Guest Editorial: The necessity of protecting our economic drivers

By Jay Sullivan, Ph.D.
Special to the Herald Times
RBC | It is easier to criticize than it is to create. It is easier to destroy than it is to build. It is almost always easier to say no than it is to say yes when you need to get involved.
Forbes magazine points out that 90 percent of all startups fail. Thinking you will fail at the outset is a destructive force that squashes initiative. In short, you won’t go if you don’t turn on the ignition. Do you hear that rumble in the background? It’s my truck starting on a cold winter day. The engine warms and hot oil reduces drag as the momentum of progress smooths out our journey as we go where we need to go. We are inevitably driven by what we need more than what we want.
When I reflect on the Adventure Center concept I’ve been bothered by the idea that we could be building an inherently destructive force. Bows and guns kill. There is a certain irony that the future of Meeker, the site of the Meeker Massacre, could be tied to shooting sports. Perhaps it should be located at the old Agency site? OK, I admit that this idea could be a little much.
But what if we looked at this from the other side? Think about Meeker as the center for the conservation of the wilderness. With the proposed classrooms we can host classes on “Leave No Trace.” How about some orienteering, wilderness search and rescue, first aid on the trail, survival and other human/wild education experiences?
Then there are opportunities to be had with wild life encounters with cameras and paint brushes. A little plaster of paris and you have a course on animal tracks. What about the fact that birding is the second most popular hobby behind gardening? We have sandhill cranes, white pelicans and hundreds of other feathered migrants flying through. There are even a few endangered species to find here.
Let’s get really radical and suggest that climate change is real. Our environment is about as close as one can come to a place free from the pollution of progress. Yet we are suggesting that outsiders come here to trample our garden of Eden. How will we ensure that our guests don’t take the one resource we have remaining? We must educate. To educate effectively we must promote the experience of the scientific discovery of what we value most. Everyone who comes here is not a passive observer but rather an active participant in defining what is real about our earth. Yes, we are in danger. We may have to become tree huggers and environmentalists to do what is needed for the long-term survival of our economic driver. But wait, we already are environmentalists. If you really want to learn about what matters talk to farmers and ranchers. They are the true stewards of the land.
So what if it is easier to criticize than it is to create? To protect our economic drivers we have to look at all possibilities. We must build on the foundation of our hopes with the possibilities of what can be, not just what is.