Conspiring Against Life

Tuesday evening the brilliant writer Terry Tempest Williams spoke to a crowd of students, professors, and outsiders (such as myself) at Cal State Channel Islands (in Camarillo). Wide-ranging as always, she spoke about numerous topics, but inevitably returned to her central themes; the work of sustainability, the need for community with nature.

She closed with a quote from of all people, Emily Dickinson, who wrote in a letter to a friend:

"Life is a spell so exquisite everything conspires to break it."

It’s still true today. A strong Decoder piece in Sierra this month begins:

Since shortly after Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act in 1973, enemies have conspired against it. Among the most zealous is Representative Richard Pombo (R-Calif.), the chair of the House Resources Committee.

Pombo, one of the thirteen most corrupt politicians in Washington, according to a watchdog group cited in a NYTimes editorial, is on the warpath. His lies and misrepresentations have been taken apart by the NYTimes, the LATimes, and perhaps most scathingly, by the Sacramento Bee, which begins a recent editorial:

Here’s a bizarre thought: If we don’t drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we have to sell off national parks to help balance the national budget.

That grotesque notion has slithered full-grown from the dim recesses of Rep. Richard Pombo’s brain.

That’s right: you just heard one of the best newspapers in the state call Pombo a snake. Or, as a writer named Kurt Repanshek, puts it in a great post on his wonderful National Parks Traveler blog:

What Did the National Park Service Do to the GOP?

I don’t believe these far-right wingnuts represent a desire on the part of this country’s voters, and point to the fact that (as WIlliams mentioned) moderate Republicans just voted to preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from drilling. The battle’s not over–it never is–but I suspect the anti-nature Republicans are pushing their attempts at murderous destruction as far as possible to the right precisely because they sense the pendulum swinging back towards preservation. Compared to drilling in Yellowstone, after all, junking the Endangered Species Act sounds almost moderate.

We’ll see what happens. In the meantime we can look forward to a piece  by the sharp enviro writer for the LAWeekly, Judith Lewis, who posted this yesterday on her blog:
Thespeciesyousasve

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