Regarding the recent decision of the Utah State Board of Education to allow School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration to go forward with plans to drill in the Book Cliffs, including Bogart Canyon, I was struck by the comments of board member Leslie Castle, who called it a "tragedy" to destroy Utah's wilderness to fund Utah education. But, with the rest of the Board, she endorsed it anyway.
Why do base economic considerations always triumph over higher human concerns when it comes to land decisions in this state? Aesthetic, cultural and spiritual values are no match. As religious scholar Mircea Eliade noted half a century ago, "Even for a genuine Christian, the world is no longer felt as the work of God." Rather, as psychologist James Hillman recently observed, "The Economy" has become "the god of world civilization," and "Economics is our contemporary theology."
The Book Cliffs seemed poised to become the next sacrificial victim to that insatiable "god." Yet the greatest tragedy is the burden Utah's children will have to carry, knowing their education was bought and paid for by the destruction of Utah's wilderness. I wonder how many will feel it was worth it?
Salt Lake City
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