AZ Highways Article

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Jeffshadows
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AZ Highways Article

Post by Jeffshadows » May 12 2009 2:12 pm

So AZ Highways published an article this month about sprawl and the Santa Catalinas that didn't even scratch the surface of what is happening to those poor mountains. Oh well, at least they're paying attention...somewhat. I guess I can't fault a publication whose charter is to draw tourists to AZ for not pointing out what price the ecosystem sometimes pays for those improved tourism opportunities. :D
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dysfunction
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Re: AZ Highways Article

Post by dysfunction » May 13 2009 8:40 am

I think it's pretty much impossible to not have a negative effect on things while living in a first world, industrialized, country. The funny thing is much if it is stupid (and completely preventable) things, like bottled water and where your other groceries come from.
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Re: AZ Highways Article

Post by writelots » May 13 2009 8:56 am

sidhayes wrote:After all, what can you do about it.
You can vote, petition, speak publically, call your representatives in government, be a informed consumer and take responsibility for being an agent of positive change. If more of us "pacifist hiker types" (as we were tagged in other threads) were megaphones for preservation, I think we'd make much more headway.
sidhayes wrote:Perhaps a solution would be to become one of the "rich" and donate the land.
Wouldn't that be perfect! Yeah, this one always kills me. If I didn't spend so much blinking time hiking, I might be able to make more money. But, then, I wouldn't be hiking and what's the point of being rich if you can't enjoy it?
joe bartels wrote:The majority of us are guilty, stating one is more guilty than the other is ludicrous.
All of us are guilty by that standard - every single person living in the US who is "on the grid". However, some of us are making efforts to lessen the size of our footprints, while others are buying bigger shoes...
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Re: AZ Highways Article

Post by chumley » May 13 2009 9:14 am

So I was reading this thread yesterday and decided to withhold comment, but this morning I've decided to add my two cents. Firstly, let me make very clear ... I am not against preservation or responsible use of our land and precious resources. I think that both are very important and should be a key element in everything that we do.

BUT ... I find the entire issue to be quite hypocritical. As humans after all, we are part of the ecosystem that we claim to be destroying. We are not in fact destroying it, but rather changing it. Just as any other part of the ecosystem has an effect on the whole. We all know that fewer or more wolves lead to fewer or more elk which leads to more or less grazing which leads to more or less erosion which leads to....

Well, the same is true for us. More humans leads to more development. Now, where should we live? Here on HAZ, I think we all hold a special spot for Arizona's relatively rare mountain areas, riparian areas, etc. But do YOU live under a tree? I don't. And even if we all lived in low-impact hammocks under trees, it wouldn't be long before somebody decided that we couldn't live in low-impact hammocks under trees anymore because we were disturbing whatever used to live and thrive in those trees. We have an impact wherever we are. Whether that impact is positive or negative is a matter of opinion.

I live in a 45-year old house built in what was once pristine desert, and later supported farming via irrigation canals which channeled water from the Salt River a mile away. But wait!!! Irrigation canals? Don't they totally change the ecosystem? YES! And we've been doing it for 1000s of years. Quite honestly, I doubt more than a handful of HAZ members today would live in this state at all if not for humans changing ecosystems all over the west. There may have been a couple of developments along the Gila and Salt Rivers, but none of what we have now if not for dams along those rivers. And lakes Powell and Mead and the canals which bring that water to the desert are what have allowed this state to grow.

So I try to ask myself why it is ok for me to live HERE, but try to tell somebody else that they can't live over THERE. Why? Because I'm already here? Developing the Catalinas is not going to change the ecosystem any more than developing Casa Grande changed that ecosystem. We have a great impact to whatever land we populate. The unfortunate fact is that there are a whole lot of people sharing this planet, and the more people there are, the more we will encroach on the ranges of other species who we don't always interact well with. I think we should try to protect and preserve all kinds of different ecosystem lands, from barren deserts, alpine mountains, beaches, arctic tundra, rainforests, etc. BUT if some guy in Tucson owns land that borders preserved land, I'd feel hypocritical asking him to preserve the property he bought and paid for when the property I own is no longer home to rattlesnakes, gila monsters, saguaro and creosote like it once was.

But I recycle my beer cans and use CFLs so now I should be able to tell other people what to do, right?

I think it would be great if landowners donated their land for preservation. And if I owned more than 8,000sq feet I might just do that. But to have thousands of people who are themselves changing the ecosystem they live in get mad at me for developing my land is disingenuous, and I will try not to be one of those people.

The Arizona Highways article quoted a scientist of some kind about the Catalinas saying something to the effect (I don't have it in front of me now) "We don't know if the ecosystem is healthy or unhealthy because we don't have a baseline of what it should be." It sort of made me laugh ... there is no baseline in nature. It is constantly changing. Humans always place a "mean" or "normal" on something, but our ability to do so is based on such a pathetically limited time frame, I find it amusingly arrogant to assume that because we know something has been similar for 100 years means that is how it should always be.

When dinosaurs dominated the planet, things were vastly different than they are now. Currently humans dominate. The effects of our domination can be seen in how we have changed ecosystems across the planet. Perhaps some disease will come along and wipe out huge swaths human population. Nature has a cool way of equalizing things that way. And if (when?) that happens, ecosystems will change again. And people will complain about it then too.

That's my Wednesday morning rant. Sorry. :-k
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JoelHazelton
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Re: AZ Highways Article

Post by JoelHazelton » May 13 2009 9:45 am

joe bartels wrote:I find it difficult to believe people are truly concerned about an ecosystem or the environment in general when they drive fossil fuel vehicles and/or have babies in this over populated world. The majority of us are guilty, stating one is more guilty than the other is ludicrous.
I agree with you 100%. Kind of like people who live in suburbs and small towns but complain about urban sprawl, as if other people don't have the right to make the same choices they did. We're all guilty.

Everyone has self interest and most of us wouldn't care about open spaces if we weren't hikers, so why judge someone who doesn't spend any time outdoors and couldn't give less of an eff about the environment? Because, in the end, we're not looking out for the environment. We're just looking out for places where we want to hike.
"Arizona is the land of contrast... You can go from Minnesota to California in a matter of minutes, then have Mexican food that night." -Jack Dykinga

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dysfunction
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Re: AZ Highways Article

Post by dysfunction » May 13 2009 9:47 am

Eh, I'm equally concerned about where my kids will be able to hike :?


I do telecommute though
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Jeffshadows
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Re: AZ Highways Article

Post by Jeffshadows » May 13 2009 9:52 am

All I can say in response to Joe is that I have only one child and I walk to both work and school. What's more, I converted my biggest polluter that only goes anywhere on the weekend to propane. While not perfect, that and the solar array on my pad and all of the work I've done to make my footprint smaller DO COUNT. If I can do it so can anyone else. All it takes is will...
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Jeffshadows
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Re: AZ Highways Article

Post by Jeffshadows » May 13 2009 10:00 am

How about we put a moratorium on development in Pima County until a large percentage of the existing structures are occupied? How about we start building up in the downtown area instead of out in the fringes?

Joe started on this track of thought, but I want to expand the concept a little: As long as man craves wealth and material possession there will be no end to the decline of ecosystems the world over. For those who seek after it, there is no such thing as "Enough money" or "Enough land." I would have no problem with people owning a cabin in Summerhaven atop Mt. Lemmon on one condition: No more roads up there. You want to visit your cabin? ...Here's the Romero trail, good luck hauling your back end up there, let alone your beer cooler...
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Re: AZ Highways Article

Post by joebartels » May 13 2009 10:05 am

Jeff MacE wrote:All I can say in response to Joe is that I have only one child and I walk to both work and school.
Well that's cause you're the man!

I'm not trying to put anybody down. I'm simply saying I don't support people like Abbey that boasts environment while spitting on it at the same time or Goldwater pushing for elevation limits while living above the level :roll:
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Re: AZ Highways Article

Post by Jeffshadows » May 13 2009 10:08 am

joe bartels wrote:
Jeff MacE wrote:All I can say in response to Joe is that I have only one child and I walk to both work and school.
Well that's cause you're the man!

I'm not trying to put anybody down. I'm simply saying I don't support people like Abbey that boasts environment while spitting on it at the same time or Goldwater pushing for elevation limits while living above the level :roll:
I know you didn't mean to denigrate the movement, Joe; but some folks probably do. The hardest thing is getting the image of a stoned beatnik or unwashed trust fund baby chained to a tree out of people's head when they think of conservationism. I would expect Joe to be one of the guys out there in force if someone wanted to build a resort atop the Superstitions, for example... :D
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