Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Songs by Tim Lengerich, A Voice for the Land



We're especially fans of "Mother Nature's Face" and "Out there, Anywhere, All the Time," but they are all pretty great, authentic expressions of loving the natural world. A keen observer, a passionate activist.

Hozho.

UPDATED 9/5 TO ADD: We were also very sorry, very sorry to learn last week of Tim's passing. We have been comforted to know that he died in the place that he loved, doing his favorite thing. We should all be so lucky.

We should also all be so fearless, outspoken, creative, exuberant, outraged, and unstoppable in our vocal and active opposition to the destruction of our public lands. Those of you who knew and will miss Tim: do something in his memory to restore the federal lands for wildlife. We let Tim do it for long enough. It's time we all start writing letters to the Cow-anado National Forest, to the Bureau of Livestock and Mining, to the powers that be.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The types of meetings we'd like to attend


We here at DL try to stay in our nests as much as possible. The world out there is a scary place. We especially can't stand meetings with bureaucrats, though sometimes even we put on a suit a tie to talk to the man about environmental issues. You know, get involved. The problem is, it is usually just so darn depressing. Optimistic enviros, hedging Freddies, and way too many fluorescent lights.

But here's one that came across our desk that we think we'd like to attend: Dam removal meeting. We immediately started thinking of our preferred alternative!

Oh, except... it looks like its less about the dam removal and more about managing sport fishing interests.
Removing the dam will eliminate a major barrier to salmon and steelhead migration on the White Salmon, creating new opportunities to restore wild stocks listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. That’s a good thing. Unfortunately, it will also mean, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service, the end of summer and winter steelhead stocking in the river, since the feds will insist on “natural colonization.”
We're glad the feds are going to insist on that. Real recovery depends on it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Summertime

We're pretty lazy in the summer, especially in summers without sufficient monsoon rains to inspire us. We're desert dwellers, and that means we basically spend the summer under a tree, not doing much but sweating and trying not to get sunburned.

Plenty of sun here in the southwest. Perfect for massive solar installations, right? Wrong. The desert is full of archeological and biological wonders, too precious to be bladed over for the sake of a cheap buck or cheap energy. Grid-dependent solar is not renewable energy. We're looking at you, Sierra Club. (See more heartfelt and informative coverage of this issue at Coyote Crossing.)

The answer to the global catastrophe that we've created is one that very few people want to hear: We need to dismantle civilization in order to save what is left of the planet, and perhaps ourselves too. It's depressing, sure, but it's also depressing to see the desert bladed over with the false promise that this will solve the problem of our energy consumption, our capitalist economy.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Shaking in their boots

Western Watersheds Project and Oregon Natural Desert Association have done it again: put the fear of reality in the public lands ranchers across the west. And the reality is this: get while the gettin's good, folks. Your reign of terror on the ecosystems of the American West is swiftly coming to a close.

Nothing like a cool $20 million to show them the door.
El Paso Corp.'s Ruby Pipeline, LLC will donate more than $20 million during the next 10 years to set up two conservation funds to preserve lands and wildlife habitat near the pipeline, said Jon Marvel, executive director of the Western Watersheds Project, a partner in the endeavor.

The two entities and the Oregon Natural Desert Association recently established the Sagebrush Habitat Conservation Fund.

The fund is designed to protect and restore sagebrush habitat for sage grouse through the purchase and retirement of federal grazing permits offered by willing sellers.
The groups had to agree not to litigate or delay the pipeline's construction in exchange, which tends to make the "No Compromise!" folks among us a little nervous.

It's a big gamble, as litigation would have been. No telling whether lawsuits would have stopped the pipeline; no telling whether they still will. But the hew and cry from the ranchers and the counties and the states shows that the conservation groups are definitely onto something:
"Creating a federal buyout program is a dangerous step toward ending grazing on public lands, which would have a devastating impact on local economics throughout the West and would have unintended consequences on the environment," Simpson said in a press release. (Via)
We're dying to know all about those economic consequences, like saving the taxpayers $500 million a year, for starters. Sounds just awful!

We know it isn't simple, and there's a lot of land to be wrecked by the Ruby pipeline if it goes through. We're as devastated as anyone by the extent to which our dependence on oil and gas has completely screwed the planet. But unless we deal with that- with the supply and demand economy- these types of trade-offs are probably par for the course. Let's hope it works.

And let's hope that the ranchers see the writing on the wall and take the buy out. That would be win-win.