Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Prelude crosses Montana and Idaho

Coeur d'Alene lakeshore

Along Sherman Avenue, downtown Coeur d'Alene. Farmer's market day.

The Prelude along the shores of Lake Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

President Bush recently overturned a Clinton Administration ban on road-creation in National Forests. So we can expect to see much more of this. I thought Idaho might bring some relief from the devastation I was seeing throughout Montana's forests. But this is just west of Lookout Pass in Idaho.

National Forests. Disappearing quickly.

Smurfit Stone's Containerboard Mill west of Missoula, Montana.

Turning forests to cardboard. In the background, Montana's emaciated National Forest scarred with logging roads. Four or five fully-loaded logging trucks rolled in just during the half hour I was here.

Perhaps cardboard boxes are not inherently evil, but the message is that they come at a price that few recognize. Trees are sold for practically nothing. The impacts on air, water, flora and fauna, the impact on roads and infrastructure, effects on human health, the contribution to global warming. These are all things the corporation MUST try to externalize in order to maximize earnings per share. It's simply "best business practices." Of course, a government's mission should be to limit the extent to which these by-products are externalized. Hence the constant tension between business and government (and the temptation to corrupt.)

The lesson? Each of us is responsible. Use only what we truly need. Tread lightly.

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