Foreign Policy Blogs


So, we're back from Arizona.  Observations?  A few.

First, sprawl and mall culture are scary, no matter how relatively upscale they're played.  From a little Scottsdale-area mountain called Pinnacle Peak, you could see the surrounding country for miles.  Nothing, but nothing, is built up.  It's all built out.  And why, I wondered, wasn't every single square inch of the hundreds of roofs that you could see plastered with solar photovoltaic cells?  There's rather an abundance of sun.  And, of course, you can't buy a quart of milk without driving.  Nuff said. 

Meanwhile, there's some good news too.  We have in this country a robust system of public land management thanks to visionaries like John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, Teddy Roosevelt, David Brower and many others.  They gave us the National Park Service, the other agencies that manage public lands, and the natural resource conservation organizations that watch over the public agencies.  They all help to preserve and protect, even in the worst and most rapacious of times, and under the worst political conditions, the public lands , the commons.  Arizona is Bruce Babbitt country and I still remember meeting him when he was running for President in 1987.  He talked about "primarily public use" of the public lands and that was refreshing.  Not surprisingly, he turned out to be a fabulous Interior Secretary under Bill Clinton. 

We took an overnight trip up to Grand Canyon.  I hadn't been there since I was a kid, and my wife and six-year-old daughter had not been there.  We were knocked out.  It's a truly extraordinary sight:  ten miles across, 277 miles long, and a mile deep.  The next day, we drove through Oak Creek Canyon on the way to Sedona.  It's difficult to really see the truly spectacular red rock scenery of Sedona from town as it's all built out (not up), but you can get some good views in and out of town.  I definitely did not feel the vortices coursing through my chi, or whatever you're supposed to get there.  I did have a perfectly tasty double espresso though and a great macadamia cookie.  Further on down the road, we visited Montezuma Castle National Monument, a cliff dwelling set high into the rocks.  The Native Americans flourished here for three hundred years until the 15th century and then died out or moved on. 

In the "Old Town" of Scottsdale, we saw a terrific presentation, "Native Trails."  The music, dancing and stories are first class.  At the end, we all joined in a circle dance to celebrate the earth and to cement our partnership in taking care of it.  (As we are in partnership at this blog, I hope, for the same purpose.)

Indelible image:  I was in our host's office working on the last blog post, when I looked out the window and saw a big, wild cat only a few feet away.  I didn't know what it was, but I jumped up and ran for the video camera but, alas, it was long gone by the time I got outside.  It turned out to have been a bobcat.  There are all sorts of wildlife where we stayed:  mountain lions, rabbits, quail, rattlers, and a strange, large cousin of the pig called a javelina, or, more properly, peccary.  There are also coyotes and, let me tell you, when a pack of them gets to howlin' late at night, it's spooky.

So that's my travelogue.  Back to serious climate change blogging next time.  I'll leave you with a picture of your faithful blogger and my kid at Grand Canyon. 




Bill Hewitt

Bill Hewitt has been an environmental activist and professional for nearly 25 years. He was deeply involved in the battle to curtail acid rain, and was also a Sierra Club leader in New York City. He spent 11 years in public affairs for the NY State Department of Environmental Conservation, and worked on environmental issues for two NYC mayoral campaigns and a presidential campaign. He is a writer and editor and is the principal of Hewitt Communications. He has an M.S. in international affairs, has taught political science at Pace University, and has graduate and continuing education classes on climate change, sustainability, and energy and the environment at The Center for Global Affairs at NYU. His book, "A Newer World - Politics, Money, Technology, and What’s Really Being Done to Solve the Climate Crisis," will be out from the University Press of New England in December.

Areas of Focus:
the policy, politics, science and economics of environmental protection, sustainability, energy and climate change