July 4, 2007

Its a new day here in Utah. Our 4th of July celebrations are over and people are all back at work again. I listened to the people sing the song "Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain. For purple mountains majesty, above the fruited plans." But I notice the air is filled with smoke. There are so many fires burning around here.

Every year it seems there are more and more fires because people are so careless about the environment. There hasn't been any rain here for months so the mountains are bone dry. From where I am I see the mountains blackened from fires. I have gone into the mountains and where the rivers and streams used to run freely they are dry. It is because man has diverted every last drop, and it is still not enough to satisfy the ever growing need for more. When I spoke with my friend about the fires on the reservation, he said he could see the animals running trying to stay ahead of the fires. And as I listen to the news reports they talk about the fires and the men fighting them, but they say nothing about the animals and plants , its just a fire to them, and they worry more about the cost of fighting the fire than the untold numbers of life that is lost.

Bears and cougars are being forced to leave their habitat, but man here see them as a threat and are killing them, if not they are relocating them from their homes. And where the great Provo River runs from the majestic mountains to the lake, the river is no longer visible, houses and factories have been built right to it's shores, and most of it runs underground through tunnels making it no longer accessible for miles. The lake is filled with silt and so polluted, the water is less than five feet deep across miles of lake. There once was 17 native species of fish in the lake, now there just 2, and both are on the endangered list. Yet they continue to build more factories around the lake. Urban sprawl has no boundaries. There is not a an inch of ground that has not been dug up by the hands of man. All that was once beauty has vanished beneath asphalt, concrete and buildings.

"It's not my problem, I am just doing my job trying to make ends meet to feed my family." These are the words of locals here. Some say, "I care deeply about the environment, but what can I do?" And when I bring up the subject of the Utah Indians I hear, "That's all in the past we should just forget about it." What does matter to these people here? Where are their hearts?   

The culture here has little or no compassion for the environment. There is no sign of connectedness to Spirit. While greed and arrogance are common and normal. Just like their ancestors who came here a 150 years ago, nothing has changed. They continue in their destructive ways as they always have from the beginning. The only difference is there are more of them. They say they care, but the don't walk their talk. The natural forests have become a threat. Once they were an asset, now they are declared a liability because of their potential to burn. They are more likely to burn because the water resources have been diverted to Las Vegas and California. The wild animals such as bears and cougars have become a threat. They are a nuisance to those who have built their homes in their habitat. But could it be this way because they are finding it harder to find food and water?

Will it get better? Will there ever come a time when enough is enough and society will be satisfied with what they have? Or will the mindset of corporate self destruction prevail? I bet my money on the later. It would take an act of God to wake people up, and who is to say that is not exactly what will be?

"Oh beautiful our smoke filled skies, for pesticides on our grain. For stripped mined mountains majesty, above the asphalt plans. America, America, God shed his grace on thee, and crowned thy good with brotherhood from sea to oil slicked sea."