Robert Knight: Rocky Mountain High for Animals, Not People
This column originally appeared on Townhall.com on August 24, 2009.
Independence Pass, Colorado – At 12,095 feet, this breathtaking portal on State Highway 82 to Aspen is open only from Memorial Day to October, when the snow starts flying.
Depending on your worldview, the majestic mountains here at the Continental Divide are spectacular proof that God is the master Creator or just another reason to bash humans.
The latter was the theme of a remarkable Point of Interest display just below the summit on the Aspen side that was erected by environmental extremists with permission of the U.S. Forest Service. Tourists agog at the 32 miles of road-enabled mountain views in the Sawatch Range of the Rocky Mountains are condemned for even being there. Seriously.
The signs direct tourists to gaze guiltily across a canyon to hillside damage done when Route 82 was constructed. The bare cliff looks remarkably similar to many areas where avalanches have scraped away tons of rock. But the sign asks whether the route to Aspen is worth it, and says millions must be spent to restore the mountain to pre-human splendor. In other words, the road should never have been built.
Give me a break. Apparently, these unsurpassed views should be left only to eagles, mountain goats and hardy backpackers. They are not for the public, especially the frail or handicapped who could not access them even if they wanted to.
With an influx of hippies, college-bred radicals, opportunistic liberal politicians, and a cabal of multi-millionaire leftists like Quark founder Tim Gill, Colorado has evolved from rugged, solid red into a purple state. There are many conservative residents, but most of the press, as everywhere else, spouts nonstop leftist propaganda and increasingly strident environmental religion.
Looking around at the incomparable beauty, it’s not hard to understand why, shorn of a Biblical understanding of man’s God-given place in the scheme of things, that humanity can be considered a cancer at best. In Genesis 1, God informs us that we are created in “the image of God,” and instructs Adam and Eve and their descendants to “be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Conservation and good stewardship, which are a reasonable response to this immense mandate, eventually morph into an earth religion in the absence of real faith.
Breckenridge’s Summit Daily carried an August 19 column, “If we disappeared,” by microbiologist Dr. Joanne Stolen. The article rails against people using plastic bags, and tells us that “we humans have changed the world more than any other species.” Well, yes. There aren’t a whole lot of wildebeest windmills, monkey-made monorails or baboon-built baseball diamonds. Or even platypus-prepared plastic bags. And it’s a good thing, as Dr. Stolen notes. This stuff is killing us!
But there’s a silver lining, as implied in the title of the piece. She warns of “exploding [human] populations in countries like Africa,” but also the advent of AIDS, which she quotes “The World Without Us” author Alan Weisman as speculating is “the animals’ final revenge.”
I’m not, repeat, not saying that Dr. Stolen wants to do us in. She just seems to be sincerely warning us about severe environmental consequences if we keep on with such activities as munching Fritos out of zillions of plastic bags. The good news is that nature takes over the minute that humans stop doing basic maintenance. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, large areas of New Orleans have been reclaimed by “vines and other weeds,” she notes, concluding: “And even if we end up causing our own extinction, it is somewhat reassuring to think that the Earth will not only survive, but flourish.”
Well, that’s a relief. With us gone, the long-horned sheep and bark beetles could really enjoy Independence Pass and the surrounding San Isabel and White River National Forests. Well, maybe not the forests, since the bark beetles are doing a number on all those magnificent pines. Tens of thousands of acres are now blackened. It’s beginning to look like Yellowstone after the 1988 wildfires decimated millions of trees.
But since it’s not humans causing all those trees to die–unless we can blame climate change somehow–it must be a good thing!