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Know the West

Not so proud to be an American

  The essay "American — and proud of it" by Geneen Haugen suggested that "the stunning fact that Americans have preserved habitat at all is evidence of an emerging ecological vision" (HCN, 11/8/04: American — and proud of it). The optimist in me would like to agree. However, setting aside large areas of natural environment means that, as an industrial nation of consumers, we obtain a substantial proportion of our energy and resources from outside our borders.

We will see the true colors of our "emerging ecological vision" when Americans are forced by trade deficit to manage our own natural resources more intensively to meet the desired lifestyles of our growing population. Perhaps by then sustainability will make the front page of mainstream media.

Tom Paragi
Fairbanks, Alaska