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Remedies for a New West. Healing Landscapes, Histories, and Cultures. Limerick Cowell Collinge.

by on December 5, 2011

What sounds like the main argument that is trying to be made is that Colorado still needs more protection of  lands and what resides in it. He starts by talking about extinction, our knowledge of how many species are on the planet and how often a species will go extinct. Such as saying that the number of biota or the organisms alive in the present time “is no more than about 1 percent”, of what has existed over the lifetime of the planet (231-232). The extinction rate today is higher than what it should be. The rate has increased by “fortyfold”. According to what he says, extinction is considered to be a natural process, and that there has been five major mass extinction events. He says that the increased rate of extinction going on today is another mass extinction that has started, and that it is a choice, a first for this as well as being cultural instead of cosmic or geological. Saying that us Humans do have a part to play in this event, he goes on to talk about conservation on a global level. The Americas, mostly South and Central America, has the most protected areas on the planet, with tropical rain forests and islands ranking as the most protected and areas like temperate grasslands and lakes being the least protected. This is most likely due to their importance, and as he calls them, “breakbasket”, areas. Many groups both local and international, such as nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs have been drastically increasing in number and have established protected areas across the globe. All of this leads to his main point, the state of protected lands in Colorado.

The second part starts out by saying that Colorado is a small area of the planet and the U.S as well, only making up 2.7% of the land in the U.S. and .2% of the the Earth’s land. Despite this, he says that it is still important to protect Colorado. An example is that he says that five major rivers, the Colorado, Arkansas, North and South Platte, and the Rio Grande originate in Colorado which influences much of the West of the U.S. The diversity of land scape, like the mountains, and organisms living in said landscapes need protection as well. Though as time goes on, he keeps giving stats on how much land is being protected every year, and it is growing. Even organizations like the one to protect ranchers, the TNC, made other groups to protect areas that the ranchers need and continue to grow in numbers and support. He concludes by saying that he himself is a member of the TNC Colorado Board of Trustees and that the total amount of protected land in Colorado is about 10%. But is that enough? He wonders how much needs to be protected, how much land people need, he says that we just do not now enough.

1. So do you think that we need to protect more than that what is already under protection?

2. Do you agree with what he says in this article? Does he make his point of protecting Colorado and other places clear to you?

3. He mentions a lot of statistics, groups, and even throws in two charts. Do you think that these groups are important and how do you think that we could do a better job at helping these organizations?


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  1. Summer Rose W permalink

    I agree with the authors that more land needs to be protected, but I am not sure it is as easy as just saying so. There are more people every day on this planet and as the population grows, the space needed for development also grows. If it is easy to decide to protect larger areas of land, I would agree that that is what we must do. Many of the people who live in Colorado may not feel the same way, especially developers. Even in the last ten years, Boulder has grown so much and has been really developing in North Boulder. Would it be very easy to convince the people of colorado to create more protected areas? Maybe not. But I do believe that it is important to protect more areas if we really want to protect species.

  2. I would also agree with the author’s argument in this article. All over our world there are areas that need/needed or could use great protection of the land. The increase in NGOs is a really positive thing that is going on during all of this. I also enjoyed how a majority of this piece was information regarding Colorado, which of course placed the discussion on a more personal level. As the authors continued with this article, I liked how they then broadened the scope to incorporate a variety of locations to compare to Colorado. However, the authors argue that extinction is a natural process, at this point in human development, it seems hard to completely agree that all extinctions that happen are a natural occurrence.

  3. This piece was interesting for me to read because of its focus on Colorado landscapes, however while reading, I kept thinking to myself, Colorado is no different than the landscape homes of other people around the world. The author does a good job making the reader feel like Colorado really needs to be protected, but at the same time, there are many places around the world that would greatly benefit from more protection. Residents of many other landscapes could easily argue and persuade readers that their landscape needs protection most, and I think this is important to realize because it shows the dire situation that the world today faces. There are many, many environments which are unique and beautiful–I would argue that all environments are–so we need to better combat the misuse, exploitation and struggle which the natural world is undergoing today. I also agreed with the author that NGO’s are potentially very helpful to improving landscape struggles today. I think that the use of NGO’s is a great way for us to work together successfully to maximize the environmental aid we give.

  4. This article speaks to me on a personal level because I have lived in Colorado for twenty years and have seen drastic changes to open space. I wish that more land in Colorado were being protected. By the house I grew up in there was an area called the Black Forest that stretched out for thousands of acres. Now there are only about three acres left of this land and most of it is surrounded by houses. It would have been good for the community to maintain the open space. It was an important part of my childhood, and now the kids in that neighborhood have to travel twenty five miles before they can experience wildlife and land without human development, which is lucky compared to many other parts of Colorado.

  5. I did not read this article but I was intrigued by the discussion we had in class. I agree with Emily that I too have been living in Colorado practically my entire life and I have seen many changes that I would have preferred never happen. In the open space behind my house the prairie dogs were apparently getting into people’s back yards so they were removed. Really people? All aspects of Colorado land should be protected because they benefit both people and wildlife. However, I think it is easy to criticize this problem but fixing it is a whole other animal.

  6. Benjamin N. permalink

    Like Megan and Emily, I’ve lived in Colorado for the majority of my life, and have seen some major changes to my local communities and policies of which I don’t necessarily approve. I grew up in Superior, where we have a lot of prairie dogs, and I remember when I was in high school I had a bunch of friends who were paid to run the prairie dogs over and/or shoot them, which I thought was simply appalling and absolutely unnecessary. I understand that they carry the plague, but they were sectioned off from major communities for the most part. They had their own patches of land that we taught people to avoid for the sake of safety.

    We also had a lot of open space in Superior, and I understand that towns are going to develop as they become more densely populated, but it was sad seeing so many nice landscapes being destroyed to build condos and apartments. I think more land needs to be protected, or at least turned into usable open space and parks if development is inevitable. But I’m probably just being emotional.

  7. punam123 permalink

    For your first question, Yes, we do need to protect the natural resources more then it is under protection. Globalization is affecting people and people are gravitated towards more consumption. Every years more houses, buildings are built upon, forests are destroyed, species are extinct from the environment and we can also see the effects of the destruction happening to the environment and us. For that, the government should aware the people about future effect of not preserving the land and species and for that social awareness is required. Development in the name of extinction of land and species is useless if it impacts negatively in the future generation

  8. I’m well aware that we are possibly facing a mass extinction. However, I don’t think that we should intervene whatsoever to protect endangered animals. I think that this prevents the planet’s ecosystems from adapting naturally. The end-Permian extinction was the largest extinction of all time. However, we’re still here. The planet is resilient and continues to be in a state of flux. It’s silly to think that we can understand the fluctuations of populations and I’ve learned this from reading the article on resilience and stability. No mathematical model of population can predict accurately enough and there is no agreed upon method of measuring resilience . Unless the animal or plant is of some major use to humans, I think it is a fruitless endeavor to prevent species extinctions.

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