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Ta Tas for Thompson Divide

Tomorrow is First Friday and while Carbondale may not have invented the concept of socializing in the street once a month, we sure are good at it. “It’s fun to have fun, but you have to know how.” -Dr. Seuss.

This First Friday we’re also spotlighting a local issue that has not been resolved. Ta Tas for Thompson Divide is an act of public decency to bring awareness to the current situation.

Backstory on the backcountry:

Under the Bush administration gas leases were issued in the area known as the Thompson Divide. These leases are illegal because due process was not followed; there was never an environmental impact study, nor a public comment period. In 2013 the leases were set to expire but the gas companies petitioned the BLM to renew them despite huge public protest (they had to open the accordion doors in Carbondale’s town hall to accommodate all of the people.) Now, SG Interests and Ursa Operating Company are ready to drill, but because of all the Thompson Divide Coalition’s hard work to protect the land (both locally and in Washington DC) the companies are trying a new tactic; they’re proposing a legislative lease exchange.

Federal land exchanges are the latest fashion in wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing. 98% of America’s public land is in the western half of our country, and to some it looks like one of those juicy ham bones from a Bugs Bunny cartoon. But in actuality, that land belongs to every single American and only still exists because guys like Teddy Roosevelt had the foresight to protect it from land barons back in the day. We need those wide open spaces, and not just for ATVing. When we squeeze out the wildlife, and pack in industry, it has an effect on the whole planet. Just like the carnage witnessed in middle school when there were too many rats in the cage, we are jeopardizing our very sanity for a lousy buck. Empty land is crucial to our survival and strength. We’re lucky, from Carbondale we can be there in twenty minutes.

A large part of what makes this town so much fun is the fact that the air and water are clean, which means both the wildlife and the humans prosper. Humans are only one of the mouths to feed in Nature, but we often act like the spoiled only child. In part, I think, because we erase our natural blueprint sometime in early childhood, whereas the wild turkeys, deer and field mice retain theirs. But it’s also a daily choice. If we saw raw land as it really is— a fully sustainable life cycle— instead of seeing it as a resource to be used up, maybe we would stand a chance of preserving it for future generations.

“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one: they promised to take our land and they took it. It was not hard to see that the white people coveted every inch of land on which we lived. Greed… It has ever been land for which the white man oppresses the Indian and to gain possession of which he commits any crime. Treaties that have been made are vain attempts to save a little of the fatherland, treaties holy to us by the smoke of the pipe - but nothing is holy to the white man. Little by little, with greed and cruelty unsurpassed by the animal, he has taken all. The loaf is gone and now the white man wants the crumbs." -Luther Standing Bear

The trend in this country to see everything translated into dollars is a dangerous one. We’re now at the point where Americans believe if someone has a lot of money they are successful, and how they acquired the money or what they do with it doesn’t matter as much. If we sell all our land off, for the instant gratification of cheap energy, we’ll be left with nothing to show for it but the color of money.

Show your true colors tomorrow (and your Ta Tas!) and walk, pedal or skate downtown to join in the fun. Do it for the woodland creatures; do it for your kids; do it for Luther. I’ll see ya there…

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