House by house, road by road,
We can see our city grow.
Woodlands, wetlands meet their fate;
Developers, bankers celebrate.
What's a little Nature kill
Compared to money in the till?
Bulldoze the home of duck and turtle?
A minor bureaucratic hurdle!
They just must do an EA first,
Before they dig into the Earth.
That's no great comfort to the frog
Who lost his home that was the bog.
Politicians wring their hands
They say they want to save the land.
They hate to see the greenbelt frayed,
But say that growth cannot be stayed.
So in our parks and nearby counties,
Growth pours cement on nature's bounties.
Now you may think that it's absurd
That no one ever says a word
Against the growth that every hour
Another chunk of land devours.
The greens insist we must conserve,
But won't stop growth: they lack the nerve.
If growth is smart, greens say, we'll manage.
Yes, smart growth will control the damage!
We'll build up high to reach the sky,
We'll in-fill and we'll densify.
It's not the numbers, greens all say,
It's how we live our life each day.
So bankers, builders, and the greens,
Business, leaders, those with means,
Praise "smart growth" in single chorus,
While it consumes another forest.
Perhaps greens can't resist the offers
Of corporate money in their coffers?
To keep the growth of population,
We bring in folks from every nation.
One-quarter million in a year,
Is not enough for us, I hear.
But riches go to just a few,
While gridlock, smog hurt me and you.
So why is pushing growth a mission
For almost every politician?
Big business offers them much more
Than working blokes who mind the store!
Our leaders also want the votes
Of those who come in planes and boats.
Has all this growth improved the lot
Of the average working sod?
Stats Can says that what he got
Amounts to little more than naught.
The truth is that real earnings grew
Only for the richest few.
They saw their yearly earnings rise
Sixteen percent— there's no surprise.
The poorest fifth, alas, not so!
Not only did their funds not grow,
They plunged by a percent of twenty.
Not for the poor—growth's horn of plenty!
They have seen their wages drop
As new competitors take pail and mop.
And ever more people needing room
Turns wilderness to housing boom.
If people need somewhere to live
Field and woodlot have to give.
Environmental laws are but a token
While we keep the floodgates open.
Endangered species make one long list
But surely they will not be missed
By those who benefit the most
From our relentless quest for growth.
So why is it that all we hear
From our media is one loud cheer?
Of growth we never hear them say,
"A few get rich, but we all pay!"
We see growth's damage all around
Yet praises for it still abound.
Just take a mo' to think it through.
Who owns the media? Not me. Not you.
Newspaper ads help tell the story:
Business and banks bask in growth's glory.
So now you can connect the dots
Of why we are in such a spot.
And what will our descendants eat
When farm and field have turned to street?
What do the growth promoters say
About the price our kids will pay?
An old French king once summed it up:
"Après moi—who gives a flip?"
One fine day, we'll hit the wall,
Our growth economy will fall.
It's clear to those not wilfully blind
That nature's bounty has declined.
So have a drink, and drown your sorrow.
Things will be even worse tomorrow.
22 September 2010