… I’ve known this Moab resident and environmental guru for about as long as I’ve lived in Colorado – that’s going on 30 years. He was one of the incorporators of Earth First! Foundation, along with his wife LaRue, who passed away two years ago … You’ve seen me quote in this column from the incredible alerts that he sends out periodically. His encyclopedic scan of scientific and environmental literature has been a huge resource for my understanding of current issues and answers to the huge social and ecological problems we face as a nation … Of course, Lance is much more than just that. He was a founding member of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a lynchpin and officer of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, founder of the Association of the Tree of Life, a member of the Grand County Planning and Zoning Commission and a member of too many enviro and local political organizations and task forces to list. Suffice to say, he’s one of those Renaissance sages who thinks globally and acts locally … Most recently he’s been recovering from the death of his wife and dealing with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. I can say, without reservation, he’s one of the most brilliant thinkers I know, and as his friend Ray Wheeler characterizes him, a “warm, kind, fun-loving, teddy-bear of a guy, with a sparkling joie de vivre
… That’s why it’s so fitting that this past Earth Day (April 22) came the announcement of the on-line release of the 3.0 version of his magnum opus, The Renewable Deal for the United States of America WHY IT MATTERS
… Lance’s friend Ray Wheeler explains why Christie’s masterwork is so important coming at this point in America’s history … “At the dawn of the 21st century, the critical infrastructure of life on Earth has been catastrophically damaged. Everywhere we see the devastating impacts of human exploitation of the natural world: the stripping-away of forests, grasslands, vegetative cover and wildlife habitat at a continental scale; the systematic toxification of air, water, and of the earth itself; the eradication of animal life and food sources in oceans, lakes and rivers; the ever-accelerating erosion, salinization and sterilization of soil; the depletion of aquifers, loss of water stored in snow and ice fields, lowering of water tables, damming of rivers and loss of biological productivity on our most fertile valleys and plains; the radical transformation of the atmosphere, temperature, climate and ocean circulation patterns of the entire plane; a loss of biodiversity which is sweeping away in the blink of an eye the precious fruits of millions of years of design-development by evolution. For too long, the environmental movement has lived in a state of learned helplessness, under the mushroom-cloud assumption that catastrophe is inevitable and the only possible future is one of staged retreat from our ideals. No more … It’s time to reverse the foundational assumption that the planet's life support systems cannot or will not ever be restored. They can be very substantially restored within a few generations – incidentally insuring the survival of human civilization –l
if enough of us begin thinking and acting as if global restoration were necessary, desirable, and possible … Wouldn’t it be cool if instead of hand-wringing and lamentations, we could rally behind a coherent , comprehensive, empirically rich, factually grounded, deeply researched, competent, believable, hopeful vision and roadmap as to exactly how we might constructively engage with the myriad of environmental and economic problems that beset human civilization and the natural world? Wouldn’t it be great if we felt optimistic and confident, centered, grounded, hopeful? If instead of complaining about being powerless, we had a clear idea of how we could replace chaos with order, how we could think and act coherently, deliberately? What if individual people on every continent and in every biome and ecoregion began to take the initiative, starting today, Earth Day 2010, to clean the air, soil, water, to systematically restore forests and streams, grasslands and lakes and oceans, to maximum vitality again? Is there any more important mission for the 21st
century? … Well that happens to be the mission of the Earth Restoration Network
, the most insanely ambitious environmental initiative ever conceived. Its statement of purpose: To build a comprehensive, cross-disciplinary platform of ideas and resources and a network of informed, committed and empowered activists, to enable the fullest possible restoration of our planet's life support systems, its biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, at every scale and in every time frame from weeks to centuries …
If that seems overly abstract, not to mention overly ambitious, the Renewable Deal – the first content deliverable of our project – should resolve both concerns. It’s an extremely detailed, comprehensive, fully integrated, 500-page master plan for moving the United States of America, in logical steps, to full sustainability for food, water, and carbon-free, nuclear-free energy within one lifetime, using established best practice and existing proven technology. In one stroke this masterful synthesis translates the abstract ideals of global environmental renewal into a single concrete and highly specific policy portfolio.” … I highly recommend folks take a look at this amazing document from our own regional environmental guru and see how we might proceed, if there’s the political will. I’m working my way though the plan right now.SIMON ORTIZ
… Nationally known poet, teacher and writer, Simon has been one of the most important influences in indigenous American literature. Of the Acoma Pueblo tribe, Simon writes about his culture, his history and his life … Friday, May 7th. Pot Luck at Cliffrose, 5:30 p.m. Reading, 7 p.m. Saturday, May 8th, 10 a.m.
THE TALKING GOURD
Epithalamium -for John & Brenda
The cottonwoods at Norwood Bridge
begin to bud only to be
nipped in the nape of spring’s freeze/thaw.
Jugular rains. Frost. Life’s thick flakes.
A filigree etching of snow
on spruce green up Leopard Creek.
Dreaming tomorrows blues on the way
to a friend’s cakewalk in Junction.
Looking beyond the down-turned clouds
to the stars of love’s bull market.