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Environmentalists are revolutionaries

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Dear HCN,

As an environmentalist, I was surprised at Ed Marston's conclusion in his recent HCN, essay (-How to turn lemonade into lemons," March 21) that "the goal of environmentalism was never to achieve a cultural revolution." Silly me. I thought I was part of a social movement with a goal of enacting fundamental social and economic changes - changes that are necessary to break the historical cycle of abuse of public lands and resources.

Revolutionary? Decide for yourself. It means changing the assumption that people's lives, natural resources, and virtually everything else exist exclusively for the purpose of making money. It means changing the assumption that if nature is killed off in the process of making money, too bad. If it costs too much to alleviate destruction, that's too bad also. It means changing the assumptions of Interior Secretary Babbitt and Mr. Marston that if it has become custom and culture to kill off nature or despoil the land, water and air, these customs and culture are off limits to anything but the most limited, incremental change. Be thankful this consensus, custom-and-culture crowd wasn't leading the movement for safe work places or civil rights legislation.

Larry Tuttle

Portland, Oregon

The writer is executive director of the Oregon Natural Resources Council, 522 SW Fifth Ave., Portland, OR 97204.

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