It’s the People’s Climate March Day, and here in Denver, it’s also the most snow I’ve seen in weeks.  So I am being a wimp and staying home.  Instead of marching, I’ve decided to write to my elected representatives about issues related to climate and environment, which apparently does help, and also to post them here.  To make myself feel better, to maybe inspire others, and to do something with my snow day.

First off, Republican US Senator Cory Gardner.

Senator Gardner,
I am a constituent who has called your office many times, and even stopped by while I was in DC to your office to drop off a letter. Nearly every time I have voiced my disagreement with a vote you took, or expressed my opinion which you later acted against. You have also dismissed me and my fellow Coloradoans as paid protesters in the past, which I found offensive. I am still upset about this, and about your continued support for policies which will be of great detriment to all but a select rich few, and to our planet and our state environment as well.

That all being said, I have been encouraged by your recent voicing of support for protection of public lands. You seem to be willing to fight back against the executive order by the President that seeks to review and rescind protections for public lands, including Canyons of the Ancients here in Colorado. Please, keep fighting against these kinds of things. For all we seem to disagree on, we both recognize the beauty and uniqueness of our state’s environment, which gives us some literal common ground.

Your approach to protection of public lands seems to be based on your economic views. And while you rightly recognize the economic benefit of having pristine public and wilderness areas, I worry that you’re missing the big picture. You have also supported continued fracking expansion and coal mining, and seem too willing to grant industrial interests priority over land and environmental policy. I worry you don’t see the truth that all these things are connected – what happens on one piece of land in the state affects all the rest. Our environment is not healthier because of protecting a monument in the southwest, if we continue to frack in the northeast of the state. And continuing to auction off BLM land for fossil-fuel development only serves to further endanger our national and state parks. To say otherwise is like saying one’s body is healthy as long as, say, a cancer is only in the lungs.

Right now, our economic system – one which you overwhelmingly support – is like that cancer. Edward Abbey once wrote, in reference to our economy, ‘growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.’ And it’s true, our extractivist economy is just like that cancer. We cannot keep it contained to certain areas, because it will spread. An economy based on unquestioned growth will continue to run over everything and everyone in its path. That is, until, it kills its host: our environment. Or until we stop it before it does.

My point in all of this is: without a healthy environment, there is no economy. We cannot have unchecked growth and a healthy ecosystem both, not for long. And I’m asking you to help in limiting the cancer of an unchecked economy now, rather than waiting for the earth to do it for us. It is either one or the other. Please make the right choice.