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The real culprits

Dear Editors,

The oil, gas and mining industries and the problems that they bring to our community seems to be a huge theme in this paper. Letters to the editors, thumbin’ it, articles, etc., all seem to blame these industries for countless environmental problems. There is no doubt of the damage that these industries do to our local air and water quality and thus negatively affect human health. I whole-heartedly believe that we need to continue to hold the oil, gas and mining industries accountable for their actions. However, I would like to take a little bit of the blame and finger pointing away from these industries and have them directed at me.

Yes that’s right, I would like to take responsibility for some of the damage that is done by the oil, gas and mining industries. Why would I do such a thing? Because my life is utterly dependant on these industries, and I give them the money they need to continue their destructive ways. I wake up every morning in a house heated by gas, then I cook food (which is grown, processed and shipped using gas) on a gas stove, then I put on many layers of clothes derived from petroleum, hop in a car that is powered by gas and made entirely from mined materials. I drive the car up to the mountains on roads brought to me by mining and oil. I then enjoy a good backcountry ski and think to myself how lucky I am to live such a life. Back at home, I take a hot shower brought to me by natural gas and on and on and on. Not only do I use all these things and depend on them, I love it. I am grateful that I can have a day like the above example. My point is that blaming everything on the oil, gas and mining industries is an easy scapegoat, it takes the blame away from the consumers.

Perhaps a metaphor we can all relate to is needed: Putting all the blame on the oil, gas and mining industry is like blaming a hangover entirely on alcohol. Alcohol created the symptoms of the hangover but it is not theroot cause of the symptoms. The real cause of the symptoms is me choosing to drink too much the night before. I choose to take advantage of the opportunities that oil, gas and mining provide me (I think that I am not alone in this) and thus must be willing to take some responsibility. I am not saying that the oil, gas and mining should not be held accountable for their questionable actions; I am saying let’s not bite the hand that feeds us without examining ourselves first. These industries can and should do a better job of making their operations less harmful, and me as a consumer can and should do a better job of being more mindful of consumption. Again I am not in any way on the side of the oil, gas and mining industries, I am just asking that we take a look at our own actions before we point our finger elsewhere. 

– Evan Meyer, Durango  

An electric car backfire


Thumbs up for electric cars? Yea, but...

Your “Mountain Exchange” article about the electric vehicle charging stations in Whistler, B.C. had no mention of the source of electricity. Upon first glance people might think that N.W. power is clean because it comes primarily from hydro-electric dams (forgetting for a moment your feelings about the devastation to Salmon runs), but what many don’t realize is that power companies in the N.W. (Washington and Oregon) are on a power exchange program with other states like Montana, Utah, etc. so, even if the power generation in the N.W. is primarily clean hydro, when we factor in the power shared from the other states, we see about 25-35 percent coal as the source. In Durango, that percentage is significantly higher.  

Have you ever climbed a peak in the La Platas and looked down on the haze over Shiprock?Even though plug-in electric vehicles are a great step forward, we must not forget about the source of our power.  If we look at the efficiency of vehicles from “well-to-wheel,” (or mine-to-battery as the case may be) plug-in electric vehicles have no improvement in either carbon reduction or energy efficiency over gasoline vehicles (theoildrum.com; energybulletin.net; et.al.).  The only way to reduce our carbon footprint with an electric vehicle is if the electricity source is clean, like solar or wind.  So, before we give a second thumb up to the city for electric car plug-ins, let’s wait for the solar panels.

– Paul Iverson, Mancos

Life is difficult

To the Editors,

I am new to the Four Corners area, and while living in Wisconsin, I used to contribute to a monthly health newspaper. I have given a great deal of thought to what I would write to introduce myself to my new hometown, and I suspect many of you might wonder why I chose the topic of life being difficult. Many of us are feeling a sense of relief that we can put the last decade behind us and are hopeful that the future is an improvement.

What I have learned over the years is that life is rarely what we see in the media. Sometimes, the media version of American life is better, yet often it is much worse. In reality, we all struggle at some point. For many, it seems the struggles rarely lighten up.

Many years ago, I read a book entitled: The Road Less Traveled by M. Scott Peck. I read this book while I was going through a divorce and trying to figure out how I would support two children. There was one paragraph in the book that has remained in my thoughts for more than 25 years: “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know life is difficult – once we truly understand and accept it – then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”

What has stuck with me all these years is our life and experiences are what they are. Some good, some challenging, some unbearable, but it’s our life. Nowhere has it ever been written that we would not face challenges, disappointments, heartaches and loss. It’s all part of life. In reality, we are not a Hallmark special and can waste a great deal of energy thinking our lives should play out like one.

Each and every day, most of us get up and try to do the best we can. Maybe we’ve recently lost a loved one, or are separated from our families. It’s times like this that we wonder how we will manage to get through the day. We might feel sad or alone, and that’s a valid feeling. We must remember that all of our feelings are part of life and the time needed to move beyond such feelings is different for all of us.

That being said, we must remember that we are able to help ourselves transcend loneliness or sadness by making an effort to recognize and appreciate joy, compassion and the thoughtfulness around us.

I find myself living in a new environment, thousands of miles away from my children and friends. I also find myself living in a new environment where I have met many caring people who stop to push a stranger out of a ditch, give a few gallons of gas to someone stranded on the highway or support a local fund-raiser for a neighbor facing a health crisis. The above examples rarely make the news, but I think it’s a fine example of what takes place every day.

One will always see what they put the effort into looking for. I encourage you to look for what you want to see. Don’t waste your energy bellyaching about life being tough. That’s a given. Put your energy looking for what is right and making an effort to contribute to the betterment of our society. I can also assure you from a health perspective that if you focus less on what’s wrong and more on what’s right, you will feel the difference.

– Darla Lange, Bayfield

A voice for the earth

Dear Readers,

STOP! And listen. Feel the stillness and the silence in between these words you are now reading. Everything is already perfect and all encompassing. It is the plants, the animals, the ocean, the mountains, and the desert. It is everything and nothing. Without its universal presence, everything you know would not exist.

Trees are being cut down again in Dalla Mountain Park. Horse Gulch is in danger of a highway being built through it. Wolf Creek is again faced with dangers of development. For what reasons are these things being done? This urban landscape is full of ugliness and does not reflect the beauty of the universe. Somewhere in the distance a coyote whimpers. The trees are preparing to take their last breath. With their death, you also will die. The lynx, in dire danger of extinction, reminds us of the secrets of the Universal Law. You are what you destroy and you are what you create. Take only what you need. With every act of mindless, greedy destruction and proliferation the wild spaces are shrinking.

The survival of the human race and all creatures of the earth lies in a much needed shift in consciousness. The time is NOW. There is no past and there is no future.

If you just listen, the messages are clear. Follow the courage and strength of the mountain lion and take action against the destructing machine of our humanity before it is too late. There may not be a tomorrow.  

– Voice for Mother Earth, Hannah Hanford, Durango

Drowning in garbage

Dear Editors,

Has anyone else noticed the vile amount of trash all around Durango’s trails and neighborhoods?

Yesterday my wife and I walked our dogs along the River Trail, and  I could not focus on the blue skies, the rustling of the trees nor the beautiful water of the Animas, because my attention was focused on the trash strewn all over the banks of the river and along the trail. TRASH, TRASH … EVERYWHERE! Bottles, cans, bags, wrappers, you name it, lying on the ground instead of in a trash can. Is it a lack of care or simple ignorance and laziness? Is it the utter lack of trash cans along these stretches that prompt certain lazy people to just toss their trash on the ground without a care in the world? Aren’t you embarrassed by the amount of trash you see? I can’t imagine anyone not seeing it because it is so right in your face it is unavoidable! What do tourists think of our little mountain hamlet when they see all this trash? Are they doing it? Do the younger kids contribute to all the littering? Is it the homeless folks? I can’t imagine they are the ones drinking the nice micro brews, Crown Royal and other high end booze that I’ve recently picked up off the ground. Why do people not care?! The College Rim Trail is consistently one of the dirtiest trails in town; there are days when I am on trails around the College that I am reminded of being in a Third World country. I’ve seen cleaner hillsides in Guatemala shanty-towns!! Every time I pick up trash up there, it just magically reappears the next day. Next time you are along the Animas River Trail, College Rim or within Durango’s neighborhoods, pay attention to just how much trash is out there. If you see trash on the ground, try and make an effort to pick it up. If you see someone littering … say something to them! Anyone who throws trash on the ground and walks away, in Durango or anywhere else, is a LOSER!!

– Edward Mora, Durango



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows