Archive for the ‘Aldo Leopold’ Tag

Barry Commoner, 95, RIP — Plus, Nature Responds To Vandalism   4 comments

Sabino Canyon Riparian Area — Images by kenne

After leaving the Army in 1968, I returned to college to finish my baccalaureate degree. Having an intrinsic love of nature, I began reading the writings of Rachel Carson, Aldo Leopold, Paul Ehrlich and Barry Commoner, all of which had a big influence on my interest in nature. Barry Commoner died September 30 at a hospital in New York. He was 95 and lived in Brooklyn.

Somewhere in my boxes of stored books, there is a paperback, “The Closing Circle,” by Barry Commoner. In this best-selling book, Dr. Commoner made a strong case for the linkage between ecological dangers and technological advances and how these dangers disproportionately affect poor people. In this book, he introduced the four laws of ecology:

  • Everything is connected to everything else.
  • Everything must go somewhere.
  • Nature knows best.
  • There is no such thing as a free lunch.

As an outspoken activist for nature and the social implications of our connection to the environment, many other scientists saw Dr. Commoner as a publicity hound, to which anthropologist Margaret Mead defended – “There are those who are sheltered in their narrow expertise, and those who will take responsibility for the well-being of the planet.”

Earth Day 1970 was irrefutable evidence that the American people understood the environmental threat and wanted action to resolve it.
— Barry Commoner

Because of the work of Dr. Commoner and other environmentalists, concern for the environment is firmly embedded in public life. Now that I have more time to spend outdoors working with children and adults as a volunteer in Sabino Canyon, I’m doing my small effort to take responsibility for improving our environment for current and future generations. If the first law of ecology is that everything is related to everything else, no positive action is without its side effects.  There are those whose connection with the environment is very destructive, of which there are many examples. One that the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SVCN) have observed over the years is a basic act of vandalism.  Like most acts of vandalism, they are senseless. One year ago I posted some photos with the question, “Why would anyone do this?” 

Why would anyone do this? 1st posted September 17, 2011

The SCVN members try to patrol the canyon, especially alone the move heavily traveled path watching for acts of vandalism, we have noted that nature is doing its thing by growing arms around the damaged tops as shown in the following images.

Vandalized Saguaro Cactus Live On In Sabino Canyon– Images by kenne

I see harm reduction as a way of engaging people as part of that path to recovery.
— Paul Ehrlich

kenne

A Visit To The Lemmon Rock Lookout In The Catalina Mountains   3 comments

Lemmon Rock Outlook overlooking The University of Arizona Steward Observatory and a “control-burn” on Mt. Lemmon.

Lemmon Rock Lookout on Mt. Lemmon. The lookout cabin is about 15′ by 15′.

Hiking friend Jim with Gus.

View toward the Tucson valley with a Osborne Fire Finder mounted in the center of the cabin.

View east in the Catalinas toward the Rincon Mountains.

David Medford has been at the lookout since 2010. Here David takes a picture of a group visiting the lookout.

David, supervised by Gus, takes a group picture with the Tucson valley in the background.

View out of the southwest corner of the lookout cabin.

View from behind Osborne fire finder.

Images by kenne

The above plack reads: Lemmon Rock Lookout Tower was erected in 1928. It is the oldest lookout still in use on the Forest. This general locale has been used as a fire lookout since the Coronado Forest Reserve was established in 1902. The current lookout structure was constructed according to 1920’s standard plans. It contains a work area, kitchen, sleeping area, and fire finder in the same room. This lookout played a role in the first aerial fire patrols which flew over the Santa Catalinas beginning in 1921.

The earliest Forest Service fire towers were trees cleared of branches with a simple platform on the top. They were constructed in locales which provided an open view of the surrounding forest. The first wooden tower was built about 1915. Numerous wooden towers were erected during the 1920’s, along with the establishment of telephone lines for reporting fire conditions.

Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees stationed a camps on the Coronado National Forest during the 1930’s provided personnel for fire prevention work and additional fire tower construction. Architectural plans were developed throughout the Southwest Region for standard lookout towers made of wood and steel at this time. Few fire towers were built after World War II because of increasing dependence on air surveillance. Today, 50 permanent lookout towers remain on the forests of Arizona. Most are used seasonally, throughout the dry, windy spring and during the first rains of summer.

The Forest Service has always emphasized fire detection and suppression to protect the timber reserves. Fire guards patrolled on horseback or searched for fires from high vantage points in the early years of this century. Wildfires were suppressed as quickly as possible, although forester and conservationist Aldo Leopold, in a review of Southwest fire activities between 1919 and 1923, reported the beneficial effects of fire in maintaining pine forests and in brush control. The Forest Service now emphasizes prevention of fire damage rather than strict suppression. This, fire may enhance natural conditions and reduce fire hazards. Modern fire fighting equipment such as airplanes and fire retardants, sophisticated communication systems, and fire management plans help protect and maintain forest and range lands today. The lookout tower, used for almost a century, still plays a valuable role in protecting our forests resources.

This Lookout Tower is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Please help us protect it. 

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When on Mt. Lemmon, visitors are encouraged to take the short hike down the Meadow Trail to the Lemmon Rock Lookout.

kenne

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