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Author Archive

Birth Rate Hogwash

Gazette reporter Perry Swanson invested considerable time into trying to understand why I discount growth boosters’ preoccupation with using “net natural increase” and “net migration” figures to give the impression fertility is the biggest contributor to our burgeoning local population. So it surprised and disappointed me to see a gross figure, birth rate, compared with net migration in both a caption and his story (Look how we’ve grown, 3/16/06). That’s the kind of manipulation of data I’ve come to expect from the growth industry.

One might wonder if there’s something in our water making us much more fertile than the rest of the country. The fertility rate in the U.S. today is just barely above replacement level, so it defies logic that birth rate would be the biggest contributor to our rapidly growing El Paso County population. Part of the explanation is we have many young military families of child-bearing age. Our state demographer has confirmed most of those babies leave the county within a year or two of their birth. . . .

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Growth: Just Say No

Your Turn

Published August 8, 2002 in The Colorado Springs Independent

It’s time we talk frankly about development, baseball stadiums, convention centers, traffic and water. Someone has to be the first to stand up and say the emperor has no clothes!

Jeff Smith wants to build a baseball stadium downtown. Rocky Scott works to attract new businesses to town. Terry Sullivan tells us we need Confluence Park and a convention center in the south end. These efforts have one thing in common: Developers stand to make money if these projects are successful.

Does Smith want to move the Sky Sox in order to revitalize downtown? Or because he’ll make millions from development around the stadium? We already have a charming, vibrant and vital downtown. Jeff’s plans will ensure we have gridlock on Interstate 25 even if it’s widened even further. . . .

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Eyes Wide Open

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
– Mahatma Gahdhi

The growth industry circled the wagons on the op/ed pages of The Gazette January 4, 2004, in an effort to quell the rising voices questioning claims our community benefits financially from growth. While we rejoice the dialog is happening and rational voices have the business-as-usual crowd on the ropes, it’s disappointing when pro-growthers or civic leaders still don’t get it or continue to ignore the truth. It’s apparent from recent Gazette editorials and letters from the Housing and Building Association, that we still have not articulated the slow-growth premise in a way that can be universally understood. So here’s another shot: . . .

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How Do We Become a Sustainable Civilization?

URBAN GROWTH | POPULATION GROWTH | OVERCONSUMPTION | ECONOMIC GROWTH

This film explores the most critical question of our time.

Locally, nationally, and globally, modern society worships Growth Everlasting above all else. Economists preach the gospel of growth. We’ve built a system that has us addicted to growth. Real estate developers, chambers of commerce and economic developers are pushers lobbying and propagandizing to keep us hooked.

Your friends and family, business associates, elected representatives – and even your priest – all need to see Hooked on Growth, so we can recognize the addiction and begin the recovery. This film examines the beliefs and behaviors we must leave behind in order to become truly sustainable. It will help prepare us to embrace the end of growth. . . .

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