I first saw the canyon as a 13-year-old -- just from the rim, since my out-of-shape parents loved visiting national parks but couldn't do much hiking. I went back as a 24-year-old, having just bought my first pair of hiking boots. I hiked down in late May with some new acquaintances, and we camped along a cottonwood-bordered stream before it got too hot, and before the crowds arrived. This being 1972, the "crowds" were nothing like the hordes of more recent years. I've never forgotten the exertion required -- and the beautiful stillness that surrounded us, which made even more of an impression than the fantastic, changing colors. After hiking out a few days later in my brand new boots, I couldn't wear shoes for a week for all the blisters.
The other development is a housing and retail proposal right at the edge of the canyon, including 2,200 homes and three million square feet of commercial space. Its water needs would suck the streams dry that now feed the Colorado River that runs through the canyon.
Living in Connecticut, we have nothing so grand as the Grand Canyon, but I get to ride my bike through my own private cathedral every day. The photo above is the road through East Rock Park from Hamden to New Haven, and on a beautiful summer day like so many we've had this year, I try to look up as I coast downhill through this cathedral of green. I feel so lucky to breathe in clean, sweet-smelling air, to hear the birds, and to enjoy a feeling of peace.
I also feel like the days of enjoying this beauty are numbered, because climate change has arrived, and even though we've had a summer almost free of humidity and high temps, global temperatures have exceeded the historical average every month for the past 353 months. So if you are 29 years old or younger, you’ve never experienced a cooler than average month (globally speaking). And who can forget last July in Connecticut and across the entire East Coast -- the summer from hell.
Hundreds of organizations have signed on to a call from Sierra Club and 350.org to come to New York City on September 21 for a massive People's Climate March to tell world leaders who'll be gathering at the U.N. two days later: Enough useless talk! The world needs action to stop climate change.
Check it out. I'll be there. I hope you'll come, too.