End of American "Wilderness"?

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by theoryofpaul, May 4, 2003.

  1. I wonder what you all think of potentially disturbing development:

    http://nytimes.com/2003/05/04/weekinreview/04EGAN.html

    Apparently, this means an end in the U.S. to the formal designation of "wilderness" - and the protections against drilling, mining, etc., associated with it - in public lands.

    What do you all make of it?
     
  2. Shortsightedness & arrogance on the part of so called "conservatives." Why conserve
    places and things for your grandchildren when you can exploit them for
    quarterly profits today?<P>
     
  3. Why is it that when you take home deliverly of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, the Journal has an address label with your name on it, and the New York Times doesn't?
     
  4. I know my post could be construed as "off-topic" -- however I think it was relevant to our discussion in a larger sense because many of us are nature fans and like to take photographs of nature. Now, the article in the Times raises many interesting questions, for instance, who is in control of federally "protected" lands (the executive or the legislative branch?), who has a right to use these lands and how they are to be used, and, when you get right down to it, whether our photographic resources will be available to future generations. That, I believe, is at least tangentially relevant to the discussion. Reading about the problems many of us have had recently when we are photographing urban areas (as clearly shown by a recent thread), I find some support for construing my post as "at least tangentially relevant". So I am just wondering if anybody has some better legal background than I do, and can help sort out what this new ruling implies for us.
     
  5. I must have missed the relevant query in the article that wondered who is responsible for designating wilderness, be it the executive or legislative branch. That said, and despite what environmentalist donation-seekers will tell you, CONGRESS is responsible for designating wilderness. The president merely signs the bill
     
  6. This sickens me. How people can think we don't have enough of everything else, but we some how have enough wild places. Ellis is right. Short sighted and selfish.
     
  7. Todd, the President doesn't merely signs the bill. If you take a look at the Federal Land Policy Management Act, section 603 spells out what the executive branch's responsibilities are in regard to BLM wilderness recommendations.
    President shall advise the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives of his recommendations with respect to designation as wilderness of each such area, together with a map thereof and a definition of its boundaries. Such advice by the President shall be given within two years of the receipt of each report from the Secretary....​
    This is what they no longer wish to do--make recommendations to congress to preserve areas as wilderness. No recommendations, no acts for the President to merely sign. While the oil, gas, mining, and recreation industries will continue to pour money into researching the suitability of land for their purposes, the Department of the Interior is no longer going to research the same area's value as wilderness. In essence the people who would like to preserve land for future generations no longer have an advocate in the government. This is a gross imbalance and in my opinion is negligent.
     
  8. I looked more closely at my Wall Street Journal Label. It has 4 stars above my name.

    On the old Playboy magazines, the number of stars on the cover told whether the centerfold was a virgin or not and what she would or would not do.

    My guess is that the stars on the Wall Street Journal are different editions depending on how important you are. Four being the lowest. Bush and other members of the trilateral commission probably get an edition with one star.

    This theory is backed up by the fact that while the local paper and New York Times are thrown by kids in junk cars with the radio turned all the way up, my wife who is an early riser, has never seen how the Wall Street Journal is delivered!!!

    Even more suspicious is the fact that my neighbor who lives across the street also gets the Wall Street Journal, and is the CEO of a fortune five hundred company. His must be at least a two. As easy as it would be to make a mistake, I have never gotten his paper! Someone is obviously going to a lot of trouble to make sure certain information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

    I am going to try to steal his copy. I know it is dangerous but I figure if we can get their plans, we can save the wilderness. Wish me luck. If you don’t hear from me again you will know what happened.
     
  9. I'm with Ellis Vener on this one. There is no excuse for such horribly irresponsible
    environmental policy.
     
  10. Many of the pseudo "save the environment" organizations are big business; and pay themselves enormous paychecks; and use little to actually do any good. Check the details of these organizations; before one donates money. A local guy here is living like a king; he files many petty lawsuits; and is a hero when businesses get thrown a monkey wrench to stop their legal operation. This robber baron attitude of "protecting the environment"; and skimming money; is abit sickening. Environmental protection issues are a huge business; there is alot of money flowing around. Check where the money is really going. Many are getting quite rich; in the quest to save the planet.
     
  11. I think there are two important issues that need to be raised. First, the new status means that no additional wilderness areas will be designated. What we already have will continue to exist. The contention of the current administration that the relative amount of wilderness in the Federal public lands is about right.

    One reason for this is that many people who live near and use public lands feel that they have no control over how those lands are managed. Sometimes, local control has lead to abuses: over-grazing on many of the BLM controlled rangelands is but one example. And yet I can still understand the wrath many repsonsible users feel when their chosen mode of recreation is precluded by wilderness designation. In Alaska, ANILCA requires that traditinoal access methods be preserved. It hasn't worked perfectly, but it helps. That has not been the case in the Lower 48. Personally, I can understand how middle-aged folks feel when they loose access to lands because they do not have the physical ability to hike the distances required. From their perspective, how much more inaccessible land is required?

    Our problem is one of balance. How much for each user? I think as the baby boomer population reaches middle age and beyond, we should expect a growing sentiment to increase access to public lands by a variety of means - cars, horse, snow machine etc. Rather than being marginalized by shrill crys to block such action, and thereby alienate what may now be a majority of our society, we should also consider what can be done to make lands more accessible, and yet preserve the ecosystem. Limited road access, which is not possible in a wilderness, does not necessarily destroy an area.

    Mineral exploration is another issue. But many people in the west who oppose extractive mineral devopment on public lands also oppose additional wilderness. By working with these people, we can provide a high level of protection to the ecosystems on the public lands that will remain without wilderness designation.
     
  12. It is a very sad state of affairs .
    We keep giving power to corporate whores , we know they are ,
    we keep giving our votes to people we know will have at heart ( if
    they have one ) the interest of big guys and we still believe this
    is a democracy .
    They call themselves Conservatives , ( actually , i call myself
    Conservative ) when everybody agrees that this country is in a
    moral bankruptcy , when it has been run for ages by them .
    When we vote , instead of voting with our ideals , we vote as
    politicians , ( i will not vote for Nader , because if i do that vote will
    be in favour of Bush ) , so that instead of starting a process of
    innovation we spiral down in this state powerlessness .
    The majority of us is misinformed by the media , we know they
    lie , but few of us shop around for news .
    Democracy , like all forms of governments , can be succesful
    only if it checks itself out over and over .
    We have given carte blanche to these arrogant , shortsighted
    criminals , and we complain....
    Go figure.....
     
  13. Excuse me but can any of you tell me which nation on earth sets aside more land for wilderness than does this country?

    I warrant that if any one man sat out to truly experience all of the wilderness areas of the US it could not be done in a lifetime ... I don't mean just passing through them either.

    You guys sound very alarmist. Not one acre of wilderness is going to be designated no longer wilderness. It's not like we have a shortage around here. I drove about a hundred and twenty miles around three counties today looking for things to point a camera at and guess what. It was really wild. I'd say about 99.5 percent of it was completely devoid of human life. And it was not a wilderness area.
     
  14. well, it depends how you measure it, but Canada for one...
     
  15. Yes Tim but but that's because nobody wants to go up there and freeze their ass off long enough to actually threaten it.

    You sure they actually designate it wilderness or it just IS wilderness?
     
  16. if you just take something simple like National Parks, then Canada has more land designated. Then you have Provincial and Territorial Parks, various scientific reserves and so on. In the US you have State Parks, BLM lands (who, of course allow a lot of development) etc etc - so it's hard to make a direct comparison.

    And yes, of course there are huge swaths that aren't designated that are still wilderness... :)

    Where I live, the Northwest Territories, split in two a few years ago to form the NWT and Nunavut Territory (each half, of course, still bigger than Texas...) and probably 90% is still wilderness, even though only a percentage is designated.

    Even then, much of it is getting encroached upon (though not nevcessarily in designated areas) - logging on Vanouver Islands unique rain forests, oil and gas up here, diamonds upo here as well (though a failry small footprint and no noxious chemicals like gold needs - right here in Yellowknife we have the worlds largest underground dump of arsenic trioxide, locked in permafrost that's now melting... on the edge of N Americas 8th (I think) largest lake, that feeds N America's second longest river system...)

    and so it goes.
     
  17. Scott, these are the top numbers from the UNEP (United Nations Environment
    programme) survey on wilderness areas. Commonwealth of Independent States (34%
    wilderness), Canada (65%), Australia (30%), Denmark's Greenland (99%), China (Tibet)
    (24%), Brazil (24%), Algeria (59%), Mauritania (69%) and Saudi Arabia (28%).

    Also, driving around and noticing a lack of humans is not exactly observing
    wilderness. For one thing, you were driving around. I assume on roads. I also assume
    this was in Central Texas where the primary land use is grazing and farming. No
    matter how few humans you saw, farm land and areas used by free range cattle are
    not wilderness.

    I understand feeling that there have been enough lawsuits and tree-sittings, but I
    have also been in enough wilderness areas to see clear cut forest right up to the
    border of the designated wilderness and realized the only thing that stopped a whole
    sale flattening of some truly unique places was that it was purposely preserved by
    somebody in the government with some foresight and the understanding that if left
    unchecked, industry will consume all the raw materials in its grasp and that it never
    values land above the worth of the raw materials that exist on it. The government can
    act as a counter balance to industry and weigh the value of raw materials with the
    environmental impact of development, but it seems this is a role it no longer wishes
    to play.
     
  18. ****The government can act as a counter balance to industry and weigh the value of raw materials with the environmental impact of development, but it seems this is a role it no longer wishes to play.****

    So when do we subdivide Yosmite?

    Sounds silly doesn't it. The environment is very well protected in this country and that is not going to change in our lifetimes. What our grand children do is up to them but I think the seeds of environmentalism are pretty well sown and will continue to be.

    The West is no longer increasing in population you know. No not that West. I mean the western world. If you want to protect the environment so much just stop all immigration. Think about it.
     
  19. Same newspaper had related article http://www.nytimes.com/2003/05/05/politics/05DONO.html
    about Bush campaign fundraising. The extractive industries are getting their payback for campaign contributions to an administration that is all too willing to undercut environmental protections. As with the "Old Man" of New Hampshire, we better take alot of pictures of the landscape since those images will remind our grandchildren of our shortsidedness.
    If only the 19th century Mexican gov't had enough foresight to ban immigration into their northern territories, the Bush's would still be in Conneticutt (george junior's birthplace) swilling martinis at local country club instead of shilling for the extractive industries.
     
  20. Bruce wrote: "Our problem is one of balance." I disagree for the most part, knowing that the "balance" ideal is one of the biggest falacies of our age. Fact is that on side of the equation you have a limited land mass, on the other side is a burgeoning population and economy based on growth/ever expanding resource consumption, not stability. If present trends in population growth and resource use continue, it's only a matter of time before the sheer press of human numbers make things like wilderness, as we know it today, will be viewed as luxuries our society cannot afford as every corner of nature will be pressed into the service of mankind to meet neeeds, real or otherwise.

    It's the same deal with urban sprawl. The real issue is too many people. Those relocating to the new tract homes blighting the landscape aren't leaving ghost towns behind them. And the third world is even worse; you think it's just human greed responible for clearing the rain forests? Only in Europe does there seem to be some stability, and this news is greeted with ominous dreed by proponents of the "expand of expire" economic model, the people who really run things. And of course, Americans vote with their pocketbooks, so maybe what we're seeing is really what the majority wants. Certainly most of the people I know are more concerned with accumulating every greater amounts of stuff and consuming more resources, than they are with wilderness preservation.

    I think Ellis is correct. Afterall, what have future generations ever done for us anyway?

    RJ
     
  21. scott, you consistently amaze by your capacity to turn delicate complicated issues into really ignorant, inhumane, bland statements, blame immigrants, hitler did that, think about it.
     
  22. There is a delicate balance. If all the worlds oil/power companies and chemical companies suddenly stopped operations, half of the world's population would die of starvation within a year. Hate corporations as much as you like, we depend on them.
     
  23. Blame it on Manifest Destiny.
     
  24. Robert, you make an interesting point about population increase. In fact, ignoring US population increase from immigration, our rate of population growth is essentially flat, if not in the negative. However, that is not a convenient excuse to blame immigrants for our environmental mess, as some are apt to do. Also, we'll just conveniently ignore the environmental mess in other lands, such as post-Soviet Russia/Siberia, and the Balkans, etc.

    Another interesting observation is the disconnect between population growth and development in the US. Given that our population growth is essentially flat, its amazing to see the rate of urbanization and suburbanization of our land being out of bounds in comparison. The real issue, rather than being population growth's effect on the environment, is our standard of living's effect on the environment.

    I would rather see the recent trend of re-urbanization continue. This is where the burned out cores of inner cities are reclaimed as living/shopping/recreation/leasure areas, and leave the rurul areas free from the sprawl of suburban housing and fleets of SUV's.

    Finally, lest anyone think I am advocating a return to primitive roots (or, for you conspiracy theorists, herding into population centers where they can be more easily controlled), one must note also the abysmal environmental record in most third world nations. Some of this is from first-world corporate industry, but much more is just an outgrowth of the effects of poverty and corrupt governments' inadequate management. Ultimately, the answers to these issues are much more complex than the plethora of liberal vs conservative, socialist vs capitalist arguments that kept us busy throughout the 20th century as we slaughtered 50 million lives. There's got to be a new sense of wisdom and intellect applied to these problems, not the usual pablum.
     
  25. One answer is for the STATES to become responsible for these lands. If you feel strongly about this issue, I'd suggest talking with your state government representatives, bureaus, etc. You can't drill, mine, or log without a state permit. Why look to the federal government for all control? One of the problems with the wilderness designation is that in many cases it doesn't just preserve the land - it precludes you from accessing it!

    Lastly, I'd suggest looking into some of the "nature" groups like the Nature Conservancy - a billion dollar affair that has promoted development of wilderness areas that it owns... now, isn't that just a little disingenuous?

    And Ellis, the reason for this change is specifically in reaction to Bruce (the babbling idiot) Babbit and his land grab policies fomented by the Clinton administration. If you're familiar with the entire complaint by the State of Utah, you'd understand why some of us think losing was a good thing.
     
  26. Adrian,
    I merely point out that immigration is this nations only source of population growth as our birth rate is now flat. If the environment is SO important to you just stop immigration. Then there will be less and less people to clutter up the landscape. Why on earth would you advocate allowing droves of uneducated environmentally unaware people to flood the country?

    And WHY on earth would you corelate immigration control to Hitler. I didn't say gas em I said gate em. And besides it's not my policy ... I merely point out there is a source of the new babies you all are so worried about.

    I think you have a hidden agenda and you're just not capable of realizing you are at cross purposes .
     
  27. Steve,
    ****Why look to the federal government for all control?****

    Indeed. They look to the fed because command and control is what they believe in. As soon as they can bring it about they will cede THAT control to the UN or some new world order. Names don't matter. Just so long as THEIR policies become the supreme law of the earth and are absolutely rigidly enforced. No matter the cost no matter the results.

    Just listen to their words right here on this page. They speak of humanity as some sort of vermin or disease blighting the planet. What a world they would make if they ever got control. They define the very word totalitarian. George Orwell knew them well and they never change. Give them whatever name or title you wish. Total control is their desire because THEIR beliefs are heaven sent and god (nature) ordained. The rest of us are idiots and over-population. We MUST be controlled.
     
  28. One of the problems with the wilderness designation is that in many cases it doesn't just preserve the land - it precludes you from accessing it!
    It just isn't true. There is nothing in the wilderness act that says you cannot access a wilderness area; you just can't drive. If you want to take your car into the woods you already have plenty of opportunity as the Forest Service has built close to 400,000 miles of road on public land.
     
  29. You are truly a frightening creature , Scott .
     
  30. Robert,

    Your government school education is showing. Just about everything you state is false.

    As technological advancement grows ... the population decreases. This has been true in every nation on earth. The western world is now population poor and MUST import third world workers to keep their economies functioning.

    Of course the real reason to import them is so that the numbers are there to support the socialist wellfare system payments necessary to see the present generation through retirement. (You didn't really think all that social security money you've paid in was actually somewhere earning interest did you?) Surely you know that your average American will take out four or five times what he ever put in before he dies. Surely you knew this.

    If you want to clean up the earth just help bring the third world countries into the techno-present and convince their leaders to stop running them on a seventeenth century economic model. Princes and serfs is such a silly way to run a nation.

    When people are free and educated they work harder and smarter and they have less children. You don't need a raft of kids if you don't have a farm and you can make enough money to provide for your own retirement and do not have to depend on your kids to take care of you.

    I agree with the environmental alarmists that we have a problem. The third world IS poisoning the earth. The command and control advocates would just put birth control in their water I guess. Or perhaps some more effecient way to make them go away.

    I would rather educated them and make them free.
     
  31. ....Or else an angry teenager ......
     
  32. Domenico,

    If I'm so frightening to you, who do you admire? Who is doing things right on this planet? What economic model do you advocate?
    What political system do you believe in?

    I AM an extremist. I believe to an extreme extent that mankind should be free and that the rule of law should prevail. I resent in the extreme that any group of elitists should rule the earth. If this scares you then I hope you are afraid. Be very afraid for times are changing and ruling eletes are falling ... in many places.
     
  33. Scott - I'm glad to here that I'm all wrong and that human nature is changing for the better, through the enlightment of education, which also produces all this wonderful technology which will save us. And yep, you iz right, I be a product of dah publik skool system. Blame my parents for not having the cash to send me away for proper schooling.

    Thanks for setting me straight, for a while I was worried about the future of humanity! But no matter what happens, you and I will never live long enough to see the chatostrophic drama of history reach the final act. But in the meantime, I suggest we both try to seek some solace on our ground glasses. Really nice spring colors this weekend

    Later ... back channel.

    RJ
     
  34. Scott, perhaps you should read this http://ec.hku.hk/acadgrammar/general/argue/illogic/detectin.htm and then explain to us in a logical manner your position. You argue that you can't explain it to us because of our education, and then demand that we explain our (non)position? To tell you the truth, I can't even figure out what you are trying to say. <br><br>
    My rule of thumb is that if you can't explain your case in a way a child can understand, you probably don't understand what you are talking about.
     
  35. Guys, Guys
    You seem to be shocked about what your country is doing. Well, we have seen it going on for quit some time now and its one of the reasons Europe and many other parts of the world are drifting away from the US. It seem to ignore any international agreements and think they own the world for their own profit. All treaties and a bit more social face we saw under Clinton is washed away with a difference of 900 votes (it's a joke guys, if it wasn't so sad). It's actually possible that the US will invade it's ally, my little country the Netherlands, if we set Amerikans in prison and the US does not agree. As long as your with this gournement and this president, the international world and the environment will be hit hard. We all know where to look for (a lot of) mass desruction weapons in the middle east you know and we all know who didn't sign Kyoto and international justice agreements.

    There is something very wrong over there imo
     
  36. Aaron,

    My language is clear. It is the left that hides their true motives in obfuscation and weasle words. Why don't you just step up and state clearly what your politics are?

    I like to take pictures. I don't like it when the only good view I can find of a subject has a power line running through it. I would hope one day to educate the populace sufficiently to the value of nature's beauty that they would bury those power lines.

    The left on the other hand doesn't want the lines burried. That might kill some earthworms while digging. They want the people to go away or else live in the dark. Quit hiding Aaron. Admit your totalitarian beliefs.
     
  37. Scott, there isn't ONE nation that is doing everything right ;
    corruption is everywhere , ( i am not proud of my country of origin
    either , Italy ) , things are going really bad there .

    Just today i spoke with my sister who told me that everybody is
    freaking out for SARS and nobody got infected yet , looks like the
    American model of allarmistic and sensationalistic media is
    taking over .
    If we keep struggling to mantain this way of life , to keep the
    American dream the way is inteneded now ( to me an aberration
    ) , we will have to slash on our environment , we will put our silly
    needs of people used to the excess before the legitimate needs
    of nature .
    Look at the amount of food we WASTE , ( not consume ) .
    The amount of gasooline we use .
    We are the major polluters in the planet , and we don't care
    about the Tokio agreement , that TRAP !
    The immigrants ? This country strives on these people , who get
    underpayed , the economy of California , ( the richest state in the
    richest country in the world ) ,. would collapse without their
    labour .
    They are the perfect workers , they have no rights .
    It is not the population increase that does the damage ,
    (populace? ) , but the multinational corporations who use third
    world countries as dumping grounds of hazardous waste .
    In latin America you can find young 6 years old girls with big
    breasts and excessive body hair , and i am not trying to be funny
    here .
    Do you want to know my model , Scott ?
    Democracy would be nice , but is nowhere to be found except
    maybe to some extent in northern Europe .
    Don't think we have Democracy here , just because you are free
    to make money . and do not talk to me about freedom of speech ,
    because there is no such thing .
    The news show it , the Bashing of actors and entarteiners for
    criticising Bush , it is not APPARENTLY starting from the federal
    government , but we know the ties , don't we ?
    There is no conspiracy, everybody is protecting their interests at
    the expenses of other people rights . It is very simple , and
    since money talks , guess who's being silent ?
     
  38. de Vlaam,

    You can take your Kyoto treaty and have it with a nice glass of beer. That treaty is nothing but a giant effort at wealth redistribution that is so heavilly favored towards the backwards nations it's just a plain joke.

    We don't steal from the world. We buy what we need. Just like the car you drive depends on N. Sea oil the extraction of which is made possible by your country's giant drilling platforms. Should you feel guilty because your nation was industrious enough to exploit that resource? I don't think so.

    We have made our engines so clean you can lock yourself up in a garage with a car running and be unable to asphixiate yourself. We recycle all our steel. Our rivers are clean and our wilderness preserved and protected.

    Any time the rest of the world wants to catch up there is nothing standing in there way other than their own ridiculous political systems.

    What are you so bitter about de Vlaam? If the Dutch had gotten to the New World before the English and been able to capitalize on the opportunity ... would the world be a better place? You speak of Europeans. WE are Europeans. To a huge degree. We just have real political and social freedom and a land unhindered by thousands of years of war and inter-tribal strife as is Europe. You don't like something going on over here? Well then do something about it . Change the world. We did.
     
  39. "We have made our engines so clean you can lock yourself up in a garage with a
    car running and be unable to asphixiate yourself. We recycle all our steel. Our
    rivers are clean and our wilderness preserved and protected."

    Haaa ha ha haaa - what a load of old bollocks.
     
  40. As a small child, I had a book called, “1001 pictures around the world”. The pictures of Amsterdam caught my imagination. I though when I grew up I would go there.

    The first chance I got, as an adult, I realized my dream. It wasn’t like the pictures. A bus driver chewed me out for sitting my briefcase down long enough to pay him. He told me; “never sit your brief case down in Amsterdam, it will be stolen”. A block off the picturesque canals, the sex shops and red light district starts.

    A friend of mine likes to go to clubs there where you can watch naked women defecate on men. They will even let members of the audience participate, if your in to that sort of thing. I’m not. I fly in through Frankfurt now.
     
  41. Domenico,

    I'll try and cut to the heart of what upsets you. It appears to be that our society (let's call it western but you seem to have a special dislike for American) is living too lavishly. That we are wasting resources, materials, and .... food.

    Should we go back to horse and buggy days? Or should we through some sort of 'supreme council' and ultimate police force ... stop population growth? Maybe we should even get rid of some folks?

    I have already stated that by industrializing and educating the world you would reduce population. This is a proven fact. But I sense that this is not good enough for you. You want radical change and you want it in a hurry.

    I would bet that the first thing you would do is force me to drive a small car. No, that's the second thing you would do. The first would be to take away my guns so then you COULD force me to drive a small car. Then you would have a whole long list of other things you would force me to do, no?

    Well it isn't going to happen Domenico and you are making yourself unhappy wishing it so. You have an irrational view of the resources of this planet and how fast we are using them up. Granted a few less folks would be beneficial but not by your methods. The cost would be too great. Freedom would never again be seen on the earth once you and your type took over.

    We are all environmentalists now. Our kids are being force fed it every day of their lives. But it is not going to be the Trojan Horse you of the Left hoped it would be. You will not bring down this bastion of human freedom and dignity we call the US with your schemes. You should go back to Italy.
     
  42. > I would bet that the first thing you would do is force me to
    > drive a small car.
    > No, that's the second thing you would do. The first would be to
    > take away my
    > guns so then you COULD force me to drive a small car.

    nah - why would "we" do that? More members of the NRA kill and maim themselves accidentally with their own weapons than from any other form of injury or accident. (maybe a close second is those who die from carbon monoxide poisoning testing how "clean" their car emissions are). So why would anyone try to take away such a perfect form of natural selection?
     
  43. Yikes! I had hoped this thread would cause some spirited discussion, but wow! It is interesting to see how the issue of wilderness affects us so profoundly. Here are my own views, left unstated until now in this hopes that I wouldn't prejudice the discussion one way or the other:

    To me, the tension between preserving wilderness and using land for economic gain is an extremely difficult thing to balance. Here, two basic human needs seem to be in direct contradiction; on the one hand, an economy needs raw materials to produce things that -- hopefully -- improve our lives. On the other, we need to preserve the kind of space that makes us want to keep living. Unfortunately I see the policies of the current American administration to be a little imbalanced. One instance: by enacting moderately stricter fuel standards, we could save more gasoline than the oil we could extract by raiding the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve. (Not only that, we could have reduced our dependence on oil, which comes overwhelmingly from a rather dangerous part of the world). I guess that I feel as though if we as a country want to raid more spaces for economic gain, we must make a corresponding attempt to reuse and recycle and conserve resources.

    But failing the laws of the country to enact more reasonable conservation laws, I think it is incumbent upon the individual to try to examine his or her habits and eliminating or reducing the most wasteful ones.

    It kind of reminds me of something that Susan Sontag says in her book...(uh oh....I'm going to get flamed for mentioning her I bet!) Really, some of Sontag's ideas are pretty kookie, but this one grabbed my attention: she says that we tend to photograph things just before they are destroyed, in an attempt to preserve them. So I think what she's saying is that as soon as we photograph something, it is gone; this is true in terms of "the moment" (well, most people agree time can't go BACKWARDS!) but also of spaces, buildings, people, and many other things. I think it's sad with the huge increase in suburbanization in the past few decades that we've lost the kind of landscape that inspired, say, the Hudson River School to produce some of the most beautiful artwork (and everybody knows how influential that school was in landscape photography!) Could it have been possible for the Hudson River Valley to be developed more efficiently??? ABSOLUTELY! I know because I grew up in Poughkeepsie.

    In other words, I don't see really what we've gained by suburbanizing so thoroughly that we need to drive 20 miles to work, 5 miles to the grocery, 7 miles to the bookstore, 12 miles to the library. More "freedom of expression"??? Who's got the time to be free to express themselves or be creative when spending an hour in a car-capsule every day??

    But I still hold out hope that we can reverse the trends of the past few decades, learn to live in greater harmony with our environment, and derive economic, spiritual and, importantly, photographic benefits from the world around us.
     
  44. > I would bet that the first thing you would do is force me to
    > drive a small car.
    > No, that's the second thing you would do. The first would be to
    > take away my
    > guns so then you COULD force me to drive a small car.

    Actually, on second thoughts, no one will need to pry your big car from your hands Scott - with the way the economy is going down the tubes - a budget deficit this year that will likely exceed $300 billion without the war - just three years after the budget experienced a surplus of nearly $240 billion - projected to run to at least 2 trillion in ten years, and the dollar on a downward slide, you won't be able to afford it or the gas to run it.....
     
  45. This is too easy. A bunch of political theorists (what the world SHOULD look like) arguing with those who only speak of what is and what works. To my mind the command and control enthusiasts, those who want to change the world into some sort of utopia they believe is possible always want to talk about politics .... while the reality of the world is framed in economic terms.

    The US is the dominant power on this planet because it has the most effective economic model. We turn people free to follow their dreams and it works. It works SO well that our relatively small percentage of the worlds population is now running away from the rest of the entire planet.

    Why is this? It's just freedom. We have no empire, we have enslaved no one. We have developed vast tracts of other nations and taught them how to use their resources and then walked away when they nationalized our investments. We have died by the hundreds of thousands to preserve the rest of the world from tyrants and yet we remain so strong.

    The Left makes up stories and slanderous outlandish lies about how we are raping the planet and taking advantage of other peoples but it doesn't wash. They look at our prosperity and think we must be stealing. How else could America have so much when the rest of the world has so little?

    The rest of the world has so little because their leaders steal everything for themselves and do not invest in the infrastructure and manufacturing facilities to help lift their people out of poverty. Look at the Arab world. Floating on a sea of liquid money and it all goes to the princes who then keep their people stirred up about killing Jews and Americans so they won't think about making changes at home.

    Look at yourselves Europe. Why are you so weak? You are weak because you have a wellfare state. You are lazy. You now have a hundred million non Europeans to do your dirty work for you while you work a thirty hour week and take six weeks of paid vacation every year. Even Germany, the powerhouse of Europe, is failing. Stop your nonsense and go back to work. Get off your butts and compete.

    The Left seems to always be about revolution. They want to change everything and make the world a better place. Bull! They just want to put THEMSELVES in power. The Soviet Union was their model and it collapsed. It could not compete and no command and control economy shall ever be able to compete with freedom.

    You're SO worried about pollution and waste. Well get behind America because we are at the vangaurd of all of the environmental concerns. Tim says I'm lying but I'm not. America leads the world in environmental concern. It's just a plain fact. Maybe Canada is cleaner Tim but that's because you have a vast territory and very small population.
     
  46. > Why is this? It's just freedom. We have no empire, we have
    > enslaved no one. We

    uhuh - did you forget about those coloured Americans? Or the (at times State sponsored) genocide of the original native inhabitants of N. America so we could profit from the land that they inhabited...?
     
  47. I agree that America leads the world in a lot of ways. We have a lot to be proud of coming from the U.S.A. To list our accomplishments would take forever. What I like most is that we HAVE set aside lots of public land; the situation is much different in Europe, and almost no pristine countryside is left.

    On the other hand, let's acknowledge that Europe is where the following NEAT-O things came from:
    • The basis of our political system and legal code
    • An immense amount of scientific knowledge (that we improved upon!)
    • Most of our ancestors came from Europe
    • Incredible music (You might want to know that by day I teach music theory at a University here in LOVELY ROCHESTER!!!)
    • Great food
    • Great literature and poetry
    • PHOTOGRAPHY!!!!!! - the first photograph was made in France
    • I had hoped that the thread would bear some relation to photography, and not focus on political differences! Europeans have much to offer us, as much by their successes as their failures. Yay for Europe! Yay for the USA!
     
  48. Ah well, most amusing folks, but it is well past my bedtime here in poor, work-shy old Europe, even with my 30 hour working week and 6 week holidays, I still need my sleep (ok, so I actually work approx 46 hour weeks and get 4 weeks holiday, but hey, on Mr. Fleming's planet it's 30 & 6 so who am I to argue?).

    I wonder what the weather is like on planet Fleming at the moment? I think I'll just have a nice couple of lungsfull of harmless carbon monoxide before I turn in, after sending my Algerian house boy to lick the carpet clean overnight...
     
  49. Tim,
    Let's not include discussions of ancient history here. It really is not relevant. Slavery was the norm for thousands of years on this planet untill some enlightened Christians in Britain saw different. The fact that the Southern US resisted for another fifty years and had to be forced to see the light is regretable but irrelevant to this discussion.

    As to native populations. Tribes have always fought. It goes on today all over the world. It's ugly. It's unavoidable. Our side won. I'm glad it was not the other way around. If aliens from space wanted to take over our planet but we killed them all would you mourn for them? The Indians were killing each other when we got here. They fought as mercenaries on both sides of two wars. Some of them are getting rich today at Indian Gaming. Such is life.
     
  50. Four WEEKS!?
     
  51. Jesus W. Bush strikes again. May he rot in syphilitic dementia like that jackass third rate actor Reagan.
     
  52. Don't mince words Dan, tell us how you really feel.
     
  53. And you don't "access" wilderness, you walk into it. Much of what we have in Utah & the western US as wilderness and wilderness study areas are such for simple reasons. They are so rugged, remote or thought of as useless that they are the only areas left relatively untrammeled by man. If they were thought to have any 'real value' they would already be covered with WalMarts or their equivalent in sewage treatment/disposal sites, dump sites or 'hazardous waste' storage as we have in Utah.
     
  54. Odly enough, with all our spare time, the dutch are the most productive country in the world, with very high quality. But note that Amsterdam is NOT holland.

    I disagree that America is a democracy, you only vote every 4 years for a new dictator. In holland there is no way that one party gets all the power. We always need to agree and look at the other guy's opinion. Sometimes it slows things down, and the current situation isn't histories best, but in the end it is imo THE way to run a country.

    What is wrong with redistrubuting some of the extreme wealth we have, which we achieved over the backs of other coutries by plundering their national resources? Ever read No Logo?
    The main reason the rest of the world starts hating the west and mainly US is the way we treat them. We think it is ok to build sex-clubs and get drunk it a country which despises of these things. And have no respect for their high cultural values. No wonder there comes a violent response. Compared to the average (non extremist) budhist or muslim, our 'culture' is crude and egocentric.
     
  55. Ok, who read the article? Congress passed a law more than 10 yeats ago to study lands as 'wilderness' areas, perhaps with the intent they could be turned into national parks... Instead of passing bills to turn any of these places into national parks (and using federal tax dollars to fund them) congress has been sitting on them. These states could choose to turn these areas into parks, but they can't.<br><br> I don't have the time to go to each of these states and explain to the people there why they can't develop these lands or use them as parks, perhaps we should let them decide for themselves?
    <br>BTW scott I am a card carrying Republican (in NJ of all places), I am just constantly sickened by the extreme bluster the pervades every newsgroup.
     
  56. Just for the record Aaron, the government was not considering these lands for
    national parks, but for designated wilderness areas. It's a very big distinction.
     
  57. Oh, so the national govt can tell the state what to do with the land and they won't even get a tax benifit? Sounds fair to me.
     
  58. Yes, Aaron. The government can tell the states what to do with the F*****g land. It is government land for the most part. In many cases, such as in Utah, it was offered to the State years ago for FREE and the state was so damn stupid they turned it down. Now that the states think they have a better way to rape the land they want it. Or, they claim they don't want Washington Bureaucrats involved while at the same time they suck on the federal tit as much as possible. Ranchers here are the worst... BLM grazing is a farce & these ranchers cry every time actually paying for what they use is brought up.

    We need more wilderness designated a lot more than we need more national parks.
     
  59. “I disagree that America is a democracy, you only vote every 4 years for a new dictator.”

    I have read some truly uniformed garbage on the WEB before but this rips the rest up. I suggest the author of the above learn something about the United States political system before making such idiotic statements.
     
  60. "“I disagree that America is a democracy, you only vote every 4 years for a new
    dictator.”

    I have read some truly uniformed garbage on the WEB before but this rips the
    rest up. I suggest the author of the above learn something about the United
    States political system before making such idiotic statements."

    well, for one thing, the people of the United States don't directly elect their Presidents - something I've always thought that, if put into place in say a third world emerging democracy would be seriously frowned upon by the international community.... :)
     

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