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Tag Archives: Art Bell

Big Burns Vs. Forest Thinning

Do public forestlands in the West need to burn in order to be "saved"? Or should they be thinned, toppled, or set off limits to overt human manipulation? The growing recognition of wildfire's importance to ecosystems and the view of some that society should reap an economic and/or commodity return from timber products on public lands are issues at the heart of this latest column from, ecologist, writer and activist George Wuerthner.

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With These Odds, Cheney Should Step Up To Plate

Cosmic forces of the universe—chalk it up to God, the work of Tricksters, or simply random chance if you're an atheist—are again assuming the role of a major league baseball pitcher, hurling a brush back fastball that is expected to arrive in a close trajectory with Earth on April 13, 2036. If the asteroid, nicknamed Apophis, beans the planet, the 460-foot chunk of rock could take out an entire city, kick up enough dust to wreak global havoc, or worse. With little controversy, the idea of a cataclysm caused by a flying object—and the necessity of confronting it to avoid disaster— can be accepted as fact, with spare resistance from right-wing think tanks, their denialist toadies at Fox News, and some of the most powerful people on Earth, including one individual who happens to have a residence near the fairways of the Teton Pines golf course in Jackson Hole. Yet when it comes to dealing with something that has far more extensive scientific understanding and likelihood of occurrence associated with it, to say nothing of the eminent scientific minds at NASA being applied to the challenge, the Teton Pines resident, yes, the Vice President of the United States of America (the man who is helping to orchestrate a new plan for decisive military action in Iraq), reportedly blanches at the thought of doing something real and substantive about climate change. Even Mr. Cheney's financial advisor has encouraged the Bush Administration to accept action as a lucrative business opportunity.

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America Is Paying A Steep Price For Cheap Food

George Wuerthner has been called a brilliant provocateur who knows how to get under the skin of Western ranchers. With this essay, one that is certain to incite a strong reaction from readers, he examines the costs of America's cheap food policy on both the U.S. Treasury and the environment. Wuerthner writes: "Agriculture is the most destructive land use in America." As an activist, trained biologist, photographer and environmental writer, he has become a prominent figure in the campaign to eliminate livestock from public lands. The author of several dozen books, Wuerthner also has written prolifically about forest ecology, wildfire, the impacts of ATVs and, of course, the effects of non-native cattle and sheep on native species. His coffee-table picture book,Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West, set off a firestorm of debate over the impacts of livestock and the multiple ways that beef production is subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. His most recent book is Wild Fire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy. With this first piece, NewWest.Net is debuting a regular column from Mr. Wuerthner that will run twice a month on all things nature-related and anything that suits his fancy.

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Daydreams On Buying The $155 Million Symbol Of Material Excess

After timber baron-turned-real estate developer Tim Blixseth boasted last week in Forbes that he is building a $155 million spec home in his super-rich enclave called The Yellowstone Club near Big Sky, Montana, many citizens of the West responded not with envy or inspiration, but disbelief and derision aimed at the sheer in-your-face decadence of Blixseth's latest attempt to seize public attention and cash in for himself. Here, in this piece from David Nolt, senior editor for the Livingston Weekly newspaper, the reporter summons a dream of his own—picking up the phone and calling Mr. Blixseth to make an offer on this latest example of material excess.

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What Al Gore Hasn’t Told You About Global Warming

Is there any hope of really addressing climate change or is the environmental movement merely sounding a deafening alarm as Rome continues to burn? In the following review of George Monbiot's new book, Heat: How To Stop The Planet From Burning, posted first at AlterNet, David Morris lays out the author's blunt assessment of the challenges facing civilization. The title of the piece is What Al Gore Hasn't Told You About Global Warming. The most difficult hurdle is modifying current human lifestyles necessary to gain any ground in slowing the amount of carbon dioxide pouring into the atmosphere. It's the big white elephant in the room. Will humans voluntarily limit their creature comforts or will it require a government program similar to the one imposed by FDR on Americans during World War II? Will Gore speak to this point when he delivers a keynote address at Boise State University later this month or will he dodge the issue?

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Making Backyard Ice In An Age Of Global Warming

While you are reading these words, I am putting our Montana backyard on ice. I've been out past midnight for a couple of weeks now trying to make peace with the natural elements and uneven contours of frozen sod in order to make a skating rink for the kids. I must say that it is starting to look sweet as it shines in the end-of-day sunlight. What passes today as a modest extravagance in attempting to defy the gusts of warm Chinook winds that blow through in January and inevitably will turn this project into puddles is nothing compared to the epic struggle in the mountains between glaciers and the rising global thermostat. Decades from now when the glaciers are memorialized in our oral tradition, the same way that Native Americans speak of free-ranging bison in their origin stories, what will our kids remember of winter?

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