Protecting Planet Earth
This section of Gnurps.com covers my five+ decades of political activism.
I care about Planet Earth and want to help save it. Nature preservation came into my life through the Sierra Club’s “Exhibit Format” books of the 1960s, created by the club’s Executive Director David Brower. The excellent Highland Park public library had purchased all of them. They changed me. Now, instead of chasing and photographing railroad trains, I wanted to go to wilderness. That kind of transformation was exactly what David Brower sought.
My first environmental action, in 1970, was to join Zero Population Growth, a national organization inspired by Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb. I attended local meetings hosted by a flautist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Then it was time to go to college and the school I attended, Brown University, had next to nothing about conservation and environmental protection in their curriculum in 1971 – ’76.
A college friend was from Colorado and convinced me to move to this great state. That contends as Best Decision of my life. Within a year I was learning about the movement to save our wild lands. I spent a summer in Durango and adopted two places under consideration for designation as Wilderness.
In 1979 I moved to Crested Butte, one of the centers of Colorado’s Wilderness movement. The community was fighting a proposal to build a giant molybdenum mine in the mountain just west of town, Mt. Emmons, with its “Red Lady Bowl”.
Since then, I have worked for a number of environmental organizations in both paid and volunteer capacities. My most notable achievements came through the High Country Citizens’ Alliance, which works to protect the land and water of the Gunnison Basin in the Colorado Mountains. I served on its board for 18 years, seven as president.
In the 1980s I founded and ran a local chapter of Friends of the Earth, the international group created by David Brower after he left the Sierra Club in 1969. My chapter worked on the problem of acid rain as well as the effects of war. I developed a friendship with Brower.
I created the Friends of Fossil Ridge to get Congress to designate that place as Wilderness. We succeeded in 1993.
I served one term on the Town Council of Crested Butte.
I did a stint on the Club 20 board of directors. I did a stint representing the Town on the local Rotary organization. I did a stint representing HCCA on the board of Western Colorado Congress, an ineffective coalition of environmental groups.
Today I work more on reforming America’s transportation system, which is far too dominated by automobiles. We need more trains, more buses, more bicycling, and more walkable neighborhoods. I serve these goals through Boulder’s bike group Community Cycles and through the Colorado Rail Passenger Association, AKA “ColoRail”.