To the editor:
Farmland in Douglas County is being developed as if in endless supply. It takes 500 years for nature to form one inch of fertile topsoil. Nevertheless, we're scraping it away, paving it over, contaminating it, depleting its nutrients, allowing it to erode, squandering it in countless ways.
Douglas County has some of the richest topsoil in the world, yet we're so concerned about growth, an expanding tax base and "progress" that we're willing to allow even floodplains to be developed (e.g. around the airport). We're acting as if we are ignorant about natural environments having a "carrying capacity" determining how many people and how much use and abuse they can withstand. We get angry when others destroy irreplaceable rain forests (partly to raise food Americans want in mass quantities) but ignore our own destruction of irreplaceable farmland.
As a result, there is a looming food crisis - as population increases and farmland decreases, food becomes scarce. At current rates of development, by 2050, the United States will have 0.6 of an acre of farmland for each American, as opposed to the current 1.8 acres or the 1.2 acres required for current U.S. dietary standards.
Food prices will quadruple, the United States will cease having food to export, the trade deficit will expand dramatically, and starvation will increase worldwide due to our diminished food-growing capacity. The bottom line is we're foolishly destroying the land that feeds us - wasting precious wealth beyond anything "development" can offer.