CVIndependent

Tue03262019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Community Voices

14 Mar 2019
I split my time between living outside of Yosemite National Park and in Los Angeles. The fact that I have the chance to see mountain lions in both places provides me with unending awe, and with hope: If a mountain lion can live in the middle of Los Angeles, wildness and wild things just might have a future on this planet after all. I recently received a message about a famous cougar named P-22 that calls Los Angeles home, along with a well-known photo of the animal and the headline, “Man Says He Killed Mountain Lion After It Attacked Him on Colorado Trail.” At first, I took issue with the case of mistaken identity. In fact, P-22 is a model of co-existence, a predator that has lived in the second-largest city in the country since 2012 without threatening any of the 10 million people a year who recreate in Griffith…
14 Feb 2019
Despite the willful denunciation of proven climate science by the White House and some members of Congress, there is a hopeful awakening in the United States: Young activists are stepping forward to demand a Green New Deal that guarantees climate action, justice and economic security for all. A Green New Deal would not be a single law, but rather a collection of policies that embody many of the actions needed to expand clean energy, grow job opportunities, reduce climate pollution, improve air and water quality, and enhance the resilience of communities. In any plan to help us transition from an economy built on fossil fuels to one driven by clean energy, our public lands should feature prominently. We need a climate plan for public lands that will manage a phase-down of fossil-fuel leasing and production in line with current climate science. At the same time, we must support those communities…
07 Feb 2019
Under the direction of President Donald Trump, a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services task force is working to strip Americans of their citizenship, attacking immigration through a process known as denaturalization. Denaturalization—taking away citizenship in court—allows the president to double-down on his insistence that the system is broken. His administration has increased the use of civil denaturalization, which requires a lower standard of proof than criminal denaturalization and has no statute of limitations. That means naturalized citizens are at risk of losing their citizenship and being deported forever. It’s hard not to see the move as part of an attempt to make America whiter. Even if that’s not the official reason, it’s certainly energizing those longing for mythical, whiter times. At the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the immigration files of naturalized citizens are scrutinized, and asylum applications are scoured for evidence, even unintentional errors, to justify taking away citizenship.…
23 Jan 2019
In Southern Utah, there is a patch of desert heated by infrared lamps. The lamps hang just above the plants and soil crusts commonly found in this desert surrounding Moab. These lamps help scientists study how temperature increases impact plants and soils living in this already hot desert. On any given day, science technicians can be seen reaching underneath the lamps to measure the size of each grass blade and the number of seeds on each shrub. The information gleaned helps land managers know what to expect from ecosystems as temperatures increase, allowing them to manage for both ecosystem integrity and multiple land uses as climate changes. During this partial government shutdown, however, the plants are going unmeasured, cutting off the continuous observations necessary for careful science and creating a gap in this long-term data set. When the government partially shut down on Dec. 21, sending home employees from the…
08 Nov 2018
The last two years have been like a horror movie playing out in super-slow motion. Even though progressives made some fantastic gains on Election Day, I find myself exhausted and sad. And ever since Brett Kavanaugh, it’s gotten worse. I've stopped watching the news—any news. However, I still scroll through comment sections on Facebook, and I hear conversations in bars, at the grocery store, at the office … and I am horrified, because now we are talking about rape—specifically, rape in the 1980s. Things were a lot different in the ’80s. We were taught through film, TV and books that rape was something that happened to you in a dark alley, or at a rest stop, or in a parking lot, usually late at night, by a total stranger (often black). We were taught that good girls didn’t get drunk, didn’t dress provocatively, didn’t go out alone, and never brought…
02 Oct 2018
This summer’s statistics on electricity use and generation included a significant gem: Over the last 12 months, power generation from coal has dropped to a three-decade low. That’s party-worthy news for the climate, for air quality, for folks who live near power plants and for the natural-gas industry, which is partly responsible for coal’s decline. Just days later, however, the Trump administration crashed the shindig, causing a major buzzkill. No, the president’s attempts to revive coal have not succeeded. But on Sept. 18, the Interior Department snuffed out new rules aimed at lowering the oil and gas industry’s methane emissions, just days after the Environmental Protection Agency started the process of euthanizing its own methane regulations. This is a bummer not only for the planet, but also for the natural-gas industry’s efforts to portray its product as the clean fossil fuel. Coal began its climb to dominate the electricity mix…
13 Sep 2018
It’s probably not a shock to Americans that Nebraska is a “livestock-friendly” state. Real-life cowboys in the mold of Robert Duvall’s Lonesome Dove character “Gus” McCrae and Clint Eastwood’s Rowdy Yates in Rawhide drove cattle by the tens of thousands to and through Nebraska in the last third of the 19th century. None of that, however, has anything to do with being “livestock-friendly” in the 21st century. Nebraska’s Livestock Friendly County program, which the state’s Department of Agriculture says is unique nationwide, now has 46 members. That’s nearly half of the state’s 93 counties. Two or three more counties jump on board each year. But we’re not talking about contented cattle on green pastures. Think, instead, of factory farms: livestock confined, concentrated, caged and cooped up in close quarters, fed and fattened as quickly as possible to reach dinner tables and processed meat counters in grocery stores. Once a county…
12 Sep 2018
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The presidency of Donald Trump has made many Americans angry, frustrated, sad and fearful for the future. But in my case, the presidency of Donald Trump helped turn me from a staunch atheist into a Christian. Let me explain. I was raised by my grandparents. My grandfather was an Episcopalian, and my grandmother was a Catholic. My first exposure to religion came from my grandfather taking me to Episcopalian services in my hometown of Mentor, Ohio, whenever he was up early enough on Sundays. I remember those experiences fondly: I got to know the other kids in Sunday school, and enjoyed the fun arts and crafts that reflected the values of the Episcopalian Church. Then came a sleepover at a friend’s house when I was 9. The next morning, we all went to my friend’s Baptist church, where rather than being nice, the teachers told us fire-and-brimstone stories that frightened…
05 Sep 2018
As I clambered my way up the trail recently, I passed two languishing young women. One of them regarded her sandwich with distaste. “I am going to toss this. I know there is a squirrel who will appreciate it.” I cautioned, “We ask people not to feed the wildlife.” As I walked off, one of them opined: “What does she know? She’s hiking in a skirt!” My sartorial preferences in trail wear aside, there appears to be a prevalent attitude that “organic” litter is copacetic: It will either evaporate into biodegradable thin air or somehow be devoured. Does it vanish? At an outdoor education center, we set up a few experiments. We built a cage of chicken wire wide enough to allow small animals ingress and egress, but small enough to keep items secure from wind. Therein we placed an apple core, a banana peel, orange peels, chewing gum and…
29 Aug 2018
What if I told you that a multibillion-dollar company had decided to trademark the name of one of America’s most prized national parks? And that the company then sued the United States to defend its purported trademark? And that to top it all off, that company has been invited into the inner circle of government by a now-indicted member of Congress, meeting in private with a Cabinet secretary and also sitting on a government advisory panel? You’d probably reply that it all sounds outrageous, and that, if it’s true, it’s a genuinely shocking example of a corrupt presidential administration. Unfortunately, it’s true. This story begins in 2015, when Delaware North, a New York-based hospitality and concessions business, lost the contract to run Yosemite National Park’s hotels, restaurants and gift shops. The company had held the contract for more than two decades, during which time it quietly trademarked names and images…

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