Update: saving the sage grouse

Saving the Sage Grouse – NYTimes.com.

The following quote from The New York Times is a letter about NOT putting the Gunnison sage grouse on the Endangered Species Act, reminiscent of the nineteenth century effort to eliminate the buffalo along the transcontinental railroad routes to California.

Re “Newly Discovered, Nearly Extinct,” by John W. Fitzpatrick (Op-Ed, March 7):

The proposed federal listing of the Gunnison sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act would devalue state and local efforts already under way to conserve the species while simultaneously undermining energy development — both renewable and conventional — in the habitat region.

A federal listing would affect wind energy projects in the Monticello, Utah, area, oil and natural gas production in San Miguel County, Colorado, and potential geothermal development in the Gunnison Basin, Colorado. Agricultural interests would also be greatly affected, as 90 percent of the bird’s habitat sits on federal and private land grazed by domestic livestock.

Energy producers — from wind to natural gas — and local landowners are already working with state agencies to provide protection of the bird, while also providing domestic energy and hundreds of jobs. Placing the grouse on the endangered species list will not only undermine these efforts but will also halt energy development in the proposed region — a devastating, job-crushing, unintended consequence.

President, Independent Petroleum
Association of America
Washington, March 8, 2013

From a post on my blog, Poprock Hill, February 22, 2010.


Buffalo Skulls at Michigan Carbon Works (1895) Detroit Public Libarary

The Sioux have a name for the white men.  They call them wasicun–fat-takers.  It is a good name, because you have taken the fat of the land.  But it does not seem to have agreed with you.  Right now you don’t look so healthy–overweight, yes, but not healthy.  Americans are bred like stuffed geese–to be consumers, not human beings.  –John (Fire) Lame Deer, in “Lame Deer Seeker of Visions: The Life of a Sioux Medicine Man,” p. 44.

Life is out of balance when people trespass into nature with two notions:  there is a superabundance of resources and nature can be harvested because man has dominion over nature.  Neither are true.  What teachers instructed the men in hats and suits to stand arrogantly on top of a carefully-stacked pile of buffalo skulls to be ground into fertilizer?  Life is out of balance when the photograph above was taken, the men standing on skulls and the teachers and preachers that taught that man has dominion and rights to harvest indiscriminately.  Lame Deer calls such people fat-takers and they are not human beings.  Life is still out of balance when coyote hunts are contests for pelt count and young persons shoot prairie dogs for blood sport.

Photograph above of John (Fire) Lame Deer (1974) Heyoka Magazine, November 2006.

So much to learn by going and sitting down in the woods.

So much to learn by walking the mesa.


Filed under Sage Grouse, Sagebrush

15 responses to “Update: saving the sage grouse

  1. I agree almost completely, but feel compelled to note that the concept of “dominion”, in the Biblical sense, never was meant to imply a right to do with the animals and plants of the world as we choose, with no sense of responsibility and no regard for consequence.

    The Christian church got itself into a whole lot of trouble – and caused a lot more – when it forgot that “dominion” is more akin to stewardship than lording it over people or places. Biblically, a steward never owns that which he cares for, and his sole purpose is to care for it responsibly. Too many people think being a steward means “it’s mine and I can do with it as I please.” That’s the sort of thinking that leads to that gruesome photo of the buffalo skulls.

    One of the best things I’ve seen happening in the church is younger, more environmentally-aware people calling others to account for pushing a message that’s more corporatist than Christian. 😉

  2. Wise words these are. Good medicine comes from working in harmony with our good earth. Take nothing one can’t use, and replenish what is lost. A creed we should all live by.

  3. Anonymous

    This Monday I’ll be attending a Kane County, Utah, commission meeting where, on the agenda, is another discussion of how to stop the listing of the sage grouse in this area. If it is not listed, it will open the door to an expansion of a huge 3,500 acre SURFACE coal mine. The advocates of this mine say it will provide jobs for their children so they can stay in the area and raise their families there. This is of course a hollow claim since Kanab is well on its way to becoming a retirement town whose main industry is tourism, but the old mindsets still persist. (Not to mention that hoping your children grow up to be miners seems rather sad to me.) Please visit http://www.haltaltoncoal.com and bookmark so that you can follow the story. This mine on BLM land will approach the stunning Bryce Canyon National Park, much as uranium mines are approaching the north rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s all wrong. The Hopi word for “life out of balance” you describe, Jack, is Koyaanisqatsi. Some of you may remember the film of this name from many years ago. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koyaanisqatsi, and you can rent it from Netflix if you are interested. Wish us luck down here to not only save our sage grouse, but also stop that confounded mine.

    For the record, another problem here is the Tiger Beetle species that lives only on one place on the planet: the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. Sadly, that park is also haven for dune buggies and all-terrain vehicles, which tear down the Tiger Beetle’s habitat. This beetle is also under consideration for endangered listing, and of course the pinheads here are up in arms about that, too. After all, it’s just some stupid bug.

    • Yes, Caralee, I have seen the film Koyaanisqatsi and it is unsettling, but a necessary film to see. I was especially gripped by the huge trucks surface mining coal near Four Corners.

      I wish you luck to save the grouse and stop the infernal mining.

      I hate dune buggies that go across river bottoms and sands. Pinheads are correct.

  4. Brenda Matthews

    Great post on man’s inhumanity!

  5. Rubia

    Jack, your post has really inspired me to take action. Wonderful how you linked your post from 3 years ago to this current story!

  6. Well said. In far too many ways, life is indeed out of balance.

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