Chip Ward

Chip Ward told of his adventures as a grassroots organizer of campaigns to make polluters accountable in Canaries on the Rim: Living Downwind in the West. In Hope's Horizon: Three Visions for Healing the American Land, he described the visionary conservation projects that are the focus of his current activism. He is a former library administrator who now lives next to Capitol Reef National Park. His online essays are collected at his website.

Red Snow Warning

The end of welfare water and the drying of the West

This essay was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here with Tom’s kind permission. Pink snow is turning red in Colorado. Here on the Great American Desert — specifically Utah’s slickrock portion of it where I live — hot ‘n’ dry means dust. When frequent high winds sweep across our increasingly arid landscape, redrock powder is lifted up and carried hundreds of miles eastward until it settles on the broad shoulders of Colorado’s majestic mountains, giving the snowpack there a pink hue. Some call it watermelon snow. Friends who ski into the backcountry of the San Juan and La …

After the green economy, green security

How to build resilient communities in a chaotic world

This is a guest essay by Chip Ward, a former grassroots organizer/activist who has led several successful campaigns to hold polluters accountable. He described his political adventures in Canaries on the Rim: Living Downwind in the West and Hope's Horizon: Three Visions for Healing the American Land. This post was originally published at TomDispatch, and it is republished here with Tom's kind permission. ----- Now that we've decided to "green" the economy, why not green homeland security, too? I'm not talking about interrogators questioning suspects under the glow of compact fluorescent light bulbs, or cops wearing recycled Kevlar recharging their Tasers via solar panels. What I mean is: Shouldn't we finally start rethinking the very notion of homeland security on a sinking planet? Now that Dennis Blair, the new Director of National Intelligence, claims that global insecurity is more of a danger to us than terrorism, isn't it time to release the idea of "security" from its top-down, business-as-usual, terrorism-oriented shackles? Isn't it, in fact, time for the Obama administration to begin building security we can believe in; that is, a bottom-up movement that will start us down the road to the kind of resilient American communities that could effectively recover from the disasters -- manmade or natural (if there's still a difference) -- that will surely characterize this emerging age of financial and climate chaos? In the long run, if we don't start pursuing security that actually focuses on the foremost challenges of our moment, that emphasizes recovery rather than what passes for "defense," that builds communities rather than just more SWAT teams, we're in trouble. Today, "homeland security" and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that unwieldy amalgam of 13 agencies created by the Bush administration in 2002, continue to express the potent, all-encompassing fears and assumptions of our last president's Global War on Terror. Foreign enemies may indeed be plotting to attack us, but, believe it or not (and increasing numbers of people, watching their homes, money, and jobs melt away are coming to believe it), that's probably neither the worst, nor the most dangerous thing in store for us.