Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Memories of a more diverse place

The New York Times today has this opinion piece, "Where the Wild Things Were," lamenting the loss of diverse native food traditions in the U.S. The piece begins by describing the rich North American feast that Mark Twain pined for while traveling in Europe, and concludes with a litany of disappearances:
But with the exception of fish, today it is vanishingly rare to find wild foods in our marketplaces. The 10 million prairie hens in the Illinois of Twain’s day have diminished to a mere 300 birds; his terrapin struggle to survive amid wounded Eastern wetlands; his titanic Lahontan cutthroat “lake trout, from Tahoe” were killed off by over-fishing and the introduction of invasive species. Tasting some of Twain’s wild things is impossible or illegal, with more limited to dedicated hunters and fishermen.

Preserving or restoring the wild foods that remain begins with appreciating what they have to offer — extraordinary taste and smell, certainly, but also the joy of experiencing the marshes and mountains and lakes these plants and birds and animals rely upon. We have a great deal to learn from Twain’s instinctive premise: that losing a wild food means losing part of the landscape of our lives.
While we don't necessarily believe that not being able to eat a variety of animals is the worst part about not having them around anymore, we do think its worth contemplating the level to which we've already accepted a much blander and more homogeneous world. And if foodies in NYC can begin caring about the preservation of wild places as sources of rare eats, well... we're grateful for more voices calling for protection of our forests, rivers, deserts, and grasslands.

Sunday, November 23, 2008


As our gentle readers may remember, we started rooting for Raúl Grijalva for Secretary of the Department of Interior as soon as it became slightly probable that Obama was going to win. We hadn't dared to dream of this possibility until we saw his name in the New York Times editorial critiquing the Bush Administration's environmental record which seemed like a sign.

Now it appears that either our mustachioed voodoo doll is working or great minds think alike. It's looking good for Congressman Grijalva. Here's a round-up of good stories and blog highlights:
1. Grijalva in Running for Interior (Washington Post)

2. Grijalva emerging as top choice at Interior !!? (Ralph Maughan's Wildlife News)

3. Please, Let it be Grijalva for Interior Secretary (New West) [We're with you. Please, please, please let it be Grijalva!)
Who knew that Arizona was such a liberal paradise that it could offer up not one but TWO Cabinet potentials!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dastardly W

Bush is trying to extend his nightmare environmental "legacy" in the next sixty days, so how about this: Suspend the publication of the Federal Register. Can't Congress act to suspend the publication of the FR and thereby thwart his midnight regulation strategy?

Someone tell us if this is possible, please.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

And to think we were excited about this headline:

"An endangered jaguar makes Arizona his new home."

Could it be true? Could a male jaguar be residing again in the U.S. at long last?

Sure, if you count zoos.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Optimistic about the next 8 years

Straight up: We're thrilled at the coming-soon-to-a-theater-near-you Obama Administration. For starters, and just for starters, the election enfranchised a whole lot of people who had previously abandoned any hope that presidential political races made any difference in their lives. It was thrilling to see the level of participation that this election achieved, and it was similarly thrilling that all those voters wanted a return to sanity, intelligence, and diplomacy. Hurrah!

We're also thrilled that conservationists won't be regarded as the ants at the picnic any longer. Mr. Obama seems to have a handle on the pressing environmental issues of our times, and the rumored short-lists for key cabinet positions look pretty favorable for salvaging what's left of the west.

Not that the transition team is going to pay any attention to little old us, but just in case: We're still supporting Congressman Raul Grijalva for Interior.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008



Tuesday, November 04, 2008


(credit: Mike Luckovich)

Here's the deal:
Voting does matter. A lot. Even in states that seem like party strongholds, it matters. We've got Alaska, Arizona, and Montana on the cusp of switching allegiances, as well as a few other states around the new west, and this is huge.

It's significant not only because of the DOI appointment, or the USDA appointment, but for the Supreme Court justices for when environmental cases head to D.C. We don't believe that an Obama administration is going to suddenly make this country a political paradise- not by a long shot- but a Palin/McCain administration might make it complete hell.

So please, go vote, for Obama.
Yes, we will!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

How about Grijalva?

Now that we're all cautiously optimistic about an Obama win (and, yes, we're afraid to jinx it), some folks have moved on to speculating about the new Secretary of the Department of the Interior. In today's SF Chronicle, Rocky Barker has this to say about an Obama pick:
California Rep. George Miller is a strong candidate, as is John Leshy, former Interior solicitor under Bruce Babbitt. How about Bill Richardson, or Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano? Yes, it's a fun guessing game, but out here it's important: The secretary of the Interior is the Boss of the West.
No joke. We've got public lands aplenty, imperiled species galore, and a whole lot of decisions to be made by someone well-versed in the issues.

So how about Raul Grijalva? As chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, he brings significant experience to the table. He recently authored a report about how badly the Bush Administration has screwed up the environment in the last eight years, which shows he's well aware of where the starting line would be in the race to regain a conservation ethic.

Our friends in his district should share the wealth a little bit: Pass him up to the DOI!