We can't live without altering Southeast

Posted: Sunday, March 11, 2007

For 24 years, I've sought shelter in countless coves while commercially fishing in the Alexander Archipelago. So often I'd wake up at anchor and feel so lucky to have become a fisherman in Southeast Alaska.

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In those coves, branch tips of hemlock, spruce and cedar touch a tamed ocean in a green embrace, leaving me quietly stunned into gratitude for the privilege of living, working and playing in this ancient, green, steep-sided landscape, this sea of islands, this last refuge, this answer to the question, "What did it look like 10,000 years before the hand of man did his work?"

One cannot truly love this place, call her home, feel the pull of her beauty and live on her wild bounty without asking, "How can we live here, without altering that which sustains us?" Our survival as a species is contained in the answer. We now live the daily lesson of a great collective fear birthed from our own countless little choices made in careless little moments. Too busy to listen. We deemed unnecessary all that beauty and all that bounty for all beings living in the great green grace.

Of all the places still wild, there is too much to lose by becoming anything else other than wild. Of the million-plus acres altered by the hand of man here, may the centuries pass swiftly before such primal bounty may then return as fruit for a wiser hand to pick.

David Beebe


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