On a recent morning, as I looked out from the bluff top at the seal rookery, I noticed a woman who was sitting alone on the bench. Something told me she was quietly distraught; maybe it was because of my many years of treating silently suffering pets. I put my arm around her, and we talked.  

Originally from Germany, she had lived a great many years—happy years—in Carpinteria. Five years ago, circumstances forced her to move away.  Having returned for a visit, she chose to spend time at the lookout above the seal rookery which had always brought her peace and serenity.   

So much had changed in Carpinteria, she told me. It was once a quiet town, and people were warm and friendly. Now it caters too much to tourists. So many people disturb the seals that she cannot see them as she once did. The beach is dirt and no longer beautiful sand.

I encouraged her to reach out to those who make the decisions, and those who either endorse or otherwise allow these changes to occur. Tell them about the changes you have seen; tell them how it breaks your heart. I told her “You have great love. It is a power that should be harnessed as a power for good.”

I myself have heard a great many people complain about the loss of quality of our beach due to the sediment dumping. I ask them “have you voiced your concerns to City Hall and especially to those who claimed it was enrichment?”  

We do not have to accept the changes that are thrust upon Carpinteria such as a new hotel to bring in even more tourists, or a City Hall that places revenue over lifestyle, or the new kid in town who shows blatant disregard for the town he has usurped.

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