Growth fever is virulently resurgent throughout Portland's metropolitan region.

It's shot up to its highest level in years. Predictions of rapidly accelerating regional growth are being peddled by spokespersons for Metro (the regional government) and the region's county commissions, city councils and newspapers.

I believe they subscribe to the universal false assumption that unending physical and population growth of urbanized regions, as long as it's well-planned, is always good, raising all boats that otherwise would founder on the shoals of stabilized size and population.

They also avoid recognizing that unconstrained growth of major urbanized regions throughout the world is the major contributor to global warming.

The book 'Better Not Bigger' by the urban planner Eben Fodor debunks common myths about the necessity, benefits and inevitability of growth and shows that sound, stable and sustainable economies can be achieved for urban areas without the high costs of continual growth. It's a must read for everyone, including those who have bought into the outworn paradigm of universal non-stop growth.

Another way of gaining a better realization of the urgency of stopping human overpopulation and reversing it is to subscribe to the periodical Pop!ulation Press. Don't confuse it with the 'head in the sand' periodical Population Research Institute. I believe it masquerades as based on research but in reality blindly opposes all birth control methods, advocates large families, believes over population is a myth and preaches the utter nonsense that through compassionate sharing the earth can sustain an ever-increasing human population.

I believe nothing escalates taxes and denigrates quality of life faster than unbridled subsidized growth. Inhabitants of Portland's metro area can contribute to stopping it here by opposing the long standing policy of the region's governmental entities to compete with the country's other metropolitan regions in attracting large corporations to our region by offering them huge tax breaks plus special energy, land, water, sewage and waste disposal deals.

After they arrive, they don't hire predominantly existing area residents but bring many of their employees with them and attract non-Oregonians to fill their other job openings. Once they're firmly entrenched they blackmail the region by threatening to move elsewhere unless given continual extensions of tax breaks and release from commitments to help support schools and other forms of infrastructure to serve them.

Of course, local jurisdictions always cave in to such blackmail. The lesson is to prevent them from making such Faustian bargains in the first place.

What's amazing about all this is that practically no politician and no one in any governmental, private or educational organizations seriously challenges, questions or opposes this outrageous form of growth mass-mania that is subscribed to and pushed by every urbanized region's dominant 'movers and shakers.'

This is replicated in nearly all metropolitan regions across our country and around the world. It's spread under the banner of not only always being broadly beneficial but necessary.


Cancer is also typified by unchecked growth. Could it possibly be that perpetual growth takes on the characteristics of a cancer and threatens to annihilate all good qualities of life in human societies everywhere? There's archeological evidence that it's done so at times in certain primitive societies.

We shouldn't pride ourselves that we, in contrast, can utilize modern science to perpetually innovate production of more animal and plant derived foods for humans, more energy sources, water, nutrients, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, etc., to keep growing indefinitely without incurring increasingly serious commodity shortages, related skyrocketing price increases, wars over control of resources, and dire economic, physical, mental and psychological problems throughout all human societies, including those of us in the United States.

We've already rapidly proceeded much too far down this perilous growth trajectory. We'd better awaken to all the warning signs before it's too late to decelerate and reverse course to avoid overwhelmingly disastrous consequences.

If we, as members of species Homo sapiens, are to live up to our self-proclaimed reputation of being the only advanced form of intelligent life on earth, we'd better awaken from our stupor and start exerting enough intelligence to save human societies and our limited earthly environment, upon which we're entirely dependent for sustenance, from the catastrophic consequences of unbridled physical and population growth.

Religion can't be turned to either as a refuge for ignoring this looming unprecedented man-made crisis.

There's no greater all-encompassing desecration than for individuals to enthusiastically participate in this pervasive mania for their own shortsighted gain and essentially not give a hoot about its future consequences for others.

Bob Thomas is a West Linn resident.

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