March 2003 (vol. 19, #3)
1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716
c 2003 Physicians for Civil Defense
Over the next century or two, visionaries plan to keep all human beings from entering (or even flying over) Wilderness Reserves-covering half the continent. Most of the rest of the land is to be in heavily regulated inner and outer ``buffer zones,'' with scattered enclaves of human habitations.
In the meantime, there's the Sonoran Desert Conservation and Comprehensive Land Use Plan-and many others like it.
Three locally prestigious purveyors came to a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Pima County Medical Society on Feb. 28 to seek endorsement for the Plan: County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry; County Supervisor and former State Senator Ann Day, sister of Sandra Day O'Connor; and former PCMS President John Sullivan, M.D., Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
They told of their ``passion'' for Our Environment and distributed an award-winning handout with photographs of a pygmy owl and a cultural artefact, plus a cartoon of a contented, sleeping mountain lion (perhaps digesting a sheep or a baby).
The déjà-vu-evoking key words include: pristine, unspoiled, environmental justice, corridors, urban sprawl (we don't want Tucson to look like L.A. or Phoenix, do we?), sustainable, humans and other species, consensus, planning process, biodi-versity, and comprehensive (everybody in, nobody out).
Everybody, including ranchers, cattlemen, and developers, agrees with this Plan after hours and months of consensus building and compromises, they say-except for maybe a few.
Beaming Chuck Huckleberry claimed authorship.
Mr. Huckleberry does exercise considerable power; he ``stopped cold'' 15 developments (Tucson Citizen 1/13/01). He chastised the wicked Department of Transportation for removing 577 trees and saguaros instead of 32, and blading to accommodate six lanes of traffic instead of four, without authorization, encroaching within 600 meters of a site of pygmy owl activity.
But the Plan is a fragment of a ``unified vision'' of the ``Tucson group'' of Dave Foreman, Michael Soulé, and David Brower, who founded the Wildlands Project in 1991. It calls for ``rewilding'' a 70,000-square mile area in Arizona, New Mexico, and Mexico called the Sky Island Wildlands Network.
``The plan and the map are like a box of jigsaw puzzle,'' stated Foreman (Tobin M, `Rewilding' calls for predator return, closed roads, Tucson Citizen 1/22/01).
In 1995, the U.N. identified the Wildlands Project, by name, as the ideal land management scheme for implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity-which failed to be brought to a vote in the U.S. Senate, largely thanks to the map prepared by Michael Coffman of Sovereignty International from U.N. documents. (See www.discerningtoday.org/wildlands_map_of_us.htm.) In the entire State of Arizona, there appears to be no land designated for normal human use.
The Wildlands Project official web site no longer displays maps. A partial map was retrieved from the Internet Archive, Wayback Machine and posted at www.4x4wire.com/access/education/nm_twp/nm_twp_pt3.htm . The Wildlands Project/ Biodiversity Treaty map of the U.S., and regional maps, can be ordered from Environmental Perspectives, Inc., (800) 799-9878, www.epi.freedom.org/maps.htm.
Wildlands Project communications director Kim Vicariu states that the 50% wilderness figure was ``taken out of context'' from a Project leader's comments many years ago (Tobin, op cit.). Presumably, that was Reed Noss of Idaho's College of Forestry, whose plan for core reserves and buffer zones was the centerpiece of a special edition of Wild Earth. Noss wrote that a population of 1,000 grizzly bears was needed to sustain the species, and that a mere 1,000 of them ``needed'' a wild habitat of 242 million acres-larger than the combined areas of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska. Legislation to establish one of these ``core reserves'' was introduced by former Congressman Peter Kostmayer in the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act but has not yet been passed (eco-logic 3/16/03).
Convicted ecoterrorist Dave Foreman, cofounder of Earth First! and the primary force behind the Wildlands Project, no longer advocates outright violence (see p. 2). The new strategy is to ``balance the needs of everyone''-while the pieces of jigsaw puzzle (see www.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0106/earthpulse) are being connected, with everyone's cooperation.
Ranchers are being coopted by promises to protect their property against criminal trespass by blocking certain roads. Landowners are made ``partners in the planning process'' and may be permitted to continue their land use during their lifetime. They are ``encouraged,'' perhaps by tax incentives, to bequeath their property to a conservancy. After all, grazing may not be ``sustainable,'' especially if outlawed, and landowners may have no descendants if the population is decreased.
The Wildlands Project is even promoted as a jobs creation program: thousands could be employed ``closing roads, disman-tling dams, removing exotic species, packing in food and supplies for the remaining residents, monitoring water quality, reintroducing extirpated species, guiding birdwatchers, and such'' (Davis J, quoted in eco-logic 3/16/03). In about 1845, Frederic Bastiat described a similar jobs program in ancient China, in which a canal was filled with boulders (CDP 11/96).
Grazing, mining, logging-which ``extract'' things from the land for human use-are being systematically eliminated on federal lands. The federal government already owns 40% of the land. More than 700 organizations similar to The Nature Conservancy are buying up private land, often reselling it to the government at a profit. The remaining private land is being subjected to increasing government control.
Agriculture too is often very damaging, though it can ``sometimes have a positive effect on wildlife and fieldside wild plant populations''-if practiced on a ``modest scale'' without use of pesticides or herbicides (alic.arid.arizona.edu/sonoran/documents/nabhan/db_agriculture.html).
The Sonoran Desert project states: ``We need your heart and your wallet'' (www.sonorandesertnp.org/facts.html). The Wildlands Project wants your land and your livelihood too. But even if you are not permitted to leave the reservation, you can rejoice that the Wilderness is Out There.
From Tucson, Arizona, the birthplace of ecoterrorism:
1970s: Earth First! founded.
Early 1970s: A gang of ``Eco-Raiders,'' University of Arizona students, vandalizes construction sites to protest develop-ments in the Sonoran Desert.
1977: A hot-wired bulldozer knocks down two homes on a ridge in the Tucson Mountains.
1980: Dave Foreman and other Tucson radicals begin a 9-year campaign of civil disobedience and monkey-wrench-ing.
1981: aboteurs are blamed for downing a power line to a radio tower in the Tucson Mountains.
1985: Foreman edits Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkey-wrenching.
1989: Foreman and others are arrested for plotting to cut power lines to the Palo Verde nuclear generating station near Phoenix. Charges against Foreman are eventually dropped.
1992: Dissatisfied Earth First! members found the Earth Liberation Front in Brighton, England, which claims respon-sibility for dozens of acts of ecoterrorism throughout the U.S. starting in 1996.
1998: A string of arson attacks targets luxury homes being built near the 29,000-acre Phoenix Mountains Preserve.
2001: Vandals attack the power line project for the Mount Graham Observatory, causing $200,000 in damage.
Arizona Daily Star, 6/13/01, summarized at
He was interviewed in Albuquerque in 2001 by Mitch Tobin, a staff writer for the Tucson Citizen.
Asked about the role of civil disobedience, Foreman responded: ``I hated civil disobedience. I never enjoyed a single act of it. But I did it way back then because there was a need for it. But as a lifestyle I didn't like it at all.''
Foreman apparently says nothing about private property rights or the immorality of torching people's homes. But concerning arsonists who burn down ski lodges, lumber mills, and luxury homes, he said, ``I think they're idiots.... It's just silly stuff. It's counterproductive. But I'm not really interested in discussing that very much. That's way, way behind.''
Foreman advocates a ``whole-landscape view.'' It's not enough to protect islands of wilderness. We need to ``protect the natural connectivity of the landscape and then try to restore it.''
The key to ``rewilding'' is ``top-down regulation'' of the ecosystem-by large carnivores such as the Mexican wolf.
Questioned about his current view of Earth First!'s slogan, ``No compromise in the defense of Mother Earth,'' Foreman said, ``You don't compromise your values or your vision, but you're pragmatic about how you get there.''
Tucson Citizen 1/22/01
In Deep Ecology, Snyder writes: ``There are now too many human beings.... If man is to remain on earth, he must trans-form the five-millennia long urbanizing civilization tradition into a new ecologically-sensitive harmony-oriented wild-minded, scientific/spiritual culture. Nothing short of a total transforma-tion will do much good'' (quoted in ecologic 3/16/03).
Foreman writes: ``We can see that life in a hunter-gatherer society was on the whole healthier, happier, and more secure than our lives today as peasants, industrial workers, or business executives.'' Obviously, in a pre-agricultural condition as cave dwellers, far fewer human beings could survive. But, as Foreman states in his book Confessions of an ECO Warrior, ``an individual human life has no more intrinsic value than does an individual grizzly bear life'' (ibid.).
The Lion-or the general class of carnivores at the top of the food chain including the jaguar, cougar, wolf, and bear-is, and by right ought to be, King of the Jungle, in this view.
Also to be protected are bighorn sheep, elk, and Coues deer, to provide the King's food; and ``keystone species'' such as prairie dogs and beavers, because of their critical effect on the landscape. ``Beavers create whole ecosystems by damming streams and creating ponds and wetlands,'' writes Sky Island Alliance Director Jack Humphr-ey. ``They're one of the most godlike species on the planet'' (Hanscom G, High Country News, 4/26/99).
Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX): ``[T]his treaty proposes `an increase in the area and connectivity of habitat.' It envisions buffer zones and corridors connecting habitat areas where human use will be severely limited. Are we going to agree to a treaty that will require the U.S. Government to condemn property for wildlife highways? Are we planning to pay for this property?'' (Congressional Record S13790, 1994).
Senator Larry Craig (R-ID): ``I have no doubt that environ-mental interest groups are waiting in the wings to attack the Western public lands States with legal actions stemming from new authorities they find in the convention. Article 8, for instance, calls for the eradication of alien species which threaten ecosystems. I envision that provision being used as leverage to eliminate cattle and sheep grazing from public lands.''
``Some readers will ask why we should adopt such a politics of patience. After all, 100 years is less than 1/10,000 of the lifetime of the average vertebrate species. The goal should be staying the course, not setting a speed record'' (Michael Soulé, www.mtmultipleuse.org/twp_quotes.htm).