Updates March - May 2000

    Spula's article on the two proposed Thruway exits near Rochester is an excellent encapsulation of the situation here. Jack hits the mark as he describes how-despite the lack of need for such ruinous projects (for our population is not increasing)--they occur regardless because big businesses have the political and economic clout to threaten the tax base if they don't get what they want. Urban sprawl presents an almost apocalyptic process here in Rochester and around the world that cannot be stopped-despite how they negatively impact residents and established businesses-because we fail to see the long-term consequences.
    Still, there is another certainty that Spula did not touch upon, and most who are against the expansion of more roads rarely mention because it is extremely unfashionable to do so. It is gradual and persistent destruction of our environment that the encroachment of our way of life wreaks on the environment. As confirmed by more and more scientists, we are presently living in the Sixth Great Mass Extinction-a time analogous to that period that destroyed the dinosaurs sixty-five million years ago when a sizable percent of the species at that time went extinct.
    Somehow, we have allowed ourselves to nurture the idea that extinctions like these are inevitable and that we are not the cause. But, we are. The problem is that we have not developed a sensible economy, one that does not treat our environment as a limitless resource. And, the problem is made more difficult to see by developers and the public because we approve of such projects only in the context of our situation, not the bigger picture that these developments are accumulative, growing exponentially around the world.
    Most scoff when the environmental factor in these issues of man's incessant expansion upon Nature come up. It makes me think of the very truth depicted in The Emperor's New Clothes, a brutally honest reality that is authentic, but no one wishes to discuss. As our environment disintegrates, this great extinction due to our own choices so does our ability to survive. The illusion, created by our own prowess in medical and technological advances, that we are living longer, healthier, and better has profoundly clouded the most obvious certainty: We have not conquered Nature, we have only pulled back the trigger farther on the mechanism that will kill us.