Sunday, April 22, 2012


My husband loves, loves, loves to play with technology.  So as I was researching when Centerpointe (the subdivision, not the utility company) really did come into existence, he took some old aerial photos and put together the very short morph film embedded at the end of this post. 

It turns out that what I said in the easement post wasn't exactly accurate.  Our deed restrictions may be dated 2001, but from historical photography, it appears that the actual bulldozing of this place began some time in the year 2000. 

The fact that I chose Earth Day to post this is a coincidence, but at the same time, it's worth making a few associative observations.  Yesterday, SciGuy posted a piece titled "Humans have changed the planet.  How much?  See inside."  In it, he presented "before and after" style aerial photos that were published by NASA (unfortunately, no animations like Centerpointethemovie).
NASA's site banner for the above URL.
Humans have, indeed, changes the planet enormously.  That's what happens when billions of people are added to the population.  People need places to live.  American people need new subdivisions like Centerpointe. 

I think I mentioned back in 2011 that the finest environmental-type documentary I've seen in my entire life is "The Unforeseen". 
"The Unforeseen" uses, as its haunting motif, an animation showing subdivision streets snaking across and consuming previously-undeveloped land, which is the same thing you'll see in Centerpointethemovie below.
Most documentaries that deal with the environment are simple propaganda pieces - they advocate one side of an argument or the other.  "The Unforeseen" is quite different - it presents the debate in a way that humanizes and validates every single point of view.  You feel the plight (yes, plight) of the land developer.  You feel the the tragedy of natural resource degradation and the resulting bone-deep despair of the environmentalists (it's a particularly forceful kick in the gut when they show the "before and after" footage of Barton Springs).  Simultaneously, there's a deeply-felt resonant agreement (or there should be!) when property owners present their view that they should be able to do exactly what they want with their own private property (and if this right were not upheld, none of us here in Centerpointe would have our houses right now).  And the young parents who are interviewed shortly after buying their house in a brand-new subdivision... how can you not feel for them?  They need some kind of a home to raise their children. 

In sum, this is a documentary that will leave you reeling no matter which side of the argument you find yourself on.  There are no easy answers to the balancing of environmental preservation and land development, and "The Unforeseen" makes that clear, in spades.  Centerpointethe movie is only 23 seconds long, so after you get done watching it, you might want to check out "The Unforeseen" trailer here

Happy Earth Day.

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