Informe de la cabecera de cuenca del río Colorado

Para comprender a plenitud a alguien, debes comenzar por su
nacimiento. Por lo tanto, Michelle y yo pasamos los últimos dos días buscando
la cabecera de cuenca del río Colorado entre el frío y la nieve que se
encuentran arriba de la zona de La Poudre Pass, al norte del Parque Nacional de
las Montañas Rocosas. El acceso se hace por la carretera Long Draw, que sale de
la autopista 14 de Colorado. La carretera Long Draw es un camino serpenteante
de terracería lleno de baches que atraviesa 22 km de bosques de pinos y abetos
y pasa por el reservorio Long Draw antes de terminar abruptamente en una
llanura de sauces.

Descubrimos que la carretera estaba cubierta con una pulgada de lodo escarchado
que requería que manejáramos a velocidades bajas para evitar resbalar y caer en
las zanjas de la carretera. El trayecto del viaje nos sirvió como periodo de
preparación para entender mejor el lugar de nacimiento del río Colorado. La
aspereza e incesantes baches de la carretera, combinados con las temperaturas
bajo cero, nos hacían cuestionarnos si realmente tomábamos en serio la visita a
la cabecera de cuenca del río Colorado. Me preocupaba que la Toyota Previa 1991
de Michelle no fuera capaz de soportar el camino, pero la camioneta cumplió las
expectativas que le permitieron lograr ser objeto de culto.

El trayecto de Long Draw pronosticó la violencia que encontraríamos en la
cabecera del río. Enormes extensiones de bosques talados por completo
flanquearon la carretera hasta llegar al desfiladero. El servicio forestal ha
de ser demasiado perezoso al quitar árboles porque, conforme colapsaban,
dejaron algunos de ellos en la carretera; los empleados del servicio forestal
sencillamente talaron con sierras de cadena, a 50 m de ambos lados de la
carretera, cada árbol que encontraron a su paso. A 5 km del final del camino,
nos topamos con una larga represa de poca altura que retenía la escorrentía de
montaña en el reservorio de Long Draw. Teníamos la expectativa de encontrar un
entorno silvestre en La Poudre Pass, por lo que al llegar a la represa fue como
toparse con una pared en la obscuridad.

Las extensiones deforestadas, la represa y el reservorio que encontramos son
lesiones penosas, pero ninguna de ellas es tan mala como la Grand Ditch (Gran
Zanja). Caminamos 400 m desde el final del Long Draw, donde encontramos una
señal que marcaba el lugar de la cabecera del río. De camino a la señal,
pasamos una zanja de 10 m de profundidad y otros 10 m de ancho, la cual llevaba
el agua de oeste a este. Estábamos en el lado oeste de la división continental
donde el agua fluye naturalmente hacia el oeste. Contemplamos la magia negra
empleada por los ingenieros para lograr esta proeza. La zanja en La Poudre Pass
era tan llamativa como una cicatriz profunda a medio rostro de un humano.

La Gran Zanja se inició a finales de la década de 1880 y fue excavada en su
mayor parte por un batallón de japoneses armados con herramientas manuales y
pólvora. Se construyó para sacar el agua, desviándola de la cabecera del río
Colorado a las ciudades en desarrollo al este de la cordillera Front de
Colorado. Cerca de 60 cm de profundidad de aguas rápidas corrían a través de la
zanja. Aprendimos que, incluso antes de que la nieve acumulada logre derretirse
y formar los pequeños arroyos reconocibles como los orígenes del río Colorado,
el agua le es robada al río. Parado en medio del polvo, me pregunto si el agua
almacenada aquí terminará en el campo de golf del Fuerte Collins o si las
vaquitas marinas la agitarán entre sus aletas nadando en el Golfo de California.

Si estudias el nacimiento del río Colorado aprenderás que sus aguas nacen del
vientre silvestre conformado por las nubes de los duros inviernos, las elevadas
cumbres montañosas y la acumulación de nieve. Sin embargo, estas aguas emergen
de este vientre directamente a la explotación. En La Poudre Pass, este río
recibe la primera manifestación de violencia que le seguirá durante el resto de
su vida.

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 Fotografía © Michelle McCarron.

Trending David Bowie: a cultural disaster

Julian Langer / Deep Green Resistance UK

I woke up this morning to find my social media feed awash with David Bowie mourners, with too many articles on the subject to count. His death also featured on TV stations and the airwaves. Bowie is an icon within the industry of 20th and 21st century capitalism, arguably unmatched in terms of following, creativity and cultural impact. He undeniably had great talent. But, how can this culture place such disproportionate emphasis on the death of one man, relative to far more pressing issues?

The spectacle of this culture covers up a greater state of loss, with not even a tiny fraction of the attention paid to Bowie’s death given to matters of planetary life and death. These are just a few of the environmental and technology articles I found today with repercussions far greater than those from the death of one celebrity, no matter how popular:

Our cultural focus is a complete and utter disaster. The cultural spectacle leaves us increasingly distracted, while our world falls apart and we trust our fate to those who profit from the disintegration.

Personally, I feel a lot like Lisa Simpson in The Simpsons Movie, when she says “This town is just one piece of trash away from a toxic nightmare! But I knew you wouldn’t listen. So I took the liberty of pouring water from the lake in all your drinking glasses!”, to which Moe responds with “See, this is why we should hate kids!” But this isn’t a cartoon. Neither Lisa Simpson, David Bowie, nor even Spider-Pig will stop this culture and the world it is creating. We need to take on the responsibility, and resist in whatever ways we can.

We just lost two million hectares of forest and two years to prevent runaway climate change…

…but at least they released the trailer for the new Star Wars film.

Julian Langer / Deep Green Resistance UK

Ulet Ifansasti/Getty Images

Children are choking to death and being prepared for evacuation as forest fires ravage Indonesia in what is probably the most severe environmental disaster of the 21st century. Endangered orangutans are losing their homes and food sources, which, obviously, has a severe knock on effect for their survival. Every day, the carbon emissions from these fires equals those from the USA, and we all know how much Americans love to be “green”.

“Apocalyptic hellish scene” said Ben Henschke of BBC Indonesia. This is a tragic event of unparalleled proportion, but what is this culture talking about? Star Wars!

What is the (extremely) probable cause of this devastation? Corruption and corporate greed! Already there is palm oil being grown illegally on the decimated remains of the forest homes of orangutans. Palm oil giants, sourcing from independent smallholders, are profiteering from what is choking children to death, but what trends on Twitter? Star Wars.

“It’s no wonder we don’t defend the land where we live. We don’t live here. We live in television programs and movies and books and with celebrities and in heaven and by rules and laws and abstractions created by people far away and we live anywhere and everywhere except in our particular bodies on this particular land at this particular moment in these particular circumstances.”

― Derrick Jensen, Endgame, Vol. 2: Resistance

Prairie dog liberation campaign: report-back & video

The DGR Southwest Coalition recently held their annual Southwest Gathering, sharing skills & good food, and engaging in many discussions & strategy sessions. As part of the gathering, Deanna Meyer of Deep Green Resistance Colorado joined Brian Ertz of Wildlands Defense to discuss their recent campaign against a Castle Rock mega-mall development. We’ve reported here a little bit on the struggle, and are excited to share this video of Meyer and Ertz describing the campaign in more detail.

The campaign initially petitioned the developer to “do the right thing”: delay construction until June, so that threatened prairie dogs on-site could be relocated with the best chance of survival. Though this would leave the prairie dogs as refugees, displaced from their homes and with the rest of their community killed, at least they would have a chance to try to rebuild their lives. When the developer responded by poisoning the prairie dogs en masse (along with many others, human and nonhuman), the campaign focused on saving those who were left, and on creating an example of the developer by inflicting as much pain as possible.

The campaigners were unable to stop the development or to save all the prairie dogs, but their dedicated grassroots organizing succeeded at achieving their secondary objectives. They forced the developer to halt construction for months, allowing workers to rescue those prairie dogs who survived the mass slaughter. They’ve probably cost the developer millions of dollars and countless headaches, demonstrating the practical value to future developers of doing the right thing from the start.

Learn how these defenders of life leveraged their strengths to overcome a powerful opponent despite mainstream environmental groups saying “it can’t be done”, and how they plan to build on their win:

See more videos at the Deep Green Resistance Youtube channel

Large prairie dog colony to be destroyed for shopping mall



Image by DingoDogPhotography

Bellmeadow, a member of Deep Green Resistance Colorado, reports on the planned construction of the newest biggest mall in the US. The mall in Castle Rock, CO will destroy the home of one of the largest remnant prairie dog colonies on Colorado’s Front Range. Already reduced to 3% of their native range and less than 1% of their original population, prairie dogs would be considered an endangered species if not for the loophole of calling them “pests.”

Recently I heard news that our county (Douglas) was getting one of the nation’s biggest malls. The news simultaneously sunk my heart and angered me. Why the hell do we need another mall? To consume the world? Then my mind raced to the location of the mall, and the prairie dogs that live there. I had been worried about this colony before, about the strong possibility that the remaining colonies comprising hundreds of prairie dogs would be destroyed for some kind of development. After all, a Lowe’s store, an outlet mall, a housing project, and a tire store had occupied their territory and had already killed thousands of these dogs in the name of “development.” And this was the final solution for the 3,000 to 8,000 remaining burrows: complete annihilation of the prairie dogs for a shopping mall set to cover 170 acres in concrete.

Regular readers of this blog or listeners of Derrick Jensen’s Resistance Radio may remember his interview with Con Slobodchikoff on prairie dog language, in which they discussed their high level of intelligence. Sacrificing these beings for short term profit and another shopping mall should be criminal.

Unfortunately, as we know all too well, money and those who wield it write the laws. There’s probably no chance of saving the habitat for the colony under threat; the best-case scenario is “relocation”, a horrible process of sucking the dogs out of their homes, killing many and splitting up families in the process, and moving them to strange new territory where they may or may not survive. Even implementing this salvaging rescue mission will prove difficult, as few landowners are willing to accept the forced transplants, and if a location can be found, it’ll be another struggle to convince the developer to hold off on construction three months so the prairie dogs can be moved at the least harmful time of year.

If you care about prairie dogs and the other people crushed by the relentless expansion of civilization, if you feel anger or grief or shame, let that guide you to action. Join Deep Green Resistance and the culture of resistance!

Ocean Apocalypse: video lecture by Jeremy Jackson

In January 2013, Dr. Jeremy Jackson spoke at the U.S. Naval War College on the multitude of negative impacts of industrial civilization on the oceans of the world. Jackson is a Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute and a marine ecologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with decades of experience studying oceans around the world. He knows and cares about oceans and presents his depressing information in a succinct and engaging manner.

Jackson asks three crucial questions:

  • What are the most important human impacts on the oceans and their consequences today?
  • What are the projected consequences of these changes for the environment (and thus for human well being)?
  • What can we do to prevent these things from happening?

Jackson does an excellent job answering the first two questions. This video is important viewing for anyone who wants to learn about the desperate state of the oceans and their certain collapse if business as usual is allowed to continue.

Unfortunately, though he identifies the major threats as pollution, overfishing, and climate change, he doesn’t tie these together into a necessary broader critique of civilization. His proposed solutions, with a focus on green technology hopium and voting in the “right” leaders, are almost entirely useless.

Watch Ocean Apocalypse now, learn from Jackson’s summary of the problems, then consider the Deep Green Resistance Decisive Ecological Warfare strategy as an actual plan to save the oceans.

Chris Matera on biofuels and other excuses for clearcuts

Chris Matera founded and works in his spare time for Massachusetts Forest Watch, fighting against destruction of New England forests. Derrick Jensen interviewed him for the November 30 episode of Resistance Radio, discussing the many forces pushing for logging.

As expected, the timber industry puts out carefully crafted propaganda designed to confuse well meaning but ignorant people. Companies claim clearcutting will counteract stressors, correct forest imbalances, and otherwise improve forest health. They claim clearcutting will improve habitat for cute animals (already overabundant because of past logging), not mentioning the threatened species who will suffer further harm. They claim they need to clearcut trees now to prevent future hurricanes from knocking them down.

Less immediately transparent is the propaganda around biofuels, billed as clean and green, but really just another excuse to clearcut forests. Matera says that burning green trees is 50% more carbon polluting than burning coal, and has a similar impact on air quality. He warns people to critically examine claims of energy sustainability, usually heavily based on this habitat destruction and pollution even worse than coal.

Perhaps most surprisingly for many listeners, Jensen and Matera reveal big green NGOs such as The Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, and The Nature Conservancy as more of a problem than a help. Time and time again, grassroots activists have clashed with such NGOs backing environmentally destructive practices like biofuels via deforesting. Jensen and Matera discuss the dynamics and details of this serious obstacle to environmentalism.

Listen to this free ranging discussion below, play the interview at the Deep Green Resistance Youtube Channel, or visit Massachusetts Forest Watch. And please share this interview with friends and family to promote a better understanding of what the hype around biofuels really means for the earth.

Download mp3

Browse all of Derrick Jensen’s Resistance Radio episodes.

Con Slobodchikoff on prarie dogs & animal language

In a thematic follow-up to the interview with Culum Brown, Derrick Jensen’s August 17 Resistance Radio episode features Con Slobodchikoff. Slobodchikoff studies Gunnison’s Prairie Dogs as a model for understanding animal language, and shares some delightful and amazing observations on the complexity of their relationships and communication. For example, the prairie dogs can tell each other the equivalent of “Here is a tall thin human walking slowly wearing a blue shirt coming towards us.”

Jensen and Slobodchikoff discuss the reasons for mass die-offs, habitat destruction, and ongoing intentional eradication of prairie dogs, a topic especially heartbreaking (but important) in light of their intelligence and highly developed social structure. They also examine their role improving pastures and prairies as a keystone species in their landbases, a great bonus to their being just plain cute.

The conversation touches on many other subjects, including language in other species, what actually constitutes language, the assumptions and inherent values of science (Slobodchikoff was pressured to deafen young prairie dogs to see how it affected their language development; he refused), and the many ways science and other institutions of civilization reinforce the arrogant myths of human supremacism.

Listen to this important and enjoyable interview below, play the interview at the Deep Green Resistance Youtube Channel, or visit the website for Con Slobodchikoff’s book Chasing Dr. Doolittle: Learning the Language of Animals.

Download mp3

Browse all of Derrick Jensen’s Resistance Radio episodes.

Active resistance: The Decision to Die, The Decision to Kill

In this new essay, Will Falk of DGR San Diego explores the extreme possibilities of violence: choosing to die, and choosing to kill. He asks how these decisions relate to the ongoing violence of civilization and asks what we need to do, and what we’re willing to do in response:

It is becoming increasingly clear the dominant culture must be stopped. The more effective we become at resisting, the more violence will be visited upon us. Will we be strong enough to decide to die for a better world? Will we be strong enough to decide to kill for a better world? If this sounds too extreme, then I ask you what decisions were faced by Tecumseh, Nat Turner, Crazy Horse, Denmark Vesey, and Padráic Pearse when they picked up rifles and hatchets to meet bullets and swords?

Falk grapples with the question of how to justify violent resistance to violent abusers, drawing on his participation recently in a group discussion of tree spiking:

When I imagine this logging operation and listen to people urging advocates of direct action tactics like tree spiking to think of the loggers that may be hurt or to disregard any option that involves violence, I cannot help but ask: What about the trees? What about the mycelia networks living in mutual relationship with tree roots? What about the chicks living in the treetops?

These are important questions for individuals and organizations to ask themselves and address. Violence is already happening all around us, for our immediate benefit but probably leading to our premature deaths. Will we face this honestly and make active decisions about whether to die, whether to kill?

Read the entire essay: Will Falk – The Decision to Die, the Decision to Kill.

Annette Smith on Resistance Radio

Annette Smith is executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, an organization she co-founded 15 years ago with Vermont citizens when a large energy project was proposed for her region. After successfully defeating that project, Annette has worked with Vermonters throughout the state to defeat large quarries, landfills, farms, and other large energy proposals while also improving Vermont’s groundwater protection laws. Derrick Jensen interviewed her for the May 18th airing of Resistance Radio.

Annette was favorable towards wind energy 10 years ago, but after investigating proposed development projects and comparing the rhetoric to the reality, Annette now organizes against these corporate projects and their overriding of community and environmental concerns. She details the negative impact of money-driven Vermont wind development on humans and nonhumans, from pollution of water supplies (second only to mountaintop coal mining in negative impacts), forest fragmentation, displacement of animals, and turning neighbors against each other.

Annette tries to address why so many well-meaning, good-hearted people have swallowed the propaganda that wind energy helps to address our climate change and other environmental problems, when in fact these projects don’t displace any extraction or burning of fossil fuels.

Play the embedded audio below, or listen to the interview on the DGR Youtube channel.

Download mp3

Browse all of Derrick Jensen’s Resistance Radio interviews.