Land Use should be Just Use: A Polite and Brief Manifesto

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Creating a just society means changing land use policy.  It means examining the traumatic histories of violence and domination that produced the agencies that create the laws we have today, and, without examination, continue to reproduce the same injustices they were founded on.  It means examining whose values and interests our government and state agencies prioritize, and whose traditions we assume to be unquestionable.  It means thinking about making big, terrifying changes that will disrupt lives, alter the foundations of our economy, and shift our comfortable expectations.  But I do not see a choice.  Struggles over natural resource issues are struggles about preserving the systems of authority that built the laws and systems of government and management that dictate how Oregon works, and those systems were built with structural inequality as a goal.  Natural resource issues are about justice, and the more clearly I understand this, and the more I am defeated by the systems that were built to exclude, the more dedicated I am to fight.

Removing gray wolves from the Oregon state Endangered Species list (OESA) might seem like a niche issue, or something that is about livestock depradation, or a local, rural community’s disenfranchisement from a well-populated urban core.  But things are never only what they look like right away.  We’re never really talking about what we think we’re talking about.

Land use is about justice.  Natural resources are about justice.  Oregon was built to be a male dominated, white supremacist state, and we can’t change that.  But we can change how we move forward.  We don’t have to keep doing the same things.  We can do better this time.  We can be different, because I refuse to believe that I have no choice but to keep on living this way.

(Please see further thoughts here: )

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