P90515Fake environmentalism is a HUGE topic, so for now, will be limited to fake environmentalism as justification for the eviction of homeless encampments.
The yellow triangle in the picture above was the site of the Hero’s Camp, which was more commonly known as Ross Camp, and located behind Ross Dress For Less in Gateway Plaza in Santa Cruz. It is gone now. This satellite image was taken by Google Maps prior to the development of the Camp. I did not get pictures of the camp while inhabited, but you have likely seen enough other camps in the news to imagine what it looked like.
It really was as big as it looks, and really did exhibit all the problems that you hear about in the news, although not to such an exaggerated degree. Not everyone there used syringes to inject illicit narcotics. Not everyone there was an alcoholic. Not everyone was violent, from somewhere else, or a criminal. This is not about such issues anyway. It is about how the two hundred or so unhoused people who lived here affected the environment.
Was there trash? Of course there was. Was it more than what two hundred people who live in homes generate? No. Houseless people do not generate as much trash as the housed, simply because they lack resources to purchase the commodities from which so much trash is generated. The houseless certainly do not waste as much as the housed. Their trash just happens to be more visible for outsiders who do not know any better to see.
Furthermore, what is so typically described and perceived as trash is actually the belongings of those who live in such camps. Without closets, cabinets or furniture, our belongings would look about the same, except much more voluminous. When we take just some of the belongings that we don’t want or need and put them out in front of our homes, it is a garage sale, and likely amounts to much more than individual homeless people own.
The satellite image from Google Maps below shows the neighborhood where my grandparents lived in Felton, less than seven miles north of where the picture above was taken. Their old home is right in the middle of the picture. There were not so many other homes there when they arrived, just as World War II was ending. They lived a relatively modest lifestyle, on a small suburban parcel. They were not concerned about the environment.
Why should they have been? Even now, the people who live in homes here can generate as much trash as they want to, and no one will complain about it. They can fill their homes with their belongings, and put them neatly away in closets, cabinets and drawers. There are alcoholics in this neighborhood, as well as a few who are addicted to illicit narcotics. Some are criminals. Some are violent. Few are native. Again, this is off the main topic.
None of that is visible in this satellite image anyway. What it shows instead is how the lifestyles of those who live in homes are more detrimental to the environment than the lifestyles of those who lack homes. This picture is the same scale as the picture above, so you can see that only a few homes would fit into an area comparable to that in which about two hundred unhoused people lived. Only a few people live in each of these few homes.
What that means is that two hundred people like those who lived at the Hero’s Camp live dispersed over a much larger area, on land from which trees and vegetation needed to be removed. They all live in homes that are made of wood derived from trees that grew in forests. These homes are furnished with synthetic plaster, carpet, paint, glass, vinyl, metals and all sorts of materials that needed to be quarried, processed or manufactured.
It doesn’t end there. These homes consume energy for heating, lighting and whatever else that gas and electricity are used for. Cars driven by those who live in homes are also constructed from raw materials, and then need fuel to function. Water is consumed as if it were not a very limited resource. Much of it gets mixed with soaps and detergents before going back into the environment. Chlorine volatilizes from chlorinated swimming pools.
Then there are the landscapes and gardens, the parts of domestic lifestyles that we actually believe to be beneficial to the environment. They contain exotic (non-native) plants that compete with native species, and interfere with natural ecological processes. Irrigation of the landscapes stimulates redwoods and accelerated decay of oaks. Soil amendments, fertilizers and some of the pesticides change the chemistry of the soil and ground water.
Just compare these two pictures. As bad as the mess at Hero’s Camp was, the two hundred people who lived there were less detrimental to the environment and the local ecosystem than those who live in just a few of the homes visible in the picture below. Those who claim to be concerned about the environment should be more concerned about the ecologically detrimental lifestyles of those who live in homes than those who lack homes.P90515+

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22 thoughts on “Horridculture – Fake Environmentalism

    1. You are welcome. It is actually very brief. It could be explained in more detail. If I had more time (!), I would write a blog about homelessness. We have our own Facebook page at Felton League.

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  1. Wow, that was a great article; makes a person see things from a whole different perspective. Do you know any of what happened to the people who lived in the camp….some organized plan, or did they just dispersed to wherever?

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    1. All this response (from other readers as well) is really encouraging me to write a blog about such topics. I already manage our Facebook page at Felton League. (I have already mentioned that several times here.) There are SO many other misconceptions that are perpetuated by haters. The haters thrive on making more problems and then complaining about them. For example, they want everyone evicted from Hero’s Camp, but then complain that those evicted are out in town or in nearby County and State Parks.
      Because Santa Cruz is a very separate Community from ours, I really do not know where everyone went. The local haters here, who were very vocal about the eviction (as if it is any of their business), are already complaining that some of those evicted will migrate into our region. They just love contributing to more dysfunction so that they have more to complain about.

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      1. Our society has helped to create the homeless situation, and it is now part of our reality. We have a small problem with it here in this little town and we also have some people who would rather just not “see” the issue. Homeless people are still people, and it’s wonderful that some people do try to help. Nobody knows what might happen today or tomorrow, and some people have no concept of that. We can choose to just ignore a whole group of people, but that really doesn’t work very well and isn’t humane, whatever that group of people is. Thank you for such an insightful article.

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      2. Our problem here, which is probably an increasing problems elsewhere, is that there are those who are actively mean to the homeless. In about 2013, we had a group who was beating them up, shooting at them, and lighting them on fire as they slept. Now that we can no longer burn witches, put Jews in concentration camps or lynch African American people, we must get violent with homeless people. We still have very active hate groups online that are comparable to small scale KKK groups.

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    1. You are welcome. This is why I would like to write a blog about homelessness. There are SO many misconceptions about it, and so many lies perpetuated. I already manage the Facebook page at Felton League.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Without intending to invite further discussion, there is nothing in this original post that targets any one person, man or woman. Homelessness is an issue, brought on by a number of factors, which impacts the quality of life for both those with homes and those without. Until the causative issues are addressed adequately, there will always be those who are afraid of the “others,” further causing responses like yours. Do you have a constructive solution?

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  3. Hi Mr Tomeo, interesting account. It makes me think of what other causes ‘Fake Environmentalism’ is used for. When I saw the title I was thinking about powerful developers tearing up ancient woodland then putting in new trees – accounting for carbon but not biodiversity.

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    1. Within most of the regions that I work in, the landscaping is VERY contrary to ‘nature’. The Santa Clara Valley is naturally a chaparral region, where trees had naturally been quite sparse. Trees were even more sparse in the formerly desert region of Los Angeles. We plant trees because they are healthy for society. However, they are no more healthy for the ecosystem than the buildings or pavement are. This current fad of planting flowers for the pollinators is really getting ridiculous. I like the concept only because I like butterflies and bees, but it really does not help the ecosystem. In fact, as I wrote a while ago, the vast herds of monarch butterflies that swarm the blue gums on the Central Coast are being distracted from native species that rely on them.

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