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Gruber’s “Myopic Anti-environmentalism”

August 31, 2004

Dear Editor,

It is one thing for Frank Gruber to support the increasing commercial development of Santa Monica, it is quite another to either misstate or misinterpret the City’s record on sustainability, as he did in his most recent column editorial, to justify his position. (“WHAT I SAY: The Slow Days of August,” August 30)

Gruber states “that the city uses much less water and creates less landfill-bound trash than it did ten years ago.” According to the City’s own 2002 Sustainable City Status Report (the latest year available), while water and energy use dropped significantly between 1990 and 1994 -- prior to the initiation of the Sustainable City Program -- “...they have steadily increased since then due to increased consumption.”

And while Gruber criticizes an effort to protect our quality of life “by making it difficult to build housing and businesses here,” the City’s report further states: “Since 1995, energy use, water use and waste generation have been increasing, largely as a result of new office construction and larger daytime populations resulting from higher occupancy rates in hotels and office buildings.”

Gruber decries what he sees as “myopic environmentalism,” but seems more than willing to engage in his own myopic anti-environmentalism, to the point of failing to see the problems associated with growth, especially commercial growth.

It is a mistake to think that because we are doing better environmentally, that means we are doing well. Consumption of our limited resources and local production of waste are up substantially over the last ten years, and the City itself has rightly placed the blame for much of it on commercial development.

Don Gray
Santa Monica
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