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View Diary: Morning Feature: DK GreenRoots - Wolves and Predators (143 comments)

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  •  So, You Are Suggesting - (2+ / 0-)
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    Orinoco, BlueStateRedhead

    That ranchers should assume the costs of wolf reintroduction?
    Simply because the ecological benefits are greater for all?

    In that case, why don't we bulldoze Atlanta, Los Angeles, and St. Louis?
    Think of all the ecological benefits that would achieve.

    You are probably saying - "Well, that's stupid."
    But is is that stupid?  I am, tongue in cheek, suggesting that large established populations and infrastructure be displaced to improve the overall ecology - not to mention reduce air pollution, restore waterways, and put the brakes of Sunbelt sprawl.

    If you justify the loss of ranches on private lands, not public, for the greater public ecological good - why not follow such logic to its end?  Or do you recognize that limits exist?

    If so, then it becomes a discussion, and I would hope a civil one, about where those limits are best placed.  The 1994 EIS, which you so easily dismiss, was a framework of limits that most parties agreed upon to allow for wolf reintroduction.  Predator control was part of that agreement.

    Why, now that wolf populations have reached a sustaining level, is that no longer acceptable?  And if that is not acceptable now, when will it be?  Are you suggesting that populations can continue to grow without check?  Can the Northern Rockies support 12,000 wolves?  48,000 wolves?  If there were 48,000 wolves, there wouldn't be a ranching operation left - not to mention a whole lot of starving wolves.  Is that your goal?

    •  My goal is not to turn the west over to wolves (7+ / 0-)

      but neither is it to turn the west over to ranchers.  And I have not said that no wolf, caught in an act of predation, should be killed.

      As I said elsewhere, we need to find a way to put ranchers on a better economic footing.  They are not getting paid nearly enough.

      By the same token, we have discovered just how beneficial wolves are to the environment, and frankly cattle don't hold a candle to that.  Quite the contrary, it seems, with their methane emissions and desertification of the Southwest.

      So either we find a way to make sure ranchers get more of our food dollars, so the loss of even a few steers doesn't put them at the breaking point, or we give up beef.

      I would prefer to put the ranchers on sounder footing.  I have no desire to put them out of business.

      "No man is my enemy, my own hands imprison me, love rescue me." -- Love Rescue Me/U2

      by winterbanyan on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 07:49:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Jumping in here... (2+ / 0-)
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      winterbanyan, NCrissieB

      This has been a really interesting, if somewhat contentious, thread, into which I now insert myself and my famous, nearly Solomonic wisdom. Here's what I'm seeing:

      1. Wolves are good. They are used here as symbols of the natural ecology, separate from the endeavors of mankind. Natural ecology is good.
      1. Ranchers are good. Ranchers are people too, their lives are hard just like all of ours, and as people we like to eat what ranchers produce. People are good.
      1. The statements "people are good" and "wolves are good" are like clouds. We are quite certain about the middle of the cloud, but the edges are much harder to define. At what point does the statement "wolves are good", which is solid at the center, begin to break up and cease to be true?
      1. There will always be edges. We can move where the edge is, but we can't remove "edge-ness" from the picture. For example, we could have Svenson stop ranching and turn his acreage over to wild habitat, but that would just mean that some other rancher is now on the front lines. Or we could eradicate wolves from his neighborhood, creating a new boundary that has to be defended, and that will inevitably be transgressed by one side or the other, or both. The point is, there is no solution that doesn't have an edge, and the edge is always probelmatic.
      1. Parts of this discussion have revolved around the questions of expense-- how much does this or that cost in money terms, and who pays. Should Svenson pay the whole cost of further restoration of the wolf population, by losing his ranch, so that all humans can benefit in diffuse fashion from the incremental shoring up of the natural ecology? That's obviously not fair, but neither is it fair that all of humanity should suffer further critical loss of planetary habitability just so one family can have a really great ranch and make the kind of money that Americans have come to expect.

      Ultimately, all of this is about what we might call the Big Edge between civilized humanity and the natural world. Most of us here on this site would agree that we humans have been far too successful in pushing that Big Edge back, to the point that we are in real danger of dying from our own success. Our marvelous economic system, which has been responsible for that success, has not evolved in a way to solve this problem, quite the opposite-- it has evolved in a way to create this problem. The problem may be experienced most acutely by those, like Svenson, who happen to live at the edge, but it belongs to all of us. Sooner or later, one way or another, we will have to alter our economic system so that shepherds and cowboys are economic again; so that guys like Svenson aren't forced to pay a disproprtionate share of the costs of change; and so that the solution to our economic problems is not seen as being to take yet another chunk out of the already perilously skinny remainder of wild nature.

      •  Brilliant comment, DBunn (1+ / 0-)
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        You're always the reason I come back in the late afternoon.

        Your clarity is exceptional as is your reasoning.  Unfortunately, many are paying for the human tendency to "overdo" everything, from agriculture to consumption.  You're right about the "edge" and we have too many people there right now.

        And we only make the edge worse by refusing to look at alternative solutions that will preserve our biosphere.

        "No man is my enemy, my own hands imprison me, love rescue me." -- Love Rescue Me/U2

        by winterbanyan on Thu Jul 02, 2009 at 01:14:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks, winter-b! (1+ / 0-)
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          I find myself hanging around the MF thread more and more these days. The topics are stimulating, and the tenor of the discussion is both friendly and intelligent. Much credit to Crissie and the krew, including yew, for both of these things!

      •  Accepting the "edge." (2+ / 0-)
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        DBunn, winterbanyan

        My main focus this week will be on our need to accept that challenges are an inherent part of being alive.  In your terms, that we all live at "edges."  For far too long we've tried to push back the edges - to say we should "solve problems once and for all" so we no longer have to deal with those challenges - and to me that's a big part of why we face the environmental (and economic) crises we see.  One Size Fits All, Once And For All simply are not values nature will respect.  The sooner we accept that and decide that living with our challenges is our real place in the natural order, the sooner we'll be able to build a more sustainable society.

        Thanks as always for your kind and thoughtful comments!

        •  Edges are **everywhere** (1+ / 0-)
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          Not to be paranoid or anything, but have you noticed how just about every time we try to discuss anything-- moral philosophy, political strategy, economic policy, legal theory, what have you-- we come upon edges? It's creepy! They're starting to take over!!

          To be honest, it's making me just a little bit edgy :)

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