You know an issue has attained universal support when rocker Bono gets involved. The U2 frontman recently performed a concert in Moscow, where Bono pledged his support to environmentalists trying to stop the Russian government from building a highway that would destroy the roadless Khimki Forest. Thanks more directly to foes of the highway putting their lives and freedom on the line, Russian President Dmitri A. Medvedev put the brakes on the highway through the 2,500-acre forest. He called for a return to discussion with civic and expert leaders.
Good news for roadless forests anywhere is good news for roadless forests everywhere.
Closer to home, The Wilderness Society is waiting on the next of a series of Roadless Area Conservation Rule court decisions that will decide the fate of our some 58 million acres of roadless forests. Russia and the United States, though, aren’t the only nations confronting the issue of how to secure unroaded forests that protect our air and drinking water. They also provide recreational opportunities for people and habitat for critters. A group of conservationists from Poland visited The Wilderness Society last year to learn how we have protected roadless areas through the roadless rule. One of the Polish activists even won a major international environmental prize this year because of their success fighting the road. Bono was not involved, however.
Bono has repeatedly proven himself to be a thinker who genuinely cares about making a difference. I may sometimes disagree with a celeb’s politics but I commend Bono and others who earnestly use their fame, wealth and status to bring attention to vital issues that otherwise starve for it. I’ll do the same thing when I become rich and famous. Wait, scratch that. I work in the nonprofit sector: I would do the same thing if I were rich and famous.
Environmentalist Ashley Judd works just as hard, though my alleged friend and colleague Alan Rowsome here at TWS didn’t bother to tell me he was going to meet her when she came to the Hill last year to speak out against global warming. This despite the fact that Alan is not even a Southerner like Ashley and me. He knows I’ve been crazy about her for her entire career. Worse, Alan even swiped my line about how she is America’s ultimate girl next door.
Only time will tell what the final answer is on roadless forests overseas and in the U.S. I hope Bono writes a song about The Wilderness Society’s victory if we win the ever ongoing legal battles. We can debut the song here on the National Mall and host a great backstage party for Bono and his band.
I hope Ashley comes.