The Hundredth Meridian

Neoenvironmentalism

The environmentalist movement, as usual, is one theoretical jump ahead of the practical results produced by its previous level of ideological development-results it now deplores and blames on the enemy. After arson destroyed three buildings and damaged four ski lifts on Vail Mountain in Colorado last October, Earth Liberation Front took the credit for destroying more than $12 million in property "on behalf of the lynx," which the Colorado Wildlife Commission wants to reintroduce into the San Juan National Forest. "The 12 miles of roads and 885 acres of clearcuts [the ski resorts want to create] will ruin the last, best lynx habitat in the state," ELF pronounced. "Putting profits ahead of Colorado's wildlife will not be tolerated."

While it's no news to residents of the Intermountain West that industrial tourism (the phrase was coined, so far as I can tell, by Ed Abbey in Desert Solitaire) and industrial recreationism are a greater threat to the region, socially and ecologically, than the mining, logging, and ranching industries put together, the last to hear it may be mainstream environmentalists themselves, who have done more than anybody to destroy mining, logging, and ranching and replace these hoary Western occupations with tourism and recreationism. "The environmental movement is at least partly responsible for a massive shift away from our traditional industries," a West Slope...

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