How do you feel about the proliferation of warehouses and truck traffic in the Lehigh Valley? We are being told that the conversion of some of the most fertile farmland in the country to warehouses is good, because it brings “growth” to the region in jobs and economic development.
The traditional model of economic development looks at growth as the indicator of success, especially growth of jobs. However, “Unlimited growth is the ethos of a cancer cell,” says David Suzuki, noted biologist.
According to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, “This land is being converted to housing, commercial and industrial uses at a rate of 3.5 square miles per year.” If we aim to be self-reliant, might we and future generations need some of that farmland on which to grow our food?
There can be no doubt that having this high concentration of warehouses is NOT good for our region. The wave of warehouses has created massive problems, requiring great expenditures of resources by local municipalities. They generate incredible amounts of truck traffic and related noise and air pollution, ruining our neighborhoods and destroying our quality of life. Farmland, a precious, irreplaceable and diminishing resource, is being squandered for low returns. Once it is gone, it is gone forever.
These warehouse facilities are by definition a low-return-on-investment proposition for local municipalities. They manufacture nothing and create jobs with low wages. They generate a pittance in terms of municipal revenue, far below what is needed to mitigate the negative impacts.
Renew Lehigh Valley, the region’s smart growth advocacy organization, proposes an alternative model of economic development, one that looks for more efficient and careful use of our resources.
“Assessment Report: Lehigh Valley Local Food Economy,” written in 2013 by Buy Fresh Buy Local-Greater Lehigh Valley, states, “The local food economy generates $17 million in economic activity…