Trashing Habitat

Chuck Dietz's commentary of May 17 on Los Penasquitos Lagoon has prompted me to finally write what I've only been thinking and feeling for awhile now. I grew up loving the lagoons and estuaries of San Diego County, but only saw them on occasional trips from Los Angeles, and then only from a passing car or train. But I had a sneaking suspicion that, over the years, I had been seeing less and less wildlife and more and more development.

Now, as a resident, I am horrified by the way these precious remnants of a once-flourishing habitat are being treated, as exemplified by Los Penasquitos Lagoon. Surely the final destruction of this lagoon and others is not worth the few acres of development that they could support. If San Diego must develop, does it have to develop around the most endangered habitats in the county, indeed, nearly in the world?

I don't mean to downplay here the dangers of pollution to humans, as mentioned by Dietz. But humans can protest, go to meetings, write to newspapers. The plants and animals of the lagoon can only leave or die. Both choices signify an immeasurable loss to San Diego and all of humanity. I know that I will be angry and sad if someday, when my children ride the train from Los Angeles to San Diego, they see nothing but houses and shopping malls and know nothing of the fascination that I once had for these wetlands.

I am not the expert on solutions to this problem. All I know is the current course can only lead to destruction of these habitats. Building right up to the water's edge, placing industrial parks upstream and ghastly colored condos on overlooking hillsides, building roads through them, and dumping sewage and trash into them, are a few current practices to which I refer.

If people keep doing these things, the lagoon is going to die, and there will be clamor to get rid of the dead, stinking mess and replace it with some clean concrete or other trouble-free material.

When this happens, developers can chalk up another victory, and planet Earth, including the human race, will record another defeat.

MATTHEW D. MacARTHUR

La Jolla

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
56°