Speaking of cronyism, I can’t resist posting this one. Rick Perry’s campaign is caught censoring scientific climate in this report from The Guardian in Britain. And, as they note,
In Utah, meanwhile, Mike Noel, a Republican member of the Utah state legislature called on the state university to sack a physicist who had criticised climate science doubters. The university rejected Noel’s demand, but the physicist, Robert Davies said such actions had had a chilling effect on the state of climate science. “We do have very accomplished scientists in this state who are quite fearful of retribution from lawmakers, and who consequently refuse to speak up on this very important topic. And the loser is the public,” Davies said in an email. “By employing these intimidation tactics, these policymakers are, in fact, successful in censoring the message coming from the very institutions whose expertise we need.”. . . more>>
International Dark Sky Park
In 2006 the International Dark-skies Association designated a small park in Utah, Natural Bridges National Monument, as the world’s first International Dark-sky Park, thereby setting the bar incredibly high for those parks that wanted to follow suit. The skies above Natural Bridges are amongst the darkest in the USA. Once a source of wonder–and one half of the entire planet’s natural environment—the star-filled nights of just a few years ago are vanishing in a yellow haze. Human-produced light pollution not only mars our view of the stars; poor lighting threatens astronomy, disrupts ecosystems, affects human circadian rhythms, and wastes energy to the tune of $2.2 billion per year in the U.S. alone. Protecting the dark skies of Utah is one of my passions, we recently created a Colorado Plateau Chapter of the International Dark Sky Association which is holding it’s second annual Heritage Dark Sky Festival in Torrey this coming weekend.
Read more about Steve Owens, a Brit who has received a traveling fellowship to visit and report on all the dark sky parks starting with Natural Bridges. Why waste a dark sky? . . . more>>
Kirsten and I are taking a drive through western Colorado next week, working our way up from Durango, through Silverton, Paonia, Steamboat Springs and the Rocky Mountain National Park to Denver for the Mountain and Plains booksellers trade show there. Along the way we are going to see alarming, heartbreaking swaths of rust colored evergreens. Warming winters have allowed waves of beetles to gnaw their way through millions of acres of forests in Utah and across the West. It’s sadly amusing to watch the western politicians blame a lack of logging. But the problem is climate change and the beetles are getting worse, not better. Brandon Loomis has a terrific essay in the Salt Lake Tribune yesterday covering the bark beetle sad state of affairs. . . . more>>
The first shit in the woods is a pure rite of passage for any mountain person. Sure, you can be a casual day hiker for years and avoid it, and maybe even last through a few overnight trips. But sooner or later, you’ll need to confront your ancestral self and drop one amongst the evergreens, without your favorite magazine, scented candle, or plush bathroom rug under your toes. Brendon Leonard takes us for a true out back journey. . . .more>>
It doesn’t have to be pure wilderness to be valuable as natural landscape. “We are already running the whole Earth, whether we admit it or not. To run it consciously and effectively, we must admit our role and even embrace it. We must temper our romantic notion of untrammeled wilderness and find room next to it for the more nuanced notion of a global, half-wild rambunctious garden, tended by us.” From Emma Marris’s new book Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World more>>