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Posts Tagged ‘Wilderness’

For many reasons, these are important times in the story of permanently protecting some of the last remaining wild places in the lower 48 states. I’m talking specifically about Southern Utah’s vast red rock canyon country, where 9 million acres still meet the definition of Wilderness, according to the 1964 Wilderness Act. I really love this part of the world and lately I’m spending most of my time here working with the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, not walking in some unnamed canyon or laying on a warm rock and thinking or watching the different shapes clouds become as they move across the sky.  No, I’m either in meetings with rural county commissioners who are somehow under the impression that Wilderness designation will hurt their constituents, or I’m driving back roads checking boundaries or looking for any clue that will help make a stronger argument.

That’s during the day. At night I’m looking for better ways to articulate why, during these times of changing climate, devastating earthquakes, political upheaval, and deep financial uncertainty, wilderness matters.  Last night I pulled off of my shelf, William Ashworth’s book, The Economy of Nature, in which he makes a clear case for why environmental protection does not need to be at odds with the market economy.  I wanted to revisit Ashworth’s discussion of “opportunity costs” as a way to measure value in developed and undeveloped land. He uses the example of a woodlot, where by cutting the trees and selling (more…)

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I'm sitting on the edge of the Utah Wilderness Coalition's "Mary Jane" unit, east of Moab/Photo by Chris Noble.

In his book, Nature and Madness, Paul Shepard said that “civilization is a veneer”. I think he was referring to Carl Jung’s concept of modern self or the outer, conscious world. Beneath Shepard’s  ‘veneer’ exists is a core where we all have  “a secret person, undamaged”.  Carl Jung referred to our ‘core’ as the “Two million year old man”alive in all of us, as our archaic self (the inner, unconscious world).

The Wilderness Act of 1964 laid out the reasons to save wilderness, many of which made the assumption that modern humans need things like places that have retained their “primeval character and influence”, that are affected “primarily by the forces of nature”, and have “outstanding opportunities for solitude”,  for example.  What Olaus Murie and Howard Zahniser might not have considered during the years they spent writing the Act, (more…)

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A Great West Production in partnership with University of Utah Environmental Humanities

A Great West Production in partnership with University of Utah Environmental Humanities

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