Most cities and towns in the west were founded and thrived on the essential industries of logging, mining, ranching, and energy production. Somewhere along the way, the environmental industry decided those must be stopped. In a clever semantic twist, they were dubbed “extractive industries.” It sounds noble to produce food, energy, and resources needed for a prosperous society. But “extraction” sounds like pure evil – like pulling a tooth from Mother Nature. A majority of Americans who live in urban cities, not involved in those businesses, have become convinced, supporting a range of policies constricting grazing, mining, oil and gas production, and logging.
Western communities that object have been called myopic, lectured that their lifestyles are “unsustainable,” and assured that tourism would fill the gap. In fact, the “green” jobs created by preserving and protecting the “last great places” would be better. Tourists come in droves to see pristine woods, not logged forests, we were told. And the price of stopping active forest management has been over 100 million acres of national forests burned in the last 20 years.
Yet when the crowds of tourists come, bringing all that money with them, creating clogged hotels, restaurants, and roads, the same environmental industry reacts by demanding that we close these great places to tourists. If nothing else, the contradiction reveals the true agenda of people who just don’t like people. There are just too many, they think.