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The Earth Day flood

Few days create an onslaught of e-mails to a newspaper like Earth Day.

We get press releases from groups claiming the environment is really well off these days and that problems are just the inventions of rabid tree huggers and liberal journalists.

Conservation groups don’t want to miss out on their shot so they send various alerts proclaiming that President Bush is the worst thing for the environment since an asteroid collided with Earth and wiped out the majority of animal species.

Our favorite e-mails are locally generated, such as the Roaring Fork School District reminding people that Basalt Elementary School is again collecting cans to raise funds to buy rain forest land in South America. It raised enough to purchase 31 acres last year.

The following is a sample of what we received this year.

The Colorado Environmental Coalition titled a press release, “Get the Story from the True Earth Day Experts!” The text explained that the coalition can help reporters find bona fide experts on environmental topics of their choice.

It also provides the Top Five Things list of action people can take to help their communities. 1. Practice water efficiency. 2. Register to vote and exercise that right. 3. Visit public open space, parks and wilderness areas and speak up in public forums for land preservation. 4. Replace an old light bulb with an energy-saving compact florescent and purchase wind energy from your utility company. 5. Take alternative transportation at least once per week.

Another group called the American Lands Alliance called for President Bush to “turn over a new leaf” on Earth Day and proclaim an end to logging of old-growth forests. The group realizes there’s likely as much chance of that as the Rev. Al Sharpton getting elected president, but the world is a stage on Earth Day.

The alliance and its allies claim the administration is putting national forests on the chopping block by easing rules to protect wildlife and clean water to allow more logging of old growth in the Pacific Northwest, removing protection for Alaska’s Tongass National Forest and announcing plans to rewrite rules that protect roadless areas.

On the flip side of the e-mail onslaught is a press release from the Pacific Research Institute and the American Enterprise Institute. They claim “Earth Day is Cause for Celebration: Environmental Trends Mostly Positive.”

Their press release, sent from San Francisco, claims that a list of “leading environmental indicators” shows environmental quality is improving in key areas. For example, average vehicle emissions are improving 10 percent per year even with modern SUVs, it claimed.

The institutes also disclosed that flaws have allegedly been discovered in the ways used to calculate CO2 emissions, which cause global warming. That means “the prognosis is probably not as grim as conventional wisdom would have us believe,” according to the press release.

All those good indicators have the institutes proclaiming, “Environmental quality has improved so much, in fact, that it is nearly impossible to paint a grim, gloom-and-doom picture anymore.”

That makes a person feel better about Earth Day, doesn’t it?

Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com


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