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RE: GBlist: Wetlands

Thank you David! Well said. I support this view wholeheartedly.
From: David Seth Melchert on Wed, Aug 27, 1997 3:47 PM
Subject: Re: GBlist: Wetlands
To: greenbuilding@crest.org

Charlie, Twila, et al:

I am a bit surprised to find property rights touted in this forum, but it does
bring up a good question to the 

In our pursuit of Individual Rights, our society has found that this includes
the right to destroy our 
ancesrty, destroy our communities, destroy our families and social order, and
destroy our environment. OK, one 
might argue that these things have not been destroyed, they have only changed
form, but I would submit that 
they have not changed in ways that contribute to interconnectedness,
wholeness, or with a sense of sacredness.

In our individualistic society, the main way we have to counter the chaotic
whims of the multitudes of 
individuals (which unfortunately leads to the above-mentioned destruction) is
our government. Government is, 
for better or worse, the best common voice of the society as a whole. I won't
digress into the arguments about 
how well all segments of society are represented, which they are not. The
point is that without some sort of 
overarching check in the system, "individual rights" (of which property rights
are a subset) can lead to an 
extreme whereby the whole loses while individuals grab for their own piece of
what they want.

You folks speak disparagingly of snails and bugs and flora and fauna as if
protecting these things is an afront 
to the almighty individual perogative. These things are in fact minute details
of the big picture of Nature, 
but Nature depends on every bit of minutia that exists. Wetlands are a
critical element in the big picture of 
things and are indispensable, each and every little mud puddle. Treat them
with great respect.

In the debate over property rights vs the environment, the most important goal
to me is to find a balance that 
includes a view of Nature as something whole, complex and sacred. I would
argue that the extent of destruction 
wreaked across this land is so severe that it has come time to pull back to a
better balance. That 
understanding is where the protection of wetlands has come from, which you
seem to view as so extreme. Step 
back a moment from your little individual ponds and consider the vast
stretches of seasonal flood planes and 
swamps that have been destroyed in the past 100 years. The reason there are
such stiff penalties for wetlands 
destruction is exactly because it has become so important to save what is
left, every bit of it. Wetlands are  
the most fertile havens for diverse life forms in our land, after estuaries.

The whole point of Green Building is to start to respect and work with the
cycles and details and flows of 
nature, not to conquer it to satisfy our individual desires. We recognise that
there is something more 
important than our individual whims that our souls, species, and lives depend
upon. We are looking to 
incorporate the beauty and wholeness and interconnectedness of nature into or
work, so that our society and 
Nature may endure.

Thanks for bringing up a good subject!

Seth Melchert

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Date: Wed, 27 Aug 1997 12:43:56 -0700
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