RE; THE NRDC AND BEING "GREEN"
I want to share with you my reason for not renewing my membership in the Natural Resources Defense Council (another vaunted gaggle of greens down the ceramic hole as far as my expendable income is concerned). By contrast I am renewing my subscription to your illustrious publication. Check enclosed.
I thought you might find the following comments from NRDC’s President in the spring 2008 issue of On Earth to be of interest: "Reducing global warming pollution will have an imperceptible effect on economic output….We can stave off the biggest environmental and humanitarian crisis without disrupting economic growth." But in all likelihood lowering our respective carbon footprints without a societal paradigm shift will simply facilitate the economy’s ultimate expansion into oblivion.
An article in the same issue describes the work of NRDC’s newly launched Center for Market Innovation. Its director meets with industry executives "in their corporate offices to discuss the financial upside to addressing global warming, and to persuade them that in a warming world, the environment is a board-room level concern."
Now it doesn’t take an accountant to see where this is headed. I believe that NRDC will not risk losing hefty corporate donations in the future in order to advocate for the drastic changes in our population and life-ways that are necessary for a viable relationship with the natural world.
Hundreds of years from now, when historians and archeologists sort through the bones of our ex-civilization, I wonder if they will marvel at the refusal of our leaders, in the face of massive environmental evidence, to accept that the growth economy was doomed and to move toward a new way of life.
Keep giving them fits,
Scott Thompson Beckley, WV
REMEMBERING DEWEY BRIDGE
Hi Jim--reading your latest "Leave It" reminded me that I myself stood by the still-smellin’ ash of the almost smoking ruins of Dewey Bridge a month ago. I never realized that the state highway bridge was built in 1985. I must have been the second or third person across it back in the old 80s and never gave it another thought. For me it had never been any different. I didn’t get there in time to enjoy the dirt road from Cisco to Moab. But like Mr. Greenwood says, the canyon country is an opiate. But so are mountains and I guess I liked mountains more than he did because I never thought twice about staying in Colorado, which was itself a different place in those days. But I know what he means when he advises finding a quiet place to locate the old Moab. I still do it, but that doesn’t stop me lamenting the general decline of the whole front-country scene. The flotillas of RVs, Jeeps, ATVs scooting down every trail they can find, the monster packed campsite at Tombstone Rock, these things all make me just a little bit sad for the red rock country. It used to be a glorious cruise down the main highway from Crescent Junction into Moab, now it’s a traffic-clogged exercise in just getting there, somewhere, wherever and whatever it is. Yes, it’s still a beautiful drive, but damn, wasn’t it truly glorious once upon a time. And although I find the real Moab out back beyond the motorheads and bike freaks’ reach, on foot and for the most part on no trail whatsoever, I cannot be as sanguine about the changes as Mr. Greenwood. But I enjoyed his voice and I agree with more of his words than disagree. I wish he hadn’t quantified "me" as amongst those people who desire "easy gold", though. My once-a-year pilgrimage to the sacred land is very important to me and I’ve been doing it for almost thirty years. I believe my experience and love of the canyon country is every bit as "authentic" as anybody else’s who loves the red-rock country. Yes, as I get older, I do find that I like tenting in the rain less than I used to... I’m not as poor as I used to be, so a $45 room at a crazy fleabit motel in Green River is attractive when the wind is blowing like hell, sand is gritting between my teeth and I’m red-mudding everything in sight. I remember how shocked I was the first time I came into the New Moab after a series of cataclysmic downpours to locate a motel room. The entire city was booked. Arts Festival? Since when did Moab have Arts Festivals? Damn festivals have polluted the entire west, you can’t go anywhere now without researching the freakin’ festival schedules. Damn Mountain Man Days. Maybe I exaggerate... I do love to exaggerate. But I also truly love to worship at the fount of redrock country.
Sorry to hear that the printed Zephyr ain’t gonna make it. But hey, with you out of the printing and distribution business, maybe I’ll have the opportunity to grill you a buffalo burger and hand off cold ones at a select pulloff near the old "Real Moab" sometime in the next coupla years. I’ll be retiring from my state service in three years and then I’ll be a little more free to hit the desert on my own time, if petroleum prices allow, away from the Memorial Day Holiday, which taking advantage of has been my habit since the early days. Except of course for the occasional glorious autumn trips....
Greenwood is certainly right about the fact that we humans and our changes are only a temporary infestation, a kind of surface disturbance if you will. Someday the earth will give us all what we’ve got coming. Scientists now say there was a time many millions of years ago when human beings may have been reduced to only 2000 in number on the entire planet...imagine all that wide open space. Nobody camped out on the other side of the hill beside an eighteen-wheel Hummer, nobody blaring Ozzy Osbourne from a diesel-generator-powered boombox across Behind-The-Rocks, nobody helicoptering in a third-home-mansion into hidden aspen groves. I wouldn’t have survived in that era, cuz I was sick little puppy upon emergence, but Gad, what a wonderful mental place it is to imagine and inhabit.
As Buddy Holly sang, Well Allright,
keep the faith and thanks as always for the Z,
Evan Cantor Boulder, CO
SOME KIND WORDS FROM AN OLD FRIEND
Sitting here at my computer, I’m on my third gin & tonic of the night. Sunshine in a bottle I call it.
I just re-read your message to Zephyr subscribers... and I’m trying to digest it.
I’m trying to digest... the passing of the Zephyr, the Iraq war, George W. McCain, the earthquake in China, the cyclone in Myanmar, the twilight of a career, the passing of the USA as a beacon of hope and integrity, four dollars a gallon gas, four dollars a gallon milk, cars that get no more mileage per gallon than the model T. The West is overrun, the nations roads are crumbling, airfare is unreachable, my friends battle prostate cancer, I live with some sort of painful nodule.
I don’t know where this is going. Does it have to go somewhere?
Hope is an important feature in living. Hope for the planet. Hope for it’s people. Hope for health.
Hope for family. Hope for love.
I’m encouraged by the upcoming cyber version of the Zephyr. I’m starting to think that perhaps the paper version was just a warm-up act for the real thing... the global voice that you talk about in your letter. Like souls reached in Russia, in Indonesia, in Ireland, in Vietnam. Wow! The possibilities of that. A global forum, a global argument, a global spat about what’s right, what’s wrong on the planet today. A global lynching of the idiots like Bush that have absolutely no vision for this country or the world.
But perhaps some positive dialogue also. Perhaps some ideas. Perhaps some hope. What the hell happened to all the hope that we had in the 60s and 70s. Was that an illusion? Are we all so fat & happy in or SUVs that we don’t even recall how much it all meant then? Gosh... I remember hope.
Hope for the planet, the poor, the starving. We’d all smile together, as a group... all in love.
But look where we are now.
Ok, so this started nowhere and went nowhere. So sue me. I want you to know that you were a voice that stayed true to the spirit of this planet. You done good. You’ll do more good in the future.
Best to you my friend,
Michael Brohm Louisville, KY
THE Z...BREAKIN’ HEARTS WHEREVER IT GOES
Hi, Jim, So, Ok, you’re breakin’ my heart; no print Zephyr? I understand what you’re saying. I’m still ‘digesting’ it.
Primarily because of your warnings, I was ready when a COPMOBA (that bike group) rep stood up in a public meeting and read an ‘official position’ statement AGAINST wilderness during the public meeting last summer about Dominguez canyons. Their board made a short sighted mistake, I think, and a number of us who work on trails and are trained to do so will no longer work on bike trails or with Copmoba because of that. OK, maybe we’re not missed, but who can stomach this lunacy?
It is because of your writings that I didn’t fall prey to a rosy eyed view of the Gateway Canyons Resort’s impact on Gateway,CO. I have some funny yet pathetic stories of interactions with staff down there. People say Hendricks is concerned with environmental effects, tada tada, but the amenities economy being established down there will have as much impact as the Whirlwind Uranium mine behind the place. Hendricks was able to buy up so much land that the place now resembles medieval Europe, with the Feudal Lord occasionally in residence (when not out ‘hunting’) and lots of serfs who run a little faster when his arrival is expected.
I just thought you’d get a kick out of these anecdotes because they are so classic, a microcosm of what happens everywhere:
A Gateway Canyons store employee seemed quite ‘chatty’ so I talked to her while my friend picked out a book. He waited as the card approval machine buzzed away, then made an idle comment about the slow connection. The clerk picked up velocity as she explained the unsatisfactoriness of the internet connection. She gathered steam and decibels, asking the world in general why Bresnan Cable wouldn’t lay down miles of T1 line in gratitude to the resort for its existence. She fluffed out and finally exclaimed: "WE put Gateway on the Map!!!" (My poor friend staggered out of the store after this assault; both of us in disbelief.)
At one of the public meetings concerning Gateway’s Recreation Management Plan, I happened to chat with a rancher who shook his head, looking much like a Bassett Hound deprived of a place to lie down. To paraphrase, he said " I wish my dad had never sold that property (where the resort now is) I just wish it could be back like it was------"
And so it goes-I thought you made a good point about the Abajos in the last issue and Shepherd’s desire to see more "quiet use" people out there.
The thing is, there seems to be this weird phenomenon of "Who gets there first" So, THANK YOU for stirring the pot as is badly needed out here. Even some of the most environmentally aware folks I know have rosy colored glasses on in regard to wanting a T1 line and a Whole Foods in the middle of no-f***ing-where.
So, THANK YOU. You’ve improved the awareness of the complexity of our situations. AND those who obsess on ROI-return on investment, have obviously missed the quote about keeping one’s friends close but ones "enemies" even closer. As most rock stars know, even ‘negative’ attention is good.
Also, you have managed to include the work of some excellent writers in the Zephyr in the years I’ve been reading it as you mention, and where can we get that anymore? dern scarce. So I am hoping your vision of an on line version can ‘FLY’. I just wish there were a way to regionally ‘pass the hat’ and keep the print version going, even if it were only to subscribers.
OK, I’m still feeling like I would feel if someone were chopping down a perfectly healthy Sequoia in front of me.
Be well, peaceful,
Grand Jct, CO
The Honorable, Annoying, Sentimental & Irreverant Jim Stiles: "What a strange trip it’s been."
We’ve been subscribers since our first trip to Moab in the mid-90’s. We’ve been back a few times and have been surprised at the changes in town each visit.
One of the constants over the years has been the Zephyr. I remember picking up my first free copy at McStiff’s and was thrilled to read news and editorials written by some ornery free thinkers. What has always seperated the Zephyr from any other newspaper I’ve read is the not so implied ideas of freedom and responsibility espoused by the contirbutors. So, I am sad that visitors will no longer be able to be inspired by picking up a "free copy" by chance. I’m happy that I (hopefuly) will be able to get an online version. The new tourists will be missing out on some thoughtful reading.
After spending the last 36 years in education, I know one thing for sure: change is constant. What the Zephyr has done the last 20 years is very pointedly educate people on the West before Abbey & Desert Solitaire, the changes that have occured since then and what the future might hold. I think in many ways you’ve acted like a conscience for us and that may have help slow "Progress." In fact, the piece you did on "Progress and Prosperity" ( I know I don’t have the title right) is one of the best on the subject I’ve ever read.
Thanks forgoing to battle and for witing about some very thought provking issues that we all face whether we live in or vist the New West or not.
Best of luck on the new venture.
A FUTURE ZEPHYR SUPPORTER!
Jim, I just received your letter announcing the demise of the Zephyr print edition and it saddens me.
Though I only get to Moab about once or twice a year, it has always heartened me to know that the Zephyr is still out there on the streets of Moab while I am hunkered down in Gotham City. It heartened me to know thatand you were still fighting the good fight. That town has changed drastically since the first time I came through it in the early 90’s.
I, too, revere Edward Abbey and I see modern "development" and expansion and so-called progress as the cancer he labeled it.
Anyway, that’s besides the point at hand. The point is that I would like to help the Zephyr stay afloat online, as well as to grow. You know the adage, "one door closes, another one opens."
My partner and I are filmmakers who have to work day jobs to do what we love, but I would love to put an ad up in the Zephyr once it goes online. I’ll have to design it. You mentioned an ad that could go up for about a dollar a day. That sounds about right, just so long as we could pay for it every six months and not once a year.
Please let me know when you get it going and we’ll do it.
Best of luck.
New York, NY
LOSING A SOAP BOX...BUT ONLY THE PRINT VERSION
It’s a sad day when an honest rebel loses his soap box. I’ve not been a Zephyr reader for too long, but I’ve been a lover of Moab and the canyon country for close to 40 years. I remember our first trip to Moab and the trouble we had finding a place to eat dinner. We’ll pray the new enterprise works out.
Alan W. Joslyn
FROM A LONGTIME BACKBONE SUPPORTER
Hello Jim, Very sorry to read that the print version of the Zephyr will be breathing its last in less than a year. I fully understand your reasons for pulling the plug, but I will truly miss being able to hold the damn thing in my hands as I read it.
You often warned that subscribing to the Zephyr for three years at a time was risky -- it might not last that long, much less the world. But, somehow, I thought it would be the world that would gave out first, given the way things are going.
The idea for an online version is encouraging. It will be at least a partial fix for losing the print Zephyr. In your letter you solicit advertisers for the online version. Will there be a chance for readers to help out as well? Something like the old Zephyr Backbone.
Anyway, stick me on your e-mail list.
Thanks for the great past. Good luck in the future.
A MTN BIKER WHO LOVES THE Z
Dear Jim, It was with great sorrow I read your recent letter to Zephyr subscribers. As you can see from your records I have been a long-time subscriber. I think back to the first time I set eyes on the Zephyr.
The memory is still so clear in my mind It was April, 1989.
I was sitting in Fred Blackburn’s living room in Cortez, CO. - had just returned from a pack trip into Grand Gulch. We had been recording signatures of the early-day explorers in the region.
The pack trip was outfitted by Ken Sleight. Ken was in a particularly ornery mood since one of his pack horses, Knothead, had been contrary on the way to camp, not to mention that "Cactus Ed" had passed on afew weeks earlier. I’m sure he was still grieving the loss of a close friend. For the next couple evenings Ken spun some wonderful campfire tales about the likes of Everett Ruess and Edward Abbey. That trip for several reasons is one of those "snapshots in time" that will not fade from my memory.
So, I was reading the CCZ for the first time. I jotted down the mailing address, and when I returned home sent in my subscription fee. Back in those days I visited Moab regularly, so CCZ kept me in touch with the happenings of canyon country. I don’t visit Moab anymore - too many people crammed into every nook and cranny.
Over the years I have faithfully read the Zephyr. It gave me a variety of perspectives I didn’t get from the corporate media. The Zephyr and High Country News have helped me stay informed, and bolster my jaundiced "eye" when it comes to the pulp fiction handed down by the powers that be. I haven’t always agreed with what was printed in the Zephyr, but it always made me think.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I considered writing a letter to the editor, but never got around to it. I guess I’m finally doing it. You see, I’m an avid mountain biker, and the author of a mountain bike guidebook - "Bicycling the Uncompahgre Plateau" - two types you regularly criticize in the Zephyr. My guidebook avoids the use of GPS coordinates and other specific information that the reader could use to shortcut the skills needed to negotiate the backcountry. My riding friends and I stay on designated trails, avoid damaging trails and even spend countless hours maintaining trails so they are more sustainable. I truly believe that most mountain bikers support protecting our landscapes and are an untapped source in the battle to save it.
The interesting thing is that I agree with you about the impacts the hoards of mountain bikers (and all the other recreationists) and the effect certain types of guidebooks have had on canyon country. Out-of-control growth be it from the extractive or amenities economy is steadily changing the face of the West. I still have hope that we will wake up and stop the madness.
I’m certainly interested in supporting the new Zephyr - please keep me informed at
ALL-MET WITH THE Z FOR THE DURATION
Hi Jim, I just read your letter regarding the demise of the printed Zephyr and the introduction of the e-Zephyr. I can honestly say I’m sad to see the paper go by the wayside, as I enjoy grabbing a copy when I sit down to a good cup of coffee and a have a few minutes to read about the latest problems in Moab and your "rants against the right". With that said, I look forward to reading your on-line edition and like you, have learned to adjust to the fact that no matter how much I hate them, the computer is here to stay whether I know how to use them or not. Thus, I would like to let you know that you can continue to count on All Metals Welding as a supporter at the level we’ve been at, even if the electronic version will be less expensive.
I certainly hope you can continue to open people’s eyes to the fact that you don’t have to lie down and accept the "conservative party line" of conformity and mediocrity. I hope you continue to point out that, it’s good to complain about the direction things are going, when it means sacrificing one’s quality of life and the environment for the all mighty buck.
Keep up the good fight,
All Metals Welding and Fabrication, Inc.
A ‘NAIL IN THE COFFIN’ FROM THE GRAND CANYON
I got the letter about the Zephyr a couple days ago, read it just an hour before leaving for a few days in Colorado and returned to your email.
The end of the print edition of the Zephyr is, for me, the final nail in Moab’s coffin. (Banditos closing down was a big nail too.) I’ve only been a desert nut for about 12 years now, so I never knew the old Moab, but I always liked going there after backpacking down in the needles. We’d get a monster burrito and some tamales on the side, wander thru Back of Beyond Books, and always be sure to pick up a zephyr. Your "time to look in the mirror" edition still deserves some sort of prize for environmental journalism. These days I don’t make it into Moab that often. I get a burger from Tracey and Gary at the Needles Outpost and head home. Knowing the Z won’t be around is a sad thing. Even as the town and surroundings got more crowded, it felt good knowing there was a paper out there saying the things the zephyr said... Your paper has always been one of the few bright spots for me in a world that I don’t really believe will ever bother to save itself (or at least save much of what’s worth saving).
I hope that you’re "ok" with this decision and transition. I imagine that after all the thought that must have gone into it, a few pleas from subscribers won’t be able to change your mind. But if there’s anything I can do to help keep the zephyr on the news racks, let me know... Might be worth considering one print issue a year for the spring crazies.
Jim, thanks for carrying this thing on as long as you have. Can’t imagine what it took in terms of effort and devotion.
I’ll have to start thinking of an ad for the online edition.... Also, need to think of some kind of campaign to get people on the website--stickers that people could post in appropriated locations or something like that.
If you’re ever down Arizona way, let me know.
Desert View, AZ
FROM THE GJ CONCERT GUY
The CC Zephyr was perhaps the last truly great paper and it did feel good in my hands. The only other printed sheet I spent so much time reading was a thing called "Grit" back in my childhood. The CC Zephyr was really more a journal of the American West than a newspaper. You spent time READING it, savoring it, learning from it. Yes the Zephyr was much more than a newspaper, it had literary value. The photo essays were over the top of course. Herb Ringer’s American West was one of the best things I ever looked at in print. That piece of the Zephyr could be a book in itself. Well you have a lot to be proud of. Those that read your publication were enriched, educated and amused! Those that didn’t might not understand it all anyway...This was journalistic art you practiced over there in Grand County. We are all poorer with its passing.
Good luck Stiles and thanks for the hard work. I hope you have all those issues archived. That would be something to be able to look at all those issues online, especially that Herb Ringer fellow. I’d like to show my kids that stuff. Oh, the hand drawn ads were classic!
Grand Jct, CO