Printed letters, May 26, 2013
The Grand Canyon watershed should be a national monument? Are you kidding?
The Grand Canyon watershed is essentially the Colorado River watershed, and as such, includes the Gunnison, Taylor, Uncompahgre, Dolores, San Miguel, Green, White, San Rafael and the San Juan rivers, to name just a few, plus all the smaller streams that are tributaries. This list just covers the western side of Colorado and eastern side of Utah.
Let’s start thinking seriously about what we propose. We are already being swamped by wilderness and roadless areas. We don’t need to put half of two states plus parts of Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona into a national monument.
Make our entire nation into a national monument
In his letter of May 21, Wayne Flick is correct, but he hasn’t gone far enough. Why stop with the Grand Canyon watershed? Let’s make the entire country a national monument.
As he’s written, “it is a magnificent area,” “one-of-a-kind,” “home to many rare plants and animals, as well as a wealth of recreational opportunities.” And think of all the revenues to be generated. Everyone would have to pay $10 every single day, just to back out of his or her driveway (unless he or she bought an annual pass). Clearly, we need to do more.
Also, given Flick’s expertise on uranium, surely he knows that the Colorado River watershed, from Wyoming to California, cuts through several hundred uranium deposits that occur in stratigraphic horizons scattered throughout the Colorado Plateau and beyond.
In other words, even if the fearful uranium deposits he’s referred to are in fact within the Grand Canyon watershed, their exposure to the surface environment through mining would add less than 0.001 percent to what is already there. (In a similar vein, the removal of the Atlas tailings in Moab was completely unnecessary and achieved nothing other than a result diametrically opposite to that intended. In other words, it brought back into the surface environment uranium and related radioactive elements that were securely sequestered).
People worried about radiation should move to New Jersey. The entire Western Slope and beyond is bombarded with radiation daily, both from below and from above (given the elevation).
IRS scandal pales beside apathy over carbon emissions
It is difficult for me to understand how self-respecting tea party conservatives could lower themselves to be labeled social welfare organizations. Doesn’t that imply support for efforts that would have us share our resources, strive for mutual benefit of the larger good by protecting our resources through rules of use (regulations) and inclusive strategies of competing ideas of moral and spiritual choice?
Although I am sorry they were burdened with more difficult questions in order to be assigned their 501(c)4 status, it hardly seems worthy of front-page news, especially since none of them were denied their application requests.
Compare the scrutiny the IRS put on tea party patriots to the persecution that climate change scientists have encountered at the hands of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works chaired by famed climate change denier, Sen. James Inhofe. The cost between these two scandals is the price of human existence.
I suspect the weighted focus on the IRS scandal versus the recent news of our current CO2 level is evidence we are getting more and more desperate to deny our collective participation in fouling our own nest. We believe the source of suffering begins with government and specifically one person: President Barack Obama.
When food shortages become the norm, tornadoes become super storms, millions of refugees flee from sea levels rising, war erupts from the struggle for limited resources and drought turns us against each other, we will not want to face the fact that we ignored the real scandals of our time.
There is no turning back our carbon emission, with CO2 in the air now at 400 ppm. It could have been different.
The House strengthens the fragile lives of teens
In getting to know the program called The House, I realize it is so much more than a place for teens who have, in some cases, been abandoned. It is a place that allows a new beginning. It is a place filled with positive adults who want to invest in the lives of these young people.
While perhaps, in a perfect world, we would not even need a homeless shelter for teens, in the reality of our world, we do. Let us be the community that cares what happens to them. Let us be the people who seek them out and offer a smile and helping hand.
In our program at The House there is a sense of family and community. There are rules, guidelines, a dinner time and a curfew. We provide the teens with 24-hour care. It is easy to assume the worst, but in this case, we see the struggles and the breakthroughs in these fragile lives of people left alone too easily and too often. We are there for them.
It is a privilege to work with the professionals and the teens who make up The House.