A FEW CHOICE WORDS ABOUT "GREEN 2" FROM KATIE LEE
What an utterly fantastic job of journalism. How many hours you must have spent on the research alone would be uncountable! The sad, sad thing is there's nothing we can do about those pricks with money--and therefore political clout--in this sorry-assed Republican Fascist State we're now in, except stay far away from their stench. If they hadn't bought the media years ago, your GofW would be spread far and wide, and actually paid attention to by those who cared and could do something about it. I've sent it on to many folks I know who won't get the Zephyr--probably the rest of the choir, but it's something everyone should read, whether they're on your side or not. Fortunately the "glut crowd" has nothing I want, and they want nothing I have, so I can still live simply and keep my eco-print small. My books, etc., still tell it like it was and is--same as you do--and I don't have to kiss anyone's butt.
I have hopes that the web version of the Z will reach even more people than the printed one. It should, you know. So keep ladling it out to us. So far, the greedheads haven't been able to buy all of cyberspace. That must tick them off! I hope I don't live to see the day when they can.
Katie Lee Jerome,
EDITOR'S NOTE: THANKS!! But Katie! What about the sorry-assed Democrat conspirators in the Fascist State??? JS
KIND WORDS FROM A MOABITE!
I'm a procrastinator, so here are few things I've been meaning to tell you.
1. Brave New West is not a good book -- it's a great book. I've sent copies to several friends who have been here often enough to appreciate it. It's the best book I've read about Moab, and an invaluable historical piece.
2. The current Zephyr issue should be required reading for anyone with ab rain and a desire to understand the environmental hypocrisy of our day. It is also an invaluable piece of history.
3. The demise of the print Zephyr is truly a sad thing for those of us who are still hanging on by our teeth to what Moab used to be. I will miss it terribly. I'll check in on the webpage, but it won't be the same for us old farts who appreciate the portability of paper.
You have my best wishes on your future endeavors. Know that you will leave a hole that will not easily be filled.
"CORRECTIONS" FROM THE GRAND CANYON TRUST
EDITOR'S NOTE: I have a dilemma. When "Greening of Wilderness...part 2" was published in the Aug/Sep Zephyr, I sent the link to about 25 professional environmentalists. I wrote,
"Your comments are welcome, but ALL comments will be considered ON THE RECORD." I included that caveat because, for years, I've been receiving some pretty 'colorful' comments from these guys, but always with the insistent, "This is OFF the record" disclaimer. So the rules were clear. Of the 25, only the Grand Canyon Trusts's Bill Hedden replied, and it's bewildering. He mentions BY NAME a board member that I had referred to only generally, never specifically. Then he names an organization that secretly accepts funds from the Trust, but chides, "Shame on you (me!)" if I print his letter, despite the fact that I warned everyone that all comments would be printed in Feedback. As a compromise, I have removed the name of the GCT board member that Hedden reveals and the name that he claims would be damaged if anyone knew the Trust was involved...yeesh...JS
To the Editor:
Corrections: GCT board member ------------- once submitted a reimbursement request for his/her private plane travel to a meeting. We told him/her it was improper. He/she withdrew it, was never so reimbursed, and has never submitted such a request again. That charge could be libelous, so lucky for the rumormonger that --------- is an extremely nice guy. The Trust never supported the Hualapai skywalk; we simply did not see a reason to go out of our way to oppose a bad idea conceived by economically desperate people who can legitimately point at the South Rim and say, "We aren't the ones with numerous hotels and stores on the rim and 5 million annual visitors."
The Trust is the primary underwriter of -------------------, which is the most effective way by far for us to oppose the Lake Powell pipeline and other bad ideas in SW Utah. We have kept that quiet so (he/she) is not burdened by the association with environmentalists. If you publicize it to (his/her) detriment, then shame on you.
Executive Director Grand Canyon Trust
Response: 1) The story about the board member was first provided by someone currently involved in GCT and only confirmed by a "former staffer." 2) When the largest and wealthiest environmental organization on the Colorado Plateau fails to oppose the most grandiose development on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in half a century, its silence should be interpreted ONLY as tacit approval. 3) If the Trust has to secretly give money to other organizations because going public would discredit the recipient, what does that say about the public perception of the Trust? Finally, if this is all Mr. Hedden can object to from the 10,000 word article, then perhaps he shares more of my concerns than he ever reveals...JS
MORE COMMENTS ON "GREEN 2"
Your piece on the intertwining of enviros and wealth in the current Zephyr has been my lunchtime reading for the past couple of days, and I just finished it (over leftover Thai take-out). As always, it's important stuff you are pointing out--and material virtually no one else writes about from your unique perspective (someone who is an advocate for wild land, a believer in the best of old-time rural Western values, and a fearless muckraker and challenger of thoughtless assumptions and greedy growth). It's not easy to parse this conflict. I actually have sympathies for both sides. Conservation organizations do need money and access to power, and so they would find it hard to say no to Wyss and Fingerhut and the rest. Brant Calkin, who you rightly hold up as a hero, knew this. Years ago, I sold a picture to an ad agency for use in a Marlboro ad. Almost always, my photos bring in tens or, at best, a few hundreds of dollars for reproduction rights. But the ad agency wanted a picture of the red Moenkopi cliffs behind Torrey (they would insert their own Marlboro man on horseback with computers)--and they were willing to pay thousands. I decided to go for it (after pondering the ethics for days), and rationalized my sell-out by tithing ten percent of the fee. Since these were the days when those same red cliffs were threatened by a proposed dam on the Fremont River, I gave my tithing check to SUWA, specifically to fight the dam.
When I took Brant to lunch at the Rio Grande in Salt Lake City and told him the story and gave him the check, his response: "the only thing wrong with tainted money is, there taint enough of it." But Brant surely would still spend that money on The Cause and not on his own salary.
I think the ideal would be for the conservation organizations to be led by fiercely independent, stubborn, and charismatic people who fight the good fight unapologetically--while gratefully accepting money from the wealthy board members who support them and who have their own reasons for donating. Maybe this is too much to ask for, maybe not. Those wealthy people do need the write-offs. And they must care about the goals (or their image) to associate themselves with the enviros. If tycoons donate money to The Nature Conservancy to buy the Matheson Preserve, say, and go on to tout that, on balance more good has been done in the world. The catch, as you point out, is if The Nature Conservancy becomes beholden to the tycoon. They can finesse this. But it takes courage and unassailable integrity. The more money the enviro leaders make, the more they become part of the inner circle of power--and the less likely they can be effective revolutionaries. You didn't write about the new president of The Nature Conservancy, but he comes from Goldman Sachs! That's probably the ultimate melding of conservation and Big Money yet. Hope for the future boils down to leadership and ferocity. Al Gore comes to mind (the new, post-stolen-election Al Gore). David Brower, certainly. RFK, Jr., perhaps. There aren't many...
We can't ask for perfect consistency. It just isn't going to happen. This is very much what my new book Bargaining for Eden is about, as you know. It's the cascade of ironies that I find myself navigating that makes the book more interesting than just a diatribe. I remain an optimist, by nature. It's very much like the Mojave Indian guy I asked, years ago, about how he could go on in the face of such loss. He said, "I have to go on. So hope is the only option."
These issues pale in comparison to the global climate crisis. How do we incorporate such a huge challenge into these conversations? For starters, Jayne Belnap—the USGS scientist who knows more about Colorado Plateau ecology than anyone—should be on the board of every one of the Plateau enviro groups. The Sierra Club is starting to get the idea that they need to tie everything to the climate crisis. But even as we deal with that Big Stuff, we still need to do the little stuff, like eliminating tamarisk. It keeps people in touch with their home landscape issues. Nature writer Bob Pyle's line comes to mind: how can you expect a child to care about a condor if she has never noticed a wren?
Anyhow, these are the biggest issues of all. And we will both be writing about them in one way or another the rest of our lives. Your book, Brave New West, is thoughtful and necessary. And though the Zephyr is transmogrifying to online-only, I'm so glad you will keep the journal alive (and maybe even growing and thriving in its impact).
Thanks for your own journalistic courage, and I wish you and the Zephyr the best of luck.
Salt Lake City, UT
NOTE: The Zephyr hopes to print an excerpt from Steve's new book in the near future...JS
MISSING THE NEWSPRINT ALREADY...
Dear Jim Stiles:
Well, I just finished reading the August/September issue - excellent and thought provoking as usual. I am saddened to hear that you must discontinue the print version. I've been a devoted reader and subscriber for a number of years. I will truly miss holding it in my hands and reading it but I understand your reasons. I am glad that you will give the digital version a go to keep us informed and thinking. It was a real treat to hear you speak at your book signing in Moab.
Thanks for starting the Zephyr and keeping it going for as long as you did - it is one of a kind. Your devotion and effort is truly remarkable. Please sign me up for the on-line subscription.
Keep on truckin',
White City Township, Utah
A REVIVAL FOR DEWEY BRIDGE?
As you know Dewey Bridge was the official crossing of the Colorado Riverfor Kokopelli's Trail. Since the bridge's burning I've had several people ask me if there is any effort afoot to rebuild it. Many old mountain bikers were very dismayed when they heard the bridge had burnt. As you so eloquently lamented in your recent essay in "High Country News" - "it was almost more bad news than I could bear to hear". I've been around long enough to remember cruising along 128 and driving my old Toyota pickup across it - much to the dismay of my wife and kids.
Back a few years ago the bridge was refurbished. Many mountain bikers contributed funds to that effort. I know if it was rebuilt it wouldn't be the same, but many historic buildings have succumbed to fire, and have been rebuilt to remind all of a time when the world was a whole lot less complicated. Do you know of any effort to rebuild it?
Thanks, Bill Harris
Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Assoc.
There has been some discussion about re-building the bridge, which could cost more than $1 million. Donations can be sent to Diana Carroll, Grand County Clerk/Auditor; Attention: Dewey Bridge, 125 E. Center Street, Moab, UT, 84532.
All funds will go into a specific account, earmarked for the bridge.
Checks should be made to Grand County, and all donations are tax deductible.
FROM 'DINK' AND HIS 'COLORFUL METAPHORS'
Jim, This article (Greening of Wilderness..part 2) is the best I have ever seen in the Zephyr. It says what needs to be said, and reveals what needs to be revealed about the fascist hypocrites who seem to be carrying the flag, like Al F'ing Gore. I am hoping that the move to internet publishing will free you from the control creeps who threaten when anyone wants to tell truth that hurts. It seems like you are feeling some freedom already. When you are ready to put four letter words on the site, let me know and I will send you an article. Emotion is part of our language. When my Navajo family complains about profanity I tell them that English is MY language and I will use it in any damn way And when anyone points out ways to repress emotional speech or someone says they refuse to speak profanity, I thank them for giving my words more power. Nigger Bill would hate to know that his name is now off limits for black people. We need to take back our language and our home from the destroyers.
As for developers, what we saw happening in Hawaii is happening here. The developers will come in looking like an environmental non-profits and proceed to tear everything up once they have the power. And then, once the damage bulldozers have destroyed the traditional sacred sites, it is all over. And who is the worst offender? Neil F'ing Young. Fascists come in all colors. He built a massive mansion on the best, most remote beach on the island, screwing up my favorite surf spot that used to take great effort to get to. We are seeing the same disguises used in Moab we saw on the Big Island.
BRIGHT SIDE? WHAT BRIGHT SIDE?????
Hi Jim, I was just reading the latest "Take It or Leave It" and just had to stop and write--- You spoke of Hansen's recent speech, which, assuming we are referencing the same one, was entitled "Is There Still Time to Avoid 'Dangerous Anthropogenic Interference' with Global Climate?" The most amazing thing about that speech was this quote (my italics for emphasis):
"If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed...CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 to at most 350 ppm."
See, that's the thing. And, by the way, I always hate it when conservationists talk about "preserving such-and-such for our children's children." They probably don't give a crap anyway! They are more interested in making sure Microsoft's X-Box survives, not wilderness.
For me, there are two reasons to "preserve" stuff, whether you are talking about protecting a piece of land, or trying to prevent climate change from becoming catastrophic. The first reason is not for people (why are we so much more important?) It's for the animals and plants that live in the ecosystem. They have just as much right to survive as we do. In fact, more. We should view them the way the law views children, as innocents that should be protected. Anyway, what's the point of "preserving" an area if it is then overrun with people, even if they are hikers, who scare away the animals and trample the plants?
The reason climate change is so important, in my view, is almost the opposite of what I said above, and refers to Hansen's statement about the planet in which civilization developed. We all know the climate has changed many times since Earth was formed. Animals tend to slowly adapt, move, or die out. But we humans live in a global economy and depend upon money to survive. You think 9/11 dinged the economy? What will happen to the global economy when millions of homes worldwide go under water? When Manhattan goes under? When insurance companies abandon whole regions, due to flooding and numerous hurricanes? (To give just a few examples). Look how the economy gets skewed when we decide to throw a little extra corn into ethanol! How about when huge swaths of Earth can no longer grow wheat or corn? When millions of people truly do run out of water? That is when you will see wars, starvation and calamities on an unimaginable, yes, perhaps you could call it Biblical, scale.
And yet people want to look on the bright side. What bright side??
Los Angeles, CA
THOUGHTS ON THE PRESIDENCY AND POPULATION
Thanks for declaring your U.S. Presidential candidacy. You'll be my write-in, since Democrats and Republicans can't begin to grasp that just a single world priority – population control – outweighs all others combined.
I frankly can't figure it out, entirely. Are we actually locked in wars of tribal, racial, religious and nationalistic zeal to out-populate our supposed rivals? Are most humans genetically or emotionally incapable of facing constraints on the so-called right to reproduce? Or of facing the overwhelming evidence that all growth, for the foreseeable future, is simply bad? Fact is, merely halting growth is not an ideal objective. How about the substantial reduction of human numbers? How about, for the hell of it, by 80 percent in the next 200 years? No other combined attempts to mitigate the ill effects of too many humans – no matter how intense, prolific and multi-disciplined – could do as much to improve the quality of existence for all living things. (And for those of you who just don't get it, it's not about mere survival; it's about the quality of life.)
This nation should lead the world by using whatever means necessary to prevent excess human reproduction. Conceivably, harsh economic penalties for people who won't limit their breeding will suffice, without resorting to options such as forced sterilization, which are so repugnant to our historical notions of liberty. We certainly could restrain growth within the U.S., while setting the example for other nations, and applying every reasonable sanction against those that act irresponsibly.
For those who think this talk is just pissing in the wind, I sadly agree. Nothing short of a cataclysmic reshaping of world thought will get us on the right course. Most shamefully, the United States will more likely emerge as an obstructionist than as a leader. Right now, no mainstream candidates for office have the courage to even sully their lips with the phrase "population control." But if the human race survives for long, some day our kind will look back to the early 21st Century and say, "if only we had … "
Salt Lake City
P.S. Greening of Wilderness Part 2 was well worth the effort, lots of great info, I will watch for responses from the environmental organizations at hand, which have certainly taken a credibility hit with me.