The petitioning ecologist
"My objection to the
is based on ... the lack of vision about
what's important to preserve in the Southwest."
Fishbein is a Ph. D. candidate in the University of Arizona's
department of ecology and evolutionary biology; his dissertation
concerns a milkweed that evolved on the sky islands. In 1990, he
and two other graduate students circulated a petition against the
Mount Graham telescope project - at the same time department head
Conrad Istock actively supported the
"We were able to get a
lot of people to sign it; about one-third of the faculty and half
the grad students. I say it's a lot (because) theoretical
scientists aren't the most rabble-rousing group. And it's
politically dangerous for non-tenured
"My objection to the project is based on
the development pressures happening in the Southwest, and the lack
of vision about what's important to preserve in the Southwest ...
In the grand scheme of things, given climate change, the sky
islands are doomed. (But) there's a line between slow,
geological-pace change, and things happening at a frighteningly
rapid pace due to human changes in the environment. That's what's
"In places like the sky islands ...
from the standpoint of protecting our native biodiversity,
development is particularly dangerous because these habitats and
populations are already small ... If you just looked at one
telescope in isolation, you might not be that concerned, but the
sum effect of grazing and logging and increasing recreation and
telescopes on several mountains already - these things add up.
Nobody has evaluated the sum effects ... It's a short-sighted view
of "What is my action going to do?" "