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DEFEND JOSHUA TREE …. FROM WHAT, EXACTLY?

Unfortunately, there’s a lot to defend Joshua Tree from these days. Dumb ideas that would degrade this beautiful, wondrous place keep coming down the pike from greedhead interests like:

* The Depierro Development Corporation, who want to install a 9,100-sq ft Dollar General franchise store in downtown Joshua Tree at the northeast corner of Sunburst and the 62. Dollar General excels at making easy money off low-income people and sending the profits out of the local community. Joshua Tree does need a proper general store, but this crap-peddling, ugly out-of-state bottom-feeding predator isn’t the one for us.

* The Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, who have detailed plans to build a 90,000-square foot casino on the 62 highway, just 3 miles east of Joshua Tree’s downtown on land they do not currently own. Few things could be more self-evidently inappropriate than placing a massive, off-reservation casino at the foot of a national park.

* Axio Power, who are planning to construct a 150-acre field of solar panels on land off Sunfair, 4 miles east of downtown and within view from the national park; and British Petroleum (BP), who intend to build a 160-acre solar farm in the same area — up to 150,000 solar panels, up to ten feet tall, inside fences. Both developments will ruin important wildlife corridors forever.

Then there are the corporate water speculators eyeing our 35,000-year-old aquifer—an independent source of water for our village that should last for at least another 200 years if we use it sensibly. There’s the plague of illegal off road vehicle riders, who routinely disrupt the natural peace, destroy wilderness and wildlife, leave behind garbage, and use up costly local resources in law enforcement and emergency services. There’s the local nighttime light polluters, who are degrading our view of the stars. And so on.

An ecology can’t defend itself from human greed, error and shortsightedness. That takes you and me, working together in the interest of the place itself. So let’s Defend Joshua Tree…before it’s too late.

WHERE THE “DEFEND” CONCEPT COMES FROM

Dave Reeves wrote many great columns and articles for Arthur, a magazine I (Jay) founded/edited/published from 2002-08, and provided much raw fuel and blazing inspiration for that project. But his real claim to fame and fortune is that he was the originator of the Defend Brooklyn T-shirt in 1996. The “Defend [where you live]” concept is a brilliant one, in and of itself — read Dave’s essay series if you want the background philosophy, history and some great riffs on how culture works. But the “Defend” concept is also fantastic because it can be applied anywhere (which is one of the reasons why it’s been ripped off so many times).

I went to Dave to see if there was a way that we could use his Defend idea here in Joshua Tree. We figured out a deal. Artist Arik Roper, who did so much gorgeous work in the pages of Arthur Magazine through the years, as well as on posters, T-shirts and album covers, has made a design for a Defend Joshua Tree T-shirt, starring a pack of local coyotes, protecting their young. You can purchase a shirt directly from us at defendjt.bigcartel.com

A portion of the proceeds from sales of Defend Joshua Tree T-shirts goes to the Mojave Desert Land Trust’s Joshua Tree North Wildlife Linkage Campaign.

DEFEND JOSHUA TREE is operated by Jay Babcock and Stephanie Smith.

Contact: babcock dot jay at gee mail

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