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Village Matters

Anne Christoph

 

Isn’t there any other reason for forgetting besides getting old?  It’s so depressing.  How about “I just forgot.” Maybe the big forgetfulness problem with “seniors” is that they forget that they used to forget before, and choose to excuse their lapses in memory as, “senior moments.”

 

We were at the family reunion in Arizona and they had planned a series of games and activities.  Fun!  One of them was a scavenger hunt in downtown Flagstaff.  It didn’t sound like something I wanted to do. I was enjoying being out in the woods away from town.  Someone said, “The older people want to stay in camp while the younger people are going to town…”  That struck a nerve. Can’t someone just want to relax in the forest without being categorized as “old”?

 

As I became more and more aware of this, I was hearing several times a day, “I can’t do what I used to do.”  “I’m too old for that.”  “We need some young people to help with that computer stuff. I don’t understand it.” What happened to lifelong learning?  Perhaps these trivial worries are cover-ups for what’s really bothering us: how much time do we have left?  I have just purchased my last car? How many more Thanksgiving dinners will I be fixing?  And more motivating, “Have I accomplished all I want to?”

 

Then there’s the issue of who’s going to carry on with the causes we’ve been working so hard on. Is the next generation going to grab the baton?

 

Perhaps we all don’t remember that the sewer pipe off Aliso Beach used to be much smaller and only disposed of the sewage from South Laguna and part of Dana Point.  Now it takes the treated waste from Laguna Beach, Emerald Bay and a slew of inland cities from the entire Aliso Creek watershed. Over 15 million gallons of sewage from hundreds of thousand people flow to the ocean through that sewer outfall every day.  Included in that is toxic brine from the clean-up of the contaminated aquifers under the closed El Toro Marine Base.

 

The permit for this ocean disposal is up for renewal as of Oct. 1. We may not all remember our days of lesser pollution, but we surely all can be alarmed at what the level of pollution has become. Many cities have no ocean disposal option and instead they have efficient reclaimed water systems.  The renewal of this permit is an opportunity to move in this direction if we speak up.

 

The city’s Environmental Committee can work on this and other important environmental issues. They have taken on key initiatives like the Climate Protection Action Plan, plastic bag proliferation, and the native vegetation protection and restoration.

 

Applications to serve were due last week. Hard working long-time members Greg O’Loughlin and Chris Prelitz did not re-apply.  Scott Sebastian, landscape architect,  who has much to contribute, has resigned. No one applied to take their places!  Now there are five vacancies on this seven-member panel. Young, old, or ageless, it doesn’t matter. There is so much to accomplish on so many environmental issues.  With an extended deadline for applications, a new emphasis on the committee’s charge and your participation, we can continue the committee’s accomplishments and directives for the city.

 

On Saturday Village Laguna will be recognizing long-time open space advocates

Elisabeth Brown and Carolyn Wood as Villagers of the Year.  (Go to VillageLaguna.org to join in the party.)  They have done so much and know so much about the intricacies and persistence involved in realizing the dream of the Laguna Greenbelt and Laguna Canyon preservation.

 

We can rejoice in the extravaganza of knowledge that they and we all have. And we can keep on with what needs to be done. We are not too old or too young or too busy to do any of it.  We just have to get over thinking that we are.

 

Landscape architect Ann Christoph is a former mayor.

 

 

 

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