A few night s ago I went to a county open space property to watch the Perseids meteor shower. Surrounded by the sound of crickets, a rich smell of tall grasses and something pretty close to total darkness, I thought: more open space? Let’s go for it. As the Denver metro area continues to sprawl like another L.A., Boulder County will be a place where we stay connected to the larger natural world that is a source of sanity. In his Guest Commentary (8/12/10, “Enough open space is enough”) Don Cage calls for accountability of our open space spending. I do not see him calling for the same scrutiny of human services departments, and this shows his bias towards a human-centered economics. The true value of even somewhat intact ecosystems is beyond measure. These are systems that have evolved over millions of years and provide us with countless kinds of riches. From that perspective, we are getting the land for a steal.
We can continue to buy into an economics that continues to eat away at all things non-human made. Or we can take a stand in developing an improved economics where we recognize the true value of the resources and the systems upon which we depend. This would not lead to the deprivation of the needy of humankind. Our hearts will always lead us to look out for them. Standing up for the non-human is not a blasphemy that implies we don’t care for other humans. In fact, it is caring more than ever.
Can we live by a valuation that includes all true costs and benefits? Open space purchases are a microcosm of this larger question. It is here, through purchases, that we are saying yes to ALL life.