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State Coastal Commission

September 24, 1987

When President Teddy Roosevelt first gazed upon the Grand Canyon, he said, "Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it. What you can do is keep it for your children, your children's children and for all who come after you."

In the broadest sense, this is also true for the entire planet. It has taken nature hundreds of millions of years to work out the careful ecological balance of waters, rocks, plants and animals that endured up to a few hundred years ago. There is nothing that mankind can do but mess things up. There is no way that any human activity can improve upon the environmental stability. All we can do with our bulldozers and blueprints, concrete-mixers and chain saws, factories and fertilizers is hasten the deterioration of our fragile biosphere.

And this certainly is true of our delicate coastline ("Coasts Under Siege," Editorial, Sept. 15). Nature has worked out the ebb and flow of sand and tide, erosion and windstorm. Any man-made structures--breakwaters, barriers, piers, sewer systems, houses and hotels--can do nothing but hasten coastal destruction.

To undermine the authority of the state Coastal Commissions is simply to admit that we (through our politicians and land speculators) are more concerned with satisfying our short-term greed than we are in preserving any natural heritage for future generations.

DONALD N. WOOD

Calabasas

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