The rural West should grow up

  Dear HCN,


After reading Ed Marston's column, "Show me the science," (HCN, 3/16/98), I feel compelled to respond to your criticism of modern Western environmentalists wherein you called them "enemies of rural life and rural economies."


Why do you, and so many others, think that Western rural lifestyles and economies must be based upon traditional practices like ranching, logging and mining?


Can't you imagine a nice, quiet little town where most people spend their work week writing innovative software programs, let's say, while their weekends are spent appreciating, in a responsible manner, the natural splendor of the surrounding public lands? It could be a place where someone who is different doesn't feel uncomfortable? A place where the elected public officials don't seem to be in some sort of contest to prove which of them is the most ignorant, or the most rigid?


Can't the rural West join the modern world in a positive way? I don't think change is inherently bad. In fact, it's long overdue in many places.





Jeff Burgess


Tempe, Arizona





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