Check for your wallets

  Dear HCN,

I was surprised at the thoughts reflected in two articles in the Aug. 13 High Country News. In "The man in the rubber boots," Paul Larmer states that in western Colorado, where he lives, 12 inches of rain falls. He says he lives in a desert. He says he used to use his water "like stingy millionaires." But then he admits he became a profligate water user, too! For an editor of High Country News, which has spoken about water conservation so passionately, this seems extremely hypocritical.

In the article, "No refuge in the Klamath Basin," the attitudes of wildlife biologist Tim Griffiths with the California Waterfowl Association and Phil Norton, manager of six national wildlife refuges, are troubling. Griffiths wants the Endangered Species Act to be more flexible and Norton wants it tweaked. What this really means will be destruction of the Act. I have learned in 25 years of volunteer activism that when someone wants more flexibility, I had better check for my wallet.

What is most troubling about these two articles is that the people are educated about conservation problems. Yet as soon as they get an opportunity, they are willing to jettison the principles they profess to believe in or have been taught to protect and ignore the real problems - too many people, not enough water, trying to irrigate a desert - and go for their own self-interest.

We need professionals who will stick up for their beliefs or, at the very least, not mislead people about what they do believe.

Brandt Mannchen
Bellaire, Texas
High Country News Classifieds