Environmentalism, pay-to-play, and the Colorado Plateau

There is a notable difference between the feel-good "environmentalism" of today's social justice Sierra Club and the environmental ethic of John Muir and leading environmentalists through the 1970s.

I just watched the documentary "Wrenched" on Prime, which presents some great interviews with notable - and true - environmentalists, including Paul Watson, Tim DeChristopher, Dave Foreman, and others.

From the documentary's description, "Wrenched captures the outrage and enduring inspiration of Edward Abbey, one of America's original irascible defenders of wildlands. Abbey lit the flame of radical environmental activism and gave the movement its soul."

I never met Ed Abbey nor did I engage in Earth First! type monkeywrenching, but I read his books. They were an inspiration to those seeking to halt the escalating environmental destruction of the Colorado Plateau, including southwest Utah.

In the mid 1990s, I was active with Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA.org). I worked on their website, did wilderness mapping in the remote Kaiparowitz Plateau in southern Utah, organized a phone bank that generated 6,000 calls to Congress, and produced events and presentations.

I stayed at Ken Slight's ranch near Moab, where Abbey wrote, and met Robert Redford in person, who was a supporter of SUWA.

It was a tough battle. Utah counties would plow roads into pristine wilderness in order to preclude wilderness designation under R.S. 2477.

They didn't want the federal government to tell them what to do, let alone preempt their land rights. It's a valid concern, but in lieu of wilderness preservation at the state level, and a limited amount of private efforts, the only viable alternative is protection at the federal level.

We wanted to preserve 5.7 million acres of pristine, fragile, and beautiful desert wilderness. We eventually won, with 8.2 million acres being preserved.

Yet during that extended battle, I came to recognize that unending population growth was the driving factor behind our demand for resources and that mass immigration was responsible for 2/3 of our population growth (American women had voluntarily reached replacement fertility of 2.1 children per woman in 1972).

After that effort, President Clinton quite suddenly announced the creation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Most environmentalists were thrilled that he created the monument under the Antiquities Act. No one thought to ask why. The real reason was to prevent low-sulfur American coal underneath the plateau from entering the market - part of the pay-to-play Clinton Cartel money machine. Read more:

I see what they mean about political corruption