I am from out of state, so according to the logic used by a writer in Monday’s mailbag my views don’t count.
I was born and raised in a timber town in Arkansas. My father continues to this day to make his living in the local plant, where I’ve myself have spent some blood and sweat. I know what it is like to have the timber jobs dry up and for a family to be embattled to carry on. However, it amazes me to see the logic used by some in the timber industry equate jobs with healthy systems. Are we to expect the slaves from the Antebellum South to condescend the abolitionists from the North (who, by this logic, are not from the South and don’t know what it’s like to make a living by farm work) and oppose Lincoln’s abolition of slavery? The timber companies from my home state are responsible for turning all of the hard wood forests that I hunted and spent time in growing up into fast growing pine farms, most of them thickets that you cannot move through.
I grew up without central heating and indeed my grandparents didn’t have running water. I know what it is like to have to cut several cords of wood so that you do not freeze over the winter. Many summers my dad and I would go out into the forest and fell some trees for firewood. Yet I hold no new-age notion that a tree is crying because I place an axe into it. Yet coming from a family dependant on the land we know enough to not destroy that which provides for us.
I oppose the very short sighted and narrow minded views of both camps, the far left tree mystic and the money grubbing timber owner. One cannot see the forest (ecosystem) because of the trees, and the other cannot see the trees (resource needs) because of the forest.
I can only wonder what marvel we, as a state, might accomplish if we told both sides to shut-up and sit in a corner, while we looked to harvest our “true” needs from the forest while giving all the respect and attention deserved to the ecosystems from which they come from.