As we head into 2022, you cannot help but witness massive construction cranes towering over the Denver skyline. Each one equates to another 40-story apartment building or skyscraper pushing into the Brown Cloud over the city. When you drive along Sheridan, Wadsworth or many other streets, you see endless construction of condos crammed into every nook and cranny of the Denver area.
Last year, another 100,000 people added themselves to Colorado. They escaped from the overcrowded East and West coasts. In 2020, the Denver primary metro area (not including Boulder) tabbed in at 2.9 million. Demographers show the city jumping to 4.7 million by 2050. Colorado stands at 5.8 million in 2022, but projections show it growing to 8.7 million by 2050.
In other words, Colorado faces a never-ending “exponential growth” nightmare for the next 28 years. And yet, few speak about it, understand its accelerating consequences, or ignore it in favor of more and more growth.
The next question: what is the human carrying capacity of Colorado?
How many more humans can inhabit Colorado before our water faces exhaustion? What happens when that tap you turn on in the morning doesn’t offer any more water?
How do we deal with the toxic Brown Cloud over Denver becoming twice as lethal with an added 2,000,000 more people, net gain, by 2050? What kind of heavy-metal diseases, lung cancers and asthma problems will children and adults face as they breathe chemicalized air 24/7 with every breath?
What about the current gridlocked traffic that keeps every Denverite fuming in his/her car while creeping along I-70 or I-25 all day trying to get to work? What about more than 25 accidents daily because of that gridlock?
Has anyone thought about solving the nightmare of summer and winter I-70 traffic racing into the campgrounds and ski slopes? By Friday afternoon, it’s gridlocked from the Evergreen exit all the way to Summit County.
Coming home? What a total disaster for everyone! If it snows, a 90-minute trip turns into four to five hours. At some point, with another 3,000,000 people — no solutions! And our plight will become irreversible and unsolvable. Once those numbers manifest, we become victims in this Faustian Bargain.
What about campsites overwhelmed and overcrowded? What about ski slopes too dangerous to ski or snowboard because they equate to beehives? What do sailboats do on Dillon Lake with another 1,000 or 2,000 or 5,000 boats added on a weekend? Have you seen the lines climbing up to the 14er summits? What about accelerating “Catastrophic Climate Destabilization” with every added person to Colorado? How much worse will it become?
Answer: Much worse! Why isn’t anyone asking these questions?
Speaking of questions: What about “Quality of Life”? Do you think your kids will enjoy any quality of life with this horrendous population predicament bearing down on them? What are you doing about it? Just let it continue?
Has anyone thought about a discussion on making Colorado the first state to pass a Colorado Population Stabilization Policy…Colorado Quality of Life Policy…Colorado Water Carrying Capacity Policy…Colorado Clean Air Policy…Colorado Stop Extinction of Animals Policy and other needed policies in this arena?
Because if we don’t, we will become victims of our own growth policies that will ultimately degrade our cities with lack of water, energy and resources.
Don’t you owe your kids a better future than the one that’s bearing down on them? Shouldn’t we change course to ensure Colorado’s citizens a sustainable, healthy and thriving future?
Frosty Wooldridge lives in Golden.
The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to firstname.lastname@example.org. (Learn more about how to submit a column.)