Recently you reviewed films about “Humans wreaking havoc on Mother Earth” [“You Do It to Yourself, and That's What Really Hurts
,” Screens, April 18]. You can add The Unforeseen
to this list. This documentary focuses on the greed and corruption of real estate developer Gary Bradley, who was like a growing cancer cell in Austin. His huge development posed a danger to Barton Springs. Later in the film, Bradley shed some tears, not for the destruction and pain he had caused but because his pride had been crushed. At least in the film we see environmentalists of the Save Our Springs Alliance bitterly fight against him to try and save these pristine natural reservoirs.
According to Native American spirituality, every living thing is sacred – all life is divine. We are stewards of the land and morally do not own it, and our existence depends on living in harmony with nature. The hills west of Austin were once occupied by the friendly Tonkawa tribe until they were killed and forced off by Anglo settlers in the 1800s. Maybe water that flows into the ground supply really is “holy water.” In the 1950s and 1960s, I swam in the crystal clear waters of Barton Springs; now it’s murky and unsafe. The more natural places we lose, the less sustainable society becomes. Poet Wendell Berry said, “To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival.”
With the help of weaselly lobbyists and lawyers, developers continue to infringe upon the rights of the community and change its culture. Besides Bradley, there are other notorious developers such as the ones who swindled my family out of our Rainey Street property. This also involves the issue of gentrification, which I believe is a form of cultural genocide, but more on this later.