On December 28th, 2016 President Obama proclaimed a 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah, recognizing extraordinary lands and cultural resources we've been aiming to protect for 80 years. I had the chance to thank the president from the bully pulpit of the Los Angeles Times editorial page, here.
Now we must defend President Obama's actions from the rapacious Trump administration. As a writer, I can only strive to raise my voice wherever I can. Read my first call to action, my "Letter to America" on terrain.org. I tried appealing to the better nature of Secretary of the Interior Zinke in this op-ed written before the executive order calling for a "review" of our monuments. In the Los Angeles Times, I point out the underlying racism in the attacks on Bears Ears. In a last-ditch appeal, I asked the president to listen, truly listen, to the tribes and the American people.
He hasn't listened to me (!). And so I wrote about the terrible consequences of the president's executive order eviscerating both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in this op-ed in the Los Angeles Times.
Trump, Zinke, Hatch, et al show utter disdain for all who see land as something more than a commodity. They also show a shocking lack of regard for the legacy of conservation in America. I highlight the distinctive nature of BLM national monuments in this op-ed in The Hill. I defend the Antiquities Act here. And I try to push Utah's congressman John Curtis to rewrite his radical Shash Jaa bill and create real protection for Bears Ears here.
It's clear what my responsibility as a writer and citizen is these days.