Interesting conservation sign

I found his interesting conservation sign on my walk home it something to save a local environment. I thought i would be interested so i put this here.

What do you find interesting about it?

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I followed the link in their QR code to see what their goal was. They are neighbors of a wooded area near New York City (Ridgewood NJ) opposing the construction of a sports arena there. On the one hand, I have exactly zero interest in sports arenas, want to preserve natural areas, and would not enjoy living next to one. On the other, there is the very strong tendency in the US (and at least some other countries) for any development near any people with time and money to be angrily opposed, always with the message that it would be better to build it somewhere else, no idea where.

The shorthand used for this in political debates is “Not In My Backyard” or NIMBY. NIMBYism is often framed as conservationism, but has at least three well documented downsides.

First, it means that things that no one wants to live next to get built next to the homes of people who don’t have the time and money to oppose them, which usually ends up meaning economically and politically disadvantaged people of color. This has sizable and quantifiable effects on increasing all sorts of disparities, including all sorts of environmental injustice.

Second, it means that things often get built outside of town, in areas that are of greater conservation importance, and require more fossil fuels to drive to and from. The largest portion of the carbon footprint of California, where I live, is from people who can’t afford to live near where they work driving back and forth long distances every day. Efforts to allow them to live closer to where they work are almost universally stymied by NIMBYism.

Third, many things, such as proposed low income housing projects, simply don’t get built anywhere because of NIMBYism. Many of California’s urban creeks are heavily polluted because people who can’t afford housing end up camping along them for months or years at a time with no sanitary facilities.

The world might be better off if this sports arena never gets built, but a more likely outcome is that it will end up being built somewhere that requires longer drives for the people who go there, and next to the homes of less privileged people.

So whether conservation efforts like those you’ve announced here actually are overall good or bad for conservation is a matter of very active debate.


The problem of course with NIMBY, in addition to what you state, is that the “backyards” are getting smaller and fewer. I’m all for in-fill development within a city rather than further expansion outward from the city limits. But it’s still sad to see once-vacant lands within my city and where I grew up disappear. I spent my childhood exploring nature in those vacant lots in my neighborhood that are now fully developed. If I were a kid there now, I’d have to travel miles to find an undeveloped piece of land.

But would I want a sports arena built near my house? Heck no.


I can actually see both sides on this one. I feel like a chameleon. :laughing:

Near where I live is the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. It has become one of my favorite places to take the camera whenever I have time, and the ongoing work to recreate the prairie ecosystem deserves a great deal of respect. So does the effort to keep the site out of the hands of developers (who wouldn’t necessarily care about the more … notorious … aspects of the site’s history).

The downside? Again, Colorado’s (and Denver’s) rather slavish attitude toward developers and development. As you can see from the satellite view, the easement around the refuge is effectively zero in some places. Also, I can’t be convinced that the giant klieg lights at the neighboring sports park aren’t doing some metabolic damage to all organisms exposed.

Denver is also doing a lot of infill development in places like the former Stapleton Airport, and to be fair, they’re putting in a lot of greenspace. (With some rather ableist assumptions about designing that greenspace, but that’s a different rant.) The downside there is that most of these spaces are going to be managed for people instead of habitat, with everything that implies: mowing, planting for aesthetics rather than species support, and so forth. Some spots are better than others, but they’re all going to be rather people-y.

Add to the mix that the insane influx of people moving to the state has destroyed a whole lot of former farmland and pasturage for the addition of housing. Kind of ironic, given the fact that a whole lot of the new residents are very into concepts like farm-to-table. This also means fewer food-and-rest stops on the migratory flyways.

So, yeah; I can understand the feelings of this group, wanting to protect a little pocket of relative wilderness from the bulldozers. I can also see the argument of “it’s gotta go somewhere”, at least I could if we weren’t talking about a sports arena. (Sorry, not a sportsball fan.) The people aren’t going to stop moving from one place to another.

My attempt at fair-mindedness aside, though, I’m with The Lorax on this one.


I often flip my map view to see - wait - just where is the urban edge here? Where does this property end? There is a HUMUNGOUS house in our neighbouring suburb. On the highwater mark below the railway line. Their boundary, neatly drawn on a map in an office far away, actually includes a tiny inlet. Now obliterated by a high concrete wall. Optimistically hoping to keep winter storms out. I foresee a rather large seawater pond in their front ‘garden’ this winter.
We have 3 restaurants with on / in the sea magnificent views - whose front windows are smashed by winter storms.
I was horrified when this estate popped up, in what I had thought was part of Table Mountain National Park. But they seem unique in not paying lip service to fynbos and biodiversity. Huge expensive houses yes, but not surrounded by mown and irrigated lawns with commonorgarden exotics.


Interesting and informative read

I do hope though, regarding your second point, that we see a shift in trend from making urban areas more developed and more ‘urban’ to focusing on uplifting and growing communities in far flung and remote corners of our countries (carbon emmissions that this will obviously lead to notwithstanding)

If this doesn’t happen, you run the risk of creating a situation like what we have now in South Africa: 16000+ private and public reserves and parks, vast majority of which cater to foreign clientelle with heavier buying power, where the line between Pristine Eden and ravaged wasteland is the width of the entrance gate and if you are unlucky enough to live outside the fenced area, you do not have running water, sturdy shelter or even a single book you can use to read about the animals you can find a few meters inside

If you are desperate enough to try and poach inside the reserve, you will have the hammer of god almighty come crashing down on you if caught, but all you’ll hear from reserve management if a dangerous animal escapes and kills your livestock or relatives is a limp-wristed “whoopsy”

I know I’m going off-track a bit here, but it cannot be emphasized enough how fatal the proliferation of fortress conservation and the idea of nature preservation for the elites really is


And the equivalent of cutting the fence to graze your cattle in a conservation area.
Beehives on the urban edge. That fynbos already has its OWN wild bees, thank you.


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