We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
At Aeon, Earth is not a garden - Some of the world’s most powerful conservationists are giving up on wilderness. They are making a big mistake. A quote:
The garden metaphor is particularly loaded. A garden is not an ethical place. Life and death occurs at a gardener’s caprice. Plant or cut, tend or kill, include or exclude: it’s an exercise of morally unconstrained will, fine in a backyard but requiring boundaries both literal and philosophical. ‘Once we shift to a gardener’s mindset, it gives us too much freedom to do whatever we want,’ says the bioethicist Gregory Kaebnick. ‘And I’m speaking as an avid gardener.’
In a garden, there isn’t necessarily a sense that life has any value apart from what we assign. Neither individual beings nor larger entities – populations, communities, species, ecological processes – are intrinsically worthy of respect. The gardener ethic can’t account for that. What Leopold so eloquently advised, that we think of ourselves not as conquerors of life’s communities but as ‘plain members and citizens’, goes out the window.
No, they just gotta say something, just something. Pick, pick, pick. In Aspen/Roaring Fork Valley someone put 'The Spring Bear Hunt' on the ballot (1980s). Passed and now the town is begging and I mean begging hunters shooting ELK/Deer to please hit a Bear by accident. I say Wilderness may not be so fabulous.
The catastrophizing never ends, just the labels and the spin. It's richly amusing to me that they refer to themselves as powerful. Yes, they have much influence in all of the best blogs and the minds of the least intelligent among us. Too funny.
What's that you say, the sky is still falling? Super, now go put your panties back on you silly twits. Gardener philosophy, what's next?
After reading Michael Pollan's Second Nature, I agree with him that the wilderness ethic is invalidated by the garden one.
Mankind is here, we can't carry on as though we don't exist. Nor that we are just one of nature's creatures. We're clearly not. We are in charge, have dominion just by the capacity to make choices. For one consideration, our sheer numbers would indicate that.
Gardening is neither capricious nor disrespectful of nature. We may be guided by nature, but recognize it must finally serve our purposes and that can be done intelligently and respectfully.
Seems to me that everywhere man meddles things get screwed up. Protect this species, hunt that one; sow and grow this, eradicate that. All relative to man. "Clever apes" I've heard us called. On our timetable with our methods. How vain and futile. Mother Nature, or God if one is so inclined (I am) knows what to do and how to do it to regulate this Earth and keep it turning. Thing is, different time paradigm: centuries is a good increment. You don't think God knows how to keep the deer and bears in synch? Mother Nature, she knows all about floods and droughts and climate changes. She doesn't need some jerk selling carbon shares to finance her moves.
Flora and fauna should be left alone, running wild, untouched by human hands with few exceptions. We can domesticate certain animals for food just as we can cultivate and grow some crops. There are enough flowers that can be tossed together to grow and bloom without manicured and formal gardens. Most animals do not belong in human habitation. Maybe some cats, and many dogs look great without being cut and coiffed. My uncle Louie Lozko, we all called him "Letsgo Lozko", he raised bantam chickens. The fences he had were to keep the foxes out and the chickens in.
Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret.
You may drive out Nature with a pitchfork, yet she still will hurry back.
Quintus Horatius Flaccus (65 BCE – 8 BCE)
I read an interesting piece several years ago, so long ago is was in a book made of paper in fact, that posited the notion that if you look at things from an evolutionary standpoint plants domesticate us as much as we domesticate them.
A garden is a place where plants get nurtured and protected and propagation is guaranteed and humans do all the work. Pretty sweet deal for both parties. The same could be said for cattle, the domestic branch is doing quite a bit better then the feral.
Lefties are the direct descendants of hunter gatherers, that is why they seem to think fortune is simply a matter of luck.
Wilderness areas are Drossilocks lands: too hot, cold, wet, dry, rocky, steep, infertile, barren, mineral-less, far away. Marginal at best for any productive human activity. Can't farm it, can't ranch it, can't live there. If you could, people already would be.
Wilderness supports small silvestrine populations and small ecosystem reservoirs. They are redoubts of the natural world.
About the only good thing wilderness areas are for is to be watersheds.
So, we could take the ebt-folk, put 'em on army trucks, have them live out there in tents and cots, eat beans, oatmeal, and jerky, and send them about to "improve" the watershed. No doubt in my mind that the author is angling for a payday as a leader/administrator/chief advocate of such a merry band or organization (a 21Cen CCC).
Will they "improve it"? No one lives long enough to see and understand the complex interplays of the flora, fauna, climate cycles. As any gardener knows, pulling weeds just selects for more vigorous and resistant weeds. But what looks like a weed explosion this year, may not come again for another twenty.
There's darn precious little that can be done to improve already marginal lands. Tinkering with them usually results in a degradation of the watershed. For instance, prior to human settlement, the California chapparal burned less often than now, but when it did burn, oh boy was it big! What's better? Active long-term suppression, or controlled periodic burns? Noone can say for sure. We haven't been around long enough to have enough information to be able to answer questions such as these.
So just admit we don't know, be patient, leave them be, watch and learn.