Norman Maclean, in “Young Men and Fire,” attributes to his father these words: “One of the chief privileges of man is to speak up for the universe.” Well, who’s to say that we are in a position to speak for the universe. Yet here we are, kicking around on this flicker we’ve been given to love and, seemingly, do not love. We’ve made some mistakes. We thought the bounty was infinite or we thought we might harvest out of proportion to what we earned. Now we’re all tripped up, aloof to dead fish, warm rivers, and starving orcas, balking at dam removal. Knowing that we are not speaking up for the universe, not even for this little part that we ought to be able to manage.
I’ve heard humility defined as “remaining teachable.” Today the public will have the opportunity to listen in on the Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bonneville Power Administration, on the next steps toward salmon restoration at a public hearing. When we talk about removing dams on the Lower Snake River, we aren’t talking about salmon. We’re talking about a universe. It’s time to learn from the salmon and take down the dams.
Ann Ford, Boise
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