Why Women Should Take Over the Environmental Movement


Today I checked in on the Global International Lowbagger World Headquarters, which is actually Josh’s small studio apartment above Charlie’s Bar on Higgins Street, in beautiful downtown Missoula. It’s an unusually warm day for this time of year. It’s colder in Alabama right now. When I walked in the door of the office I saw something that made me very upset. There, next to Josh’s desk, (actually more accurately described as a dresser) was a file cabinet. We had talked about this. We had an agreement. There would be no file cabinets. Reason numero uno is because Josh was afraid that if we turned his bachelor pad into an office, his girlfriend would stop coming over. She still doesn’t know this is our office and even believes all that stuff about him being a professional River Guide. The other, and I think more important reason, is that nowadays, where ever you go, every hippie, environmental activist, and eco-Hare Krishna you meet, hands you some brochure, fact sheet, tabloid or other assortment of wood molecules with important information printed on it. So let me say this only once. We don’t have room in our office for important information. We have very little use for important information. If you need important information, you should go to the Internet. Anyway, Josh calmly reminded me that it was not just any old file cabinet. It was a hand-me down by generations of now successful Lowbaggers. One of the original Lowbaggers, outfitter Wayne Fairchild, donated it to the office, but Jim Dayton with the Wilderness Resource Center claims to have given it to Fairchild. We’ll never get to the root of where this Lowbagger filing cabinet came from, but, really, Josh needed something to put the new printer on.

Printers are cool. Girlfriends no longer think that having a laser printer in your bedroom means you are a tree-hugging, environmental extremist. We have proved over the years that such folks don’t get laid in Missoula. So naturally Josh doesn’t want to lose his girlfriend, or have her find out that he is an environmental activist. He’s the only Missoula eco-boy who has a girlfriend. For those of you who don’t know, Missoula River Guides don’t usually have girlfriends either, and Josh says he’s a Guide. This demographic is lucky if they have any friends. Trust me, we have done the polling on this. Only Missoula Fishing Guides or people who say they are Missoula Fishing Guides have girlfriends, or at least they say they have girlfriends. We never actually see any of these girlfriends. Not in Charlie’s anyway. If I had a girlfriend I would never bring her to Charlie’s.

There are a lot of male environmental activists in Missoula, and the same number of male environmental organizations. When they are mad at each other over policy, litigation or fundraising, which is usually by five o’clock, they stand in different corners of the Bar and pretend to not know each other. This is why the women in Missoula think we’re nuts.

I was still pissed off. File cabinets have a way of multiplying in environmental offices like gerbils on ecstasy. When I worked for Ralph Nader, his office looked like the gerbils had been going at it for some time. It looked like they had been dancing to doof music for forty years and had collapsed in a big pile. He had a whole ‘nother warehouse full of file cabinets. When the cabinets fill up, he has a big guy take them out with a hand truck and bring in four more empty ones. Now, I never saw any one go to any of these file cabinets the entire year I worked there, unless they were putting stuff in them. This, I think, may be the crux of the problem. I sure hope this new file cabinet Josh installed was neutered, or just too old to breed. As usual, when Josh and I disagree, I give ground. We reached a compromise. Let’s say a consensus. The top drawer is for Cocktail Napkins and the bottom drawer is for Beer Coasters. He can keep his CDs in there too, but no other printed material is allowed.

Speaking of important, useless information on printed material, I was reading a newspaper. After reading it I must say that there was another thing that pissed me off. Climate change. I read about it in the paper this morning. It’s here. But that’s not what pissed me off. I sorta knew that already. It’s the fact that I have been reading about it for some twenty-five years in the same papers. Everyone on the whole planet knows about climate change and what causes it. We’ve all known for some time. The only scientists who still deny both climate change and the causes of it are on the oil company payroll and even they don’t believe what they are saying. They can’t really believe that the best way to stop global warming is to burn more coal and uranium. They get paid to say things that they don’t believe. So, it’s just natural for them to perform their daily duties professionally and diligently.

The only person on the planet who doesn’t believe in climate change is either in the White House, or he’s out golfing, or invading a small country. This guy is obviously insane or heavily medicated. His handicap alone is evidence of the fact. Although I don’t think he loses many golf games. How can we convince this guy that if he is a World Leader (which by the way I also read in the newspaper) that he should read the newspaper? He’d only have to read the headlines. Hell, I’d read more newspapers if I had my picture in them as much as he did.

Like I said, I am tired of just talking and reading about climate change, when there’s only one person on Earth who needs to read only one newspaper. I do know how to solve this. If a million lowbaggers come to Washington D.C. on the Fourth of July with small handheld magnifying glasses, we could assemble across the street in Lafayette Park and all focus all our magnifying glasses on the oval office at once and burn a message on the desk Teddy Roosevelt once sat at. I’m working on the messaging. There’s a conference call tomorrow and if you want to join. Call 1-800 GOFCKYURSLF. I am asking every lowbagger out there to stand with me on the Fourth of July in our Nation’s Capitol. How you are going to get a magnifying glass or a plane ticket, I don’t know, or much care. We are not good at fundraising. We don’t do support and logistics, or stuff like follow-ups and evaluations at Lowbagger. But if you want input or want to help with planning this enormous and important event, I refer you to the number above. If you’re worried that we didn’t consult the right people, local activists and other concerned organizations before planning such an enormous undertaking, don’t be. We didn’t. If you’re not there, we won’t see you. If you want us to send you some brochures and posters to help promote the event, again, I refer you to the 800 number above. If I’m not there, again, use the 800 number. If you want to give us money, call Josh, his rent is almost due. That was another agreement we had, we couldn’t afford to pay for office space. All agreements aside, I’m going down to the Mo Club.

The Next Morning

This morning the Missoulian had a banner headline, “Drought Grips Montana”. I put fifty cents into the newspaper machine at seven thirty. By the time I arrived at the Raven coffee shop from Worden’s there was a blizzard of snow that hasn’t let up all day. Yesterday’s Headlines announced the closing of the ski area due to lack of snow. This is what it is like living in Missoula. It’s the only ski area in the Rockies that closes when it snows. It’s like closing an Irish Bar on Saint Patrick’s Day. Floyd and I were supposed to fly out today but when it comes to Missoula, we are much better at arriving then departing. Why would anybody want to go to Alabama when they are in Montana?

Last night I was at the Mo Club with actual women environmental leaders. They will come to the Mo Club, of course, even though it looks pretty much like Charlie’s. Like I said, women don’t go to Charlie’s. I suspect it’s because we usually hang out there. The real irony is that the Mo in Mo Club, one of Missoula’s oldest bars, stands for Men Only. They gave up that idea as pretty much a Loser in a college town with a ski area, even if they are closing in a snow storm.

But I digress. I don’t want to mention the names of these important female environmental leaders, simply because we want people to think that we don’t have any in Missoula. If word got out that we did, more trust fund, poser, eco-boy trustifarians will move to Missoula and drive the rent up even higher. This idea has been pretty much a Loser, too. But I will mention these women for one reason, and one reason alone. They promised me, in front of witnesses (if you could call anybody in the Mo Club after 10 p.m. a witness), that they would write for our web site. We agreed not to pay them, even if we ever get any money. So I will not share with you the news of what these incredible, talented and dedicated women: Betsy Gaines Quammen, Jennifer Ferenstein and Bethany Walder, are up to. Maybe they will get their worthless husbands to write, too. Betsy is married to famous Montana writer-dude David Quammen, although his name never came up. Remember, I have witnesses. They tell you all about it. But, it was after all ten o’clock at the Mo Club, and most of my witnesses are now sleeping off a bad hangover.

That lowbaggers need women goes without saying. I’ve said this many times. Some will think that I’m just trying to disavow the unfair stereotype that there’s more in Montana than lonely eco boys, and that there are no women on our staff. Well, there are no women on our staff. There will never be a woman on our staff, for the same reason we don’t have staff meetings: there is no staff. Getting women to do things for free has always been one of our main strategies here at Lowbagger. But if we can ever get them to hang out with us again, then we will have taken a giant step forward.

MIKE ROSELLE writes from the road for Lowbagger.org. He can be reached a t: roselle@lowbagger.org.



MIKE ROSELLE is Campaign Director of Climate Ground Zero and author of Tree Spiker!. He can be reached at: mikeroselle@hotmail.com