Opinion: Is eco-terrorism alive and well at Lake Tahoe? | SierraSun.com

Opinion: Is eco-terrorism alive and well at Lake Tahoe?

To the person who cut my hose and took the sprinkler attached to it, I have two comments: First, if you needed a sprinkler, all you had to do was ask. I have some extras and gladly would have given you one.

Second, if you cut my hose as some sort of warning that you thought I was somehow misusing my water supply, as I suspect your actions intended, then why didn’t you, as a civilized person would have done, merely approach me and discuss your point of view? I would have listened to your argument, and I would have considered it thoroughly.

Let me address the second point, as I believe that was the reason behind your act. First, how do you know we aren’t trying to conserve water in other areas of our usage?

I lived through the drought years of the ‘70s, and we practice water conservation along those lines. You might be too young to remember the old, “If it’s yellow, it’s mellow. If it’s…” well, the rest is a bit uncouth for here — so I won’t finish it (but it relates to often you need to flush).

Remember “Navy showers”? We practice those as well. My point is we are all trying to conserve water in many ways, and if I’m trying to keep my lawns somewhat alive and green — as defensible space as well as the innate attractiveness of a green expanse — by conserving water elsewhere, then who are you to judge?

If the PUD or the state tells us we can no longer water lawns, then I will do so — though it will be with great regret. Second, if you’ll recollect, we are on a metered system now. That means we pay for what we use. That’s not an excuse to waste water; in fact, it’s an incentive to save water.

Finally, did it ever occur to you that in a civilized society it is open discourse and debate that are cornerstones of our living? Your slinking up to my house in the dead of night and cutting the hose as some sort of “warning” or scare tactic smacks of white hoods and book burnings.

In 35 years of teaching here in our school district, one of the key fundamentals I try to teach my students is that the only way to arrive at a satisfactory, fair, democratic solution is by open and honest debate or argument (as in rhetoric — not fisticuffs).

I also try to impress upon my students that if they feel a certain way about an issue, then they need to put their names to it; to own it. Anonymous “shots in the dark” are not the solution or the ethical way to approach any subject.

And you might want to be careful before pursuing another night raid, lest you run into a homeowner who might react in a most uncivilized manner. I’d be very happy to have you come by and speak with me about your position on this issue; I’m sure we could arrive at some sort of compromise.

Emergencies and times of trial and stress tend to bring out both the best and the worst in people. I hope you choose the correct side next time. Let’s not have this water shortage making enemies of friends and neighbors — or even of strangers. As Mark Twain said, “Laws control the lesser man … right conduct controls the greater one.”

Bill Freeman is an academic coach at North Tahoe High School and a Tahoe City resident.