Cartoon by Doug Holdread on the economic predation by the front range on the ranching communities of southeast Colorado:

Dear Editor,

 

This cartoon is an attempt to shed light on the hypocrisy of the 6th Annual Fort Carson Sustainability Conference which will be held at the Crown Plaza Hotel on October 30 th and 31st .

 

The conference is being hyped as, "an educational and inspirational forum-working towards a sustainable community with all stakeholders including community members "along the Front Range." 

 

 I attended the conference last year.  I thought that because I live in Las Animas County where Fort Carson's Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site threatens to destroy our land and our lives, I was a "stakeholder."  Since the future of my community, and the lives and livelihoods of my neighbors are discussed in Goal 11 of the Fort Carson Sustainability Plan, where it talks about taking 2.5 million acres of our land to expansion the site, I figured I should attend and try to convince participants that the plan is not sustainable. ( http://sems.carson.army.mil/sems14001/5year_sustainability_plan/11-TrainingLands%205YearPlan.doc)

 

As I entered the conference last year a picked up an information booklet emblazoned with the motto, "Sustain the Mission. Secure the Future." During the conference I discovered that Fort Carson uses the term "stakeholder," not as a designation of those who have a stake in sustaining the ecosystems impacted by Fort Carson, but rather to designate those who have a stake in sustaining the mission of the Army.

 

On the Fort Carson's Sustainability and Environmental Management web site is this definition; "Sustainability is acting today to meet the needs of the present in a manner that allows future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability considers not only the environmental aspects and impacts of operations and decisions, but it also considers the social factors (society, economy and individual well-being) associated with an organization's actions. ( http://sems.carson.army.mil) 

 

This definition sounds good. It sounds like sustainability would concern itself with future generations in Las Animas County.  It sounds like it would include consideration for "our social, economic and individual well-being."

 

But what about the use of the word, "sustain" in the motto; "Sustain the Mission, Secure the Future?" One of the dictionary definitions of the word "sustain" is to, "lengthen or extend in duration or space."  The stated mission of the Army is, "to fight and win the nation's wars."

 

I believe that the purpose of the Fort Carson Sustainability Conference is to "Sustain the Mission" (lengthen and extend the duration of, and the amount of space used in fighting and winning wars).

 

Many of the participants in the conference think that they're working toward Fort Carson performing its mission in more environmentally friendly ways.  But waging wars is inherently unfriendly.   It is unfriendly to the environment and to the human and non-human creatures living on it.  Sustainable development should look at systems holistically. It is not possible to separate means for ends. It is not enough to make the means by which Fort Carson accomplishes it mission cleaner and greener without considering the end. If the end that is being pursued is wrong, as it is in our nation's wars for oil, it is more important to stop it than to sanitize it.

 

I won't be participating in the conference this year. I realize that I am not a stakeholder, and I am not interested in sustaining the mission.

 

Sincerely,

Doug Holdread