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'Left-Wing Fundamentalists'

August 03, 1994

* Re "Beware of Democrats' Zealots," Column Right, July 26: Joseph Farah's attempt at demonizing the environmental movement is fundamentally flawed. In the same way that the religious fundamentalists have been unfairly characterized as religious fanatics, Farah wants to package those of us concerned with environmental issues as amoral and removed from the mainstream.

The Farahs of the world would like us to believe that any attempt at nature conservancy acts in "compromising and subverting our constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." I fail to see the connection. Does the institution of national forests ultimately act to suppress us all? Surely most Californians would agree that our reserves are national gemstones that create millions in tourist dollars. Farah states that the Desert Protection Act will subvert man's right to develop the "barren" desert. The outlying desert communities are some of the fastest-growing in the state but with water being such an issue here, just how many artificial desert communities can the state support? Conserving large tracts of unspoiled desert will only improve the life in those existing communities, leaving plenty of room for future development.

Farah tries to characterize the new environmentalist as an amoral, New Age communist holding all the beliefs stereotypically considered liberal (personally I'm pro-death-penalty and I eat meat). How wrong he is. We are educated, affluent and diverse. We are hikers, hunters, fishers, surfers and boaters. We use the resources that California has to offer and want to keep them for our children. We believe conservation to be a rational approach in balancing development. The days of land rushes and Manifest Destiny are over.



* In response to Farah's assault on environmental awareness, I would like to point out a fatal flaw in his reasoning. Farah assumes that saving animals, trees and rocks are an end to themselves, placing human beings (viable or not) at the end of consideration. What really is at stake, and perhaps what he most objects to, is that humans are not given special consideration.

Environmentally aware people give equal consideration to all life, including human beings. All living things depend on clean air, clean water and healthy soil to survive. Animals, trees and rocks are a barometer by which we measure the cleanliness and healthiness of these natural resources required for our needs. We have to stop wasting resources and learn to share to survive. That is the lesson we need to learn as a species in order to live. That is the core of environmental awareness. If we all choose to ignore the warnings, then we should prepare the children for a future full of disease, famine and heaping servings of "Soylent Green."


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