Red plus blue equals green
By PAT CARULLO AND MARCIA NEHEMIAH
One of the most inspiring things about the Upper Delaware Preservation Coalitions efforts to defeat NYRIs power-line project has been the unanimous support from the communities in the river valley. When we meet people in Pecks or at the Carriage House or at the farmers market, many of them tell us, I cant thank you enough for what youre doing, or The work you are doing is so important.
Well, its a cliché, but like all clichés, true: we couldnt accomplish anything without the support of all the people who have sent donations (accompanied by notes of thanks and encouragement), attended meetings, written letters to legislators.
We have learned from our community that the medias insistence that there is a wide gap between red and blue dogma and that partisanship is an unbridgeable divide, is a myth. In our experience, red plus blue equals green.
Green is a metaphor in two ways: it represents the natural beauty and wonder of the Upper Delaware region and it also stands for moneythe investments people have made over the years in private property and businesses that define the region.
It is easy to imagine the visual impact of a line of 130-foot towers marching through our towns and farms and along our river. It isnt as easy to imagine what could happen to our beloved region with a few clear cuts here, a few houses on the ridgeline there, a few places of historic significance gone forever. Can we harness our current sense of unity to create our own future?
We have learned that, on a regional level at least, people want to determine the future of the area where they live, not let outsiders do it for them. People do not want to lose their downtowns to corporate establishments. They do not want to see housing developments where eagles nest. They want to preserve places of historic significance. Pike County citizens voted overwhelming to keep Pike green. Yet the big-box stores move in, five-acre lots are cleared on the ridge tops, bridges are torn down. People have shown the willingness to unite to protect their monetary investments and determine the future of their homes before other people make irreparable decisions for them.
The outcome of the power-line issue is unknown. But we hope that citizens maintain the commitment and energy to express their wishes to community leaders and insist that those wishes be carried out. Can we continue to demand that our politicians honor our wishes and honor green with appropriate economic development that respects the environment in which we live?
Our region is symbolicwe have, after all, a thriving population of eagles, the national bird. We must protect our home. No one else will do it for us because they have agendasmore votes, ways to exploit the landscape to make money.
If the Disney corporation controlled the Upper Delaware River valley, no one would be allowed to touch it. Why would we let outsiders come here and determine what our home will look like?
[Patrick Carullo and Marcia Nehemiah are founding members of the Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition and are its president and secretary, respectively. They live in Lackawaxen, PA.]