As a longtime reader of HCN, I am writing to commend your paper on the superb April 17 issue, and particularly on your lead story, "The New West's servant economy." The environmental movement has been criticized - sometimes justly - for ignoring the human condition, as if humanity is not part of the natural world we endeavor to protect and defend. Ray Ring's piece on immigrant workers in ski country put a humane face on issues that other environmental publishers would rather ignore.
Often, the public thinks that human rights are principles to apply to distant foreign governments, but HCN illuminates these principles by asking readers to think about the circumstances that divide human beings from their environment. The workers from Mali, Mexico and Peru have arrived on the snowy slope after an arduous human highway that led them away from war, starvation and abject poverty to take jobs in communities where they cannot afford to live well. The irony of displaced immigrants is not lost. It's this kind of depth that sets HCN apart.