Sound Off: Love of the land lacking on island

By David C. Blankenship

I read with interest the Sound Off article entitled “Swampbusting now allowed,” by Steve Erickson. The environment of Whidbey Island is ripe for over development by those who see nothing but profit and care not for the land, water or other living things.

In my particular community, there are some precious wetlands and trees that have been targeted by developers for destruction. One of my neighbors is truly one that sees profit from the removal of trees and is now very happy that so many trees are being uprooted.

One thing so many people forget is that the roots of trees hold the soil in place. This area where I live is a hill overlooking the water and it is now beginning to slide into the sea.

The article by Steve Erickson pointed out how the county supervisors do not have a clue about laws or why wetlands should be protected. It is because American society is so disconnected as a whole from the land. The land is seen as just something from which to extract profit, not as a living entity of which we are all a part and are participants rather then dominate it.

As an environmentalist and one who cares for the land, water and other living things, I find some of the developments going on today are destroying what once made this island so beautiful.

People who have a conscience for the land here on Whidbey are often ones who are not in power or with the resources to effect change. However, I believe that those in power can and will change their positions once it hits them in the wallet. That is the story of power and privilege in America which is held by the elite.

A couple of years ago, an article was published in the Whidbey News-Times calling for an environmental group to be formed on the island to help stem the flow from over development. That would not answer the need because people would have to be educated on the issues before they could take action that would be effective. Sadly, on this island, if you do not belong to special organizations or secret societies you will not succeed in business or in the public arena. In other words, special interests are usually given attention due to connections rather than addressing the issues openly.

Perhaps if the profit motive were somehow reversed from development on Whidbey, then some wetlands and wilderness areas would be left alone. Maybe some people of wisdom and vision can see the value in saving portions of the island for future generations. I certainly hope some wetlands can be saved along with the associated wildlife.

My words to those who are anxious to develop wetlands for profit are that they will truly reap when they sow. When the last deer is standing out on the rocks offshore and their million dollar homes are sliding into the sea, only then may they see the folly of over development.

My sense of connectedness to the land and water is one that appreciates all living things and looks for ways to help heal our planet. Maybe a few others can awaken their love for the land and help do some good in the wake of the land rush we are now experiencing on Whidbey.

I hope Steve Erickson continues to monitor the county’s actions and maybe after getting hit in the pocketbook a few times, the county will realize they are acting to destroy their very home.

Power and privilege are alive and well on Whidbey Island.

David C. Blankenship

lives in Oak Harbor.

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