When Garcia Lopez de Cardenas first laid his eyes on the Grand Canyon in 1540, he must have lost his breath while his eyes swelled up to the size of silver dollars. This magnificent wonder of the world that formed over 18 billion years ago must have seemed like some kind of fairy tale story land. If I was a betting man, I am sure he enjoyed the scenery very much. But he was not the first human to trample around and in the Canyon. The Pueblo peoples all the way back to the first Native Americans to arrive over the Bering Strait were more than likely enthralled by it too. In 1919 when Woodrow Wilson finally made it the 17th national park, millions had already visited the site. I also remember walking up to the edge of the Grand Canyon for the first time. I felt so small compared to my surroundings. I also feel small in this world of big money corporations. Corporations that have so much power that they not only influence our daily lives, they influence decisions made by our National Park System. I understand that our government is underfunded and can use corporate help, but I ran across something in the paper the other day, that got me upset. The Grand Canyon wanted to ban all bottled water from the park, because people are littering everywhere with these water bottles. They were about to push this through until they were contacted by Coca Cola and because Coke is the major National Parks partner, the ban did not go though. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/science/earth/parks-chief-blocked-plan-for-grand-canyon-bottle-ban.html?_r=1&smid=fb-nytimes&WT.mc_id=SC-SM-E-FB-SM-LIN-PCB-111111-NYT-NA&WT.mc_ev=click I find it amazing that an environmental issue like that has corporate influence. Is this the America the Beautiful we think of. The Grand Canyon filled to the brim with plastic bottles. I may be going overboard, but how many times have you walked in the woods, and saw old beer cans and trash laying around everywhere? Well I hate it. I would very much dislike walking around the Grand Canyon and seeing plastic water bottles everywhere, and I am sure the director of the park feels the same way but is under pressure from corporate America to leave it be. Maybe in the future if our Park services care about the environment they could ask that the corporate partners be kind and not attach any stipulations to their support. Thanks, Brent.
- History and the Environment 10: Climate Change in the Middle Ages?
- History and the Environment 9: National Parks and Corporations.
- History and the Environment 8: The new Dustbowl
- History and the Environment 7: The first clean air regulations…….in 1306
- History and the Environment 6: “There are some places we are not meant to go.”
Clay Ouzts on History and the Environment 2…