imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Subscribe Calendar Publish RSS
Tell the NSA: StopWatching.US

Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

CopWatch LA

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List





IMC Network: www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech
printable version - json version - email this article - view hidden posts - tags and related articles
link:

George Buffy's Farewell to the Wilderness

by George Duffy via Fredric L. Rice Monday, Aug. 23, 2010 at 6:21 PM
feedback@crystallake.name

George Duffy was a wilderness hero, a U. S. Forest Service employee and tireless advocate for the environment and for the wilderness who worked (and at times bled green) within the system for the safety of the Angeles National Forest that he was charged with protecting. With his retirement and now his death it is sad to see a staunch advocate of what is wild fall by the wayside. Farewell, George, your friends, family, and the forest creatures who knew you will miss you.

George Buffy's Farew...
george_duffy.jpg, image/jpeg, 333x250

A Letter to My Friends in Wilderness

As my life comes to a close, I feel compelled to express my gratitude to those of you who have journeyed together with me in wilderness and contributed to my understanding of wilderness and subsequently of myself.

I hope you will indulge me a few moments as I try to share with you what I have learned on our journey together.

The Wilderness Act of 1964 marked a turning point in America's attitude toward wild places. It was an acknowledgment that wild places were not only coming under the plow and the paving machines, but that their loss by such means was accelerating and would soon lead to a society impoverished by the loss of the fundamental relationship between humans and the lands which defined them.

The language of the Act is like few other laws we have enacted. It reads more like poetry than law and evokes an emotional response which invites introspection and envisioning of a future expressive of our concern for restraint and accommodation of other life forms.

This, in contrast to a precise formulaic law was the genius of the Act's principle author, Howard Zahnizer. He fixed the concept of wilderness in our minds rather than just in law or on a piece of real estate - and compelled us to look for and understand the characteristics of wilderness in our lives as well as in our landscapes.

The Wilderness Act will challenge and enrich scholars, legal experts, wilderness managers and wilderness advocates for as long as there is wilderness. We can only hope that the spirit which created this awareness of our place in the natural order prevails in our thinking, for, as Joseph Wood Krutch said, "Wilderness is the permanent home of the human spirit."

Upon passage of the Wilderness Act, the Forest Service developed management policy and direction to administer this new National Wilderness Preservation System, Forest Service Manual Section 2320. It consisted of 34 pages. Today it is 55 pages and in the process of being revised in the WO.

When you hold that Forest Service Manual Section 2320 in your hands, you hold a precious symbol of the Forest Service's commitment to America's wilderness, one which is being challenged by all manner of argument.

Within the agency, there are those who are impatient with the idea of the minimum tool and craft arguments to justify the use of chain saws, trail machines, jackhammers, helicopters, and other expedients for the sake of convenience or economy.

There are those who are wedded to the idea of mitigating the challenges of wilderness by constructing improvements, identifying and removing hazards, writing detailed guidebooks and publishing detailed maps.

There are those who feel that the existing definition of wilderness may be inappropriate to an evolving social conscience rooted in technology, urbanization and speed, and that management must be modified to reflect those changing social values.

There are those who feel that human intervention in natural processes within wilderness is necessary when those processes don't fit their perceptions of what is natural.

There are those who hold an anthropocentric rather than bio-centric view of wilderness and accordingly suggest that accommodation for human use, rather than preserving an untrammeled wilderness resource, be the paramount consideration when shaping wilderness policy.

Outside the agencies, there are those who, in their eagerness to see more public lands gain the protection of wilderness, have agreed to legislative provisions which compromise the wilderness quality of the very lands they wish to preserve as wilderness.

There are those who think of wilderness as beautiful landscapes or wildlife sanctuaries or recreation areas rather than as places which integrate the enduring physical, biological and spiritual dynamics of an untrammeled part of the earth.

The authors of the Wilderness Act held no such views.

They were keenly aware that there were but few remnants of the landscapes which had shaped the American character and they wanted to ensure that these were preserved in the condition of wildness which confronted and influenced our early pioneers.

They knew that wilderness had to remain a point of reference in both our natural and cultural histories, an enduring benchmark for our journey through time and space, unchanged by human intervention and subject only to natural forces. They knew that wilderness was an indispensable part of our humanness and was critical to our understanding our place in the universe.

Today, the American public can be grateful that you have been vigilant and stood shoulder to shoulder with the dedicated group of wilderness advocates both within and outside the public land management agencies to assure that these challenges to wilderness are being resolved in favor of the philosophy so well articulated in the Wilderness Act.

You are the stewards of America's wilderness and I want to speak to you of stewardship.

Webster's Dictionary defines a steward as "One called to exercise responsible care over the possessions entrusted to him(her) ; One who manages another's property."

I am extremely grateful to you for having chosen to be stewards of these lands. You have assumed a sacred trust, to be executed with reverence, humility, and a profound sense of responsibility. You are not engaged in a business or delivering a product or providing a service or producing a commodity. You are engaged in no less than preserving the nation's precious remaining repositories of wildness and guarding the permanent home of our human spirit.

Over the years, I have watched as the growth and complexity of the National Wilderness Preservation System have presented you with new stewardship challenges. You have met those challenges with care and deliberation and resolved them with uncanny respect for the language and intent of the Wilderness Act.

Today, you can be proud that since the passage of the Wilderness Act in 1964, which designated 9 million acres of Forest Service land as wilderness, the people of the United States have respected your stewardship and repeatedly petitioned the Congress to entrust to you the care of more wilderness areas. Their efforts have placed more than 109 million acres in your care.

You can be proud that the federal land management agencies have created the Arthur Carhart National Wilderness Training Center to provide training in wilderness philosophy and wilderness stewardship for federal employees.

You can be proud that the federal land management agencies have created the Aldo Leopold National Wilderness Research Center to conduct social and biological research to support and improve wilderness stewardship.

And you can be proud of your role in preserving that "enduring resource of wilderness" envisioned by the authors of the Wilderness Act.

As you enter another year of wilderness stewardship, please be as caring of yourselves as you are for wilderness.

Take the time to open yourselves fully to the dynamics of wild landscapes and their affects on your mind, body and spirit. Share your passions with your colleagues and the earth. Become fully alive. These days you share with the wildness are gifts you will treasure forever.

My fondest memories are of those times when nature's influences were most keenly felt:

Being picked up by a gusty ridge top wind and pitched through the air like a rag doll.

Huddled on the lee of a rocky summit during a storm and feeling hypothermia trying to rob me of my abilities.

Being carried along in the tumbling whiteness of an avalanche.

Walking out of the snow and ice of high mountains and again smelling the green of the earth.

Lying in a sunny meadow and sensing that all the spirits there were filling my being with strengths unknown and unknowable.

Sensing the unseen presence of the others in the landscape.

Feeling a timeless wisdom trying to order my thoughts to wholeness.

For most of us our connection with wilderness is commonly understood to be primarily rooted in the cultural and aesthetic responses which evolved from the experiences of early explorers and settlers on the new landscapes of America.

We have recently discovered, however, that the underlying basis for our responses to wilderness goes deeper, much deeper: Going to the wilderness is going home.

Anthropologists and others have been suggesting for a long time that we are still the wild creatures we were in the Pleistocene. We haven’t changed. Only our circumstances have changed.

Paul Shepard, perhaps the most insightful scholar of the history and evolution of human ecology has written:
"The discovery of the DNA by Watson and Crick was hailed for its implications for human health and well being. Soon it is expected we will be able to create the perfect banana or the perfect cow and clone it forever. We may soon be able to change the order of genes in our chromosomes to make us taller, thinner, stronger. Maybe even less maladapted to our current circumstances."

But more importantly, the mapping of the human genome confirmed that, genetically, we are still wild, Pleistocene creatures.

Finally, an answer as to why we feel so at home in wilderness.

Shepard declared that “The home of our wildness is both etymologically and biologically wilderness. Although we may define ourselves in terms of culture and language and so on, it is evident that the context of our being now, as in the past, is wilderness, an environment lacking domestic plants and animals entirely, and to which, one might say, our genes look expectantly for those circumstances which are their optimal ambiance”.

“The time is coming “ he said “to understand the wilderness in its significance, not as adjunct to the affluent traveler, to an educated, esthetic, appreciative class, or to thinking of nature as a Noah’s ark in all of its forms, but as the social and ecological mold of humanity itself, which is fundamental to our species”.

To understand the significance of wilderness, we must take the time to separate culture from biology, learning from instinct, - and to search deep within for those ancient gifts which truly inform our humanness.

I have but one request of you.

Go -- Find yourself in the wilderness. Be at home.

Let your genes once again find expression in the world that defined them.

Rejoice in your humanness.

You are a genetic library of gifts informed by centuries of life in wilderness.

Gifts from the experiences of antecedent creatures - ichthyian, reptilian and mammalian which lie still in your brain stem.

Gifts from the struggles of the naked ape with neither fang nor claw who was able, not only to survive, but to adapt and flourish -- simply and elegantly -- in wild landscapes.

When we first walk into wilderness, we feel like alien creatures, intruding into the unknown but if we stay a while, usually about a week, and pay attention to ourselves, those gifts become apparent.

We become aware that our eyes see better. We can pick things out in the landscape more keenly; we can measure distance more accurately; and shape, color and contrast are vividly apparent.

Our noses discriminate and identify the odors on the wind, the smell of a bighorn is a lot different than that of a bear, there is a marsh upwind.

The sounds we heard on our first day came from a general direction but now our bi-aural senses are so keen we can almost pinpoint the source and distance of a sound and identify it.

The awkwardness we first felt when moving over broken ground has been replaced by a fluid economical rhythm of movement that seems almost effortless.

Our spine flexes, gathering and releasing energy; our pelvis tilts, our center of gravity is keenly felt and we are again those confident primal animals on the landscape.

We sense our relationships with the other creatures with whom we share these landscapes, relationships which reaffirm our humble role as members of the vast community of life.

These are not new skills learned, they are ancient abilities recalled, pulled from the shelves of that genetic library deep within our being.

As we peer into campfire flames, the comfort of thousands of fires, in thousands of caves, over thousands of years, warm us from the inside as well from the outside.

The diminuendo of the Canyon wren and the raucous scolding of the Stellar’s jay invite our hearts to sing.

The warmth of the sun and the snap of the cold affirm that we are alive and vulnerable.

The mountains, the deserts, the storms and the rivers challenge our cunning and demand our respect.

The vastness of the landscape humbles and fixes us in scale.

As we lie on the earth in the evening, the march of Orion across the heavens fixes us in time.

We are still those Pleistocene creatures -- at home and full of the wonder of being.

This is the wildness in our genes, found manifest in a simple, bipedal hominid, surrounded by a peace that transcends time and in a place we shall always need: wilderness.

Thank you

George Duffy, Wilderness Ranger (Retired), Mountaineer, New Mexico
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

Los Angeles Joins Nationwide March Against Mainstream Media #MAMSM A20 3:04PM

Has KPFK's GM Duncan just dis-appeared? A20 12:35PM

Michael Ruppert dead. A18 6:17PM

Pacifica voting in secret with no accountability? Is this part of KPFK ? A18 3:39PM

Kassim Alhimidi convicted of murder A17 8:33PM

Members of Bundy Family Explain Bundy Ranch Stand-Off With Bureau of Land Management (BLM) A17 1:03AM

Here's some interesting privatization connections in regards to the LAUSD District 1 race A15 4:25PM

Rock, Rap & Speakout vs Poverty, Prisons & War A13 3:16PM

Report Back: 4th Annual Hahamongna Walkabout A13 2:33PM

Pacifica Exe Director position is in confusion still putting KPFK at risk A10 3:52PM

Bernard Duncan, prior GM of KPFK is still in play A08 5:01PM

San Diego May Dai Workers Film Festival A06 5:11PM

Southern California Joins Worldwide Wave Of Action A05 2:31AM

Pacifica board members named here, who attempted ousting ED A04 1:06PM

LA Weekly promotes a slanted view of Pacifica/ KPFK A04 10:36AM

More Info about Pacifica, which holds KPFK's license, etc. A03 2:08PM

Listen to KPFK's staff talking to Pacifica Exe Director M29 7:31PM

Pacifica IS also KPFK, so let's not ignore what going on M29 5:42PM

Reported excerpts of Pacifica's - and that's KPFK's - incidents happening - update M29 5:14PM

Repost from Counterpunch re Pacifica - KPFK too involved M29 2:10PM

Forever intertwined: KPFK, WBAI, Gary Null ? M28 4:10PM

Why is KPFK still failing to thrive ? M28 3:32PM

GLOBAL DAY of ACTION for the Indonesian Rainforests! M27 3:06PM

Opponents of SB County Jail's Letter Ban to Share Progress, Next Steps M27 9:58AM

Pacifica Radio, Rwanda, and DR Congo M26 2:29PM

International Multicultural Literary Magazine Features Armenia in Spring Issue M25 11:14AM

Why is KPFK still failing to thrive ? M24 9:10PM

Home-less-free occupying is not a free ride either M24 8:46PM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Kropotkin Prison A21 4:58AM

The Earth a Common Treasury for All A21 3:38AM

Kiev Breaks Easter Truce A21 12:44AM

Unacceptable State-Sponsored Murder A21 12:43AM

"Believing without Seeing" A20 4:13PM

Trolling ...what is that ? A20 1:01PM

Canada Targets Russia A20 11:45AM

Russia Bashing Continues A20 12:45AM

Koch Brothers-Style Free Society A20 12:43AM

Arythmie du capital A19 5:33AM

Dissent within after article, Profound Arrogance at UN. A19 4:20AM

Dissent within after article, Profound Arrogance at UN. A19 3:25AM

Kiev Violates Four-Party Agreement A19 12:50AM

Fake Donetsk Letter Circulating A19 12:49AM

Dissent within after article, Profound Arrogance at UN. A18 7:43PM

Flashback to 2003: "Major combat in Iraq is over, U.S. warns rogue Syria" A18 11:40AM

Supreme Court Hears Argentina Predatory Hedge Fund Discovery Case A18 10:28AM

The Shortwave Report 04/18/14 Listen Globally! A17 4:50PM

Four-Party Agreement on Ukraine A17 1:35PM

An Event for All Musicians... and Bring Your Dad for FREE! A17 11:08AM

LION ARK ROARS AND THE AUDIENCE PURRS: RESCUE DOCUMENTARY PICKS UP SIXTH AWARD A17 11:03AM

Ukraine on the Brink A17 12:39AM

More NATO Forces for Eastern Europe A17 12:36AM

Obama Heads for War in Ukraine A16 12:44AM

Israel Seeks Regional Anti-Iranian Alliance A16 12:39AM

Duplicitous Human Rights Misinformation on Ukraine A15 12:12PM

The Augean Stables Of US Justice From Prosecutors To Supreme Court A15 9:21AM

Paraphysique des droites A15 8:51AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2003 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy