Thursday, May 1, 2008

Everywhere a Sign

“Free food, long line—a sign of the times”--so read the headline of the St. Paul newspaper article on a food giveaway in a small Wisconsin town where more people stood in line waiting than lived in the town. Like many others in the latest and maybe final recession, my unemployment runs out next month.

I recently and quickly read the fine science fiction/mystery/eco-novel Tomorrow’s World by Davie Henderson. This look at the near future has humans living in havens and going Outside requires wearing a filter mask in the aftermath of the Hydrocarbon Holocaust. My favorite line: “How could anyone have believed the convenience offered by a motor car was more precious than the life of a single hummingbird or butterfly?” Economics is defined as knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Interrupting for a few signs of spring...From my apartment windows, I see a small wooded natural area where additional brush and sod is dumped by groundskeepers. This has had the effect of making it wilder. The small trees which will later offer a variety of berries, are now budding. In the past few days the cat and I have watched a yellow-rumped warbler, fox sparrows, a downy woodpecker, and a rabbit making use of the area. On recent walks, I’ve seen catkins rolling down the sidewalk and creeks roaring with whitewater. Today was a very windy day with large beautiful waves along the Lakewalk. I miss the ocean.

As the result of a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Greenpeace, the Bush administration has been ordered to stop delaying their decision on listing the polar bear as an endangered species and must make their decision by May 15th. Be watching for this one as they have to either go against their energy buddies or publicly shrug their shoulders and declare extinction no big deal. Battles will surely follow.

On the flip side of endangered species listing, the grey wolf has recently been taken off the list in some areas and in states like Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana, this was the signal to let the slaughter begin. In Wyoming, a wolf was pursued by snowmobile for 35 miles before being killed. CBD, NRDC, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Humane Society of the US, and other groups have filed suit asking for the endangered listing to be reinstated. Read their press release.

Wolves do far more than human hunters to keep populations healthy, but those hunters along with welfare ranchers and macho cowboys have a deep-seated hatred of wildlife and the natural world. Read this good LA Times opinion piece for examples. One of the major reasons I moved to northern Minnesota was to be in the area with the largest wolf population in the lower 48 states, and hunting wolves will soon become an issue here as well.

Honeybees, ice shelves, and ecosystems collapsing. Unemployment, hunger, prices, human population and everyone else’s extinction rising. Happy May Day. Viva la Revolucion. Can’t you read the signs?

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