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Know the West

Human costs are too much of the equation


On the back of the May 16 issue, you quote Wendy Beye’s recent Writers on the Range opinion piece about how the coal industry’s decline is challenging the Western communities that rely on it: “Too often, the human costs of doing what’s right for our Earth are not considered as part of the equation.” 

To use the word “our” and not “the” is an easy slip to make, yet is so telling of “our” view of an otherwise vastly diverse planet. I would argue that it is the human costs to all living things on and within Earth that are not fully considered in the “equation” of human self-interest. The irony is not lost on me after reading in this same issue the feature story “Grizzly Face-Off,” about the plight of the Yellowstone grizzlies. More apropos would have been to title it “Human Face-Off,” what with all the humans considering the “costs” of whether the bears deserve to share space with us, space that humans have consumed and marginalized. As author Gloria Dickie pointed out with sad irony, the term “game” is used, not wildlife, to warn drivers on the roads of Wyoming to steer clear of animals — in order that those animals may be shot dead at a later date by hunters. Wildlife as monetary gain; “game” as value, not valued.    

Ms. Beye, I couldn’t agree less.  

Sean S. Doyle  
Corvallis, Oregon