Letter: Infinite growth and finite resources | SteamboatToday.com
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Letter: Infinite growth and finite resources

Can we continuously grow when we have limited resources? Do we borrow from the future and leave a barren world and crippled economy for the next generations? These and many other concerns have been asked and debated ever since economic growth and self serving interests have been influencing the discussion.  

Our public lands are suffering a similar fate as we attempt to extract the most profit out of each visitor day to the detriment of the wildlife, the forests, locals and our present visitors. Recently, a local advisory group, Routt Recreation Roundtable, was formed to advise public land managers. Its introduction states, “Recreation helps drive the economy. … However… with demand for outdoor access and trails … (we) should be exploring mitigating user conflicts, and reducing or eliminating long-term environmental impacts.”

This group has no control over increased use of public lands promoted by economic development groups. They can only make mitigation suggestions that carry very little weight. It’s admirable, given these limitations, that they have volunteered to serve in this group.

In the natural world, there would be day-to-day checks and balances that prevent excess of any one species over another or actions that would cause an imbalance. As much as we see the earth as an inanimate object, there is a coordinated and orchestrated planetary process going on that provides a life support system we cannot live without.

In the presence of the deadly coronavirus, which is negatively impacting many people economically and socially, there appears to be a feeling that we still can dominate the earth’s natural processes with impunity. While the “soldiers” of the frontline essential workers expose themselves to the bullets of the coronavirus for the next two to three years, there is a belief that we need to sacrifice their lives to move on with our economic and social lives. These frontline workers are the medical staff, the agriculture community, the service workers and their families, who are placed in danger’s way to serve our daily needs.       

The perceived need by our species to ignore this natural pandemic that has caused such misery and to move on is in direct conflict with the earth’s natural processes. The need to promote more visitors at the expense of our public lands and community for economic gain is in the same vein. The very essence of our public lands, that gives us a breather from the impacts of the pandemic, calls on our community to defend the Yampa Valley’s public lands.

John Spezia
Steamboat Springs


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