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for people who care about the West

Don't blame the immigrants

  In response to Mr. Lamm: Immigration is NOT the environmental issue (HCN, 2/16/04: Why I'm running: Immigration is the environmental issue). To blame the trashing of our environment on immigrants is not unlike the attempt to link Iraq to 9/11; it rides popular sentiment to further a dark agenda.

The real environmental issue is consumption, and the consumer culture we practice and export with religious zeal. Cheap, disposable plastic, low-mpg cars and trucks, and sprawl would not exist if there were no market for them. For whatever reason, millions of full-blooded United States citizens daily find themselves unable to obey their conscience and alter buying habits toward a more sustainable end. If we are not capable of resisting our own SUV or yet another REI catalog, then how can we blame the rest of the world for enthusiastically responding to targeted marketing of the American lifestyle?

The issue is the direction of the road, not who’s on it. Instead of singling out an already vulnerable group, which is ultimately counterproductive to the environmental cause, we should be encouraging the masses to seriously consider consumption habits and their consequences.

David Henretty
Sweet, Idaho