We object

Our future is worth fighting for.

 

Sometimes I look up from the onslaught of news, which, for those of us who care about things like human rights and a livable planet, seems to grow dimmer by the day, and I think: How did we get here? How is it OK for anyone to believe that their fellow humans deserve to have fewer rights, and for our nation’s highest court to officially agree? When did it become fashionable, and legislatively defensible, to disregard the health and well-being of the ecological communities we inhabit? 

The moon shines through the smoke of the 2021 Caldor Fire as it burns in Eldorado National Forest near Pollock Pines, California. The fire burned more than 220,000 acres and destroyed more than 700 homes.
Max Whittaker

I’m thinking about the Supreme Court’s recent session, with its massive assault on women’s rights and its curtailing of the EPA’s ability to regulate dirty energy — both huge steps backward for the country. It has been difficult to digest the immediate and possible future impacts of both of these rulings.

Consider how much delaying climate action will cost the economies and communities of the West. Our forests, our air, our rivers, our towns, our bodies — all will be affected. Delaying climate action is out of step with what a strong majority of people in our region want. According to Colorado College’s 2022 State of the Rockies Project, 69% of Western voters feel more worried than hopeful about the future of our land, water, air and wildlife. Two-thirds want their representatives in Congress to focus on protecting resources and natural lands over drilling or mining. Only 7% of voters in our region want to encourage the use of coal, and only 8% want to encourage the use of oil as an energy source.

In other words: We want a different world, one not ruled by the constant threat of catastrophic climate disasters, including wildfires that burn hotter and longer and do far more damage to property and claim more lives than those of the past. All of this is linked to women’s rights and human rights, because those who have been marginalized by systemic racism or sexism or any other isms will suffer more from climate disasters like wildfire than those in positions of power.

Jennifer Sahn, editor-in-chief

High Country News is invested in a healthy, equitable and joyful future for all inhabitants of the West — humans, other animals, plants and natural features such as mountains and rivers. We believe that such a world is both possible and worth fighting for. It’s why my colleagues and I show up for work each day and look for stories that celebrate small wins, as well as those that hold government agencies and corporations to account. This vision of a healthy and equitable future is why we do the work we do. And we are grateful to you, dear reader, for being a part of it — and for believing in a better future, too.

We welcome reader letters. Email High Country News at [email protected] or submit a letter to the editor. See our letters to the editor policy.

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