Today being Earth day it seems appropriate to write about our relationship to the wonderful wild areas remaining and how to protect them as they are destroyed and tamed by the onslaught of human “advancement”. At the rate we are currently going there may not be wilderness for us to enjoy in the not so distant future. Animal agriculture, deforestation and loss of wildlife are 3 main factors that are intertwined and driven by our daily decisions that don’t get a lot of attention. For many it is an issue of “out of sight, out of mind” because we are so far removed from it. See the alarming facts here Cowspiracy facts. This post from a few weeks ago, Why vegan, shows how big of an impact our diets have on the world around us.
The wilderness is made up of so much diversity it is impossible to comprehend, every ecosystem having its own delicate balance made up of plants, animals, insects, bacteria and everything needed for life to thrive that functions perfectly without human intervention. Try peering beneath a fallen tree, you will find an entire world working and living in harmony. When humans try to intervene with this balance instead of respecting and living within our means things can start to go south. Take the Wildlife Services (formerly known as animal damage control) for example. Wildlife Services is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and it specializes in killing wild animals that threaten livestock—especially predators such as coyotes, wolves, and cougars. If you are not in the ranching community you probably have never heard of Wildlife Services.
At least 2 million mammals and 15 million birds have been killed by this agency since 2000. Wildlife services have used poisoned bait, neck snares, leg hold traps (banned in 80 countries), aerial gunning and cyanide traps to go after “nuisance” animals that have allegedly attacked grazing livestock on public lands. This is costing taxpayers tons of money and does not take public interest or the needs of other beings into account, it is an agency serving the needs of the livestock industry, period. Since 1885 wildlife services has flown under the radar killing at will for the ranching industry. Livestock grazing on public land imposes a huge cost on the public by means of direct subsidies provided by the federal government, and also via indirect subsidies like the government’s predator control programs. These programs have a narrow focus and in my eyes don’t include protecting the Earth and its remaining wild areas and isn’t serving all life on Earth.
The public should be outraged and needs to take action. That means creating a public interest against the dominant special interest of the livestock industry. If there’s any trouble on public lands affecting ranchers in any way, a rancher can make a call to a congressman, county commissioner or councilman. They would get in their office, get in their face, and start yelling. We need a representative like that for the public interest, for the remaining wilderness left. The more people speaking up against these acts the better and awareness is the first step so help spread the word if this doesn’t sit well with you. Tell a friend, tell a stranger, write your congressman or support groups like wildlife defenders, and earthshare. These groups are all fighting to protect the wild.
By taking a stand for what is right we can take the power away from a few and give it back to the whole so we can continue to enjoy the endless beauty and explore Earth’s wild areas with the respect it deserves. The world doesn’t need more docile, obedient people taking orders but more people questioning the way things are to create a more sustainable and just world for all.