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PUT AWAY YOUR TOYS: Sunday brought perfect weather for hot-air ballooning over the Old Mendon Highway -- but when it's over, you still have to pack up. / Photo by Nancy Williams

Today's word on journalism

Monday, October 30, 2006

"Of all the unhappy trends I have witnessed -- conservative swings on television networks, dwindling newspaper circulation, the jailing of reporters and "spin" -- nothing is more troubling to me than the obsequious press during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. They lapped up everything the Pentagon and White House could dish out--no questions asked."

--Helen Thomas, "dean" of the White House press corps, 2006

Putting environment higher on the national and local radar

By Jason Givens

August 8, 2006 | Recently at the G8 summit in Russia, President George W. Bush used an expletive while speaking to British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Bush said, "See, the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s--t and it's over."

It's been somewhat of a big deal in the media lately. I don't really care what Bush said. What concerns me is the fact that he was talking with his mouth full. How am I supposed to teach my children proper table manners if the president of the United States is seen on TV speaking to the leader of our greatest ally in the war on terror with a mouth full of food. Bush's table manners are almost as bad as his environmental policy. Which makes me wonder, how can I teach my children to care about the environment, when the president doesn't show much concern for it.

I read an article titled "A Deeper Shade of Green" by Bill McKibben in the August 2006 edition of National Geographic. In the article McKibben said, "The old paradigm works like this: We judge about every issue by asking the question, Will this make the economy larger? . . . But it turns out that above all else, endless economic growth is based on the use of cheap fossil fuel." McKibben added, "Precisely the same fuels that gave us our growth now threaten our civilization."

This same logic about judging things on the basis of how they can help the economy rather than how they affect us environmentally can be seen in the current debate being waged in Logan about the new recycling program. In an April 27 article in the Herald Journal, Cache County Councilman Craig Petersen was quoted as saying "We're going to spend $10.5 million to increase the life of the landfill by 17 months."

Maybe recycling will only extend the life of the current landfill by 17 months, but how long will it extend the life of the next one? Or, how long could the current landfill last if mandatory recycling would have been implemented sooner?

Most of what I know about the debate comes from the letters to the editor section of the Herald Journal. In these letters people have been complaining that the recycling was forced about them, others say, "so what? Garbage collection is forced upon us too." Some advocate refusing or returning the blue recycling bins. There is little concern over how it may be helping us environmentally only that it is of concern economically.

I have an idea that can help us environmentally and economically. In Michigan near Detroit there is a ski resort built on an old landfill. Imagine that a pile of garbage so big you can ski on it. We could give up on recycling and just let the trash pile up so high that we can turn it into a ski resort. The economic benefit comes from having a ski resort in Cache Valley. The environmental benefit comes from it being so close to the city that people don't have to travel very far to get there, this will cut down on pollution from automobile emissions. And those complaining about their freedom being violated by having recycling forced upon them should be happy too. I didn't even mention the beauty a monstrous pile of trash will bring to the valley. We could even add hiking and mountain biking trails to it and enjoy it year round.

I recently found something my wife had written in one of my notebooks. It was a saying she remembered from a sticker or poster or something her brother had when they where children. She said it was an old Native American saying, and it goes something like this: Finally, when the last tree is cut down, the last fish caught and the last river poisoned, you will know for sure that man cannot eat money.

I think it's time we change the question from, how will this effect us economically? to how will it effect us environmentally? We cannot continue to let economic growth run amok without concern for its effects on the environment.



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