My Town, Larger than a Village but Smaller than a City

Home Sweet Home, Mixed Media on panel, ©BelindaChlouber2019

Over the years I have thought much about ”home and place” because growing up as a child we moved a great deal. But, now I have been in the same house in the same town for 30+ years where my husband was born and raised. It’s a really nice town, with nice people who love the peace and quiet the suburbs afford. The changes and stresses resulting from urbanization and climate change first knocked quietly at our door, with smoke from fires, drought, and sea walls being built, then mandates to build more housing, and then the forces started banging at the door demanding a seat at the table. I’ve followed and worked on these mounting stresses through my artwork and environmental advocacy. I’ve thought about possible solutions to how we can secure a future that is fair and equitable with all these problems knocking at the door. It’s certainly not an easy problem—especially when you actually try to make meaningful change on the ground level.

Through a local group of concerned citizens, we formed a team to work on the ground level of change by changing the reach codes at the city level to become all-electric. We had an excellent city council to work with who understood the coming threats and what needs to be accomplished to live through an uncertain future. Now, though we have a group of people who are trying to use a procedural maneuver to wrest a substitutive advantage and overtake the city council by appointing a 5th person to a vacant seat on the council who will side with them.

So, with late nights and no resolution on the issue, my city has succumbed to the mounting stresses and broken down in disagreement over appointing the Mayor and the vacant City Council seat.

People commute long distances to work here because they can’t afford, or find a place to live, which adds to our environmental problems. They are coming anyway whether they live here or commute to work here. We keep adding more tech and business but don’t have the housing and don’t want the congestion. We want our cake and want to eat it too.

The future world I would live in, if I had license to make it, would have few roads in urban areas, excellent mass transit, no huge parking lots and be walkable. There would be a lot of trees and native plants. Buildings would be no taller than four stories because you can walk up that. There would be rooftop gardens and lots of bicycle paths. We wouldn’t overbuild and destroy what was once so beautiful. So, you see, to me the real problem is that we’ve given way too much space over to cars in urban areas. And big agriculture in rural areas. But, I realize that that’s not the world we’ve built. We’ve crowned cars as king. And big ag as queen.

So, the solutions are not perfect but the future is coming and it’s much bigger and uglier if we don’t face it head-on.

If you want to learn more about this issue please visit; Climate and The Daily Journal