22 August 2010

Chasing Smoke Stacks

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Image by shodan

"Chatham Couny's economic development has been characterized by chasing smoke stacks around.  And its a shame that we don't tend to catch that many.
. . .
We did manage to land 3M.  It is the last plant that 3M will operate in America, and it came here.  Whew, I am  fortunate enough to live across the road from the 3M lands, and am pleased to report that all it cost us was our night sky and our silence.  Now when we weed our gardens we do so against a constant background rumble.  The sales of white noise machines must have plummeted at the Jordan Dam Mini Mart after 3M came to town."

- From "Small is Possible: Life in a Local Economy" by Lyle Estill

Where I live, we have - in the last 12 months - been blessed with a 24 hour McDonalds.  It has created 60 more jobs, more late night 'disturbances' for the police to attend to, more litter, more traffic, and one more junk food outlet.

My town sits on top of New Zealand's largest lignite deposit.  There was great rejoicing when Solid Energy moved in.  They have bought a lot of land - and bumped land prices up, increased employment somewhat, and have development plans in the works that could result in a significant employment boom as they dig huge, ugly scars in the landscape to extract one of the dirtiest fuels around.

Surely there have to be better development models for our communities than this?

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