The Forum political endorsement recently published in the RE presents readers with a patently false dichotomy). Presenting the controversial copper and nickel mining “initiatives” in northeastern Minnesota as “pro business” blatantly labels a complex environmental concern as a superficial and simple political alternative. Doing so, the editorial entirely washes over the deep and significant complexities held within this controversy.
Environmental protection is increasingly recognized by thoughtful business leaders and owners as absolutely necessary if any given business is to be successful and sustained over time. Northeastern Minnesota’s increasing generation of a successful tourism industry requires careful environmental safeguards if it is to be sustained. Mining interests that may threaten the BWCA and Lake Superior can appear to pit one set of business interests against another. Conservation minded members of any particular political orientation can find themselves identified with the need for exercising extreme caution in decisions affecting land and water use and yes, “business” decisions that relate to their sustainable use.
Business considerations and environmental protection are not, and cannot be, placed in opposition to each other if any kind of sustainable future is to be assured for any of us “onto the seventh generation.” Having a good job and a healthy family life all depend upon sustained care of the environment. Pro business has to be, always and equally, pro environment.
Bruce McBeath and Dianne Aisenbrey