How are you dealing with the current virus outbreak? Are you keeping your distance? Do you hope it won’t affect you? Are you already tired of it? Don’t want to hear more about it? Think this, too, will pass?
Maybe all of it at the same time?
Welcome to the club.
I try to limit my reading about the pandemic, especially the “breaking” news.
Wealth without work. Pleasure without conscience. Knowledge without character. Commerce without morality. Science without humanity. Worship without sacrifice. Politics without principle.
Frederick Lewis Donaldson
We are not even close to the zenith of this pandemic and there are already voices asking for easing the restrictions, so that the economy does not tank. It is not surprising to hear extreme opinions in a country that is more or less evenly divided over most issues. However, it shows that some folks have lost their moral compass.
This is what Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick had to say: “… no one reached out to me and said, ‘As a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in. My message is, let’s get back to work. Let’s get back to living. Let’s be smart about it, and those of us who are 70-plus, we’ll take care of ourselves, but don’t sacrifice the country. Our biggest gift we give to our country, and our children and our grandchildren, is the legacy of our country.”
Patrick claimed after speaking to over a hundred people over the phone that they don’t want to lose the whole country over the current public health crisis and face an economic collapse.
No, there is something seriously wrong with this picture. To put the mighty dollar before people?
What is left of humanity, morality, and conscience?
“The world is divided into those who screw and those who do not.“
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Last night I woke up in the middle of the night, having read too many articles on the ongoing pandemic. My literary senses were not quite there, when I came up with the title for today’s post. Nevertheless, the line may become reality over the next weeks or months.
Yesterday, I was let go due to a reduction in force (RIF, which is just one letter different from RIP). Several states have shelter-in-place mandates. The number of infected individuals around the globe continues to grow exponentially. Economic outlooks are dire.
That’s a lot of bad news for one day.
Here is some good advice from the Mayo Clinic how to cope with the current situation:
• Limit exposure to news media. • Avoid staying up late to monitor news. • When you do look at news, be sure to seek out reputable sources. • Connect with friends and family for support via social media or a phone. • Meditate, stretch or practice deep breathing • Do activities you enjoy. • Be optimistic. • Eat a healthy diet. • Get some exercise. • Avoid turning to drugs or alcohol to cope. • Use your moral compass or spiritual life for support. • Remind yourself that strong feelings will fade.
“If, then, I were asked for the most important advice I could give, that which I considered to be the most useful to the men of our century, I should simply say: in the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.”
“It occurred to me that no words by the tongue of man can express the simplicities of a quiet land…”
Daniel J. Rice
More than 6 months have passed since I took this picture north of the Arctic Circle. Winter has taken a hold of the northern lattitudes. It seems unfathomable that there is life waiting to return.
Why did this summer moment speak to me? I am not sure. Maybe it is my vision of a place that is whole, untrampled. Maybe “The UnPeopled Season, Journal from a North Country Wilderness” by Daniel J. Rice has the answer?
My winter has not been quiet. Hence no books, no photos, no stories…
There are lots of different approaches to conservation, but I don’t think any of them will work unless there’s a personal connection between the individual and the natural world.”
When I was offered to go on a back country patrol with the Park Service into the Gates of the Arctic I did not hesitate a second to say yes. Little did I know what to expect. I was told we would float the Kobuk for about a week through the Preserve. At the time I did not know exactly where the Kobuk was, and which part of the Brooks Range was covered by the Preserve. Over time I learned that Kobuk flows along the Southern slopes of the Brooks Range, home to grizzlies, moose, salmon, and sheefish. Access to the Preserve is mostly by bush plane, boat, or snow machines. There is no road access to Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Therefore visitation and human impact to this area is rather limited. This is about to change.
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) proposes to construct a new 211-mile-long gravel access road in the southern Brooks Range foothills to provide industrial access to the Ambler Mining District. The road would originate at the Dalton Highway near Prospect Creek and end at the Ambler Mining District, and would have no public access. The proposed project crosses state lands (61%) and Native corporation lands (15%), but also crosses public lands (24%) managed by the BLM and the National Park Service.
What is the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority?
AIDEA is a public corporation of the State of Alaska, created in 1967 by the Alaska Legislature “in the interests of promoting the health, security, and general welfare of all the people of the state, and a public purpose, to increase job opportunities and otherwise to encourage the economic growth of the state, including the development of its natural resources, through the establishment and expansion of manufacturing, industrial, energy, export, small business, and business enterprises…”
In other words, the state of Alaska proposes the construction of a road through a largely undisturbed wilderness to enable exploratory mining operations. No mining companies have signed on to this project. The state proposes a private road, that will cost upwards of 1 billion dollars (public money) to support mining operations for 50 years. After that…
The impact of the road and its use on caribou migration, salmon and sheefish spawning, permafrost and subsistence living are unclear. Given the history of mining operations it is to be expected that there will be detrimental effects. Show me one mine that has been good for the environment.
The question is, do we really need this road? Is this about the general welfare of the people, or is it about politics and economy growth, which is not sustainable? Do we value wilderness, or does the mighty dollar trump everything?
The Pebble Mine near Katmai National Park and Preserve and the Constantine-Palmer Mine near the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve are other projects that face similar issues. They are located in the vicinity of protected public lands and conservationist are more than concerned that these projects threaten the surrounding natural areas. None of these places see the numbers of visitors of say Yosemite or Yellowstone.
Imagine a 221 mile long industrial road through Yosemite Valley…
Goes back to the initial question: Do we really care only for things that we have seen first hand?