I dislike NIMBYism most of the time. I really hate the sort of localism that seems to believe that if everybody opposes undesireable local infrastructure everywhere then global problems will magically be solved.
Even organic agriculture is a flavor of this. The idea is that if every farmer goes organic there will be no more pesticide use seems to trump the fact that if every farmer goes organic most people will have no food.
Clearing out my paper inbox today (finally having a little slack) I came across a NIMBY flyer opposing a new landfill in East Austin. As a new East Austinite, I’m learning to get my back up about everything being sited here. Our local neighborhood association has a fight brewing about 110 assisted living units, the question being “why not on the west side”? (The answer being, duh, there’s more property value to threaten there, and duh squared, don’t half-crazed veterans want to live somewhere they can catch a bus or buy non-organic foods…?)
This flyer alleges that Travis County, (Austin area) accepts solid wastes from 33 neighboring counties, of which 22 have no landfill at all. Even Bexar county (San Antonio, a much larger city) has only two landfills and sends trash up this way. Or so they claim. Yet the organization (“Don’t Dump Travis”) offers no way to check their claims and doesn’t even show up on Google.
I don’t know as county boundaries or even national boundaries are the right way to think about this, but it seems very odd and inappropriate that a new landfill be targeted for the fastest growing and second-most-populous county in the region.
That it’s on the east (poorer and flatter) side of town is no surprise.
Why Austin at all, though? I’d really like it to be possible to get more data from more or less authoritative sources. Perhaps the Bexar sites are larger than ours, for instance?
I can’t get worked up about this without better information. In any case it’s an example of the foolishness of acting locally to the exclusion of acting globally. (circular-filed)