story about what CO used to look like, the kids cannot imagine it. They have no idea what life would be like to actually talk with your neighbors instead of sit in front of the television. They strive to have all the best material things in life. They feel their parents don't love them if they don't have an iPod, Wii, or whatever the hot item is at the moment. I tell stories of backpacking, and they cannot imagine living even a day without these items. I surely hope they become enlightened, but I am afraid they just won't ever care.
Delta, as Boy Scout leaders, my spouse and I have known lots of kids who are deeply appreciative of the outdoors and can most certainly live without their iPods for a few days. These kids have wonderful parents who work very hard to help them develop a sense of stewardship and gratitude. You might seek out some of these kids, so they can help restore your faith in the future generation. Scouting, 4H, and Big Brothers/Sisters are only a few of the organizations that would love to have your help. And, I certainly hope you haven't written off those students who expressed surprise at your stories. Perhaps you have inspired a few of them to venture outside and explore all our natural world has to offer.

Last edited by formercalifornian; 02-02-2008 at 11:30 PM..
 
Old 02-02-2008, 10:57 PM
 
Location: Bend, OR
3,296 posts, read 8,228,427 times
Reputation: 3316
Quote:
Originally Posted by formercalifornian View Post
Interesting, Delta. As Boy Scout leaders, my spouse and I have known lots of kids who are deeply appreciative of the outdoors and can most certainly live without their iPods for a few days. These kids have wonderful parents who work very hard to help them develop a sense of stewardship and gratitude. Perhaps you might seek out some of these kids, so they can help restore your faith in the future generation. Scouting, 4H, and Big Brothers/Sisters are only a few of the organizations that would love to have your help.
Thank you for your suggestion. Actually I have been considering a career change of sorts. I actually have a natural resources degree, worked for the Forest Service for 5 years, and then decided to go into teaching. It has been quite depressing for me. I know there are kids out there that long for the outdoors. I just haven't found them at the school I work in. I am trying to find a job that will incorporate teaching the youth of our nation about the outdoors.
 
Old 02-02-2008, 11:00 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,189,413 times
Reputation: 9067
Quote:
Originally Posted by formercalifornian View Post
And this is my fault? Your crying rancher didn't sell out because Californians came seeking their bliss in the Colorado foothills. He sold out because the advent of industrial farming/ranching decreased the cost of food production and made it difficult for him to compete. Of course, he sold the ranch, but the buyer isn't to blame for the appeal of that multi-million dollar check.

Make no mistake, I am no fan of the vanilla suburbs that blanket the I-25 corridor, but I think we must look a little deeper than the influx of wealthy Californians to explain the dramatic changes in the Colorado landscape over the past fifty years. The urbanization/sprawl you criticize so vociferously merely filled a vacuum that was already in existence.
Arguing about who is responsible for sprawl and irresponsible development is like arguing who is at fault for prostitution--the pimp, the prostitute, or the john. What can be said is that--without the last--the former two couldn't make a living plying their trade.
 
Old 02-02-2008, 11:10 PM
 
5,748 posts, read 10,536,114 times
Reputation: 4494
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Arguing about who is responsible for sprawl and irresponsible development is like arguing who is at fault for prostitution--the pimp, the prostitute, or the john. What can be said is that--without the last--the former two couldn't make a living plying their trade.
That's a fascinating attempt at deflection. I've held up a mirror, and now the conversation is no longer worth having? I suspect I've hit a nerve. It's unusual that you turn away from a rousing debate.

Last edited by formercalifornian; 02-02-2008 at 11:25 PM..
 
Old 02-02-2008, 11:11 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,119 posts, read 99,260,084 times
Reputation: 31589
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Not really. And, yes, I was able to buy all of those things there. What's amazing is if you go to the library and dig out old telephone directories and see the listings for all of the specialized businesses that used to be located in relatively small communities. Now, about all you see in a small-town Yellow Pages is listings for construction-related stuff, doctors, and lawyers. Oh, and Wal-mart and out-of-town car dealerships.
That is rather amazing, especially because it's not how I remember small-town life at all. What I remember more is having to accept whatever the merchant had whether you liked it or not when shopping for say, a coat, because there was no other choice. Sears, Roebuck was accused of destroying downtowns back in the early days of the previous century. And that wasn't "different".

As I said, Lafayette had no downtown left when WalMart located there. It was beneficial to Lafayette for Wal Mart to locate there. I think a lot of these business failures blamed on Wal Mart are actually the result of poor business practices, which, when the owner had no competiton, didn't matter.

Quote:
Sears, Roebuck and Co. and other mail-order companies were the answer to farmers' prayers. Thanks to volume buying, to the railroads and post office, and later to rural free delivery and parcel post, they offered a happy alternative to the high-priced rural stores. Years later the company adopted the motto "Shop at Sears and Save." Because farmers could do so in the 1890s, Sears prospered.
Quote:
There were several reasons why Wood crusaded for Sears to open retail stores. For one thing, chain stores were beginning to blanket the country and cut into Sears mail-order business. In 1914 there were about 24,000 chain stores. Fifteen years later there were more than 150,000.

The whole face of the country was changing. With cars and modern roads, Sears rural customers were no longer limited to shopping by catalog. Just as important, American cities were growing up, and Sears rural customers were abandoning the farm for the factory. In 1900 rural population still outnumbered the urban population. By 1920 the situation was reversed.
A Narrative History of Sears - 18k - Cached - Similar pages
More results from Sears Archives Home Page

Last edited by Katarina Witt; 02-02-2008 at 11:35 PM.. Reason: addition
 
Old 02-03-2008, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Las Flores, Orange County, CA
26,346 posts, read 81,042,646 times
Reputation: 17424
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Encroaching development had pretty much destroyed the ranching and farming economies of their areas.
As a percentage, how much less land (in the US, in the world) is there to farm and ranch on because of development? It seems when I get a plane flying from any big city (LA, Denver, DC), I am flying over ranches and farms within about ten minutes of takeoff, and continue to do so for 98% of my flight.

Are we running out of agricultural and grazing land? Or, did we replace less than one percent of agricultural and grazing land with sprawl? The footprint of Denver may be 500% percent bigger now than 80 years ago, but has the amount of ranch and farm space in the country changed much as a percentage? (With modern farm equipment, farmers may be getting more crop per acre and perhaps more crops with less land too.)

While these ranchers and farmers with their $5M+ checks can be looked at as victims, what percentage of ranchers and farmers fall to this fate?

Cities occupy less than 2 percent of the Earth's land surface

And some do refuse, like my neighbor:

87-year-old woman resists selling ranch

Last edited by Charles; 02-03-2008 at 08:26 AM..
 
Old 02-03-2008, 09:06 AM
 
Location: Arvada, CO
12,852 posts, read 23,332,009 times
Reputation: 12278
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
How true. Let me tell about a small Colorado town with which I'm very familiar. I'm not naming it because, truth is, it could be any one of of a couple of dozen Colorado towns (and very like tens of thousands of small towns across America). 30 years ago it had a vibrant Main St. with nearly all locally-owned businesses. The exceptions were the chain grocery store, also located downtown, and a few franchised businesses that were also locally owned. It was possible to buy everything from an automobile to a suit to a good book to read right in that small town. The stores were in about a six-block area, accessible by walking to probably 2/3's of the residents of the town. Though residents might make a trip occasionally to one of the bigger towns or cities down the road, they generally didn't have to meet any day-to-day living needs. There was a lot of civic pride in the downtown, and the local merchants were all heavily involved in the community, supporting all nature of local charities and causes. There were a lot of senior citizens still living by themselves in the residential areas close to the core town. They could walk to the local stores and didn't need an automobile if they no longer felt comfortable driving. There was little crime, and most people didn't lock their doors, or take their keys out of their cars. The schools were near downtown, and many local children could walk to school. School buses were not run in the core town because they weren't needed.

Fast forward through 30 years of "progress" to today. Only a handful of the locally-owned businesses remain--and many of those are struggling. Some "specialty" shops, mostly catering to tourists and not carrying products locals would need, have replaced them. The main business district today, if you can call it that, has moved nearly 2 miles from the core town, anchored by a Wal-mart and a large chain grocery store. This new shopping area is virtually inaccessible to local residents unless they drive there--walking is not really practical--there isn't even a sidewalk to walk on to get there. Most items, if they are not stocked at those two stores, are no longer available locally--a trip must be made to neighboring larger towns 20-50 miles away--or ordered over the internet. The neighborhoods in the core town, where many seniors used to live, are now not considered very safe--there is gang graffiti showing up everywhere, including on the business buildings left downtown. With no public transportation available, many non-driving seniors--if they have no neighbors or relatives to rely on to transport them--are finding themselves having to move into assisted living facilities because they simply can not shop for themselves, get to the doctor, etc. The high school was moved to a couple of miles out of the town--now students either have to drive to school or take a school bus. One of the biggest single items in the school district's budget is now fuel for the buses.

So, this formerly pleasant small Colorado town now looks one hell of a lot like a miniaturized version of suburbia. Not surprisingly, it is having many of the same problems--and is every bit as dependent on cheap gas, automobiles, and "sprawl"-type development as its bigger counterparts. To someone who will say this is inevitable "progress," I say "Bull****!" I don't consider it progress at all. If having a bigger house and more crap to play with is the definition of "progress," maybe it is, but in terms of community, overall quality of life, and sustainability, it's not progress at all. It's degeneration into something increasingly ugly, undesirable, unsustainable, and insecure. We need to "re-examine the relationship" in the way we live.
Glenwood Springs?
 
Old 02-03-2008, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,119 posts, read 99,260,084 times
Reputation: 31589
I was thinking maybe Longmont. But its downtown was way past its prime when we moved here in 1980, which was well before WalMart started locating in the state.
 
Old 02-03-2008, 10:18 AM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,189,413 times
Reputation: 9067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles View Post
As a percentage, how much less land (in the US, in the world) is there to farm and ranch on because of development? It seems when I get a plane flying from any big city (LA, Denver, DC), I am flying over ranches and farms within about ten minutes of takeoff, and continue to do so for 98% of my flight.

Are we running out of agricultural and grazing land? Or, did we replace less than one percent of agricultural and grazing land with sprawl? The footprint of Denver may be 500% percent bigger now than 80 years ago, but has the amount of ranch and farm space in the country changed much as a percentage? (With modern farm equipment, farmers may be getting more crop per acre and perhaps more crops with less land too.)

While these ranchers and farmers with their $5M+ checks can be looked at as victims, what percentage of ranchers and farmers fall to this fate?

Cities occupy less than 2 percent of the Earth's land surface

And some do refuse, like my neighbor:

87-year-old woman resists selling ranch
The statistic is misleading. Much of the agricultural land lost to development, particularly in the Rockies, is the most productive ag land. The "footprint" of development is not the only impact. The amount of water diverted from ag use for urbanization probably idles 10 times as much ag acreage as the development footprint itself. The loss of ranchland in the Rockies is also disturbing. Cattle and sheep will be vital to our future because they can do something quite valuable--turn something that humans can't eat--grass--into something that we can--dairy products, beef and mutton. In short order, we are not going to be able to afford to grain-feed cattle or sheep any longer. We are going to need every acre of rangeland we can find. Because of the climate here in the Rockies, that means a lot of acres.

We are also going to be getting less yield out of every acre of farmland as time goes on. Much of that "green revolution" in farming was made possible by the use of fossil fuels--particularly oil, which is no longer going to be plentiful or cheap. Cross-country transportation of foodstuffs is also going to become much more problematic as energy prices spiral and fuel supplies become more uncertain. We will need productive agriculture close to home.

I read a statistic several years ago that one square mile of Colorado open space was being lost to development in Colorado approximately EVERY 3 DAYS (and that rate has probably increased since then)--much of it agricultural land. Go take a walk--one mile north, one mile east, one mile south, one mile west--what you just walked around is what is being developed every 3 days. That would equate to just under a quarter acre being developed EVERY 2 MINUTES. Tick-tock.
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