Thank you, Bill, for saying it so well.
I try to say what you said everyday and have spoken at numerous planning and council meetings, only occasionally being on the winning side. This wonderful lull in destruction of Northwest Arkansas' environment won't last forever. It is time to speak up in city and county meetings about the reasons to protect the natural world and support ordinances that will promote the interest of all living things, including the people who live here. I doubt the first person who tossed the words "sustainable city" had in mind only "sustained growth."
Truly sustainable growth would be harmless growth. What we have seen in recent years has mostly been harmful growth.
With a few more city ordinances that take into consideration the conservation of natural resources coming before the Fayetteville City Council in the near future, we have a chance to minimize the destruction.
The need for conservation/environmental education isn't limited to the public or public officials or workers who can affect the environment by just cutting back a little on how much they mow or bulldoze or spray insecticide or pesticide or fertilizer or who can choose to plant native species instead of alien species but also must extend to investors and bankers who have in the past supported land acquisition and development plans that turned out to be harmful. Everyone needs to be aware of the potential consequences of what they support.
Unlike most of the dozens (or is it hundreds?) of unfinished but previously approved projects in Northwest Arkansas, Southpass' land (hard for me to put that name on it comfortably and I prefer calling it the old Judge Cummins farm) has not had its vegetation removed or its soil removed and any future proposal can include a lot more prairie and hillside land in its protected zones.
Once the soil is removed or leveled under red dirt or even the vegetation is removed, the land never again will have its intrinsic life-sustaining ability again.
For more of my thoughts on this subject and photos documenting the value of some of the natural land in Northwest Arkansas and some of the war-zone-like photos of land-clearing and resulting erosion and flooding, please save the links below. No one could review them all in one year's normal working time, and few would consider using a lot of leisure time visiting my links. But the sample below might be of interest to those who care. If those aren't enough, my Google blog profile lists that many more sites I manage.
Aubrey James Shepherd
P.O. Box 3159
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72702
Aubrey Shepherd Central: www.aubunique.com
Aubrey's photos at flickr.com