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Wednesday, 13 March 2013 22:38

And now for something completely different

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out natcornSo what’s in the news nowadays? Any bad news for the environment? Let’s see.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013, in the Smoky Mountain News – A story about the retirement of Blue Ridge Parkway Superintendent Phil Francis noted “… he faced continuous budget cuts, which reduced the number of full-time employees at the Parkway from more than 240 to 160.”

 

Any other bad environmental news? Well how about Mountain Express, March 5, where Margaret Williams points out a Carolina Public Press note about the move by the North Carolina Senate to remove all 19 members of the Environmental Management Commission. 

And look to Together NC, who points out that the state’s Natural and Environmental Resource budget will be cut by $118.8 million in fiscal year 2013.

But it’s only North Carolina, right? Uh, no. Across-the-board federal budget cuts (sequestration) will take at least another $220 million from our national parks and national forests. I think I understand why Mr. Francis has had enough head-banging.

That’s sad, but we have to cut the deficit, right? We dearly need to cut the federal deficit, so let’s start by taking out of that $646 billion pie spent to support outdoor recreation in the country. That’ll save us money. What? Those $646 billion generate $1.6 trillion in economic activity and help provide for more than 12 million jobs (according to the Wilderness Society.) Just think how much money we will save on feed if we kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Are you tired of the doom and gloom? Well, you know what they say — when the going gets tough, the tough go partying! And have I got a party for you. Mark you calendars.

On March 22, 2013, Wild South will host its fifth annual Green (used to be tie) Gala featuring the 2012 winners of the Roosevelt-Ashe Conservation awards. The Roosevelt-Ashe awards recognize those performing yeoman’s work in conservation across the South. This year’s nominees in five categories — Outstanding Journalist, Outstanding Business, Outstanding Educator, Outstanding Conservationist and Outstanding Youth — hail from five different states, showcasing the solidarity of those who care about the South’s wild places.

The Gala will be held at Celine & Company’s “On Broadway,” 49 Broadway in Asheville. You can reserve a spot at the Gala by joining Wild South’s Leadership Giving Circle with a gift of $250 or more. You can reserve online by going to https://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1919/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=79438 and following the “complimentary tickets” link or by calling 828.258-2667 in North Carolina or 256.974.6166 in Alabama.

Whoa! $250! Calm down, take a breath and think. You and your date are going to go out in Ashevegas, partake of gourmet food, an open bar, serving the best local brews Beer City has to offer, not to mention wine, etc., hear live music plus become supporter(s) of one of the premier conservation organizations in the South. It’s a bargain!

Look at the firs few paragraphs above — these people are the best hope we’ve got. Support them; party with them; get to know them.

(Don Hendershot is a writer and naturalist. He can be reached a This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

 

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