You've heard the horror stories: Water illegally diverted from rivers and streams, harming fisheries. Rodenticide killing Pacific fishers -- sleek, handsome forest characters that are federally protected. Torn up land polluted with fertilizers and more, and heaps of filth left by greedy dipshit humans -- feces and trash and plastic piping and more. All in the aid of illicit marijuana grows out in our wild places.
Then there are the indoor grows -- massive suckers of energy and sometime causes of house fires.
And, hell, step inside the body: Think inhaling that toxin-laced bud is good for you?
Maybe some folks are growing weed with an eco-conscience. But many, many are not. If any of this concerns you, you'll be happy to know that Humboldt State University is hosting its first-ever Earth Day Symposium on Marijuana and the Environment this Friday and Saturday.
The symposium is called "Communities and Landscapes in the Balance: The Crossroads of Environmental Protection and Marijuana Agriculture." And, yes, it is sponsored by the university's new, Jimmy Kimmel-blessed Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research, along with the sociology department, environment and community program, Environmental Protection Information Center and the Salmonid Restoration Federation.
On Friday, there will be talks. On Saturday, panels. Some of the topics include:
Ecological data -- what we know and what we need to know;
Legal strategies to protect nature from marijuana crimes;
Stories from the frontlines: reporting on the culture and practice of marijuana agriculture;
Grassroots environmentalism and the marijuana industry: past, present and future;
The ecological footprint of indoor marijuana agriculture;
Plus many other sessions on public land management, private timberland impacts, environmental crimes, cultural and natural resource impacts on tribal lands, protecting fisheries, legislative updates and more.
The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both April 19 and 20, in room 162 of the Native American Forum, which is in the Behavioral Social Sciences Building. You can register at humboldt.edu/dee/hiimr/. Or just show up, dude; registration is recommended, but not required.
-- Heidi Walters