Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mother Nature: The Call of the Wild, Pt. III

It's funny how things happen, isn't it, Bush? This week Mother Nature seems to have been calling out for my attention, so I listen and obey. First, I read online this morning that Katrina left at least 55 human beings dead in her wake yesterday. And, to judge from pictures on the news, incredibly widespread destruction, with uncountable billions of dollars in damages. The power of wind and water is unimaginable. And yet this is but one storm, on the face of a planet with many storms. One hurricane in a whole season of hurricanes in this one area--a season that has barely even started. This, in the wake of last year's tsunami, the recent monsoons in Southeast Asia, the floods and firestorms in Europe, the droughts in Africa. You can't help but wonder what's going on with our climates, can you, Bush? Talk about cries of distress. Mother Nature has been shrieking at us this past year.

And then, after Treadwell, two more wild animal documentaries last night on public television, one about the grizzlies in Yellowstone, the other about the mutual battle for survival among bears and wolves and salmon in Great Bear Rainforest up in Canada. Their stories take on an added significance in the light of several news stories in the past couple of days about your Paul Hoffman's efforts to redefine the mission of the National Parks Service to be more in line with the global Bush doctrine of the exploitation of nature for the benefit of man: the latest was the lead editorial in yesterday's New York Times: "Destroying the National Parks." It seems that Hoffman's idea is to abandon the fundamental idea of the "protection" of nature in these areas in favor of opening them up to such human activities as mining, drilling, and destructive sporting activities.

The two documentaries were convincing evidence of the need for protection. The parks are suffering from the constant intrusion of man. Man and his cameras. Man and his garbage. Man and his guns. Man and his RVs and snowmobiles. Man and his domestic animals. Man and his obsessive need for oil and lumber. Man and his "Lebensraum"--Hitler's term, if you remember, Bush, for the expansion of territory, for "living space." Frightening footage, in the Yellowstone film, of bears and people intermingling, apparently without fear on either side, on the park roads, with grizzlies and RVs jostling for space. Frightening shots of hillside habitats stripped bare of the trees that support both the flora and fauna of the natural environment...

And yet you, Bush, seem blithely oblivious to anything other than human economic growth and development. What of the future? Nature is hard enough on us as it is, as Katrina amply demonstrates, without our help. The art of the careful husbandry of this planet must be, in part at least, to learn to respect her enough to listen to her needs, to do what we can to protect her, and to step back, when necessary, and refrain from intervention. Most pressing of all, as I see it, is the need, insofar as possible, to remove the human ego, human demands, and human needs from the equation. The interest of our species is best served, in the long run, by serving nature's.

It's another of those days, Bush. We're headed up to town to check up on the real estate situation. More tomorrow...

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