Letters to the Editor

Environmental: Public forests no longer ours

Once upon a time, before George Bush, our national forests belonged to the people. We used to call these places “public lands” and citizens could actually be part of a decision-making process concerning our natural resources. Now, this has changed.

The Bush administration, uninterested in the slow investigative processes of science and impatient with those whose family values include clean air, clean water, healthy watersheds and the overall health of the community, has taken the word “public” out of “public lands” and has replaced these words with “managing of forests with a more corporate approach.”

So my fellow earthlings, under Bush’s new rules, gone are the days of scientific analysis and public input. The Bush administration says we are living in new times which require new rules for managing forests. These may be new times Mr. President, but the old ecological rules will always apply. When you degrade the land, you diminish the possibilities for the health and well-being of the people.

Forests are more than just pretty stands of trees. Forests recycle the air we breathe and ensuring that our oxygen supply will not be exhausted. Forests store rainwater, they create, filter and protect soils. They impact climate. Forests are places of ponds and streams full of aquatic diversity. Forests are forests due to long slow interactions among species over time, which have created a web of life-giving resources beyond wood products.

For the next four years this story will have no happy ending, not for salmon, or wolves, bears or for most people. The intentions of the Bush Forest Service are to take everything that is rightfully and collectively “ours” and to turn it into more wealth and power for the corporate Christian compassionate conservatives. We the people must reclaim our public lands.

Teresa Dix


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