John Karis: The juggernaut of corporate giants
High atop the Eisenhower Tunnel, corporate raptors are flicking their tongues as they prepare to descend into the county. Once their “asphalt nest” is complete, smaller competitor businesses will become extinct, and along with them, the remaining vestige of our rural, mountain-community way of life.
Extinction can happen to more than just a species. Look at Arvada. Home Depot, Lowe’s, Costco and apartments all surrounded by six lanes of traffic, gas stations – an endless sea of corporate commercialism, concrete and asphalt. Does it feel like a real community that is unique, with its own culture and history? This empty corporatized environment is designed for “consumers” who purchase “product” (be it a hammer or a condo) and return to whence they came outside the community. This environment has been built for “others” to travel to, spend/consume in and leave. Not live in. In their world your life, lifestyle, culture, land and peace are absent and on the way to becoming extinct.
Our communities are at a juncture: They must decide who and what are they are to become in the 21st century. The impact of these decisions will reach well beyond our children’s children.
As the tide of world sea-change rises higher, larger predators and forces are swimming into our formerly isolated pool. Most, if not all of them, reside outside the county and have little awareness of or connection to the community other than a self-interested, financial one. They are not here to support the growth of a community but rather to draw wealth out, spreading it to the few abroad. Economically, they overpower smaller competition wiping them out and the families they support. What they provide in their place are a majority of low-end jobs filled by retirees, uneducated and immigrant-based labor. These are not jobs our educated, bright children will return to fill. For the few top-end professional jobs that do exist, hiring is done mostly from out-of-town where the “real talent” exists.
Rather than allowing external agencies (read corporate management) to increasingly dictate our lives, we have the power to manage our communities into healthy, well-rounded, location-specific growth. We have the collective intelligence to create and effectuate a socio-economic-environmental model that is holistic and visionary: A model that generates growth from within, drawing on resources from without all within the context and awareness that recognizes and preserves the rare, un-restorable environment we live in and the way of life that sustains it.
We must act for our future, for our children’s future, for our world – the one we live in. We can either shape it or let it shape us. Voices no matter how small, in word or in deed, can and do direct tidal forces. An e-mail to a county commissioner, a sentence voiced at a community meeting, participation in a commission together becomes a chorus, and that chorus can change the tide. Act and save what you truly cherish before it’s too late. And it will perish – just look at Arvada.
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