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Sonora's Story

As we pile into our little fleet of suburbans on Wednesday we ponder the road ahead of us and although we know what landmarks our expedition will bring us past as we traverse the wide spaces between Tucson and the already infamous Green River, we can never imagine where our journey will end up taking us. In three days we will travel more than 750 miles of desert road just to reach the put in at Sand Wash where the real adventure begins. The landscapes that fly past my window shift and evolve with every mile. Saguaros, the familiar and spiny patriarchs of the Sonoran Desert that we know and love fade and are replaced by thin yellow-flowered agaves. Junipers and pinions are overpowered by pines. Hills of endless sage and pink sand roll into eternity but finally are conquered by towering red monoliths and low-lying snakeweed. The sight of the Green stretching into the distance and disappearing around a red bend brings relief and excitement. The leaves of willows and cottonwoods fill the canyon floor with green rustling. But throughout the ever changing landscapes one common theme is prevalent. And that is man’s desire to thrive in their environment. From the Freemont and Hohokam tribes to pioneers and explorers, outlaws and dam-builders, all had a determination to not only survive, but flourish in their ruthless habitat. They had a choice to make and their decisions define how we understand them today. They needed to choose whether they were to thrive by adapting to their environment, or adapting their environment to them. The petroglyphs and ancient homes of Native American tribes show us that they lived in harmony with their mother earth, whereas the people behind the Glenn Canyon Dam blasted the canyon into obedience, driven by their own neediness. We each are faced with the same decision these people have made. Shall we live our lives in harmony with the natural world or put our own needs before sensibility, awareness and tolerance. I have been inspired to make this decision for myself and choose to act upon my wish to be more environmentally conscious and friendly. This year I have committed to plant, maintain and eat from a garden of native plants. In this way I will reduce carbon emitted from transporting food from long distances, establish healthy and sustainable habits and encourage native plants and animals to flourish where they have been restricted before. I hope that this will bring me closer to appreciating and protecting the Earth which gives me life.