Bringing Walmart to Pagosa Springs conflicts with community values

Pagosa Springs’ Town Council has foolishly invited a mega-corporate monster to come to our community. Developing a Walmart here would destroy our local character, extract our wealth, homogenize us into a mass consumer culture and distinguish us as another Anytown, USA.

The values Walmart represents directly conflict with our community values. Walmart represents huge, fast, urban, cheap, ugly, artificial, impersonal, polluting banal and bland. We are high-country beautiful, pristine and wild. We are also small, rural, friendly, diverse, unique, creative, generous, independent and self-reliant. And we are not in a rush to say goodbye to our cherished values by shopping in some toxic box of a concentrated carcinogenic corporate cornucopia.

Buying into a Walmart cheapens the local and the global communities. Its synthetic stuff is produced through polluting processes by exploited workers in the world’s peasant countries. Depending upon cheaply made foreign products reduces our self-reliance and dignity. Choosing to patronize discount corporations like Walmart teaches our children that we value money over self-capability and human rights, that our worth is as mere consumers, and that it is OK to reduce our personal relationships to transactions.

The ships that bring Walmart goods from China into Los Angeles Harbor are almost a mile long. They come in loaded. They return to China empty. In a vicious cycle, U.S. dollars lose global value as we keep sending more abroad, then borrowing them back (increasing debt) to finance a war machine that uses more energy than anything else on Earth in order to control flows of oil to sustain lifestyles addicted to cheap energy, government-subsidized industrially produced foods and cheap foreign-made consumer goods. It’s a self-destructive life-support system.

As a concerned citizenry, we must cooperate and commit to keeping each other thriving at the local level. We don’t need the cheap jobs and cheaper goods offered by mega-corporate dependence. Our need is to awaken from the decadent dream by which we identify with violent power, affluence and consumerism and relearn how to share and care for each other.

Barr Bentley

Pagosa Springs