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An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy.

"It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil—he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." He continued, "The other is good—he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you—and inside every other person, too."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

First People - The Legends. Cherokee Legend of Two Wolves. November 16, 2004. [accessed April 7, 2012].

Sunday, January 15, 2012

"Trees really in Prince George's County?" asks yet another anonymous commenter.

               "Trees really?" asks yet another anonymous commenter.[1]  Missing the point about the need to work with the ecosystems we have the commenter frantically assumes that preserving the environmental mean that we must forget about creating "...hundreds of [low paying service] jobs, increase property value [for those who live far enough away and for the developer as well as giving] a struggling county a boost". With evident lack of environmental literacy in hand the anonymous commenter chooses an ad hominem attack indicative of a barren argument writing  that I  "...have entirely too much time on [my]hands."

               The next quirky statement ("Why don't you use that energy to bring more business to PG? ") shows accomplished lack of any ability to do anything but mindlessly react as I indeed have been writing speaking and working to save the 6 figure science research jobs of USDA-ARS BARC and NAL that this county has been losing - some 200 super grade research jobs since this county began to focus on malls instead of high pay 21st century work.[2] I would wager that my hidden commenter has never brought Maryland's DBED to a meeting in the county whereas I will be bringing together federal state and local political stakeholder this week to discuss hi tech economic development in Prince George's County which interestingly enough would involve the science of trees, very important to the world but not to the narrowly focused resident commenter. And it would involve more than trees; the research would involve everything you eat and the health of your family, not just discount items that help make our daily lives better.  

                The next statement shows that my commenter has not read the footnotes or has no ability to provide substantive factual information to support his or her position. I would guess that the commenter is dealing with emotional opinions, the same kind that paralyzes our national political conversation when it comes to science. The anonymous resident  is of an opinion that "[r]esidents like me] chase away big business because [I] fear change." I submit that it exactly the narrow short sighted fixation on  temporary transient development that sends hi tech campus to woodland properties. The high tech 21st century jobs do not want to place themselves in a forest of crumbling infrastructure surrounded by service malls designed to last 10 years.

               You live in a city the commenter cries. And indeed I do but my city of Prince George's is blindly moving backwards to a concrete desolate desert, while cities like Washington, D.C. and Chicago trumpet urban forests working to "green" the infrastructure and work to develop quality of live for as many as they cannot just a few.  

               Next in the diatribe of ill-considered ranting comes a off-hand slight to another great State followed by a complete lack of comprehension as to my personal and public position as to the history of Salubria. The record shows that I personally made the motion to remove the historic setting making it possible to develop the property per the existing zoning. None of my blogging has every stated that I thought the property should remain an empty lot, none, not ever. When the county decided to zone the property as it did the die was cast for this type of project. There are those of course who feel differently as there are those such as my commenter who at best find history a bother.[3]  
.              Anonymous resident sums up the odd aggregation of splendidly convoluted opinion by strongly welcoming change which of course is welcomed by every living creature for it is the essence of life. Cloaked in his or her anonymity complete with grandiose rhetorical flourishes, resident anonymous  welcomes growth (implicitly externalizing any costs onto someone else in this case our established under served communities). Resident anonymous welcomes, with a quaint rustic sophistry, "...civilization; welcomes ANYTHING that resembles class, cleanliness and sophistication in P.G. It is of course the use of PG at the end of the resident's sentence that piqued my curiosity for who does not know that the use of PG is a pejorative diminutive used to keep this county down and out.  Resident anonymous continues, "Peterson Cos is the best thing to happen to this county." Superlatives are always a sign of hidden bothersome factoids, but given the lack of vision I would agree with the statement.  

               As to using my energy to combat weeds my new anonymous friend has done no homework what so ever. I have written over 300 articles on invasives species much of which is found at Invasive Notes. [4]  I am working with the Prince George's Community College and federal agencies to develop work force curricula to prepare Prince George's County residents for the jobs of tomorrow. PGCC is committed to be a national leader in sustainability even if a few anonymous residents are looking backwards to a past that never was. It is not about the tree as tree but how we develop and grow in relationship to the world around us a world that provides needed and necessary services that anonymous resident implicitly seems to take for granted.

               I surely agree that we need to find away to re-use the property that anonymous mentions next with its chained off buildings and failing development. On the other hand the wildly hysterical final comment defies reply - " That mall is being built on prime real estate between two major highways. Trees don't belong there, and it's about time they put it to use." The inability to have a conversation about ecosystem services and development must end. Chicago can grow and thrive with ecosystem services front and center, Washington dc works hard to find collaboration between shopping needs and environmental enhancement. Montgomery county tries to build a science city in partnership with Johns Hopkins and we fall over ourselves in ecstasy  about a discount mall. Why can't Prince George's County dream large and demand better instead of settling for yesterday?


[1] See comment  Prince George's County mauls its way through its woodlands and forests
[2] Welcome to the home of the National Agricultural Research Alliance - Beltsville: John Peter Thompson, President

The National Agricultural Research Alliance - Beltsville, Inc. (NARA-B) was created to:

1. support the advancement of agricultural, human nutrition and scientific research missions of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), located in Beltsville, Maryland, thereby securing the benefits of BARC research for farmers, the general public, the nation and the environment;

2. support the acquisition and preservation of agriculture and rural development information missions of the National Agricultural Library located in Beltsville, Maryland, which houses one of the world's largest and most accessible agricultural information collections;

3. advocating in support of BARC and its agricultural and horticultural activities before legislative, executive, administrative and judicial bodies, and the public generally, regarding the contributions to agricultural science, safe and healthful foods, environmental quality, national security and other benefits of BARC, and
4. consistent with BARC's mission, the maintenance and preservation of the natural and historic qualities of BARC, including but not limited to, open space, watershet protection and enhancement, clean air and water, and architecturally significant or historical structures.

[3] Anonymous resident
"And what is this garbage about saving a vacant lot because it has historic value? Every empty piece of land has history, and you want to save it because a slave child murdered the innocent white children of a slave owner? I'm thrilled it will be covered in concrete."

1 comment:

Fort Washington Resident said...

It’s all about perception, and my perception was that you don't want the mall there.

It’s funny how little you respect me and dismiss my words as insignificant, yet you must have spent at least an hour writing your own emotional response.

This county has not focused on malls. It has focused on strip malls and allowed anyone with a few bucks to open shop. This outlet mall is comparable in quality to many neighborhoods in Virginia, DC and Bethesda. Aesthetically, it will set a higher standard. Your comment that malls have a lifespan of 10 years is absurd.

There is a reason why property values are five times higher half a mile over the bridge. People in this county have no vision. They have no business sense. They have no standards or motivation or passion. Are they not ashamed that the crime rate is higher? Poorly maintained homes are evidence of a lack of respect and pride in one’s community. People should take note of Old Town, Bethesda, Cameron Station, Kingstowne, Clarendon and Dupont. The pride in those communities is evident. It’s also the government’s duty to have higher standards and hold us accountable.

Clean and safe malls, hotels, well-run business and office buildings draw people. People draw metro stations and better schools, nicer grocery stories, a better quality of life. This hotel and outlet mall, the only one of its kind in the DC area, conveniently placed off 495 right across the bridge from an affluent community, is the kick start this county needs. National Harbor is unfortunately gated and isolated. My hope is that this project won’t be. You saw the renderings; it’s no strip mall.

I don’t know the history of PG. I’m new to it, but I do know its reputation. I also talked to several long time residents who proudly admit to chasing away big business, because “we like things the way they are”. Apparently, their voices are the only ones being heard. Look at Arlington, Alexandria, Bethesda, U Street, Dupont, Georgetown, and Chinatown. Then look at us. We need to take note of what they’re doing right and we’re doing wrong.

I’m not interested in the meetings you’ve attended or articles you wrote. I’m interested in results. I support those who inspire growth and positive change - and a glimmer of hope is not the time to complain about trees and the environment, not when the county needs positive attention. I don't care about your footnotes, and I doubt many who read your blog do either. They may not even get past the headline. Perception is everything.

I don't see how citing my 'emotion' has any relevance. We are human. Emotion drives us. It is the essence of passion, which leads to action. Steve Jobs is a great example of what passion can do.

I’m not running for office, as it appears you are, with your reference to the articles you wrote and passive aggressive insults as if I’m your opponent. I don’t have the time or insecurites to proofread or write as eloquently as you, so do what you will with my words. It’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it.