Archive for the ‘Rachel Carson’ Tag

Keeping Alive A Sense Of Wonder   3 comments

SCVN SIR-72Panning for Garnets in Sabino Creek — Image by kenne

“If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder . . .
he [or she] needs the companionship of at least one adult
who can share it, rediscovering the joy, excitement, and
mystery of the world we live in.”

— Rachel Carson


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


Contemplating Earth’s Beauty   2 comments

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” — Rachel Carson

A View of Tucson From The Mouth of Pima Canyon, January 7, 2012. (Notice air pollution south of Tucson near the Santa Rita Mountains.) — Image by kenne

When we decided to move from Houston to Tucson, there were many factors considered, not the least of which were beautiful blue skies, clean air and nature at its finest. When considering Tucson, we also were looking at Santa Fé for the same reasons. It just so happens that both cities are in the top 25 cleanest for long-term particle pollution – Santa Fe #2 and Tucson #6.

Tucson is in Pima County in southern Arizona with a county population of over one million and to their credit much has been done to maintain a balance between economic growth, while responsibly managing the pollution factors. One of Arizona’s biggest industries is copper mining, (along with cotton, cattle, climate and citrus — the 5 C’s) making it an important part of the economy. However, “the historic conduct of the copper mining industry in the state has turned this sector into a pariah,” alienating much of the public. Today, this alienation is very clear in the public’s reaction to the proposed Rosemont Copper Project, which would create an open-pit mine roughly 30 miles south of Tucson in the Santa Rita Mountains.

Although there are many natural causes of air pollution, most are the result of human activities, which have been scientifically documented over the years. In her 1962 book, Silent SpringRachel Carson wrote, “Only within the moment of time represented by the present century has one species — man — acquired significant power to alter the nature of the world. ” The power to alter nature can have both good and bad results. In seeking approval, Rosemont is addressing the problems (bad results) of past mining companies.   If approved, only time will tell if Rosemont will create water problems, air pollution and a massage tailings pile mess like the one the mining industry has created west of Green Valley.

It can be done right by demonstrating our mastery over ourselves, not over nature. With that in mind, you might agree with Hugh Holub statement in the “. . . instead of trying to run Rosemont out of Pima County, I suggest local leaders ought to do everything possible to help Rosemont create a 21st century responsible mining project, and then use the precedents achieved with Rosemont to shove them down the throats of the other mining companies in the county that continue to operate like this was the 19th century.”  Sounds reasonable, but why do I keep hearing over and over in my ears, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” How many times are we going to be foolish?


In the end, can jobs make up for ruined beauty?

View of Green Valley and The Tailings Pile To The West From Madera Canyon in The Santa Rita Mountains — Image by kenne

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