Joining Illinois Sierra Club Members in Lake and Northeastern Cook Counties

Fall 2006, Issue #51

In This Issue 

Go To Article Saving the South Bluff, Fort Sheridan Go To Article SPRAWL, Part II
Go To Article Meetings: Selling Mojave/Zion,
Dragonflies, Global Warming
Go To Article Newsletter Editor Needed!
Go To Article Lake County’s Most Endangered Places Go To Article The Summer Conservation Column
Go To Article Sightings: Why Do We Care? Go To Article 403 kBPrintable, Portable W&W News
Go To Article Next Issue of W&W News Go To Article Last Issue of W&W News

 

Return to Top

½n¿n½n¿n½n¿n½ C A L E N D A R  ¿n½n¿n½n¿n½n¿
{ Meetings O Outings
Summer Party Soiree View of Third Lake from party location (Bland's)
Saturday September 16th, 2:00-9:00 p.m.
Party at Bland residence.
All members welcome.
Come for sociability, land and water fun. Canoeing, sailing, swimming, hiking, biking, oh my! 
E-mail ww-socials@illinois.sierraclub.org or call 847-680-6437 for directions.
See Outings (above) in September for more information.

Rustle the Leaf


 

 


Saving the South Bluff, Fort SheridanReturn to Top

by Evan Craig, Chair

On Tuesday, August 1, 2006, 77 acres of land along a mile of Lake Michigan shoreline was set aside for passive use and wildlife habitat. But neither the signing ceremony nor the numbers properly describe the significance of the site, its potential, or the challenges that remain for it to realize its full potential.


Jerry Adelman, Executive Director, Openlands John Ehle of Forest City Enterprises, Inc. Captain Rame Hemstreet, Commanding Officer of Midwest Naval Facilities Engineering, Highwood Mayor Vincent Donofrio, Joyce O’Keefe, Deputy Director, Openlands, US Congressman Mark Kirk, and Highland Park Mayor Michael Belsky
Photo Courtesy of Openlands

The 77 acres of land includes the beach, bluffs, ravines and a buffer zone that have been waiting to be rescued from the south half of the Fort Sheridan development project. The new acquisition stretches south from Westover Street to Walker Avenue, with long, sinuous ravines clawing deeply into the land from the brink. Unlike many Lake Michigan shorelines, subject to encroachment and disturbance by neighbors, the beach is a visual gateway to the open water of the Lake, which stretches out to the horizon in the east. In the future you'll be able to freely visit the beach. As you descend, you'll become sheltered from the army of suburban development marching only a few hundred yards away, by the bluffs rising sharply behind you. Without distractions, the gentle lapping of the cool waters on the smooth sand will flow into your senses and invite you in. The clear water will refresh and buoy your spirit.


View looking south along section of the newly acquired lake front property.
Photo Courtesy of Openlands

Returning from the water, a visitor's careful eye today will begin to discover less perfection. The beach is divided into segments every hundred yards by steel walls called groins. These dark, heavy walls slice through the waves, reaching out several hundred feet to capture the sand driven south along the lake shore by wind and current. According to Michael Chrzastowski of the Illinois Geological Survey, they arrest the lake's relentless natural erosion of the shoreline, which would otherwise claim four feet of the bluff per year. Such an eroding bluff would be undercut and barren, with plants and trees losing their grip at the top. With the groins, the bluffs have become more gently sloped, and with the ravines, support a natural community of plants that are adapted to the light and seepage there. This includes five plant species that are state endangered and threatened: Buffalo Berry, Seaside Spurge, Sea Rocket, Beach Grass and Common Juniper. Similar conditions are found 15 miles to the north at Illinois Beach State Park, where the park itself provides natural protection for a bluff just east of the railroad tracks.

A walk southward along the beach meanders around and over the ends of the groins where they're anchored to the shore. After the fifth groin there is often a patch of dirty beach with a small lagoon at the back. Dark holes punctuate the wooded cover at the base of the beach. If it's after a rain, the water along the shore there becomes coated with smelly slime, which churns in the waves.
The thick vegetation that covers most of the bluff hides a threat to the stability of the bluffs and ravines from a casual observer. Rainwater that falls on the parking lots and roofs of the buildings hundreds of feet above, as far west as Green Bay Road, runs into storm sewers. An investigation beneath the bluff's dense canopy reveals huge outfall pipes where the water gushes into the ravines and erodes them. The runoff also carries oil, salt and other pollution washed from the base, and it all floods over the beach whenever it rains.

In 2002, when W&W volunteers first learned about the possibility of securing the south bluff as a natural park, we recognized the huge opportunity it presented, and began working with Joyce O'Keefe of Openlands, and Congressman Mark Kirk. By that time, Kirk had already offered the beach and bluff to the Lake County Forest Preserve District. They had surveyed the land and concluded that the erosion and other problems were too severe, and that remedying them would be too costly for the FPD. Besides, the offer at that time included no money for either study or restoration, and no land at the top of the bluff both to protect it and provide access.

to top of next column

A number of local members hiked the beach, explored the bluff, and discovered the stormwater problems just described. The north part of the Fort had already been redeveloped without setback buffers at the top of Bartlet Ravine, and it was already resulting in severe erosion and large slumps of the walls of the ravine. In addition, fertilizer, herbicides and pesticides from the carefully manicured lawns was flowing down the ravine and flushing directly onto the beach and into the Lake. We notified the City of Highland Park, but after failing to require the developer to retain the runoff of redeveloped properties atop the ravine, they have so far failed to take action to establish a buffer or redirect stormwater. At a recent public meeting, it appeared that any action would be at public expense. We believe that residents of Highland Park don’t want these pollutants closing their new beach or tainting their drinking water, which is drawn in through a station at the south end.

So we were extremely pleased that Captain Reme Hemstreet, Commanding Officer of Midwest Naval Facilities Engineering, John Ehle of Forest City Enterprises, Inc., Highland Park Mayor Michael Belsky and Highwood Mayor Vincent Donofrio attended the ceremony and committed to restoring the health of the new park.


From left to Right: Jerry Adelman, Executive Director , Open Lands; Highland Park Mayor Michael Belsky; Joyce Okeefe, Deputy Director, Open Lands; U.S. Congressman, Mark Kirk and Captain Rame Hemstreet, Commanding Officer of Midwest Naval Facilities Engineering Branch
Photo Courtesy of Openlands

It will take a concerted effort throughout the rest of the decade to work around dysfunctional ordinances that would otherwise continue past mistakes in the planned redevelopment of the south base. Instead of blacktop and concrete parking areas, we need pervious pavers and materials that will allow water to percolate into the soils well back from the bluff, like those recently installed by the LCFPD at Ryerson Woods. Instead of curbs, we need aprons that allow runoff from streets to flow across grass into swales, where it can transpire and infiltrate. Instead of deep storm drains that can go nowhere but down into the bluff and the ravines, we need a few wetlands and ponds that intercept rainwater at the surface. Obviously, it will take much more than the intentions of these good mayors, and we hope that our members and those already engaged in efforts to protect the bluffs and ravines in Highland Park will join those in Highwood to guide the Forest City redevelopment. By acting quickly to forge the agreement, Openlands will now have a formal role and crucial voice in the redevelopment of the south base, but they will not succeed without our ongoing support. Contact Conservation Chair Larry Marvet to help.

In our 2002 action plan (see illinois.sierraclub.org/w&w/Sprawl/spftshs.html) we suggested a list of stakeholders who would be needed to bring about preservation of the bluff. We called on the Navy to sweeten the deal by providing at least 50 ft. of upland buffer, as well as money to study and remedy the damage it is causing. But Joyce didn't wait for a ship to come in from the Navy. She approached generous citizens and foundations who recognized the magnificence of the site and were eager to contribute to its protection. About $250,000 was raised. Jim and Vicki Mills of Highland Park donated more than $50,000 toward the project, and the beach's name will commemorate Vicki's generosity. Meanwhile, Kirk convinced the Navy that the park would be an amenity to the servicemen who will be stationed there, and secured a 100 ft set-back buffer in the agreement.

Sierra Club began our effort to rescue the south half of Fort Sheridan over a decade ago, when we hired a hydrologist named Chuck Norris from Rockford to study and write comments on the military's proposal to remedy one of several superfund sites there. Dump No. 7 was previously a ravine similar to the three ravines that have just been saved, but was filled with undocumented and toxic material without a liner. Wikipedia (the online encyclopedia) explains how the decision to cap it and collect leachate around its periphery was likely based more on fiscal than environmental considerations. (This begs the question why the military spends money so freely defending our vital interests in other countries, but not in our own). The Norris paper explains that a naturally occurring underground sand lens, common to this area, could easily convey water into and out of the dump, evading the cap, the drainage and the monitoring systems installed by the Navy. Those who declare that the Navy did nothing harmful to the south beach must be blind where this major ravine divides the south third of the new park from its northern stretch. Dump #7 is not part of the Park, and the government will remain responsible for it. Since it might also jeopardize their drinking water source, Highland Park residents should be vigilant here too, and hold the federal government to its promise.

We've witnessed a tremendously good first step. Openlands intends to start restoration in 2007, but transfer of the property is expected to occur in phases, starting this November, and continuing through 2009. While the agreement signed August 1 will help the parties remain true to their intent, it's up to us to make this new park one of our vital interests.


SPRAWL, Part IIReturn to Top

Jim Bland, Newsletter Editor
(Continued from W&W News issue no. 49)
 
Dilemma: A problem seemingly incapable of satisfactory solution.

There is no doubt that the scope and magnitude of the social processes that make sprawl possible are difficult for the average citizen to fight. There are success stories out there! There also exists a host of non-profit groups that can help. For any local citizens group to be effective however, there needs to be a realization that political, technical, and legal help will be necessary. In last quarter’s newsletter we outlined some of the causes and the consequences of Sprawl urbanization. In this edition we wish to provide a partial toolbox to individuals and groups actively working to take back control of their communities. Action can be taken on a personal level as well as on a community basis. The following materials are intended to identify intervention points as well as resources that are potentially available.

One of the groups that can help is the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club initiated a national campaign against sprawl and on behalf of smart growth some time ago (sierraclub.org/sprawl). Formal written materials are available that cover a host of topics including: land use planning, the impact of sprawl on education funding , transportation alternatives, managing open space, etc. Two separate CDs have been created including : Smart Growth Shareware (www.smartgrowthamerica.org) and A Plan for Tomorrow produced by the Urban Land Institute.

On a local level the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club has a water quality specialist, Cindy Skrukrud, on staff. Cindy has helped a wide range of communities with urban growth issues that relate to sewage treatment plant performance and water quality planning. The Illinois Sierra Club Chapter can be reached at: 70 E. Lake St., Suite 1500, Chicago , Illinois (illinois.sierraclub.org). Primers on how to influence zoning decisions, Freedom of Information Act procedures, and open meetings protocols are included on the Woods and Wetlands web page (illinois.sierraclub.org/ w&w/handbooks.html)

For many community groups legal aide is a difficult hurdle to overcome. A group with which the Sierra Club coordinates is the Environmental Law and Policy Center (www.elpc.org). Be advised that the ELPC has resource limitations (as do most non-profit institutions) and that they will be willing to take on only certain issues which they believe have merit. The Center has also created a Directory of Environmental Organizations which is available on-line at their web site.

to top of next column

Planned expansions require that drinking water be available for residents or businesses and that sewage treatment be provided. Prairie Rivers Network is a comparatively new group with a mission to protect Illinois rivers and streams. They also have paid water quality specialists and they have an especially impressive record of winning litigation related to water quality issues. Facility planning is the language used to describe the sizing and citing of sewage treatment plants. Prairie Rivers teaches citizen groups the ins and outs of Illinois water law including facility planning and how to contest the terms of inadequate water quality permits. Their internet address is: www.prairierivers.org

Through conservation easements, land donations, and land purchases, the Liberty Prairie Conservancy (LPC) directly preserves key open land in Lake County from development forever. Based in Grayslake, the LPC is a non-profit land conservation group with roots in Lake County since 1995. The LPC proactively works with landowners in strategic areas of the county where it is still possible to conserve large stretches of open land in partnership with the holdings of pubic agencies. Oftentimes, families cherish the land they have owned but aren’t aware of the conservation options available to them. The LPC helps landowners understand those options and use them so that both the landowner and the county benefit. More than 400 households support the LPC as members, and more support is needed. To learn more about the LPC’s work and to become a member, visit the LPC’s web site at www.libertyprairie.org.

Founded in 1963 Open Lands is one of the oldest and most effective nonprofit conservation organizations in our area. They work to protect , expand, and enhance public open space and key environmental resources. Open Lands was a key player in the preservation of the Midewin Tall Grass Prairie, the largest land acquisition project in Illinois. They were also responsible for the acquisition of Lake Michigan shoreline described in Evan Craig’s article in this issue. Open Lands works through four interrelated program areas: Urban Greening, Greenways, Policy Reviews, and Corporate lands. Corlands is an affiliate organization to Open Lands and is directly responsible for land acquisition. As described by Open Lands literature: Urban Greening is a program which provides outreach and technical assistance for open space planning and neighborhood greening, the Policy program promotes legislative action and policy research and analysis. The Greenways program pulls together planning for open lands corridors and the Corporate Lands program provides outreach and technical assistance to corporations interested in the use of natural landscaping and stormwater management. As an affiliate organization Corlands “works with local governments and private landowners to preserve key land parcels through acquisition and conservation easements.”

In Part I of our article concerning sprawl we identified the need to do reasoned economic analysis that considers all of the shareholders in a community. Notably the State of Wisconsin has enacted legislation which requires “all” communities to have a “smart growth” comprehensive plan in place by 2010. One of the central elements of these plans is an economic assessment of the impacts of community growth. Details of how to perform an economic assessment can be found on-line at: www.uwex.edu/CES/ CCED/econdevtools.html. A second economic analysis handbook is available through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency at : yosemite.epa.gov/ee/epa/eed.nsf/
webpages/guidelines.html  .

An organization devoted to sustainable growth is the Campaign for Sustainable Growth. The member directory includes many villages and communities in the six county metropolitan Chicago area. Through their list serve, newsletter, and web site they keep track of innovative projects in our area. Local communities have received help in the form of watershed analysis and planning support. Notably their goals are to support economic and sustainable development. They may be reached at: www.growingsensibly.org.

 

Federal, State, and County Resources

Local villages and counties are often as much a part of the problem as they are part of the solution. They do, however, provide critical planning and zoning information, land use plans, population data, stormwater plans, soil maps, etc. Listed below are some critical sources of County information:

The Lake County Stormwater Management Commission (SMC) is intimately involved in all forms of land use planning related to wetlands, water and flood control. In the recent past they have published a variety of watershed plans that are critically important. Their web site is: www.co.lake.il.us/smc.

The Soil and Water Conservation District of Lake County (SWCD) can often identify key resources worthy of protection. Drop by their office at 100 N Atkinson in Grayslake, call 847-223-1056 , or visit www.lakeswcd.org

The Lake County Health Department Lakes Management Unit has done lake management plans for large numbers of Lake County lakes. The plans are significant when they are compared with regional land use issues and stormwater influences. They can be reached at: www.co.lake.il.us/ health/ehs/lakes.asp

In these counties rich with lakes, streams and wetlands, most sprawl fills wetlands or destroys stream corridors. Apart from local agencies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) has regulatory authority over Waters of the U.S and seeks comment before allowing this, and will respond to documented illegal filling ( Section 404). They may be reached at: www.lrc.usace.army.mil/ or (312)846-5530.

The newly reorganized regional planning body is called the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, CMAP for short. CMAP is the consolidation of transportation planning with comprehensive regional natural resource protection planning. CMAP serves the seven county greater Chicago metropolitan area. They may be reached at: www.chicagoareaplanning.org/. or (312)454-0400.

 


MeetingsReturn to Top

Larry Marvet, Conservation Chair
September Program:
Will We Sell the Zion/Mojave Wilderness?
Clayton Daughenbaugh, Field Organizer for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
Wednesday, September 20, 2006 6:45pm
Vernon Area Library

300,000 acres surrounding Zion National Park have long been identified by Sierra Club members and other volunteers as worthy of wilderness designation and protection. Unfortunately, Utah’s federal legislators have different ideas—sell 70% to developers instead!

Our speaker, Clayton Daughenbaugh, is a Field Organizer for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance and member of the Sierra Club’s national Wildlands Committee. He’ll show us the beauty and threats to this wonderful land that lies just west of Zion National Park. Known as “Greater Zion,” it contains red rock temples, profound gorges, and ponderosa-studded plateaus which complete the fantastically complex Zion-Mojave wilderness.

October Program:
Dragonflies
Cathy White, Environmental Quality Coordinator, Village of Wauconda
Wednesday, October 18, 2006 6:45pm
Vernon Area Library

Question: What’s the connection between that little white box on your windshield and the possible extinction of a Midwestern insect species? Answer: The doubling of cash tolls and introduction of I-Pass on Illinois highways was meant to fund the extension of US I-355 - right through one of the last remaining habitats of the Hine’s Emerald dragonfly. Learn about these fragile, beautiful, delicate - and little known - insects from one of the experts in the field.

Few understand these striking insects and their lives better than our speaker, Cathy White. Before joining Wauconda’s Environmental Quality Office, Ms. White received a Master’s Degree in biology, worked in Naperville and Addison, and has helped to protect dragonflies in the Midwest. Come to our October meeting to appreciate the hidden lives - and dangers to - damselflies and dragonflies.(Ms. White was rescheduled from April.)
 

OCTOBER MEETING
Wednesday, October 18
6:45 pm
Vernon Area Library
300 Olde Half Day Road
Lincolnshire

to top of next column

November Program:
Global Warming:
Causes, Cures and Consequences

Richard Treptow, Ph.D.
Thursday, November 16, 2006 6:45pm
Vernon Area Library

Long disputed by the oil-drilling crowd, massive hurricanes, droughts and record high temperatures have even convinced evangelical G. W. Bush ally Pat Robertson that global warming is real. Join us at our November meeting where Dr. Treptow, Chicago State professor emeritus of chemistry, will explain what’s at stake.

 

NOVEMBER MEETING
Thursday, November 16
6:45 pm
Vernon Area Library
300 Olde Half Day Road
Lincolnshire

 

 

See Meetings for a map, and other Group meetings.


Join Our Free E-mail Lists! Return to Top

Members are invited to join the W&W group's e-mail lists. On the ALERTS list you will receive infrequent timely posts from the Group Chair (only), primarily on local issues. Some of these appear on this website, and if you subscribe you will learn about them in time to help. The ISSUES list allows you to share in a discussion with other W&Wers. To sign up, just visit each of these websites and click Join :

ALERTS

ISSUES

We do not share e-mail address lists, and you can remove yourself from either list at any time.

 


Newsletter Editor Needed!Return to Top

If you have some layout experience, we can use you as our Woods & Wetlands newsletter editor. This is a good way to help the Club and learn about important issues. Please call or right Jim Bland at jim.bland@illinois.sierraclub.org ( 847-223-2593) Prerequisites:

to top of next column
  • A well developed sense of humor
  • Well honed grammatical and spelling skils
  • Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound
  • Highly developed diplomatic talents
  • A lot of time on your hands

 


Lake County’s Most Endangered Places Return to Top

by Larry Marvet, Conservation Chair
Our Conservation Committee is continually working to protect vulnerable areas in the Woods & Wetlands territory (Lake County and north Cook County), but maybe we don’t know some that you worry about. Were still accepting nominations for the top threatened places in the Lake County area. If you know a soon-to-be-paved natural area, send us the name and a short description for our next newsletter. We’ll try to print as many as we can.

 

to top of next column

Contact:

Larry Marvet, Conservation Chair, 847-537-2083
larry.marvet@illinois.sierraclub.org

or snail mail to

PO Box 876
Grayslake, IL 60030.

Ultimately, we hope to publish a list of places we think are under the greatest threat, hopefully with your help. 

 


The Summer Conservation Column Return to Top

by Larry Marvet, Conservation Chair
It’s summer, so most of us are looking for light entertainment. In that spirit, I’ve written an environmental quiz for your reading pleasure.
  1. Why did the U. S. House of Representatives reject drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge earlier this year?
     
  2. What famous TV evangelist recently said, "I have not been one who believed in this global warming, but I tell you, they're making a convert out of me with these blistering summers”?
     
  3. How is the proposed Route 120 Bypass around Grayslake different from the old plan to extend Route 53 through Lake County?
     
  4. Plans to rip up Lake County’s Buffalo Creek Forest Preserve will help flooding in which city?
     
  5. Which already polluted lake might become the unhappy recipient of increased pollution from the Antioch sewage treatment plant?
     
  6. What famous, but very endangered bird flies through our area every year, following ultralight airplanes?
     
  7. Who killed the electric car?
     
  8. Why is mercury pollution a problem?
     
  9. What does “No Net Loss of Wetlands” mean?
     
  10. How much did the world’s second leading global warming skeptic (G. W. Bush is #1) get for his recent retirement?
     

 

to top of next column

Answers:
  1. Call me a cynic, but they voted against drilling because this is an election year and ANWR is one of the most publicized environmental issues. Hint: The Sierra Club political keeps track.
  2. Believe it or not, former presidential candidate Pat Robertson now plans to team with "far left environmentalists” to solve global warming! Come to the November 16 Public Meeting be more informed on this crucial issue.
  3. Trick question: the Route 120 Bypass is Route 53, or at least the east-west portion of it. The big plan all along for 53 was to extend it north from the Cook County line, then turn east to connect with I-94. Help us protect the high quality wetlands there from this road, and the sprawl it will invite in this undeveloped area of our lovely county.
  4. Buffalo Creek FP, near Long Grove, supposedly must be sacrificed as a big reservoir so that Mount Prospect and Prospect Heights can build a levee along the Des Plaines River downstream. Otherwise this wonderful levee in Cook County would cause additional flooding. Really.
  5. Lake Marie in northern Lake County. If they keep working with us, Antioch could win the Sewervivor contest, and clean up this lake listed by the State.
  6. The Whooping Crane! The International Crane Foundation is reintroducing the bird and teaching them to migrate. ICF leads them - with ultralights - between Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in central Wisconsin and Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. They overnight just west of us, but occasionally fly through Chicago.
  7. I recently saw the movie about this and the guiltiest party was the US auto industry. Not, as far as I could tell, because they were against environmental protection, but more because they didn’t like California telling them what cars to make. They weaseled out just as the Japanese started selling hybrids. Smart. Big Oil and the Bush administration also helped pull the plug.
  8. In high doses, mercury can cause nervousness, trembling, and even dementia, which happened to 19th century hat makers, a.k.a “mad hatters.” More insidious is the effect modest amounts of mercury can have on the health of the unborn child Passing on mercury can delay development and reduce the child’s intelligence.
  9. “No Net Loss” means wetland destruction. The Clean Water Act requires No Loss of wetlands, but the word “Net” allows wetlands to be destroyed on a whim, as long as an equivalent amount of wetlands are generated elsewhere. As you can imagine, everyone who wants to pave wetlands hires lobbyists and lawyers to argue what “equivalent” and “wetland” mean. Opposition at the local level can often save wetlands, though. Come to a Conservation Committee Meeting to find out how.
  10. Exxon chairman Lee Raymond - conjurer of climate change skeptics, and the hand behind George Bush’s rejection of the Kyoto Agreement - got a retirement package worth about $400 million dollars. Good riddance.

 


Sightings: Why Do We Care?Return to Top

by Donnie R. Dann
I've never been to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and probably will never go. Other than a handful of researchers, oil company people, and of course the Gwich'in inhabitants, most Americans have never been there either nor are they likely to go. Yet public opinion polls consistently oppose oil drilling there. Nor are many of us going to travel to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument recently protected by President Bush, or most of the other few more remote places on earth that have thus far managed to escape man’s imprint. Yet Mr. Bush’s foresighted action received near universal praise.

What is it that causes us to care about wilderness or other areas set aside primarily for the plants and animals (not the two-legged variety) of our planet. If oil rigs were allowed to drill in all of them our lives would be largely unaffected, except for a few cents drop in the price of gasoline years from now. Yet in some way we derive ‘value’ from a wild place that has little or no impact on our existence.

There are practical reasons for preserving what is wild. Biodiversity is important to the long‑term health of the planet and some plants and animals can be useful in medical research. Wild places can also serve as tourist destinations and they help keep our air and water unpolluted, all of which are utilitarian arguments for their preservation. But people seem to want to protect these places from development even without them affecting on our personal welfare. Why?

to top of next column

This question is really at the heart of our national debate over protecting wild places. Although most Americans will never visit such places, there is a large constituency for preserving them. At the same time development gives us jobs and economic growth and these are not inconsequential things. The wild America that Lewis and Clark saw is largely gone, and its sacrifice has provided us with a standard of living inconceivable to those pioneers in 1803.

Now we face the question whether an even higher standard of living is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free that still remain. Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to destroy them.

Why do we care? We care because we know intuitively how vulnerable our remaining treasures are to the powerful forces of development. We care because seeing bald eagles is more important than building another shopping mall, and the chance to find a trillium in spring is a right as inalienable as free speech. We care because we the understand value of stewardship of the planet and as the dominant species we have an obligation to protect those special places for future generations to enjoy.

If you agree, please tell your elected officials that further weakening our environmental protections simply can not be tolerated.

 


Printable and Portable W&W News Return to Top

Here's the printed version of this issue of the W&W News in pdf. It's 890 kB and you'll need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it. If you want to give a copy to a friend who doesn't have internet access, we suggest printing this pdf rather than this web page.

Another option is to take this on your PDA with AvantGo, a free service that lets you download and synch web pages with your PDA. Just have it synch this one from http://illinois.sierraclub.org/w&w/wwnews/WWNewsletter51.html .


Contributions Welcome

Contact the Group Chair to discuss the issue and how much space to take, or send your finished article directly to our Newsletter Designer.

 

To return to the Main selection page, click Go Back to Main