"Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children's children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance."

-- Theodore Roosevelt

While we are not saying that those who propose a natural-gas pipeline through our pristine woods, fields and streams are greedy, we will say that they likely chose the path that suited them best.

We quake at the thought of a gas pipeline running under our cherished rivers and forever leaving a wide and naked swath of land kept so by poisons that seep into our aquifers.

How often have we lauded the efforts of Marion Stoddart and others like her for the work they do to improve, preserve and protect our natural world.

Who else but New Englanders would erect traffic signs to alert motorists to slow for the fragile salamanders and turtles crossing our paved byways. Often, we actually help them cross.

We look with wonder at the environment that surrounds us. We think long and hard about the balance of nature v. commerce, providing the right locations for both in our communities. We collect the hazardous materials that could harm our land and we gather to collect the roadside trash haphazardly tossed by the self-absorbed among us.


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Should we then hand over these communities we call home to strangers who know neither us nor the precious gifts we treasure.

No.

We should do what we are doing: Stand and fight. Join together and speak with one voice: These are our homes and our children's homes. You may not despoil them.

If the pipeline is needed, put it elsewhere, on a path of less resistance. Because true to our heritage, we will not sit quietly by and watch the destruction happen.

Jim Clish

For those who have followed these newspapers over the years, there have been many losses that have not gone unnoticed.

One comes to mind this week as we publish a photo of Townsend Ecumenical Outreach members. Absent is TEO founder Jim Clish, who passed away after a long illness.

Jim was one of the most humble men we've met. He would not speak of himself, only of the efforts of the people of Townsend to help neighbors in need.

Years ago, we heard from a reliable source that as a child he was hungry. As an adult, he committed to do all he could to prevent such an occurrence from happening to others. He spent decades being the heart of TEO, spending vacations and holidays and his own resources (and those of wife, Chris) not in personal endeavors but working for TEO.

There are others there now, carrying on with the mission. But there will always be the proverbial empty chair holding the memory of a wonderful man named Jim Clish.