Saturday, November 21, 2009

The People Conservancy

I don't usually read Outside magazine--it manages to achieve the unlikely combination of being both too macho and too glitzy for my taste. But I had some time to fill at the library a few days ago and noticed this article about some nature/wildlife groups becoming more people focused.

I was particularly disgusted by the comments of The Nature Conservancy's Peter Kareiva at the end of the article.

For Kareiva, that's what it comes down to: a matter of rights. "For me at least," he wrote on TNC's blog this spring, "the rights of people for self-determination take supremacy over any species or biodiversity tally." When I asked him about that, he brought up a riddle, an impossible dilemma first posed by conservation biologist Michael Soulé.

"You're down to one snow leopard, and that leopard is a pregnant mom," Kareiva said. "And if she lives and has a litter of four or five, you could maybe recover the whole species. And you're up on a ridge and she's creeping up and about to kill and eat a small two-year-old child. You have a gun, and you have a choice: You can either kill the leopard and save the child's life, or you can sit by and watch the leopard kill it. That's your only choice. I would save the child."

Put me with Watson, Abbey, Muir, Jeffers, and all who've chosen to belong to something bigger than their own species. Kareiva's values and choice demonstrate the exact cause of the problems these groups supposedly existed to fight against. As long as people consider themselves superior to and distinct from all other life, as long as one human is considered more important than an entire species, there is no hope.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Today's Quote: Sacred Texts

"On a number of occasions in green enclaves I have heard activists speak of Thoreau's writings as sacred texts; writings by others evoke similar reverence, typically those by John Muir and Aldo Leopold but also increasingly those of Rachel Carson, Joseph Wood Krutch, Edward Abbey, Loren Eiseley, and a number of others."
--Bron Taylor, Dark Green Religion

I'm approaching the halfway point of this book and greatly enjoying it. It's nice to at least get my mind back into what I care about while I'm temporarily sleeping in suburbia and doing most of my walking on sidewalks with automobiles zooming past. Ugh! One way or another, I expect to be back closer to nature in April or May. Details to eventually follow when I know them.

It's a very wide-ranging book which I'll eventually review on Amazon. There's a 20 page appendix of Thoreau quotes backing up the author's claim of eight themes in HDT's writing which are common in dark green religion (defined as nature being considered sacred with intrinsic value and worthy of reverent care). I'm currently on a chapter about radical environmentalism; still to come, predators, the arts, the United Nations, and surfing. I told you it was wide-ranging.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Today's Quote: A Beautiful Ruin

OK, so I'm very frustrated by limited computer time, the poor quality of the library computers, and my resulting inability to offer the type of writing I most like to do here. But perhaps an occasional short quote or note.

"I do not fear our extinction. What I really fear is that man will ruin the planet before he departs. I have sometimes thought, looking out over the towers of New York from some high place, what a beautiful ruin it would make in heaps of fallen masonry, with the forest coming back."

Loren Eiseley, letter to Hal Borland, The Lost Notebooks of Loren Eiseley.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Final Nail

During the past couple weeks, I've been working on a long post which included a walk in Concord, Thoreau quotes, my review of Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, The Belief System that Enables Us to Eat Some Animals and Not Others (I met the author last weekend at the Boston Veggie Fest), comments on the reviews of the book on Amazon, and other things going on in my life.

It was probably going to be my last good post, maybe even one of the rare damn good ones by the time I got done. But the format has been getting messed up between sessions and yesterday Blogger and the library computer combined to send the whole thing into oblivion. So between that frustration and not being in a very creativity condusive place in my life at the moment anyway, I'm done posting, for at least a long indefinite period, quite possibly permanantly. I'll try to do some occasional housekeeping of links here and visit your blogs when I can.