We must see beyond our own time
August 29, 2008
In his Aug. 27 column (“Protecting the best of the West without taming it”), Andy Stone rightly notes that public lands in the West aren’t necessarily off-limits to extractive industries.
But that doesn’t mean that all public lands will or should be opened up to mining, drilling and the like. Some are more valuable for their wildlife habitat, fisheries, recreational opportunities or water supplies. Some are just too special ” ecologically or esthetically ” to be disturbed by industry. The Forest Service and BLM are charged with taking these other values into account.
I think Andy’s statement that “we do not own it and we cannot control it” is unduly pessimistic, at least as far as public lands go. In fact, public lands belong to all Americans, and as citizens we have the right ” and the responsibility ” to demand that some special places be declared off-limits to development. Indeed, future generations will judge us for our moral courage on such matters.
I would like to close with a quote by Terry Tempest Williams: “The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time. They are kneeling with hands clasped that we might act with restraint, that we might leave room for the life that is destined to come.”
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