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In Memory
Mike Seidman


Mike Seidman passed away in Phoenix, Arizona on December 31, 2002

Profession or Area of Expertise

Zoo keeper (but one who does not believe in zoos)

Personal Statement

I have been involved in grazing issues for almost 10 years, primarily as a commentator on local Environmental Assessments and Allotment Management Plans. A lengthy series of appeals and minor victories, including a victorious lawsuit, over one of these, finally ended in defeat. The FS wore me down by relentlessly, year after year, avoiding a response to my primary arguments, doing only enough in their revisions to stay within the law. My interest in grazing is part of a broader interest in protecting ecosystems on a landscape scale. I am especially interested in the effects of grazing on biodiversity and the ecological processes that allow ecosystems to function. I am always looking for (but not finding much) hard empirical evidence about these effects. I believe that conservation should be the primary 'use' of our public lands. Our land management agencies however, reflecting the traditional Western worldview that see nature only as resources for human use, are and always have been, production-oriented-- ecosystem management notwithstanding. Not very long ago our culture as a whole (a few 'romantics' aside) believed with missionary zeal in the making over of nature to serve human purposes. Today, with the destructive ecological and social consequences of this view becoming clearer (to some), an increasing number of people are calling it into question. Thus I see the controversy over our public lands as essentially a conflict of worldviews. No significant change will occur until there is a broad cultural shift towards a more humble, ecological value system. Still, it is important that those concerned continue to work diligently to break down the agency infrastructure that gives priority to destructive activities such as grazing over the deeper values of the land. This means working to reduce the extent of grazing, analyzing its costs and benefits, and continuing to point out conflicts with other uses ,etc.

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