Heed conversation about the forest
“The Conversation About the Forest” held Jan. 25-26 was a very good and much needed beginning dialog about what our forests and watersheds should look like in the future. There seemed to be a sincere desire by the organizers and speakers to make this dialog open to diverse viewpoints, though some could argue they weren’t diverse enough. If we can carefully listen and understand each other’s perspective, then it might be possible to determine where we have common ground.
Whether you’re an advocate of private property rights or deep ecology, “good science” and factual information is first necessary for understanding to occur, even if common ground is never established. I don’t know if there is such a thing as totally non-biased scientific data, but we shouldn’t just ignore it all and then let others determine the future of our forests. We also shouldn’t just ignore the assumption that our current forest management practices are not creating conditions allowing for potential, catastrophic wild fires which would destroy it all, and this community, as well.
I would hope that this dialog could take place with a conscious effort to reduce categorizing and labeling each other, as is often done on these pages, and worse. Unfortunately, at least one of the speakers at the conference felt it was necessary to do this, and even provided a nice handout to categorize and define behavior of Red Greens, Blue Greens, Industrial Greens, and the Browns. Along with baited questions to the audience, I’m not sure what constructive purpose it serves in a conversation, and it only encourages polarization and name-calling. Some people seem to enjoy this, but I would suggest that banging your head against a tree is as useful, and you’ll only bother the tree, which might need cutting anyway.
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