How did life come to be left out of Austin’s future?
Hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados are considered forces of nature. With these, we expect the worst. A force of nature, beyond our control, is to be feared.
Life itself is a force of nature. Life, as a force, is inexorable, relentless. Life, too, is beyond our control. We can destroy life. We cannot create new life where none existed before.
Life expands and evolves to fit every niche and opportunity, given enough time and progeny. The more diverse the niches available (like a tropical rainforest), the richer and more varied the life that occupies them.
What stands between our heritage and the inability of man to control his greed is law.
Europeans came to this country over 400 years ago, and were blessed by what they believed to be limitless resources. The land seemed fertile beyond reason or imagination, and wildlife could be harvested without concern for its diminishment. Or, so they thought.
There are few regular meetings that I am not willing to miss. The biannual SCSCB conference is one that I try to make come hell or high water. Conservationists and educators from around the Caribbean meet every two years to discuss Caribbean birds and what needs to be done to ensure their futures.
We are Austin based and Texas bred. Shoal Creek is our neighborhood, a slim needle of a creek that splits the heart of Austin into two equal halves. Shoal Creek is dressed Texan, a rarely wet swath of white rocks and cedar trees. To be precise, the white rocks are Georgetown limestone, and the cedar trees are ash junipers. No matter. A Texan would understand.
There is a new report analyzing the value of protected open space in SE PA that should interest you. The study, commissioned by the GreenSpace Alliance and Delaware Valley Regional Planning, reports the following:
Approximately 300 square miles, or 14%, of the five-county region is protected open space. The study found that this area:
Adds $16 billion to the value of southeastern Pennsylvania’s housing stock – an average property value increase of $10,000 per household;
Saves local governments and taxpayers more than $132 million a year in costs associated with provision of environmental services such as drinking water filtration and flood control;