Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Times Like These

This past week a number of us spent a good portion of the afternoon with one of our state representatives. He’s championing a bill in this legislative session that intends to impair a recent Utah Supreme Court ruling that gives public access to the majority of the state’s moving rivers and streams. There was some discussion that parties would possibly seek to overturn the ruling all together. At the conclusion of our dialog, there were no surprises, other than he was very gracious with his time.

Related to that, the previous day I attended a Blue Ribbon Fisheries Council meeting where a portion of the meeting was allocated to the issue. At one juncture the Division of Wildlife Resources revealed the number of streams being considered for inclusion within the bills language, yet would not disclose names. Their unwillingness to divulge the specifics left many with an aurora of suspicion and frustration. The following day as we left the State Capitol, our sentiments had not be satisfied.

At weeks end, I sat down to watch “Red Gold”, a documentary on Alaska’s proposed Pebble Mine; nothing like immersing ones self. If you haven’t seen it, do so. Buy, rent, borrow or download a copy. Even if you don’t fish, you’ll appreciate the mines implication. Should this mine be permitted, it threatens the world’s largest sustainable sockeye run; an annual phenomenon that feeds nations, and sustains every living fiber within the Bristol Bay watershed and beyond.

Distraught over current events and the prevailing administration 11th hour initiatives, I took my old dog for a stroll. Her slow lethargic pace was good therapy. Halfway through our walk I paused, leaning back in search of the Big Dipper. Anymore you can’t always see all its components. To the east, the full moon showed a sliver of light as it crept up the back side of the valley’s snowcapped peaks. Rather than being close to home, momentarily I wished to be camping, far removed from the light, air and noise pollution that increasingly permeate the valley.

Toward the end of the jaunt, I pondered much. I’ll never truly know the extent our native people suffered as we took their lands from them, although I’ve a mind having read more than most. There is no doubt there are significant differences between then and now, yet I can’t help but ponder the underlying similarities to those struggling today to preserve those lands and resources that add such an immeasurable quality to our lives.

From the planets standpoint, we are at a crossroads. Never has so much been on the table. In our lifetime, the stakes never have been so high. On a grand scale, this bill we’re attentive to doesn’t matter much, yet it’s an integral piece of a complex puzzle. Given the global financial crisis, much of what we’ve fought to preserve, protect and nurture seems vulnerable as short term gains are prioritized neglecting long term implication and responsibilities. Our kids futures face incredible challenges and burdens because of the way we’ve behaved, yet I hope one day looking back when all is said and done, we do some things right. I hope we continue to protect and preserve those magical places so they to can benefit from what we often times take for granted. We owe that to them. At times like these, I ponder the reality of such.