This week in a special edition of CounterPunch Radio, environmental activist and CounterPunch contributor Louisa Willcox welcomes two unsung environmental heroes, Jim and Heidi Barrett, who were leaders in a campaign that took on – and won – one of the biggest environmental victories in the history of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Against all odds, this modest couple and their small grassroots group in the hamlet of Cooke City, MT, along with allies, took on Noranda, one of the largest mining companies in the world, which aimed to build a massive gold mine near the border of Yellowstone Park. The conversation begins with their recounting this David versus Goliath battle that resulted in permanent protection of a fragile, wild area that is home to imperiled grizzlies, wolves, and countless other species. In the second half of this conversation, Jim and Heidi discuss their work to bring under control the escalating and damaging use of off-road vehicles on public lands. And they share their efforts to improve sanitation in an area that had long been a “black hole for bears” because widely available garbage had caused so many threatened grizzly bears to be killed. Along the way, Jim and Heidi share lessons they learned that can strengthen environmental campaigns in these dark times. Their work underscores the fact that a few people with big hearts and grit can make an immeasurable difference for the wild — and all of us. All this and more in this week’s CounterPunch Radio.
For more on Jim and Heidi and the efforts to reduce conflicts with grizzly bears around Cooke City, see Louisa’s blog.