I am back in the Northwest – thanks again to all the folks who helped keep the blog going while I was gone!
Driving south on Highway 25 coming into Albuquerque on the way to the airport, I saw something that made me do a double take.
The Sandia Mountains are a an important part of Albuquerque´s beauty and recreation. The mountains run north and south and the city is on the west side. The northwest portion of the valley has always been a beautiful open area, part of the Sandia Reservation. I used to see Sandia Pueblo rangers tending to the land and cattle on either horseback or ATV.
As I drive by today I saw that the view has changed. The Sandias have built a HUGE hotel and casino complex where the cows and rangers once roamed. It looks like a beautiful hotel, and the northeast facing rooms will have a killer view of the mountains. It´s their land and they certainly deserve to make money from it…There is still a fair amount of open space….
And yet I felt sad. One reflection from my trip to New Mexico is that the cities have gotten a bit bigger – more malls, more traffic. Two of my least favorite things to get stuck in. Progress, as we call it, is normal, but is it good?
What´s our role in progress that makes nice, small, and charming places, "not like they used to be?"?? What will our land look like in 50 years? I want to find a small town – a slow and comfortable community to spend the second half of my life in – but I bet many of you do too…..
There are too many people and we need to stop growing in numbers as a species, I think. We can all think that some other people/society/country should worry about this, but it is our problem.
This is a bit of a departure from business, or is it?
I have never worked for a company that did not have a growth strategy. Is growth always the right thing to strive toward? What about getting/being and staying small/the same size? Improve productivity – yes. Improve market share – OK. I worry about business models that only work if the entire market grows exponentially. Are all these growing markets lagging or leading our growth as a people? I think that this is a complex issue, but something we should consider when planning our lives, families, and businesses (please don´t send me nasty notes, I am not advocating anything in particular).
In the mean time, many of us are clamoring to find the next small spot and will likely end up together in condos next to a mall on a street lined with fast food, casinos, and car dealerships.
Many people work very hard at their growing conglomerate so they can afford a second home in a small and peaceful place. While there, we praise the simple and romantic lives of the locals who lead a simple life all the time. Do any of you see the irony in that?