Readers' views for Dec. 21, 2012
Guest columnist lacks facts
Beware she (Charlotte Vallaeys, Dec. 7) who liberally sprinkles her guest column damning the "agrochemical industry" with repetition of the word "scientific" and who refers endlessly to "studies" and "indisputable facts," yet who designates no such sources or references.
What "studies?" By whom? On what evidence? Interpreted how, on what agenda? Says who?
Beware too she who infers the agrochemical industry is waging some conspiracy to evoke "collective class resentments" while she herself waxes on about alleged collaborations between the media and big agrochem to hoodwink the public into buying their tasty toxins. It will probably come as a profound shock to both the "media" and big agrochem that Vallaeys has decided they are in bed together plotting to poison the public, this mutual affection not exactly having been of historic record.
No one questions that feeding your kids pesticides is harmful to them. No one reasonably doubts that the higher food demands of an overpopulated future with less cropland will absolutely require the wise and careful use of agrochemicals. No "studies" are necessary to derive these realities.
Where the polarized rhetoric starts breaking down is in the inevitable politically driven interpretations of "studies" and "science" by mouthpieces for the various competing special interests, such as Vallaeys'.
Big ag and big agrochem need to be regulated reasonably and monitored that profiteering does not trump food safety, but the extension of trendy anti-corporate boogeyman myths to the world's most effective food industry are equally risky for the public.
Collaboration gains speed
I enjoyed reading the article about Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell's address to the City Club of Boise (Dec. 4, 2012). I think it's important to correct the notion, however, that there are only 23 forest collaboratives across the country. The truth is, there are dozens of stakeholder groups across the West making huge strides on public lands forestry issues, protecting residences from the threat of wildfire, improving fish and wildlife habitat, and bringing good local jobs back to communities.
It's true that, to date, 23 of these efforts have received funding under a new program designed to reward collaboratives for putting forward large, landscape-scale forest restoration projects. That grant program is known as the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program, or CFLRP. Timber harvest is not the only objective of this program, but in many cases, carefully designed harvest units are recognized as a useful way to get to forest restoration goals.
I've participated in the Lemhi County Forest Restoration Group in Central Idaho for more than six years, and although we are not one of the 23 funded CFLRPs, the working relationships that have developed between the federal land management agencies, county officials, fire departments, hunters and anglers, conservationists, and business entities -- including timber professionals -- have been remarkably productive. The on-the-ground results have been equally remarkable.
Tidwell is quoted as saying he'll push to see collaboration practiced more widely around the country. I agree with the chief, and urge him to recognize that we may be closer to that goal than the article implies.
Gina Knudson, director
Salmon Valley Stewardship