by Greg Hanscom
KIDS THESE DAYS …Nature, with a capital N, is going to hell — or so we’re told. The venerable wilderness warhorse Dave Foreman recently e-mailed around an essay detailing exactly how it’s doing so, and why. Among other culprits, he blames High Country News (too preoccupied with "happy little resource-extraction communities"), The Nature Conservancy (too much talk about "people instead of Nature"), and the authors of the recent report, "The Death of Environmentalism" (too much focus on "social justice and other anthropocentric progressive causes").
Foreman also blames the young people who now work in the conservation movement, and kids in general. "Young people, who once would have been hikers and backpackers, now seek thrills on mountain bikes," writes Foreman. "I don’t see kids out messing around in little wild patches; they’re inside, plugged into a virtual reality." (You can read the essay at www.hcn.org. Look under "Short Takes.")
As if this wasn’t enough criticism of the next generation, a recent report finds that American high school students have little appreciation for the First Amendment, while few school administrators say teaching journalism is a high priority. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation says that nationwide, more than 1 in 5 schools offer no student media whatsoever.
Frankly, we think teens and twenty-somethings deserve a little more credit; a few of us here on the HCN staff are pretty young — or were young recently enough to remember what it was like. We’d love to hear what you think. We’d also love to hear from (or about) young people who are doing good work in conservation or journalism. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or send a letter Editor, High Country News, Box 1090, Paonia, CO 81428.
NEW FRIENDS AND OLDAna, Dan and Jude Walzl came by the office in early April. Ana and Dan practice "poverty law" in the San Luis Valley. Ana works for Colorado Legal Services in Monte Vista, and Dan is a public defender. Jude needs a little time to settle on a career, since he’s just eight months old — but we’re sure he’ll do something great. (Power to the young people!)
Georgetown, Colo., reader Jerry Fabyanic also dropped in. Jerry, a semi-retired high school teacher, has an every-other-week radio show on KYGT in Idaho Springs, and also does some work for the Clear Creek Courant.
We received this note from Nevada Senior Deputy Attorney General Marta Adams, who, it turns out, once worked for High Country News: "I loved my summer HCN job way back in the dinosaur days (1973). I was hired by the founder Tom Bell during a wonderful, enlivening summer in Lander, Wyo. The whole experience proved a gateway for my environmental career."
CLARIFICATIONSHydrologist Ben Harding tells us we gave him a little too much credit in our story about Hydrosphere Resource Consultants’ Colorado River computer model (HCN, 3/21/05: What’s worse than the worse-case scenario? Real life). Doug James the principal investigator on the project, deserves particular credit, says Harding. For more about the project and its creators, check out www.hydrosphere.com.
Finally, singer, author and anti-Lake Powell activist Katie Lee called to thank us for the recent review of her book, Sandstone Seduction: Rivers and Lovers, Canyons and Friends (HCN, 2/21/05: Have environmentalists failed the West?). She noted, though, that while she was cold and wet plenty of times while hiking in the desert, she didn’t nearly freeze to death, as we’d stated.
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