To meet demand, Amazon and other internet shopping companies have been opening merchandise warehouses and package distribution centers closer to where we live. That brings noise, traffic and pollution into more neighborhoods as a trade-off for speedier deliveries. Companies that deliver burritos, booze or bananas to our door likewise need to have real estate and transportation close to our homes and work. And the effects of climate change have made the competition for energy and water more urgent.
No individual or company is solely at fault for this situation. Our collective demand for more online everything is to blame, and the public, our elected officials and companies need to confront this new reality far more directly.
An article this week by The Information (subscription required) about clashes over Amazon package operations in Milford, Mass., mentioned that the company formed a task force last year to address communities’ concerns about the repercussions of its delivery operations. Milford also appointed two liaison officers to share residents’ concerns with Amazon.
I don’t know if that’s substantive collaboration or window dressing, but it feels like a good first step to acknowledge that changing the places we live comes with tough questions about whether new neighbors are doing more good than harm.
Again, these types of concerns aren’t new. People would probably prefer to have an Amazon warehouse in town over a garbage dump or a polluting factory. That doesn’t invalidate citizens’ worries about the trade offs.