Scott Walker and the new Republican legislature want to make it easier for developers to pave paradise and put up more parking lots. As the River Rat says, we're going to be "open for business; closed for habitat."
See good stories at Milwaukee Riverkeeper and the River Alliance.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Alienation from nature goes to a new low in
as people flock to an indoor “park” with fake grass, plastic foliage, and lighting fixtures that simulate sunlight in order to “treat seasonal affective disorder.” The artificial park described in an article in the New York Times is not even aesthetically tasteful, like New York City ’s domes or any indoor botanical garden might be. I can relate to seasonal affective disorder – Milwaukee winters can be long and brutal to the soul. But Milwaukee has plenty of real parkland outdoors – more than most cities – and there’s no substitute for the real thing when it comes to nature. If it’s cold it’s a good idea to bundle up, but still...go outdoors! New York
This story is sad on so many levels:
Make sure you check out the slide show, it is unbelievable.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Supporters of the Monarch Trail and the
County Grounds in know very well the value of the land there as wildlife habitat and urban open space. But if we’ve learned anything in the 12+ years of effort to protect it, we’ve learned we can’t take it for granted. Wauwatosa
As most of you know, for various reasons the purchase of 89 acres by the UWM Real Estate Foundation, agreed upon by the
in 2009, has been delayed many times. Now, after making a commitment, the foundation is requesting another extension on a payment towards the parcel. While I have questions about that I don’t have any real problem with it. County Board
My concern is for the Habitat Plan that was adopted by the Board and agreed to by the Foundation as a contingent to the sale. At the time of the well-publicized signing, the
, the UWM Real Estate Foundation, and environmental groups saw this agreement as a win-win for the protectors of wildlife and the proponents of development. As the realities of proceeding with this development during the current economic climate unfold there is a danger that the original consensus and commitment will be diminished. This shouldn’t happen. Protecting the habitat and preserving the character of the open spaces are still in everyone’s best interest. There should be no transfer of ownership without an understanding that ownership entails stewardship of the habitat as agreed upon. County Board
The Economic Development Committee meets on January 24 to deliberate on the request for an extension of payments. I urge you to contact the members of the committee and express your concern. The message is simple:
All requests should honor the original commitment to preserve, protect, and maintain the designated wildlife habitat areas and the implementation of the Habitat Plan should begin immediately. Delaying payments should not delay the implementation of the Plan.
Guidelines have been adopted. The Foundation has agreed to them. The County Grounds Preservation Coalition is ready to lend its expertise. But it needs to be funded and it needs to begin soon in order to prevent further damage.
Contact info for the Economic Development Committee:
Johnny L. Thomas - 18th District ▪ (414) 278-4259 ▪ firstname.lastname@example.org
John F. Weishan, Jr. - 16th District ▪ (414) 278-4255 ▪ email@example.com
Peggy West - 12th District ▪ (414) 278-4269 ▪ firstname.lastname@example.org
Willie Johnson, Jr. - 13th District ▪ (414) 278-4233 ▪ email@example.com
Lynne De Bruin - 15th District ▪ (414) 278-4263 ▪ firstname.lastname@example.org
Theodore Lipscomb - 1st District ▪ (414) 278-4257 ▪ email@example.com
Nikiya Harris - 2nd District ▪ (414) 278-4278 ▪ firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, January 17, 2011
|Scott's 1912 polar expedition. Assoc. Press|
The traditional definition of wilderness as undomesticated and uninhabited land is laced with denotations of unrestrained barbarism and violence. Historically, wilderness was to be feared with good reason. Adventurers exploring undisturbed wilderness understood that their lives were at risk. And among the most famous of those who undertook that risk was the Scott party who reached the South Pole second, on Jan. 17, 1912. None survived the return trip.
But a hundred years after that historic tragedy the same wilderness has become the latest playground for those who seek a wilderness thrill. The fact that we have changed the world’s landscape nearly everywhere to domesticated and inhabited – therefore safe – is an important determinant of this situation. However, the difference is that today’s adventurers are not explorers but tourists. The plans vary. Some expect to follow Amundsen and Scott’s routes on skis, but many more will travel to the pole in relative comfort. For $40,000 you too can fly directly there. For an additional $17,000 you can be dropped off a few miles from the pole “so they can ski the remaining stretch and feel the thrill of victory.”
They want that thrill without the threat of death. While I can relate to that – the urban wilderness premise is based on it – I firmly believe that there are some places that ought to remain untamed. We should never confuse the urban wilderness with any of the few truly wild, dangerous places left. The National Science Foundation agrees that
Antarctica is one of those places. The Times article quotes Robert Swan, an environmentalist: “It’s a place that wants you dead.”
Tuesday, January 4, 2011
A river runs through it! The first thing I normally do when I plan a trip is to look at a map of the place I’m going, to find the green spots. Nowadays, I also look them up on Google Earth to see how green they really are. (Green spots on regular maps have a way of turning out to be athletic fields or mown grass.) When I looked at the map of
, I knew immediately where I wanted to go to scratch my itch of exploring an urban wilderness. All along the Albuquerque , which bisects the city, runs a continuous band of parkland. (So many places would be poorer without undevelopable flood plains!) Rio Grande
By some fortuitous coincidence – call it fate, or just incredibly good luck – our bed & breakfast was just a couple hundred yards from the ribbon of green I’d seen on the map. I got up before dawn. The morning air was suffused with an odd and exhilarating mixture of frost and sage. Not in
I walked north until, relieved, I reached a footbridge. When I got across I discovered yet another, much wider irrigation canal between me and the bosque. I could now make out a paved path atop the berm. A jogger went by. I needed another bridge. So far, the riverside was far too urban, far from wilderness.
I did make it across, farther north, and I wasn’t disappointed. I discovered the source of that delightful scent, for the bosque floor was covered with sage and other brushy plants. All were rimed with predawn frost, which lent the scene an unearthly whitish blue-green cast. But it was the cottonwoods that I found truly captivating. Huge, widely spread, and delightfully twisted, they seemed to be caught, freeze-frame, in a kind of suspended animation. I never saw them move (the air was quite calm), but I swear, out of the corner of my eye it seemed as though they were dancing.
I walked for miles, reveling in the dance of the cottonwoods. The sun rose over the
When I reached the
To see additional photos of