Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why Make Fun Of Earth Day?

I'm not that big of an Earth day celebrant but I don't belittle those that are or begrudge their efforts. Everybody thinks that Californians are big ecology and nature nuts, Nothing could be further from the truth. The rape of the environment is one of the main pastimes of Californians  and of our local commercial and industrial communities. We fished the Sardines and salmon out in the 1920s, the tuna after that and everything else after that. It's only been the last decade or so that commercial fishing has been somewhat curtailed and that's only because there isn't anything much left to catch. Squid is very popular right now because they thrive in warm, oxygen starved, polluted, marine environments and we have plenty of that.

Agribusiness operates most of the farming and ranching in the State. They over fertilize and over irrigate, washing large amounts of heavy metal salts into the ground water and wetlands. They don't allow habitat or freedom of movement for native wildlife. As soon as the land they own becomes profitable to develop by builders, they sell it. Most of our forests have been clear cut at least once. Those that have not only survived because the technology didn't exist to get the lumber out. We don't have enough big rivers in this State to float all the logs down to mills. They can take the old growth out with helicopters now. They're working on it. Ronald Reagan's famous quote about the redwoods was that you only needed to preserve a couple of hundred yards on either side of the main roads, that's all anybody cares about, proved to be correct.

There hasn't been a grizzly bear or wolf in this State in over a hundred years. The giant condors are all hatched from eggs laid in captivity. They try to get them to survive in protected habitats but they all die. Monarch butterflies used to migrate up and down the California Coast. It wasn't uncommon to see hundreds of thousands of them settle en mass on a grove of trees in the late afternoon. You see a few around now, here and there. There just isn't any habitat left for a lot of the species of plants and animals that used to live here.

California's a funny place. A lot of people get the wrong idea about it. There's not a lot of old hippies lounging about here, unless they already have a lot of money. You want to live decent here, you need to be making $150,000 a year at least and you won't be saving anything for your retirement or to pass along to your grandchildren. There's not much welfare here. I guess some people still get food stamps. You want to live here you gotta work. Nobody minds if the environment gets degraded. They never did and if you look around that's pretty obvious.

I don't mind if people want to celebrate Earth day. What harm does it do?

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