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What's Valuable? 

Editor:

I appreciate Peter Childs's analysis of where Humboldt went wrong with marijuana. Marijuana money certainly subverted the values of the back-to-the-land movement. Of course, many individuals still hold those values, as can be seen in the actions of HUMMAP, the only grower group to take real action toward protecting Humboldt's priceless habitat. However, the values of the larger community can be seen all too clearly in the current damage done to the forest and the way growers ignore or greenwash it. To learn more about how Humboldt marijuana cultivation fundamentally harms wildlife and degrades the quality of habitat, go to www.habitatforever.wordpress.com.

As to Peter's suspicion that some environmentalists don't think anyone should live out in the hills, if true, they are overlooking important points. First of all, the current damage is being inflicted by the presence of a major agricultural industry, located in the forest, not by people just living here. More fundamentally, it is how people live on the land that causes damage, not the mere presence of people. After all, indigenous tribal peoples lived here with an abundance and diversity of animals. That is the true litmus test of sustainability.

Shrinking Humboldt's marijuana industry is the first step toward that goal. Creating cultures that value life and give us meaningful lives is also necessary. The best part of the back-to-the-land movement was a desire to live differently from consumerist American society. However, we need to go beyond its agrarian ideals and fully embrace our forest home. We can live satisfying lives here while fostering animal abundance and diversity. What else are you doing with your life anyway?

Amy Gustin, Ettersburg

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