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Thread: Environmental Rape

  1. #1
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    Environmental Rape

    Source: http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/09/09/wo....ap/index.html

    No, this isn't a greenie post. Far from it.

    Not too many years ago (less than a decade) I had the distinct pleasure of spending an hour with the individual responsible for tracking the damage done to the Red-Headed Woodpecker by the U.S. Army.

    The location was just west of Ft. Bragg, N.C., and he had all his maps at the ready.

    The problem was that it wasn't the Army that was pushing the woodpecker out of it's habitat, but rather, it was the woodpecker pushing the Army out of it's live-fire training ranges. No kidding - the Army had been steadily loosing ground to the encroachment of the environmentally-protected Red Headed woodpecker for years, despite the shelling and small arms fire.

    Over the decades, since the banning of DDT in the 50's, the woodpecker has made a slow comeback, and was steadily encroaching upon the live fire exercise areas within the restricted area to the west of Ft. Bragg.

    How ironic!

    This whole program was established because it was believed that the live-fire activities were pushing the bird out of it's natural terrority. As it turns out, the dwindling numbers were most likely due to DDT and more recent wide-ranging insecticides and herbicides such as those used to control ticks and poison ivy.

    Yet the mantra remains that it's the U.S. Army live-fire activity which threatens the woodpecker.

    The bottom line, here, is that wildlife is far more resilient than we give it credit. Our activities may very well push it out of a particular microcosm, but the inherent pressure of survival causes it to either surge back or to migrate. Even human history is full of migration, for many reasons, including famine, war, etc. Migration, adaptation, variation within a species - all are tools of our survival, and the woodpeckers are no latecomers to this party, regardless of the blithering idiocy of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation.

    As Jeff Goldblum's character said best in the movie Jurassic Park, written and directed by Michael Crighton, "life has a way of finding another way."

    It always has, and it always will. It's unbelievably ill-advised to side with an isolated decline in the numbers of any given species for a very good reason - it happens ALL THE TIME, with or without our involvement.

    On a further note, there may very well be an identified species (or sub-species) in a single location that may be in danger of extinction. What's important to remember is that species adapt constantly to changing environmental conditions, that variations within and across species lines are the norm throughout nature, not an abberation, and we absolutely can NOT afford to cow-tow to every naturalist who comes along and decries a dying species for one simple reason: Perhaps 15 thousand species perish each year.

    Again, due to no fault of our own. It's simply the way of life.

    More importantly, however, is that more than 15,000 new species appear every year. Such is the way of life, constantly varying, adapting, and evolving to make the best use of their environments.

    Our efforts to preserve species ill-suited to a changing environment at the expense of a species that's better suited is perhaps the ultimate of environmental rape, thwarting nature's own billion-year ability to adapt and overcome, to make the best, and most efficient use of whatever environment is available.

    It's high time we as a society take a far less myopic look at this issue!

  2. #2
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    15,000 new species appear every year? Sources? Or are you mixing 'are discovered' with 'appear'?

    In the US alone, since 1500: some thirty fish, three amphibians, one reptile, 45 birds and 38 mammal species have become extinct (incomplete list). How many have appeared in that time period?

    Your reasoning seem to be: extinctions happen without our involvement, so it's allright if they happen with our involvement as well.
    By the same reasoning, let's release some diseases, flood some countries, burn all forests, ... because you know, it's only natural.
    Are you against the ban on DDT as well?
    Because you may have found an instance where a species would have survived without our help (well, we helped by banning DDT and so on, but without more help), you decide that it is in all cases extremely ill-advised to do this... Strange way of thinking!

    It's not a case of killing a species because it isn't suited to its environment. It's a case of destroying the variation in the environment, making it all more similar, less diverse, more standardized.

    Contrary to what you claim, we can afford to do something against that, but some of us don't want to.


    But thanks for warning that this wasn't a 'greenie' post. I'll not try to find a comparable but opposite term to describe it then, as that wouldn't be nice.

  3. #3
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    I agree with Fram, the 15,000 are newly discovered species, not newly evolved.

    I'm not sure what you are advocating genebujold. Are you advocating eliminating all protection for endangered species?

    I will give a very mild agreement that there have been a few cases where species protection was done too aggressively, and that there have been some cases where we might have allowed a particular sub-species to vanish. I will also add a problem that you have not mentioned, humans' tendency to protect "cute" species and macro (large) fauna and ignore equally (or more) important non-cute species or plants (those baby seals get all the good press).

    But I believe what our species is doing to the other creatures on our planet is terrible. Not only are we wiping out huge numbers of species, but we are doing it at an alarming rate (species per year). I suspect that the "extinct event" we are causing is of the scale of ones caused by asteroid strikes (IMHO).

    Forget all the arguments about how this is hurting us (for example, possible new drugs we won't find in rainforest species, not that I disagree with those). I find this behavior morally repugnant, sort of a human equivalent of trashing your neighbors house.
    At night the stars put on a show for free (Carole King)

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  4. #4
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    Everything in Moderation. We should not kill off all species, some of them can be put to good use, others tickle our fancy, and still others are rather tasty.
    Et tu BAUT? Quantum mutatus ab illo.

  5. #5
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    In an extinction event it is likely that many species will be driven to extinction as a result of some interdependence on another species that has already gone extinct. Whatever the cause of the event, we can't be sure that one or more of the organisms that go extinct will be critical to our own survival as a species. Of course life finds a way to recover (or it has so far), but will the human species be a part of that recovery? It seems to me that since we cannot know which organism(s) may be critical to our own survival as a species, it would be prudent to try to save as many as possible to minimize the risk of our own extinction.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by genebujold
    Source: http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/09/09/wo....ap/index.html

    More importantly, however, is that more than 15,000 new species appear every year. Such is the way of life, constantly varying, adapting, and evolving to make the best use of their environments.

    can these "species" breed with the previous species? if NOT we have evidence of evolution. otherwise it's just natural selection.
    My travel blog Mostly about riding a motorcycle across the US and Europe. Also has cool things that happen in between.

  7. #7
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    Thumbs down

    Quote Originally Posted by genebujold
    Source: http://www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/09/09/wo....ap/index.html

    No, this isn't a greenie post. Far from it.

    Not too many years ago (less than a decade) I had the distinct pleasure of spending an hour with the individual responsible for tracking the damage done to the Red-Headed Woodpecker by the U.S. Army.

    The location was just west of Ft. Bragg, N.C., and he had all his maps at the ready.

    The problem was that it wasn't the Army that was pushing the woodpecker out of it's habitat, but rather, it was the woodpecker pushing the Army out of it's live-fire training ranges. No kidding - the Army had been steadily loosing ground to the encroachment of the environmentally-protected Red Headed woodpecker for years, despite the shelling and small arms fire.

    Over the decades, since the banning of DDT in the 50's, the woodpecker has made a slow comeback, and was steadily encroaching upon the live fire exercise areas within the restricted area to the west of Ft. Bragg.

    How ironic!

    This whole program was established because it was believed that the live-fire activities were pushing the bird out of it's natural terrority. As it turns out, the dwindling numbers were most likely due to DDT and more recent wide-ranging insecticides and herbicides such as those used to control ticks and poison ivy.

    Yet the mantra remains that it's the U.S. Army live-fire activity which threatens the woodpecker.

    The bottom line, here, is that wildlife is far more resilient than we give it credit. Our activities may very well push it out of a particular microcosm, but the inherent pressure of survival causes it to either surge back or to migrate. Even human history is full of migration, for many reasons, including famine, war, etc. Migration, adaptation, variation within a species - all are tools of our survival, and the woodpeckers are no latecomers to this party, regardless of the blithering idiocy of the Arkansas Wildlife Federation.

    As Jeff Goldblum's character said best in the movie Jurassic Park, written and directed by Michael Crighton, "life has a way of finding another way."

    It always has, and it always will. It's unbelievably ill-advised to side with an isolated decline in the numbers of any given species for a very good reason - it happens ALL THE TIME, with or without our involvement.

    On a further note, there may very well be an identified species (or sub-species) in a single location that may be in danger of extinction. What's important to remember is that species adapt constantly to changing environmental conditions, that variations within and across species lines are the norm throughout nature, not an abberation, and we absolutely can NOT afford to cow-tow to every naturalist who comes along and decries a dying species for one simple reason: Perhaps 15 thousand species perish each year.

    Again, due to no fault of our own. It's simply the way of life.

    More importantly, however, is that more than 15,000 new species appear every year. Such is the way of life, constantly varying, adapting, and evolving to make the best use of their environments.

    Our efforts to preserve species ill-suited to a changing environment at the expense of a species that's better suited is perhaps the ultimate of environmental rape, thwarting nature's own billion-year ability to adapt and overcome, to make the best, and most efficient use of whatever environment is available.

    It's high time we as a society take a far less myopic look at this issue!
    your source doesn't support your claims.
    My travel blog Mostly about riding a motorcycle across the US and Europe. Also has cool things that happen in between.

  8. #8
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    Other than the fact that I'm no greenie, you miss my post: That biodiversity is hardier than we think! Imagine, red-headed woodpeckers driving live-firing infantrymen off their ranges!!!

    Such is life...

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