Enviros vs. Nimbyites

People often confuse environmentalists, who–crazily–care for the whole envelope of life that supports us on this planet, with Not In My Backyarders, or NIMBYites, who are very concerned with what is happening in their neighborhood, but often show little interest or involvement in the big planetary picture. 

The only way to show the essential idealism of the larger movement, I think, is for environmentalists to speak out for the big picture, even if it comes into conflict with the NIMBYite agenda.

The Friends of the Santa Clara River are doing just that regarding plans by Ventura County to build a sludge treatment plant at Toland Road, just a few miles up the hill from the river.

The County needs to act, because far-away Kern County no longer wants the sludge the western part of the county generates from water treatment plants.

The easy approach for Executive Director Ron Bottorff would be to oppose all such plans, but instead he has taken the high road, and pointed to the larger issue.

"Every community should take care of its own waste, and we should also," Bottorff told the Ventura County Star.

The Sierra Club representative of the Los Padres chapter, Alan Sanders, wants assurances that the process will not imperil local farming or the water supply, which indeed are necessary and (I am told) part of the state law that governs biosolid processing.

Nonetheless, without knowing every single fact on this issue, this enviro recklessly commends Bottorff and his group for not blindly drawing a line in the sand against any and all local waste recycling. It’s part of the process of being accountable for the decisions we participate in regarding the government of our communities; and, as George Orwell said, the willingness to pay the price of shared participation is what distinguishes responsible leaders from ideological demagogues. 

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