from the foreword . . .

. . . Literal ashes, far too many, darken the Navajo sky. Our civilization, soaring to power by using up its environmental capital, now exports its power-plant pollution to what were the clean skies of the southwest. To have taken the land was not enough; the air must be taken too, so that the Los Angeles basin, Central Arizona, and Las Vegas could force their roots out farther still, grow insatiably, and damn the expense as long as it wasn't theirs. And as long as it could be denied that there was a cost. I heard guides at the Four Corners and Black Mesa strip mines tell the same story as they excused the burial of soil eons in the making under the dead rock that had lain over the coal they are converting to kilowatts and fly ash: "We are bringing new nutrients to the top."

This is an overachievement in creative PR that we can do without. One of the high costs of electricity is that it lets us see far too few stars. It is now taking the stars away from people who have barely enough electricity to let a scratchy tape recorder repeat Waylon Jennings:

And it echoed through the canyon
like the disappearin' dream
of yesterday.

There is other music too. Perhaps we can be quieter now and then and listen.


David R. Brower
President, Friends of the Earth

Berkeley, California
August 17, 1973