Writer Chuck Bowden
by Jeneiene Schaffer
GREEN VALLEY AZ -- Over 200 concerned citizens, policy makers, and coalition groups filled the Green Valley Methodist Church this past Saturday. It was a typical gorgeous southern Arizona spring morning and spirits were high. Folks gathered to hear speakers at a free public forum sponsored by the Santa Rita Mountains Conservation Coalition.
After a rousing presentation in which she implored the audience, “either we hang together or hang separately,” Save the Scenic Santa Ritas board president Gayle Hartman gave the floor to well-known and beloved local author Chuck Bowden. Appreciated and lauded for his works on conservation and border issues, Bowden was there to introduce another advocate for mining reform. “Thank god people don’t have a chance for vote for me, but here’s a guy in politics doing the right thing”, he began. “I’m a registered Democratic, and Ray Carroll is a Republican, but we both belong to the party of the Santa Rita Mountains,” he declared to a rousing applause.
During my eleven years in Tucson, I have been watching and admiring Carroll’s public advocacy for the Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan, so it was no surprise to see him speaking out against mining in the desert. Rarely do you see a Republican elected official in Arizona so passionate about the environment and calling out the enemies it faces. “Multi-national corporations”, he stated, “are greedy at the expense of the Santa Rita Mountains.” It is important to hold Augusta’s (Canadian mining company) feet to the fire to tell the truth. Mining is not compatible with our desert.”
Like Bowden, I too am a registered Democrat who is grateful there are elected officials like Carroll who are intelligent and passionate enough to think outside the box of cookie cutter party politics.
US Reps. Raul Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords, and Pima County Board of Supervisors Chairman Richard Elias, all Dems, also deserve thanks.
And like many folks there this Saturday, Bowden, Carroll and others invoked the memory of Rich Genser. The event was held in his honor, and when we walked back out into the sunlight we knew his spirit was with us. Rich inspired many activists for the sonoran desert, myself included.
Learn more about the mining threats facing the Santa Rita Mountains and what you can do to help.
Participants of the event included: Defenders of Madera Canyon – Kettenbach Property, Save the Scenic Santa Ritas – Rosemont Mines, Save the West Desert Preserve, Tucson Audubon Society, Sky Island Alliance, Committee for Responsible Growth, Friends of the Tumacacori Highlands, Cactus Huggers, Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists, and the Borderlands Jaguar Detection Project.
- contact the writer: jschafferaz(at)gmail(dot)com