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for people who care about the West

Wild ambitions


The environmental movement continues to dispirit me with the way it eats its young ("Wild paradox," HCN, 7/21/14). Why we in that movement talk down our successes and accept the claims of others whose analysis is uninformed, I do not know.

Paul Larmer, in his editor's note, states that some "no longer see wilderness protection as the central endeavor of the conservation movement," and that "many wilderness bills today acknowledge this."

I have never seen wilderness protection as the central endeavor of the conservation movement. I consider efforts to reduce air and water pollution, protect wetlands, protect national forests and protect endangered species equally important. Any bill with a main focus on development and destruction with a "bit of wilderness on the side" is not a wilderness bill. Such a bill destroys the land that Aldo Leopold stated had an ethic attached to its stewardship and our co-existence with it.

Perhaps the editors are as dismayed as I am about the never-ending drive to consume all natural resources to make some people rich and powerful. However, this is no reason to give up hope and complain about the Wilderness Act being obsolete. Let's aim for this ambitious goal and protect wilderness as one example of how we can behave some way other than selfishly.

Brandt Mannchen
Houston, Texas