As I write this, the Amazon is burning and my heart is breaking. Commentators say our planet’s lungs are being destroyed. My heart also breaks as I see the lungs of our city being destroyed parcel by parcel. With every tree we cut down and every meadow we pave over, we contribute to climate change right here in South Burlington. Our open lands and our wildlife keep nature in balance. As we destroy them, we destroy the very things which can save us and our planet. Yet tragically, in a economic-centric society, we plow up, pave over and build, build, build while disregarding the truly valuable: human health, our children and grandchildren’s futures, clean water, fresh air, fertile soil, gentle breezes, blue skies, beauty. … No claims of economic benefits are worth the destruction we are witnessing. Ultimately, destroying the land ends up costing us economically as well as environmentally.

Not only do housing and other developments destroy our natural resources, they demand massive amounts of fossil fuels to construct and maintain. For decades, city planners have allowed un-sustainable developments to destroy the lungs of our city – our open lands. But now we know more, and we can make better choices. Recently, our city pledged to abide by the Paris Climate Accords. It’s time to turn those words into specific actions starting with the most obvious, which is to re-zone and/or purchase open lands to save what we have left. While we are powerless to stop the destruction in the Amazon, we do have power to stop the destruction of South Burlington.

Last year, that’s exactly what a group of concerned citizens did. Calling ourselves “Save Open Spaces South Burlington” (SOSSB), we banded together to oppose another mammoth housing development on 72 magnificent acres of meadows and forest, which the developers named “Dorset Meadows” after the meadows they will destroy. Despite strenuous objections from South Burlington residents from all parts of the city, the city’s development review board approved the developer’s preliminary plan to build 150+ houses on this beautiful land filled with natural resources. Because of that city decision, the only way to save the land now is through legal action. So, SOSSB hired a lawyer, and we are committed to do whatever it takes to save our “lungs.” If you want to help us prevent the destruction of this land, email us at sossouthburlington@gmail.com.

Rosanne Greco

South Burlington

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