Iowa has some of the richest farmland in the world and it is breaking my heart to see it being covered in concrete for yet another unnecessary commercial development. Within blocks of a construction site are vacant office and retail spaces, yet beautiful black dirt is being plowed under to build another mini-strip mall. Across the street, one of the original homesteads is being emptied in preparation to be bulldozed so a convenience store can replace it – even though there is already such an establishment at the next intersection.

It’s the ongoing tension between capitalism and climate – and the planet seems to be losing.

Everywhere you go, vacant buildings stand idle while new construction occurs on pristine land. What happens to the property when the sports teams vacate an arena or Sears and Younkers cease business and leave thousands of square feet empty in malls across the country? We just allow it to sit empty and build new elsewhere.

If we want to get serious about environmental impact, we need more teeth in zoning laws that allow Planning & Zoning boards to reject new builds when vacant space exists or to deny duplicative businesses within certain geographic parameters. I know, it’s not the capitalist way to regulate competition, but it is the government’s role to oversee land use.

Let’s allow some of the land to remain green instead of cement gray while we still can.

BEFORE
TODAY

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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