A new city proposed on the Tejon Ranch at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley — or viewed another way, on the northern edge of SoCal's sprawl — would be "roughly equivalent to dropping a new Boulder, Colo., into the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or a couple iterations of Harrisburg, Pa., plopped down into Yosemite," author Edward Humes argued on NPR this week.
To stand on a windswept hill at Tejon Ranch is to be at once humbled, enthralled and saddened by vistas that in years past defined California and the West by their plenty, rather than their dearth....
Even though the owners are offering to conserve much of their surrounding land, this development remains exactly the sort of breathtaking sprawl, destruction of nature and epic commuting lifestyle that must stop if we intend to get serious about global warming. Tejon Ranch, then, is really a battle over whether America wants to begin acting like a climate hawk or continue to act the climate ostrich. It's the biggest project of its kind, so it's fair to say this is where our future lies � one way or another.
Humes, a fellow contributing writer at Los Angeles magazine, is the author most recently of "Eco Barons: The Dreamers, Schemers & Millionaires Who Are Saving Our Planet."