Getting real about Pebble Mine
What it is and what it represents
Since the first moment Europeans stepped ashore on what they humorously called the “new world” an unrelenting march westward has continued unabated. This thirst has left the original wilderness and its inhabitants all but crushed beneath the sole of our war boot. A toxic mix of Manifest Destiny married up to the genetically flawed imperative to tame the wilderness, fueled by religious zealotry and racism. Super charged by the cult-like necessity to extract profit from the land and its resources at any cost. Which brings us to the last frontier, Alaska and Pebble Mine.
It’s well past time to call this what it is, colonization of native lands and the wholesale destrucion of our wilderness for this flawed ethos. Ink has been spilled about the last vestiges of native subsistence culture, a sustainable commercial fishery, and a thriving tourist industry which connects people to this very landscape. Opposition to the mine uses these talking points as if it matters to the proponents of this criminal enterprise. What needs to be recognized are that these forces unstated goal is the destruction of all of the above. All this destruction is in service of an economic system that places value on profit and nothing else. They want corporate fish farms, not wild salmon. They want workers for their mine, not subsistence villages. They want the wilderness monetized and tamed, not revered.
Courts and petitions, EIS documents, stickers and facebook pages, lobbyists collecting salaries and non profits working deep within this flawed system, all nothing more than formalities. From the second the scope of the deposit was understood the clock began ticking. The inevitable pillaging might be stalled, but the profiteers will not rest until their bonuses are paid and whatever multinational owns the rights to our land meet their stockholders demands. Profit. Like the unseen gravitational pull of a much larger stellar body, Bristol Bay will be sucked into this matrix and brought to heel. This unseen force at play in our culture for millenia is stronger than ever. A sickening greedlust alive and well, existing to make money and crush any remnant connection to the wild in service of the wholesale industrialization of every aspect of our lives. Our fish will come from chemical filled pens, salmon will face the same fate as the herds of buffalo. Wilderness experiences turned into canned for profit tourist trips to whatever last remaining slices of terrain their industries deem useless.
Like a snake coiled waiting for the kill, mine proponents have waited this one out until the ground was ideal to strike. That time has come. Opponents naively hoped that the very system which shepherds the inevitable would come to its senses. As if the economic laws and cultural norms which dictate all would, for the first time in history, do something different. Pebble is nothing short of the largest land use decision we have faced in decades. Pebble is an issue encompassing intense social justice and global environmental concerns and threatens a functioning, billion dollar a year commercial fishery providing a vital source of healthy renewable food. Against that backdrop it has somehow been turned into a kitschy cause for elitist flyfisherman and their barely registering non profits. Our side is fatigued and bored while they gather momentum, the specter of billions of dollars in profit energizing their efforts. A legacy project to insure multi generational wealth for its owners, shareholders, and children of privilege. Another nail sunk into the coffin of wilderness. Industries death-march continuing unabated in service of a flawed economic system. All to further the goal of a culture bereft of any connection to the natural world. We are going to need to find our second wind now, improve our strategy and outreach, find allies, and for the first time get on a war footing because this abstraction is steamrolling towards reality. I will do what I can and I hope you all will join me.
There, I done fixed er’ right on up! It’s well past time, this should have been fought for when Obama was in office.
COOL VIDEO TIME! https://vimeo.com/330346667
NRDC ACTION PAGE: https://on.nrdc.org/2DbJK9u