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Letter: Do we have the right to build or alter property?

Published on August 2, 2017 8:19AM

Do we the ‘right’ to build, alter?

I’d like to echo the sentiment shared in Garik Asplund’s letter (July 26 edition) about listening to the land.

We humans often see great swaths of land in terms of resources, calculation and personal value. If only we could turn off this analytic discursive mind, we might see the true beauty of the forest –– not as a series of economic figures, but as a magnificent interdependent network, teeming with the miracle of life.

Sometimes we catch glimpses of the land’s true nature, but it is time and again interrupted by our thoughts of owning or capturing it and turning it into personal gain.

I share this not as a criticism of rancher or retiree agendas, but as an acknowledgment that this is the way we think about our environment. We naturally feel we have the “right” to build on or alter whatever property we own or to retire to a peaceful setting after a hard life’s work.

Where does this right come from? Who gave it to us? How is it possible for humans to “own” the land they live on? How does this possessive mind affect our natural world?

These issues, ranging from elk grazing, deforestation and human overpopulation, are deeply connected and cannot be solved by picking out one conflict and barricading it from others. To live in harmony –– as agriculturists, artists and neighbors –– we must question this urge to own and “know best” when our individual survival is indistinguishable from the collective good of human, plant and animal.

Seth Kinzie



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