The Personal Nature of Natural Resource Issues

The Personal Side
Natural Resource Issues
Randy R. Weigel, Ph.D.
Professor & Extension Specialist
Department of Family & Consumer Sciences
University of Wyoming
Conflicts over the natural resources
and geography of the West.
“The struggle to secure ample high-quality
water has fostered mistrust, misunderstanding and has created disharmony.
Water conflicts have driven wedges between:
neighbors, states, nations, cultures.”
Ingram, H. (1998).
Place humanists at the head gates
Reopening the American West
“I told the Elko County commissioners,
‘The days are gone when you’ll come in
here and pound on the district ranger’s
table and he’ll piss in his pants and
you’ll get your way.’”
Jim Nelson, supervisor
Toiyabe & Humboldt
National Forests, Nevada
“We are outraged and demand accountability
of the actions taken by the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service surrounding the incident,”
(FWS worker with wolves on private property)
Park County Commissioners
Park County (Cody), Wyoming
Life at the Edge
“The lives of urban and rural dwellers are
becoming increasingly intertwined, and often
tangled. This entanglement can be found at
the urban wildland interface.”
Huntsinger & Hopkins (1996).
Viewpoint: Sustaining rangeland landscapes: A
social and ecological process.
Journal of Range Management
“Kent Knudson picked up a rifle and
opened fire, defending his 40 acres in
Arizona, and got handcuffed and
hauled to jail.”
High Country News
March 1, 2004
vol. 36, no. 4
Ranch Preservationism
A term that describes an attitude
that being a rancher leads to a
higher well-being than other
methods of making a living.
“What’s it going to take – me sitting on
my front porch shooting the next
son of a bitch that tells me when I can
and can’t move my cows?”
New Mexico Rancher
High Country News
retrieved, 2/4/2004 from:
Ethno-ecology of Ranchland
Ethno-ecology is a field of Anthropology that
refers to the study of how people interact with
all aspects of the natural environment including
plants and wildlife, land forms, vegetation and
soils (among other things).
Three concepts of the human-land
human as generator of impact
human as receiver of “information”
human as participant in the landscape
Zube, E. H. (1987)
Perceived land use patterns and landscape values
Landscape Ecology, vol. 1, no. 1
* We have a world-class supply of gas in the Powder River
Billings Gazette 01/07/04
* …The methane play is about short-term profits, not longterm security. A deal gets done, and soon you no longer
recognize the country you live in.
New York Times ed. 12/01/03
* Some ranchers are trying to keep track of new roads, water
discharge, pipelines…and other items associated with coalbed
methane on their land. They also worry about what the land
will look like once the coalbed methane drive is over.
Billings Gazette 01/08/04
Loss of “Country-Dominance”
Superiority of rural life…
Country life is more productive, more
cherished, more respected, more powerful
than city life.
Urban Viewpoint
Increasingly, urban people ask why they
should bail out farmers suffering misfortune
when other businesses in the same situation
are not. After all, farmers choose a rural
life and participation in an industry subject
to the whims of nature.
ABC Western Queensland, AU
19 November 2002
Sense of loss is manifested in:
* Disenfranchised grief
* Ambiguous loss
“You see farmers along the countryside standing in piles of their livelihood,
in piles of dead animals and the stress
is just immense.”
David Hambley, a farmer from South Wales
ABC (March 19, 2001)
Dynamics of Change: Transition Curve
External event
Past state
Future state
Characteristics of Change:
Pressure for Status Quo
Forward & Backward
Transitions: Making Sense of
Life’s Changes Wm. Bridges
• Ending
• Neutral Zone
• Beginning
Strengths of Survivors
Recovering from Natural Disasters B-1103
Men and Depression B-1104
Agriculture and Skin Cancer: What You Should Know B-1105
Lenders and Angry Customers B-1113
Surviving Tragedy B-1117
Men Seeking Help B-1134
Agricultural Producers and Stress Series
The Importance of a Healthy Attitude
When Do You Need a Counselor?
Eating and Activity for Health and Pleasure
Identifying Stress on the Ranch and Farm
Learning to Relax
Finding Your Team of Experts
Anyone can give up…
But only the strong will continue
to battle!