This diary has nothing whatsoever to do with
global warming climate crisis figments of the imagination and its impact on The Park Formerly Known as Glacier. This time, I'm talking about a much more specific and immediate threat. In fact, this diary won't mention global warming climate crisis figments of the imagination at all.
Good news, which is rare for environmentalists: Activism works! Petitions, letters, and emails succeed! Score at halftime: Glacier Park 1, Strip Mines 0!
On the American side, it's Glacier National Park: a huge wilderness of peaks, alpine lakes, grizzly bears, mountain goats, and sublime hiking. On the Canadian side, it's the smaller and more developed Waterton Lakes National Park. Together it's known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a World Heritage Site, and the Crown Jewel of the Rockies.
A river runs through it; specifically, the North Fork of the Flathead River on the western border of the American park. Upstream (Canadian side), the Cline Mining Corporation wanted to strip mine a nearby mountain. The mine tailings (which, according to the United States Supreme Court, can no longer be considered "pollution") would be pushed into the Flathead River. Canadian strip mining is the same technique described in Devilstower's excellent FP story on Appalachia; however, the same Bush-era rocket scientists who determined that enhanced interrogation sounded better than torture also decided that mountaintop mining sounds less threatening than strip mining.
American environmentalists sprang into action. Earthjustice, Wildsight, and ten more groups circulated online petitions. (Astute eyes might have spotted my links on open threads earlier this month.) Armed with signatures, they asked the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization to declare Glacier a World Heritage Site In Danger. Currently, there are 30 WHSs In Danger, including the Parthenon in Greece and five sites in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Everglades and Yellowstone National Parks in America have made appearances but are not presently In Danger.
UNESCO split the baby (did you really expect the United Nations to take swift, bold, and decisive action?) last Friday, June 26, 2009. Glacier isn't yet listed as a WHS In Danger, but the United Nations will investigate:
the 21 members of the committee voted unanimously to send a UNESCO mission to Waterton-Glacier and the British Columbian Flathead Valley to "evaluate and provide recommendations on the requirements for ensuring the protection" of Waterton-Glacier. The committee also cited concern in its decision statement about the potential threats that mining and energy development within the Flathead Valley would have on water quality and ecosystem connectivity. It asked Canada and the United States to prepare a report by February 1, 2010 which examines all Flathead River Valley energy and mining proposals and their cumulative impacts.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar endorsed the UNESCO committee decision, and Glacier may end up dodging that particular bullet.
Oh, and on the subject of euphemisms? The official NPS website asks and answers, in a bizarre mix of euphemism and bitter reality:
Did You Know?
Glacier National park was named for the glaciers that carved, sculpted, and formed this landscape millions of years ago. Despite the recession of current glaciers [because human-caused g***@* w@****g is destroying them], the park's name will not change when [not if] the glaciers are gone.
[emphases and brackets mine] A ranger-favorite day hike in Glacier National Park is to oft-photographed Grinnell Glacier, hanging just below the Continental Divide. It's a spectacularly gorgeous, moderately strenuous 6 mile hike past alpine lakes and through bear habitat to a stunning sight. Here's a series of pictures of Grinnell Glacier, beginning in 1938:
Too bad that petitions, letters, and emails have only limited success. 150 glaciers were counted when the park first opened in 1910. By its centennial next year, it'll be down to 27 glaciers, and most scientists agree that those 27 remaining glaciers will be gone by 2030. If you get there within 20 years, get out of your car, take a hike, and touch a glacier. It's dirty and cold, but you'll want to tell your grandchildren what it was like. Not that glaciers will be gone for any specific reason. In fact, this diary hasn't discussed
global warming climate crisis figments of the imagination at all.
Links, notes, and fun stuff:
If you are interested in environmental issues, please join DK GreenRoots, a new environmental advocacy group created by Meteor Blades. DK GreenRoots is comprised of bloggers at Daily Kos and eco-advocates from other sites. We focus on a broad range of issues. We alert each other to important eco-stories in the mainstream media and on the Internet, promote bloggers at one site to readers at other sites and discuss crucial eco-issues. We are in exciting times now because for the first time in years, significant environmental legislation will be passed by Congress. DK GreenRoots can also be used to apprise members of discussions and strategy sessions happening in Meteor Blade’s Green Diary Rescue thread, which is also our workroom.
Schedule for DK GreenRoots week.
All listed times are PDT.
Monday June 29:
2 am: Now it’s "Cleaner" Coal? by Zwoof
6 am: CBS Jumps a Whale Shark by DarkSyde
7 am: News from the Arctic: 29 June 2009 by billlaurelMD
1 pm: With Assistance, Foxaganda Finds Another Denier by Meteor Blades
9 pm: Obama Says Mountain Crimes Can Be Regulated by Jeff Biggers
Science Tidbits by possum; Maccas Meatless Monday - Action Diary by beach babe in fl; Books by Kossacks by sarahnity; Got a Happy Story? by Eddie C); Labor Diary Rescue by djtyg, Overnight News Digest: Eco Week-O by jlms qkw; Eco-Diary Rescue by Meteor Blades
Tuesday June 30:
11 am: Ecotourism: Not an oxymoron by LaughingPlanet
3 pm: Walking Gently in the Footsteps of my Ancestors by Got a Grip
5 pm: maggiejean on redwoods
7 pm: Magnifico
Cheers & Jeers" Tuesday by BiPM; Healthy Minds & Bodies by RLMiller; The Left Wing by Texas Revolutionary; Top Comments by Elise; Overnight News Digest by wader; Eco-Diary Rescue by Meteor Blades
Wednesday July 1:
5am: A Siegel with energy meta
3 pm: Asinus Asinum Fricat on bottled water
7 pm: Mark H
Bookflurries: Bookchat by cfk; Siglines! by Wee Mama
Full schedule can be found here.
Plus there'll be music on environmental themes in jotter's High Impact Diaries every morning, along with schedule updates. Additional diaries will be filled in from amongst the following: faithfull, The Cunctator, and Turkana. And we’ll make more slots as needed - anyone who has an environmentally-related story they want to post this week, we’ll create a place on the schedule for you.