Friday, December 16, 2011

Once upon a time . . .

. . . . there were millions of Bison, Passenger Pigeons, Ducks, small furry animals, fish and other animals - and just a few people. "Harvesting" some of these creatures was not a problem, you went out and got a duck for dinner and fed the family, or a deer and fed the community and your family for several days. A fishing trip brought about a change of diet, fish, crabs and shellfish. No problem. The population of "Food animals", was large, seemingly inexhaustible.

But now we are no longer few, we number in the millions, indeed the hundreds of millions. We know now that the "Wild food", is not inexhaustible and in fact many have become extinct - like the Passenger Pigeon that once numbered in the billions - or almost extinct like the Bison, and many fish and birds.

But do we change our habits? Of course not, we continue to hunt our "Inexhaustible" wild food to the point of extinction. And as we are many, inexorably growing in numbers and becoming increasingly clever in ways of catching our wild heritage, the pressure on them increases daily.

Also we now not only use these creatures for our food we use them for pet food, fertilizer, animal feed, any use that will bring in a profit, with no thought to what it is doing to us and our environment.

Some of the worst slaughter happens to animals we cannot even see, such as Oysters and Menhaden. Clean water is necessary for the survival not just of the country's animal, bird and fish populations but also for us. We too need clean water and air. Our greed for more money blinds us to this need. Oysters and Menhaden spend their whole lives, 24 hours a day, cleaning the waters of the Chesapeake Bay for example. So what do we do? We remove them. We eat the Oysters, and as we cannot eat all that are caught we ship the rest to other parts of the world. We can't eat the Menhaden, so we feed them to our animals, and to our pets, and to fish that we can eat, and for fertilizer.

So a miracle of efficiency is removed from the Bay and the Bay dies. Now we have to spend Billions of dollars to clean the Bay!! We had the worlds most efficient cleaners working at doing just that 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for free! Now we have removed them and will have to spend, probably more money than they brought in in the form of taxes to the State treasury, to clean the Bay.

Of course I should not ignore the fact that the removal of almost all of the Menhaden and Oysters has made a few people very rich and the attempts to clean the Bay will make more people rich. (This will never happen because more rich people will bribe the politicians to remove the teeth from any attempts to clean the Bay.) They want to continue to dump chicken manure into the Bay - because that is a cheaper way to dispose of it. And to pour billions of gallons of fertilizer, weedkiller and insecticide into the Bay - in pursuit of the "perfect" lawn - as millions of homeowners continue to do, because it is their "Right" to have a better lawn than their neighbors, even though they can see the dead fish floating off of their beaches, killed by their poisons washed into the water, and by the poisoned insects that the fish ate. Even though they can see the lack of Bay grasses that used to be there to nurture fish, crabs and other creatures essential to the Bays health, killed by their weedkillers. None of this seems to matter - as long as they can have that "Perfect" weed and insect free lawn.

My lawn is my idea of a perfect lawn. It has had no fertilizer on it, and yet it grows. (Perhaps because I let the grass clippings lay there) No insecticides are sprayed - there are still a few natural "Insecticides" around - called birds. No weedkillers - because I don't have any "weeds". I bet that surprises you! No, I don't have any "weeds", I have violets, I have, red, white and pink clover, I have a profusion of tiny yellow flowers, small red flowers, and countless other flowers that I can't begin to name. When I walk out onto my lawn and see the flowers, with the bees and other insects working them, I see a beautiful lawn. I look next door and see a boring green lawn, just one color. (The raft of dead fish float just off of his lawn) Look back at mine and it is lush with color, generous in its variety. So much so that I am reluctant to mow it!

We are killing not just our wonderful variety of animals, fish and birds as fast as we can, we are killing ourselves, and even more scary our children and grandchildren. How many children suffer from allergies and asthma now? A lot. Many times the numbers that suffered from those insidious ailments and afflictions just a few years ago. Of my parents, my friends, relatives and neighbors, I honestly can't recall any. But most of my grandchildren and their friends suffer from asthma and allergies. This has happened in two or three generations. What is to come if we continue to poison our home (The Earth) in the name of profit and greed?

Already we can see that it costs more to put back what we destroyed, but still we refuse to do the right thing. Corruption is so rampant in all walks of business, government and politics that we stand almost no chance of correcting our misdeeds.

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