Today I went to Utah. Or rather, my friend thought I had gone to Utah (based on a garbled message) and was surprised when I called her back so quickly. Actually, I went to a meeting of the Illinois Task Force for Utah Wilderness, which sounds a lot like a student organization back when I was in grad school that called itself the Iowa Society for Virginia People. They seemed to be very good at getting money out of the coffers of the student goverment and various other bureaucratic entities at the school, although so far as I know their function was purely social. If you could combine the financial finesse of those Iowa/Viriginia people with the serious cause of these Illinois/Utah people, you really might have something going.
As it was, I spent an hour in a room with a dozen or so octogenerians (plus a few token middle-aged folk) and listened to a somewhat younger man explain the inner workings of RS 2477 and FLPMA 202 and 603 and other arcane bits of environmental legislation. Then he very carefully explained what we all ought to do in order to prevent terrible things from happening. Mostly this involved calling and leaving messages on Congressional voicemail numbers. There was some discussion of the merits of calling vs. e-mailing and faxing vs. letter-writing. Calls and hand-written faxes seemed to carry the day. All in all, it was sort of like a paint-by-numbers kit for activism. In the suburbs, even the impending destruction of wilderness is presented in a soothing fasion, in the rented meeting room of a greenhouse/conservatory.