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Know the West

Finding radical balance


I very much enjoyed David Wolman's article on the success of wildlife on military land (HCN, 5/24/10). It's always welcome to hear of nature thriving. But the assertion that these instances represent a balance between "trashing of, or respect for, the planet" doesn't follow. If anything, it's David Brower's dream: an intact landscape left untrammeled by people for 60 years. That the places cited have been a boon for wildlife is pure dumb luck, not a "balancing." (Let's not forget that the U.S. military is far and away the most polluting institution on earth. That "national security" is always cited in sustaining this legacy is more than ironic.) We all want balance. The problem is that everything has swung so far toward the industrial that those calling for a return to "balance" will always look like radicals. Imagine the outcry if someone asked to keep people off BLM land, or even designated wilderness, for 60 years.

Rob Lee
Portland, Oregon