I have a few friends who have been affected by the California and Oregon wildfires. I took pause and thought about it after Jo Jorgenson made news in Alaska talking about National Parks.
Here’s the way I have perceived the parties in the past when it comes to the environment.
Democrats: We can’t cut down the trees! Save the owls, wolves and keep those mean old loggers and miners out of our natural ecosystems.
Republicans: Drill baby Drill! Lets lease out giant swaths of our parks to corporations who can exploit all the resources and work it out with local and national politicians. The politicians that corporations have plenty of lobbyists already hammering on.
Those may be simplistic… But, am I wrong?
Then we have my chosen party. Libertarian Presidential Jo Jorgenson said this week that she would sell all national parks to the highest bidder while visiting Alaska. Huh? Well, that sounded frightening until she clarified a little bit by saying that states could buy the parks and take on stewardship responsibilities. Make the governance local. That sounds reasonable for a state like Alaska that is chock full of resources and can make money on their attributes. What about a state like Illinois? We are broke and have little to offer any mining corp or logging company? We would likely sell our parks to friends of the Illinois political system for money that is already spent somewhere else and have nothing for Illinois residents, short of their backyard, to call their own for recreation.
I think as an independent and someone who has traveled extensively and witnessed firsthand what’s going on… I truly can take away from all sides.
My friends in California who are dealing with wildfires wish the state government would responsibly harvest forests and manage timber growth with policies meant to sustain the forest. (even if that means pesticides to detour invasive bugs) I can’t tell you how many dead forests I see when travelling across the country. Last year’s San Juan mountain fires were no shock to me after seeing fields of brown trees up and down the slopes of the southwest corner of Colorado.
Allow companies to access areas of the wild and rotate this usage like we do crops in the Midwest. Harvest with a focus on sustainability. We are not clear cutting the amazon here. We are just making sure that a few decades into the future we dont have hotspots ready to explode like a tinderbox. Why can’t these forests become American made IKEA shelving before they turn to rotting timbers?
You like 4 dollar gas? Neither do I. I think we need to keep an eye on strategic oil reserves and use our ability to gather resources as leverage against markets that might hurt our citizens’ livelihoods. We can balance this.
Also… We need to Protect wild animals within reason. We cannot pretend that our use of land leaves no footprints detected by wildlife… But we can work diligently to make sure we restore and preserve whenever we do use wildlands. The National Park service is the only way to make sure we have uniform policies that stretch across our whole United States. State to State governance of wilderness creates an uneven structure that may lead to private property taking over lands that are now public.
Don’t get me started on responsible land use by Off-Road Vehicles. I have lots to say about that and the lack of education for my 4×4 loving constituents. “Leave No Trace” needs to be a course taught in grade school and used for continuing education during drivers education and the state run DMV. I would push for organizations like this to be in our schools teaching outdoor etiquette. (Did you know I am a Boy Scout leader?)
Also, NIMBY. Not in my back-yard. Its the reason for most anti-industry thinking and blow-back against new power infrastructure. We all want the benefits of cheap energy.. But none of us want to see it in action. We should all realize that making wiser choices in how we live our lives, recycle and use less energy can help us stop working so hard to keep the place clean and powered!
All of this conversation and I am running for County Board. Doesn’t even make much sense to write it all down. I think the biggest takeaway from the conversation should be that I am not locked into a party’s ideals. Independent, free thinking is just that. If you find someone who votes down the party line… They are not free thinking. They have put their trust in a label that they feel identifies with who they are. It’s a shame… Because a little research and education might just open their eyes to the prospects of smarter candidates who are not beholden to a label or a party.
Follow along for more campaign news at www.ericstahl.com