Letters to the Editor

To the Editor:

If you have been paying attention to real news you already know that huge sections of Brazilian rain forests have been systematically cut down to make way for cattle so giant corporations can supply cheap hamburgers to the world. This is at very least a tragedy, and at most ecocide. But what if this were happening right here in our back yard and nobody noticed? Just go look. Just take a drive south of Ely towards the charcoal ovens.

As soon as you get to Commins Lake, look right. First you’ll see the results of clear-cut logging – piles of dead Pinion and Juniper trees laying in the sage brush. The government wants us to believe that this is good for the environment and sage hens. But after decades of your tax dollars spent on bureaucrats’ payrolls, all we get is conjecture – no proof. Moreover, at least one study has found that sage hens prefer a few trees.

As you drive a little further, you’ll find that clear-cut logging was the kid glove treatment to our forests. For miles afterwards, almost half of the forest at a certain altitude has been chained. The devastation is practically complete in these areas. We’re talking dead zones. The topsoil is already washing away. It doesn’t take a biologist to see that sage hens would not want to live there.

And it doesn’t take a scientist to figure out that piles of dead trees and bushes do not make a fire break.

Expect the government bureaucrats to condescendingly tell you that this is actually better. But the emperor has no clothes. This isn’t restoration. This is deforestation. Sadly, this so resembles the destruction in the Brazilian rain forest.

The key to what’s really going on here is in what they intend to replace these Pinion/Juniper forests with. Essentially, they’re planting these areas with feed for livestock. But that’s not the end of the story. Just like in Brazil, the soil fails quickly, leaving just a few years of feed production. Which is why they will never stop “restoring” the forests – unless we stop them.

The Federal Government is in the process of killing 5 million acres of Pinion/Juniper forests in the Western US. (For comparison, the vast expanse of the new Basin and Range National Monument is only 700 thousand acres.) I can’t even imagine how many pine nuts 5 million acres is. And I don’t anticipate good hunting either. It appears our sacred sustainable food sources are being privatized. For Native Americans, this is the final blow in the destruction of our culture. This is way bigger than any local rancher. The West is being treated like a third world nation. And your taxes are paying for this – while those giant corporations who will profit from our loss of forest just got a big tax cut. If you don’t see the unsustainable thinking of pure greed and exploitation here, you need to go take a look. It’s hideous.

Delaine Spilsbury

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  1. Fires naturally mitigated the overgrowth of juniper trees. In the modern age we put the fires out. Now with fire control, junipers overgrow unchecked. Junipers aspirate a lot of water into the air and can cause issues with the water table because of this. juniper removal has been going on in western states for over 50 years. I personally made money doing so in Oregon in the early 80’s while on leave from the USAF. I probably cleared 500 acres myself.

    The cut down trees also provide additional forage for animals such as deer, who gain access to the shoots that were previously out of reach.

    Spillsbury needs to take a chill pill. I am not even going to bother checking back here for a response, as it is guaranteed to be both irrational and unscientific.

    • Rick Spilsbury says:

      Let’s consider the obvious; 50 year ago, the motivation for chaining the forest was not to save the sage hen. They weren’t endangered back then. And I remember, chaining was very unpopular. Fast forward to today – and the motivation behind chaining the forest is still the same. Saving the sage hen is just a lame excuse to keep us from being outraged again. Just because this guy killed trees himself does not make it right. In fact, he said it himself in his comment; they did it for the water and the feed – and definitely not for feed for deer. .

  2. Wheeler says:

    All you needed to do was use the term ‘ecocide’ to immediately demonstrate where science stumbles to a stop and zealotry starts up. Comparing WP to the rain forests is also melodramatic (extreme).

    Further, I imagine the author (and other passionately affiliated environmentalists) are all for massive regulatory response to all things tree-huggie right up until all of a sudden you can “expect the (evil) government bureaucrats to condescendingly tell you (things).”

    Try this: would you prefer potentially dangerous clearing due to a spontaneous forest fire as in places like Yellowstone (which is at least actually somewhat useful in clearing out dead growth, despite the immediate toll on flora), or would you prefer strategic science-based clearing (which is actually somewhat useful in clearing out dead growth – sorry, science) in support of wildlife as designed by the very experts I’m sure you usually lean on and appreciate to protect (everything) under all other circumstances?

    As ‘environmentalists’, maybe pick and choose your battles – even if you’re getting bored with not much to complain about lately?

    Here’s the take-away from the letter: government bad, industry bad, corporations bad, ranching bad, cutting trees bad, hunting (will be) bad… sage hens are important/aren’t important – I can’t even tell.

    In light of this latest (“irrational and unscientific”) complaint, next time you eat any store bought beef (assuming), be sure to wash it down with a nice tall glass of hypocrisy?

    • Rick Spilsbury says:

      All you have to do is go out and take a look at the total destruction that chaining is and you would realize that only a true zealot would approve of this. Thinning out a few trees is one thing, This is deforestation. And here is the real take-away you should get: Unrestricted greed is bad. Theft is bad. A culture of exploitation is bad. Corruption is bad. Destruction of the pine trees that feed us (and wildlife) is bad. And short-term rewards for long term loss ultimately leads to long term loss. Wake up!

      • “All you have to do is go out and take a look… and you would realize that only a true zealot would approve of this.”
        Not sure you understand the meaning of that word.

        “Unrestricted greed is bad.”
        Your subjective definition of capitalism?

        “Theft is bad.”
        What is being unlawfully stolen from whom, here?

        “A culture of exploitation is bad.”
        This is a subjective value statement reflecting a personal judgment or belief system, not a rational response. Strictly speaking, you are exploiting this online paper for your own subjective purposes. Is that ‘bad’? Do you eat your broccoli, or is broccoli also evil and bad? (subjective.)

        ‘Corruption is bad.”
        Generally speaking, a commonly held attitude – but as applied vaguely to this issue, who exactly is corrupt? Is it subjectively evil capitalism, or subjectively evil (insert subjective evil whatever here)?

        “Destruction of the pine trees that feed us (and wildlife) is bad.”
        Sort of vague, sort of broad. Sort of Dramatic. Some trees? All trees? Still plenty of trees out there last you even checked. Also, I guess I missed the frozen pine trees in the freezer section at the grocery store (yes, pine nuts, I know, and these are a renewable resource).

        “And short-term rewards for long term loss ultimately leads to long term loss.”
        Actually if you were to enjoy repeated short term rewards, it might eventually outweigh potential long term loss – maybe they should do more?

        “Wake up!”
        I fail to recognize your authority over the public’s sleeping patterns or circadian rhythms (or on anything else, for that matter)… further, recommend you relax a little, maybe enjoy some warm milk and a nap… under a nice tree, after maybe reading a (nice) science journal on the agricultural management of renewable resources. And maybe a dictionary.

  3. Rick Spilsbury says:

    Obviously you’re trying to discredit source. By fussing over my every word, you’re ignoring my point. Which makes me think you are trying to distract people. That’s a propaganda technique. I’m not saying you’re an industry shill… but maybe you should apply for the job.

    What I am saying is that taxpayers are paying for the systematic destruction of our publicly owned forests in the West so that a few unethical corporations can sell cheap hamburger to keep a few (possibly foreign) investors’ profits up.

    It’s already happened in Brazil. But at least Brazil’s taxpayers weren’t stuck with the bill. And also, they figured out a way to greatly reduce the deforestation… which is what I’m certain you don’t want to talk about.

    • Wheeler says:

      I don’t need to discredit you, you discredit yourself through irrational protestation. I ‘fussed’ over each comment (easily and) primarily for sport. ‘Industry shill’ – which one? You would appear to distrust all of them. As to your raison d’etre of the moment – you refer to agricultural management melodramatically as ‘ecocide’ and ‘systematic destruction’. And now you repeat the mantra as a clichéd environmental zealot. Or should I say environmental activist ‘shill’. Maybe ‘The Nature Conservancy’? ‘The Sierra Club’? Starting one of your own? What will it be next month – endangered beavers? Oh wait, you’re not so concerned about the sage hens at the moment. Until you are (?). Considering the vast amplitude of regulatory issues interwoven with anything having to do with anything on public land, I’d probably call this one ‘vetted’. But by all means, beat your chest and declare authority if that’s what does it for you. And clearly what does it for you is trying to create a peripheral vehicle to condemn private industry or capitalism strategically through a passionate ‘call to action’ in the midst of a manufactured panic. Sorry, not buying any – too busy trying to afford buying actual things within the already over-regulated, over-taxed market that one would think you might be quite happy with given your obvious leanings (but apparently just can’t seem to be now). And frankly, I just feel sort of sorry for anyone perpetually filtering through such a fuzzy, manipulative, angry lens.

      When you respond to this in further desperate need to have the last (‘authoritative’) word, try to appreciate that it’s kind of obvious. And a little amusing. And rather predictable. And growing tedious. And…

  4. Rick Spilsbury says:

    Just like I suspected.

    In your last comment you said nothing – absolutely nothing about the subject. You don’t want to talk about loss of forest. You don’t want to talk about the theft of five million acres of pine nuts from Native Americans, anyone who eats pine nuts, and the animals that eat pine nuts. You don’t want to talk about the striping of our public lands’ topsoil. You don’t want to talk about the loss of tourism.

    You want to talk about me.

    To that, I say; so what? Even if every thing you said about me is true, that still doesn’t make me wrong about the deforestation of our back yards.

    And since you want to keep on, I will too. Here is a quote from the Union of Concerned Scientists on how Brazil has reduced deforestation:
    “Brazil’s dramatic reduction in deforestation is the result of several different efforts. First, at both state and federal levels, the country greatly expanded its network of indigenous reserves and protected areas (including sustainable-use reserves), which now encompass more than half of Brazil’s Amazon forest. Just as important, these reserves have been effectively protected. Indigenous peoples now control 20 percent of the Brazilian Amazon, and their collective land tenure rights have been reinforced by official titles and the support of the state in stopping illegal encroachment by non-indigenous ranchers, farmers, and miners. Strong enforcement of logging laws, including seizures of illegal timber, closing of illegal sawmills, and jailing of the perpetrators (including government officials who had been taking bribes to look the other way), has shown that the government’s commitment to stopping deforestation is real.”

    … Hey Wheeler; maybe you don’t want to talk about stopping deforestation because you might end up in jail.

  5. Well, that was a heck of a lot of fun.
    Let’s recap: government bad, industry bad, corporations bad, ranching bad, farming bad, mining bad, cutting trees bad, logging bad, hunting (will be) bad… sage hens are important/aren’t important… Rick presumably ‘good’ for thumping on it ad nauseam.

    As you skip any specific technical and/or justifiable purpose for a bit of tree cutting here, and jump all the way down the road to ‘Wholesale Brazilian Badness’ (and clearly you have), try a dictionary for the word ‘paranoia’ as you make that leap.

    You see, Rick – it clearly is about you, your ego, and your eco-warrior inclinations. You’ve said your piece, repeatedly, so the repetition isn’t rational, just raving. And you’ve tripled down on the paranoia, because apparently ‘if you disagree with Rick you belong in jail’ (?!)

    So when do you start rounding up the eco-offenders as you personally define them here, Rick?

    Appeal to reason/sanity: Brazilian Rain forests (not… in… White Pine County…, Rick…). Different country, different system, fewer regulations. Carping about Brazil in the context of carping about Nevada (apples to Oreos), and demanding that I/we do care in the exact way that you do is (again) zealotry.

    You started this diatribe exclaiming ‘wake-up!’, as a self-ascribed authority on the bad things, while refusing to acknowledge any rational scientific methodology behind the activity you dislike. All feverish ranting considered, I will simply offer this in response: ‘Grow Up.’

    Now I think I’ll go conduct a bit of ‘ecocide’ on the lawn and yank a few weeds. Which is really what trees are, after all – big weeds.

  6. Rick Spilsbury says:

    Big weeds? Our forests are just “big weeds” to you, Wheeler.
    I’ll bet you’re not in the majority on that one.

    That’s why we’ve never voted on this. Chaining forest is just what it looks like – deforestation. And the people of America would never have voted for it. And all the nasty things you say about me aren’t going to change that. Chaining has been very unpopular for decades now. All your trolling has done is convince those left reading that you’re a troll. You’re a troll who thinks that our forests are just “big weeds” that should be torn down. You don’t just hate me. You hate the forest.

    You said it. “Big weeds.”

    • Wheeler says:

      And the fish takes the worm.
      (Wow. And I really didn’t expect it to work that fast.)

      On the subject of trolling: Rick – you see, this is what YOU are actually doing, but you’re using this online forum to troll the entire county with repeated and unsolicited opinion over this issue. And you apparently feel quite put upon when someone (and I’m not the only one) even playfully calls you out for it. But I don’t hate you, Rick. Far from it. Even after you call me names and suggest through some paranoid delusion (?) that I am a ‘shill’ that might need to be arrested (?!). Really I don’t. Why would I hate a myopic child of whatever age with certain fixations stomping his little feet and demanding more ice cream?

      Your particular ice cream (this time) would seem to be trees, as well as everyone near you immediately agreeing with you about the flavor and treatment of that ice cream (trees) with you as some sort of authority on the matter as you regurgitate articles about other countries and refuse to address that other experts apparently approved this within a much more regulated industrial and socio-political climate (ours). You would prefer to imagine something terrible and apocalyptic.

      Yes, I said ‘big weeds’. And thank you for repeating it. Big Weeds, and it bothers you because you cannot see the forest for the trees. Because ‘big plants are special’, and little plants apparently are not. Big Weeds because strictly speaking, if you scaled a weed up, and you could stand next to it, I’m sure you would call it a tree and think of it as one as it functioned as one at that scale. Big Weeds. just like little weeds, must be managed within an environment of good stewardship that takes the balance of flora, fauna, and responsible land use and management into consideration – as opposed to a knee-jerk response to something you might have seen as you drove by and it made you rear end itch. And I can only guess that you are immediately inclined to point fingers and evoking extreme situations.

      No, I don’t hate you, Rick (although I imagine you probably have steam spewing out of your ears regarding anybody who challenges you based on this demonstration). I’m not in the habit of searching for things to hate and condemn at the drop of a hat. I’ll leave that to you, not that you’re great at the details of it.

      Just don’t expect people to recognize your esteemed authority and wisdom with such obvious subjectivity married to a sad and obvious lack of specific (local, pertinent) information (replaced by gross and extreme things happening in other countries and eras to make up for that weakness).

      (Big Weeds)

      • Rick Spilsbury says:

        Dang Wheeler, you’re a machine – an insult machine – but tenacious nonetheless.

        Let’s talk about some of your insulting nonsense anyway. You stated that I’ve been trolling the county with my “opinion.” I don’t believe that’s the definition of “trolling.” Actual “trolling” is a lot more like what you’ve been doing.

        Wikipedia defines trolling: “In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, or off-topic messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.”

        Right down your alley, I must say.

        But let’s get back on subject. Let’s assume for a moment that you are more than just a shill or a troll. Let’s speculate for a moment and consider the possibility that you are in some way actually responsible for these chainings, and you’ve decided to personally attack those who don’t like what you’ve been up to.

        Consider this; Phys.org has reported: “Earth’s intact forests shrank by an area larger than Austria every year from 2014 to 2016 at a 20 percent faster rate than during the previous decade.”

        But they’re just big weeds to you.

        The article also said: “Forests are the only safe, natural, proven and affordable infrastructure we have for capturing and storing carbon.”

        But they’re just big weeds to you.

        And why do you consider them big weeds? Apparently, because they’re in your way. Apparently, you smell quick money, and you’re not going to let some big weeds get in your way. But the problem with that mentality is that it perfectly fits the definition of a sociopathic pillager. And when you deplete all of the soil in your quest for quick profits – well that’s pretty much game over for ranching here. Sounds like “pillager” to me.

        The more you take greedily now, the less we will have in the future. That’s not responsible land use. That’s just “use.” And if we let you continue on with your course, there will literally be nothing left for future generations.

        Ultimately, you’re treating your own children like weeds.

  7. As you quote, Rick: “a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people by posting inflammatory, or off-topic messages in an online community with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response…”

    And that would be a clear definition of what you are up to here, Rick – with the letter, the passionate flailing and accusatory follow-ups, the Brazilian melodrama, all of it.

    Responding and sticking with a dialogue does not make me (or anyone) a troll – or you a (perpetual) victim – but obfuscating by accusing the (whoever) of the very thing you do is a tired rhetorical tactic.

    As opposed to your assertions about LOCAL tree cutting, here is something that is readily apparent: pound for pound, you are now the aggressor here. Lacking submission or ‘last word’, I suspect your goal is to bully me quiet. Or to spook me with ludicrous accusations of collusion with some vague, inappropriate activity (by your own definition). Which clearly isn’t working despite your escalation.

    And here’s the really spooky part: right or wrong about anything happening to trees, you’re totally wrong about me or my motivation – and you seem to be spinning in a froth of fever-dream conjecture and paranoia – while seeming to actually believe the fiction you’re creating, repeating, and even escalating.

    As Flyboy first said: “irrational” (and revealing).

    So here’s what I’d recommend, ‘good neighbor’: go get your facts straight about who is doing what to LOCAL trees, as opposed to imagining all sorts of horrifically equipped bad guys and boogie men (critics included) in the form of ‘eco-enemies’ among your neighbors and roaming the hillside.

    Beyond that, maybe anger management. Because it was way too easy to light you up over something as simple as weeds vs trees, ‘captain planet’ (however, thanks for the public demonstration of ‘unhinged’).

    Realistically, I imagine most (if not all) rational readers at this point are rolling their eyes over this back and forth. Sadly, you would seem to imagine something very different – something dramatic and full of intrigue, as the beleaguered but courageous hero of the little story you’ve built up in your own head.

    I bet you’re really fun to try to talk to at a BBQ.

    (Big Weeds)

    • Rick Spilsbury says:

      This is my last comment, Wheeler. Unlike you, I stand to make no money off of this effort.

      As you have said; “I imagine most (if not all) rational readers at this point are rolling their eyes over this…” I agree. And yet ironically; as you have claimed (in perfect propaganda double speak) “I suspect your goal is to bully me quiet.” What?!!! This is exactly what you have been trying to do to us since my mother had the guts to speak out about the deforestation of our Native homeland. You are a bully Wheeler. I, on the other hand, have been standing up for my mother – who is a Shoshone Tribal elder – who still has some of the traits of our hunter/gatherer ancestors. And one of those traits is to respect nature, because ultimately that’s what feeds us.

      Just In case you don’t want to remember, our Native people were treated like weeds by greedy sociopathic pillaging jerks like you. But nonetheless, they were people who have lived here for over 10,000 years sustainably. You, on the other hand, will kill yourselves off within a hundred years – and maybe even a lot sooner.

      I’m talking about public land here. This is the land of the American people. This is OUR land. And we don’t like jerks like you telling us that our land exists solely for jerks like you to pillage.

  8. Wheeler says:

    Rick – you might note that I refrained from responding the entire weekend so that your ‘last’ comment could stand alone, unassailed and unchallenged, as a neighborly act of generosity to give your words a few days in the sun.

    You’re welcome.

    In an age of ‘journalists’ and politicians wading and wallowing hip-deep in inflammatory rhetoric, you risk becoming a punch line if you swing too high or become rhetorically spastic, filtering through a lens of perpetual intrigue while ‘waging war’ spontaneously on (a real or imagined) ‘enemy’.

    In brief, try to to relax, Rick. I’ve never taken anything away from you, and neither have your other contemporary neighbors (?). If you and yours are still so worked up over this that you can’t stand it, as American tax payers (?), look into the specifics of it. Do the work. Find out who’s actually doing what. Maybe avoid unproductive wholesale accusations and hot-headed pejorative terms. Maybe stop assuming that anyone and everyone is automatically the ‘enemy’, particularly if they are your neighbors. Maybe it isn’t so much about ‘them and us’ anymore if you are one of many in a historic melting pot community of a variety of strong and proud multi-generational ethnicities, including my family.

    Or, if you are too deeply entrenched in a world view of perpetual conflict, you can most likely expect people (at least eventually) to call BS – particularly on those occasions when you start painting with such a big brush. And you do love to paint, or so it would appear.

    And I almost hate to say it, but your buttons are obviously about 20 feet wide and hot fluorescent green (Big Weeds). Hint: never play chess.

    Underestimating the singular and collective intelligence of your neighbors while assuming their passivity or naïveté as a means of manipulating their opinions is, well, an arrogance that borders on child-like stupidity. And/or you’re too close to your own passions to appreciate that someone might rationally differ with you and still be at least somewhat correct – not ‘evil’, or ‘the enemy’.

    Or, maybe consider someplace that might make you feel more validated and comfortable within a perpetual protest ideology, seeking angry career ‘eco-warriors’ like yourself. Maybe Berkeley.

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