The Face of the Niemi Report

The Best-case Nebraska Economy of the Future Depends on Highly Productive Individuals, Not Corporate Headquarters or a Smokestack Industry

We are extremely grateful to Dr. Richard Edwards for his leadership in the founding of the Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition. Moreover, it would not have been possible to publish Natural Treasures of the Great Plains: An Ecological Perspective, a new collection of twenty-six essays originally published in this paper, without his generous financial support. It seems appropriate to reprint our ecotourism essay from the inaugural July 2007 issue of Prairie Fire. Our support and participation in the 2007 economic study (the Niemi Report) calculating the benefits of a focused effort to promote and support ecotourism was one of the themes for our launch eight years ago. In many ways, Natural Treasures is a commemoration of our eight-year journey repeatedly sounding the theme of the many benefits of a strong ecotourism industry, through the trained eyes of our talented essayists. A review of the book will appear in a future issue of Prairie Fire.

By Sally J. Herrin and W. Don Nelson

Joe Hill—early twentieth-century labor organizer and martyr—said it best: Don’t mourn—organize.

By now, everyone knows that the population of most of rural America has declined precipitously over the past few decades, almost entirely due to declining farm income.

Climate, Politics, and Religion

Banksy tag. (RomanyWG https://www.flickr.com/photos/romanywg/4200620700)

By Katharine Hayhoe

New to Texas Tech, it was my first year as an atmospheric science professor. We’d just moved to Lubbock, the second most conservative town in the United States. A colleague asked me to guest teach his undergraduate geology course while he was out of town.

The packed lecture hall was cavernous and dark. Many of the students were glued to their phones; others were slumped over, dozing. I began with the fundamental components of the climate system; I waded through the geologic climate record and ice core data; and finally, I explained natural cycles and the role of carbon dioxide—both natural and human-produced—in controlling Earth’s climate.

I ended my lecture, as many professors do, with a hopeful invitation for any questions. One hand immediately shot up.

Someone had been listening—and cared enough to ask a question! I thought.

The first student stood up. I looked encouraging. He cleared his throat. And then, in a loud and belligerent tone, he stated:

“You’re a Democrat, aren’t you?”

Immigration in Nebraska

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