Building With the Future in Mind Since 1955

Rick Dubrow’s “On The Level” Column in the Cascadia Weekly; Published 12-5-07

I’ve heard this term ‘happy chapter’ used to refer to so many a documentary or news report that, although terribly depressing, ends on a happy note.   So, for example, a piece about global warming might end with a description of what’s being done about it.  ‘There’s work being done’, implies the happy chapter; ‘others are on top of it. Not to worry all that much.’

Yes, there’s a compelling motivation for me, or any author or news reporter, to leave you upbeat.  Why read what I write if I bring you down?  Contrary to this compelling motivation, I, instead, am driven to honesty and transparency; to tell it like it is, from my perspective.  I doubt you’ll find this particular column upbeat but I hope you’re drawn to my honesty, my transparency and my message.

Here’s how it came down at our recent, local Salmon Summit.  The opening, keynote speaker was describing the gloom and doom of what happens to biological diversity within creeks and streams as development increases.  “I’m sounding like Dr. Doom”, he stopped his train of thought, “but I need to paint a picture that’s somewhat connected to reality.”

“……somewhat connected to reality!?“  Here’s a keynote speaker asked to tell his truth and the compelling drive to insert his ‘happy chapter’ tainted what we heard from him!  I don’t want to hear what’s somewhat connected to reality; I want to hear about reality — straight up.  No happy chapter unless the happy chapter is real. If reality is gloomy then I want to hear from Dr. Doom.

So what’s my reality?

It’s very gloomy. (I would have said ‘pretty darn gloomy’ had I fallen for the happy chapter syndrome!)

Yes, Whatcom County is a hot bed of progressive individuals and organizations.  Our purchase of green power; the amount of LEED certified professionals and green building; the proportion of hybrids vehicles…….  (Damn, this is starting to sound like a happy chapter!).  We’re adorned by an abundance of cultural creatives.

The sad reality, though, is that our environment continues to degrade – brought to you by the cultural non-creatives who embrace mainstream culture – far faster than the improvements brought forth by the likes of whom adorn our community.

Note the recent trend towards houses built with dual master suites.  Two. Just last week I heard a Homestead Northwest ad on KGMI applauding this amenity.  American engineering at its best….. if your spouse snores then build a second master suite!

I am repulsed by the health of our environment and an economy/culture that denies its responsibility for its continued deterioration.  But I will not ignore its symptoms and deny reality.  I will not live numb and distracted, even if remaining awake hurts.

My truth is that we’re in a world of hurt and that baby steps need to be left for babies.

“If what we want is to stop the destruction of the life of this planet, then what we have been doing has not been working. We will have to do something else. Something else, as in something really else, as in ‘now for something completely different’ else. Not the same old tricks in a new shade of muddy green.” – Tim Bennett

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