“We have done much to mend the damage we’ve done to nature but have much more work to do. We need to rewild whole landscapes, boldly creating connected habitat for species that need room to roam, such as grizzly bears, wolverines, and even bison. Healthy lands rich in biodiversity will be far more resilient to climate change.”
- Cristina Eisenberg - Earthwatch Chief Scientist, ecologist and author http://cristinaeisenberg.com
The Carnivore Way: Coexisting with and Conserving North America's Predators
Are we doing enough to protect our Lands and Wildlife?
In our current climate where our Government is slashing regulations and there is a strong effort to be able to sell off and exploit our Public Lands, what can we do or do we need to worry?
In the USA we have about 134,000,000 acres somewhat protected in National Parks, this is about 14% of the land in the USA. The US Forest Service has another 193,000,000 acres and in total the Federal Government owns about 2.27 billion acres.
Boy, that sounds like a ton of land doesn't it?
However there is a problem, a significant portion of that land is not left to be wild with the animals left unmolested. 788 million acres are grazing lands, we have mines and logging regions scattered across our Public Lands, we even have hunting in some National Parks. The farthest point in the USA from a road is only about 30 miles, something I find scary and that brings us to the the point of this posting.
Even though on paper we have a decent amount of land for wildlife, in reality this is not the case. Too much of our lands set aside for wildlife is “fractured”, animals have to brave developments, highways and unprotected spaces to migrate in the search for forage and to find genetic diversity.
E.O. Wilson has famously stated that to actually protect our wildlife and lands we need to protect 50% of ALL our lands and waters WORLDWIDE and this isn't just protecting a big chunk in one location and bulldozing the rest, no, its protecting multiple connected lands so that we provide migration corridors and protect bio-diversity.
Just protecting a desert wont help animals that don’t live there, just as just protecting the Rocky Mountains wouldn't do much to protect animals in Death Valley.
Scientists have put forth that we currently are in the midst of the 6th Great Extinction with the current rate of extinction being at least 100x greater than “normal” and some holding forth that its closer to 1000x greater than normal. I, for one, tend to pay attention to scientists and pay attention with my own eyes to what is going on, not just in the USA but throughout the world.
Take Lions and other big cats in Africa, in the last 70 years Lions have crashed from over 450,000 to hardly 20,000.
Large tracts of wildlands all over the world have been broken up to provide farmland and living areas for us, while pushing animals into constantly constricting and scattered holdings to survive and when the animals try to move from their region through ours to get to another region, they are killed by us.
Here in the US our Game Management Agencies have for years, up until recently, viewed predators as expendable and a nuisance to our game management model, a model that sadly seems to be based upon a Game Farm mentality, wherein we want as much huntable wildlife as possible, even if this means over population of the animals and a detachment from actual nature in the management style.
If we ever would manage to protect even a 30% portion of the US for wildlife, it would require a massive undertaking starting with EDUCATION, in fact all the below issues are educationally based.
Education: Too many people lack even a basic understanding of biology and about how interconnect we, our lands and so forth truly are. On top of that they fail to recognize that so many of our problems, both with protecting our lands and protecting ourselves are rooted with inequality and population.
Rethinking Private Property Rights: Very often people who own their land do not act in a responsible way towards the wildlife they share it with, the feeling of “its mine and I can do what I want” is understandable, however I, and many others feel that owning land is a privilege and the owners have a responsibility to balance their desires with that of the animals one shares the land with.
Rethinking States Rights: You see States constantly wanting to do what they want without over consideration of how their actions impact the next State over. The feeling that the State “owns” its wildlife and its lands and it doesn't matter what another State is doing or wants is a fact that needs to be changed. Our lands and our wildlife belong to ALL of us, it doesn't matter if you are in a different county, state or country we are all responsible.
Convincing people that its better to think of the future instead of the “now”: For generations we have fallen for the trap of doing what we feel we should do for jobs, growth and so forth using either the thought that “any problem can be fixed later”, or just not caring what the future holds since we will be dead by then. Im sure you all have heard the line “ what are we leaving for our children”, and simply put, that is a pretty lame line. We should be caring what we leave for the people living here in 200 years, not simply a couple decades from now.
We (the people who care and want to make a difference) all need to do a better job than we currently do. We all too often fall into the “preaching to the choir” area, where we just talk to like minded folks instead of reaching out and educating the masses, to put it mildly, we NEED the masses. It would be great if we could just march forth and do what needs to be done on our own, however that isn't reality, and in today’s climate of anti-education, anti-intellect, pro-destruction and pro-”think’about’only’me’me’me’me’me” we need to do everything we can to force changes for the better.
There are so many wide ranging issues that have to be faced and dealt with and we are running out of time to make a real difference. Can you image in 100 years not having a wild Grizzly in the lower 48? Can you image that the only Lions to be found in the world are in a zoo?
The future, as it stands right now can go two ways, unfortunately doing the right thing is much harder than passing the buck to the next generation.
1 post • Page 1 of 1