Chip Ward

Chip Ward is a former grassroots organizer/activist who has led several successful campaigns to hold polluters accountable. He co-founded and led Families Against Incinerator Risk and HEAL Utah. He described his political adventures in Canaries on the Rim: Living Downwind in the West and Hope's Horizon: Three Visions for Healing the American Land. Today he works to protect the spectacular redrock wildlands of Utah.  His essays can be found by clicking here.

Articles by this author

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014 - 11:30am
The Original Geo-Engineers: How Beavers Can Help Save the Humans
The great novelist Wallace Stegner sorted the conflicting impulses in his beloved American West into two camps. There were the “boomers” who saw the frontier as an opportunity to get rich quick and move on: the conquistadors, the gold miners, the buffalo hunters, the land scalpers, and the dam-...
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Monday, June 24, 2013 - 8:27am
Rewilding the Great West One Footfall at a Time
My home sits at the gateway to a national park in Utah, a source of envy among tourists who gather along Capitol Reef’s “scenic drive.” But after 40 years of living in one desert or another, I know firsthand that America’s iconic desert landscapes, places like Monument Valley and Arches National Park, are the exceptions, not the rul
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 2:51pm
We Screwed Up: A Letter of Apology to My Granddaughter
Author's Note : I became politically active and committed on the day 20 years ago when I realized I could stand on the front porch of my house and point to three homes where children were in wheelchairs, to a home where a child had just died of leukemia, to another where a child was born missing a kidney, and yet another where a child suffered from spina bifida. All my parental alarms went off at once and I asked the obvious question: What’s going on here?
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Thursday, October 27, 2011 - 9:58am
Occupy Earth: Nature Is the 99%, Too
What if rising sea levels are yet another measure of inequality? What if the degradation of our planet’s life-support systems -- its atmosphere, oceans, and biosphere -- goes hand in hand with the accumulation of wealth, power, and control by that corrupt and greedy 1% we are hearing about from Zuccotti Park? What if the assault on America’s middle class and the assault on the environment are one and the same?
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Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 9:44am
How the West Was Lost: The American West in Flames
Arizona is burning. Texas, too. New Mexico is next. If you need a grim reminder that an already arid West is burning up and blowing away, here it is. As I write this, more than 700 square miles of Arizona and more than 4,300 square miles of Texas have been swept by monster wildfires.
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Thursday, March 24, 2011 - 10:30am
The Nuclear Myth Melts Down: How the “Peaceful Atom” Became a Serial Killer
When nuclear reactors blow, the first thing that melts down is the truth. Just as in the Chernobyl catastrophe almost 25 years ago when Soviet authorities denied the extent of radiation and downplayed the dire situation that was spiraling out of control, Japanese authorities spent the first week of the Fukushima crisis issuing conflicting and confusing reports. We were told that radiation levels were up, then down, then up, but nobody aside from those Japanese bureaucrats could verify the levels and few trusted their accuracy. The situation is under control, they told us,
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010 - 9:25am
The Big Bad Wolf Makes Good: The Yellowstone Success Story and Those Who Want to Kill It
At long last, good news. Fifteen years have passed since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park and the results are in. The controversial experiment has been a stellar success. The Big Bad Wolf is back and in this modern version of the old story, all that huffing and puffing has been good for the land and the creatures that live on it. Biggie, it turns out, got a bum rap.
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Monday, March 29, 2010 - 8:37am
Welcome to Glennbeckistan: Where the Tea Party Rules and Tea-hadis Roam
What if the Tea Party ruled? Imagine a land, let's call it Glennbeckistan, where white, patriarchal, religiously zealous, Tea Party-type patriots hold a super-majority in both houses of the legislature, sit in the governor's mansion, and control most local governments.
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Monday, September 14, 2009 - 10:32am
Red Snow Warning: The End of Welfare Water and the Drying of the West
Pink snow is turning red in Colorado. Here on the Great American Desert -- specifically Utah's slickrock portion of it where I live -- hot 'n' dry means dust. When frequent high winds sweep across our increasingly arid landscape, redrock powder is lifted up and carried hundreds of miles eastward until it settles on the broad shoulders of Colorado's majestic mountains, giving the snowpack there a pink hue.
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Monday, April 20, 2009 - 11:37am
A Future Too Big to Fail: Ecological Ignorance and Economic Collapse
"Too big to fail." It's been the mantra of our economic meltdown. Although meant to emphasize the overwhelming importance of this bank or that corporation, the phrase also unwittingly expresses a shared delusion that may be at the root of our current crises -- both economic and ecological. In nature, nothing is too big to fail. In fact, big is bound to fail. To understand why that's so means stepping away from a prevailing set of beliefs that holds us in its sway, especially the deep conviction that we operate apart from nature's limits and rules.
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