Saving Sanctuary better than ‘renewal’


To the Editor:

Thank you very much for Aaron Gettinger’s fine article about the South Shore Nature Sanctuary (‘UIC biologist sees Nature Sanctuary as important to wildlife’ — 12/26/19). The article made clear the value of natural habitats like the Sanctuary to both wildlife and humans, and it made very clear the threats they face.

But the last quote is very disturbing — the golf course plan ‘would add 13 acres of natural area’, or so assert the Chicago Parks Golf Association and the Park District. It’s thoughtless to equate the value of such places with their size. It’s the history and durability that count. To destroy 6 acres that have accumulated decades of coevolutionary relationships between plants, birds, animals, bugs, weather and soil is crazy. Not to mention the depth of the relationships that many human beings have woven with the Sanctuary over time.

This is the same ‘urban renewal’ attitude we’ve had to fight in the past. Destroying buildings, businesses, peoples’ homes and their physical relationships with their past is always a loss and is never compensated for with the promises of progress. This is the same gentrification attitude that ignores the suffering of people displaced from their neighborhoods. This is the same ‘new is better’ attitude that welcomes the clear-cutting of 400 mature trees from 23 acres in Jackson Park to plant saplings that will take decades to catch up with what we already have.

Destroying the Sanctuary would be a terrible loss and no amount of new acres of ‘natural area’ would replace its existing human and natural value.

Jack Spicer