America is awash in fear. If it’s not measles in our schools, then it’s “the other” at the border. The grizzly-man Doug Peacock says: “We fear what we don’t know, and we hate what we fear.” And sometimes we try to dominate what we fear and use it as an excuse to go to war.
Right from the start, Immigrant Americans feared the forest. In our earliest literature, the wildwood had to be dominated and controlled because it was full of scary things. And today, in our horror films, the monsters and slashers always emerge from a dark, foreboding forest.
The US Forest Service is preparing to wage war on 50,556 acres of “dangerous” mixed conifer in the Santa Fe National Forest.
“Dangerous” because forests burn — always have, and always will.
Americans are already at war with drugs, cancer, and terror. This is fertile ground for fear to spread and damage our resiliency to fully understand what’s at stake.
In their just-released battle plan, Forest Service officials say they’re doing “vegetation management” and “forest restoration.”
That’s the feel-good cover-story.
There’s a deeper message being delivered, however, that plays directly to our primal fear of fire. There’s a good chance that wildfire will eventually transform or destroy our forest; but, it’s still just a chance. If we let the Forest Service and their coalition firebomb it, it’s a sure thing!
The Forest Service plan calls for “mechanical and hand-thinning treatments on up to 21,000 acres and prescribed fire on up to 43,000 acres” of the Santa Fe Mountains Landscape Resiliency Project area that runs from Tesuque south and east to Glorieta.
Cutting and burning are weapons of war. And whether you’re using them to attack uncontrolled cell-growth (cancer), consciousness-altering herbs, or unruly forests, cutting and burning are the instruments of a controlling and dominating mindset.
We at Tree Hugger Santa Fe are changing our minds.
We’re learning to think about the forest, and fire, and ourselves in relation to both, in a different way. In short: “Ain’t gonna study war no more!”
Join us at the Forest Service Public Meetings on the Resiliency Project on June 24 & 29!