Sunday, February 15, 2009

Eras Ending

I've saved the best topic (but therefore worst news) for last, so if you'd rather read about moose than compact discs and television, skip ahead.

The local record store was having a sale so I stopped in for the first time in a few months. It was surprising to see the many empty racks, and yet not--I've been noticing the many famous cds going out of print as the last copies are sold, the "discontinued by manufacturer" notes on websites. Soundwise I was never crazy about cds, but they were a lot more convenient than lps, and I suppose there's just another level of that tradeoff going on now, a level I'll never know.

Anyway, I decided I'd better sell some more cds before they stopped buying them so when I got home I filled a bag with 1/4 of my remaining cds. The next morning I hauled them downtown. Too late. The clerk said the Minneapolis store is still buying them. That would actually cover my trip expenses for a change since I can carry a lot more cds than books, but I'll call to verify that before I go. Probably would be a good idea to call the bookstore as well. America, your unnecessary plastic objects no longer have any value.

When it was first announced that television was going digital, I decided it would be a good time to let television out of my life as well. I watched a lot as a kid, even have a few complete series on dvds, but only had cable briefly about twenty years ago and there have been a lot more prime time hours when the machine's off than on.

In a few days, PBS will be the only station left for me and I haven't heard how long that one will last. This won't be my first tvless time: after college, I shared a house with a crowd and we didn't want one, and I used to date a woman who just kept a tiny one in a closet for special occasions. Besides, when the leaves are off the trees, I can stand by my bedroom window and see two wall size screens in other apartments.

I wrote a couple months ago about the declining moose population in Minnesota and its likely causes of warming climate and parasites. Last week in my wildlife class, we had a guest speaker talking about moose. It was a good talk, featuring more of the natural history of a species I was hoping for when I signed up for the class than we get most weeks. Though the usual instructor shares a lot of my values regarding wildlife, I wasn't looking for a class discussing values and anecdotes. You can be sure I'll be skipping this week's class focusing on deer.

Our moose speaker shared a lot of photos and data and brought along an antler and a wolf-chewed moose radio collar. A graph showed various projections for the Minnesota moose population all ending in virtually no moose in fifty years at most. Next came a list of possible actions to be taken in response.

You might think that one of those actions would be to stop hunting moose. The reason you might think that is that I haven't told you yet that our speaker was a man paid to see the world as "natural resources", paid by people who want to kill moose. So instead one of the possible responses was to kill more deer, thereby reducing the possibility of the moose being infected by the brain worm which the deer carry. Or I suppose we could try to eradicate the snails and slugs which are also part of the cycle. Or the winter ticks which also weaken the moose. Or since the deer weren't here originally and we're following ecological pathways, we could eliminate the cause of them being here by killing all the people. And don't even think of a wolf hunting season if the federal government allows the state the option--we need them to eat the deer.

Another listed possible option was "give up". And this may be the option with the best chance of success, in that nature will ultimately take its course regardless of human action. And I'd respect the option if I thought it indicated humility and respect, and accepting humans as one small part of nature, and would be the attitude in all human-nature interactions. But in this case I think it translates as "Kill 'em while you can, boys."

But as I wrote, ultimately . . . ultimately nature bats last as the saying goes, and that's where all the hope for the world remains. Happily, I think cds and television will be extinct before the moose.


Allan Stellar said...

This is sad news indeed. Are the moose doing well north of Minnesota? Sounds like they are doing well in Maine.

As for CD's? What comes next? And how many times am I gonna have to buy Sgt. Pepper in a new technology? A conspiracy in my view...

greentangle said...

I think the moose problem is just a local issue. Their population already crashed in NW MN and now it's our turn. They've always been at the southern edge of their range here. Here's a good article from the LA Times of all places.

I think the plan is for us all to be homeless with our music and book libraries in our pocket computers.