A book review: Take Back Conservation by Dave Foreman
Part 1: Five little birds and their lessons
One of the premiere American naturalists, Aldo Leopold, said, “There are some who can live without wild things and others like me who cannot.”
With that sense of urgency, naturalist, environmentalist, activist and author Dave Foreman penned his recent book: Take Back Conservation.
Foreman hosts a flock of wild bird life in his back yard. He loves the Western Scrub Jay for its “vision.” He adores the Bushtit for its “grassroots” activities. He appreciates the Curve-billed Thrasher for its “toughness.” He respects the Ladder-backed Woodpecker for its “doggedness.” Finally, he discovered the Mountain Chickadees live for themselves, for the moment and for “their own sake.”
“Chickadees laugh at our outlandish gall that only we (humans)—the upright apes—can give something any worth,” said Foreman. “It means that wild things are good for their own sakes. It means we have the wisdom, the generosity of spirit, the greatness of heart to smile, nod our heads, and let things be.”
Today, 40 years after Dave Foreman began his quest to save America’s wilderness and wildlife from human onslaught, he said, “I have never beheld such a bleak and dreary lay of the land as I see today: the winking health and wholeness of wild Earth; the strength and hotheartedness of Nature Haters; and , within the conservation band, baking down, weakness, and even being taken over by the foes of wilderness.”
One look at our exploding population of 3.1 million additional human beings added to America annually illustrates Foreman’s pain. Each additional American causes the destruction of 25.4 acres of wilderness habitat, which we refer to as “ecological footprint.” (Source: www.allspecies.org ) Each added person causes the destruction of that much land for roads, housing, malls, schools, cities and acreage for food production. When you add into the mix “carbon footprint”; “water footprint”; “energy footprint” and much more—you see little chance for the wild ones to survive the onslaught.
In fact, the Department of Interior estimates 250 creatures suffer extinction in the lower 48 states annually: 2,500 every decade.
Environmentalist Daniel Quinn said, “Upwards of two hundred species.. mostly of the large, slow-breeding variety.. are becoming extinct here every day because more and more of the earth's carrying capacity is systematically being converted into human carrying capacity. These species are being burnt out, starved out, and squeezed out of existence.. thanks to technologies that most people, I'm afraid, think of as technologies of peace. I hope it will not be too long before the technologies that support our population explosion begin to be perceived as no less hazardous to the future of life on this planet than the endless production of radioactive wastes.”
Our voracious and unending development-happy, expansionistic society leaves no room for fellow creatures or their pro-creation habitat. I share Foreman’s bleak assessment. When you multiply that 25.4 acres X’s the 1,655 new people added to California daily, the amount of acreage destruction boggles your mind. (Source: www.CapsWeb.org) Incidentally, California currently at 38 million people expects to reach 58 million within 30 years at its current growth rate. Do you think wildlife stands a chance? Answer: about as much as a snowball tossed into hell.
Can we identify the evil-doers? “The federal government under George Bush Junior was the sworn foe and evil-undoer of conservation laws and work,” said Foreman. “Not only did the authoritarian right-wingers stop any big gains for shielding and rebuilding wild things, they wanted and still want to overthrow gains for shielding and rebuilding wild things.”
Elsewhere in the “civilized world”, Canada, Norway and Japan wage 19th century bloodbaths against wild things: frontier-forest mining, slaughter of nettlesome seals, solves, bears and whales. Humans slaughter sharks at 100 million kills annually for the past 25 years. (Source: Julia Whitty, OnEarth Magazine.)
Foreman wonders what on Earth and who on Earth thinks our fellow creatures can withstand the slaughter and mayhem perpetrated 24/7 upon Mother Nature’s creatures. The eloquent Harvard biologist Dr. Edward O. Wilson said that 30,000 species may be lost before the mid-century. Fellow researcher, Oxford University professor Norman Myers discovered an average of 80 to 100 species suffer extinction every day across the planet.
Why haven’t the Sierra Club, Nature Conservancy, The Wilderness Society, National Defense Resource Fund and a dozen other spoken up as to the core causes of our extinction rates in America? What frightens them? Why pretend they make a difference.
At some point, Foreman admonishes all of us to take action at the individual and local level. Get involved, take action and make a difference. This book grabs you! He writes with compelling prose. He directs you to action and gives you action plans. Make a difference for the planet and get involved.
Part 2: The myth of the environmental movement.
Take Conservation Back by Dave Foreman
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic to the
South Pole - as well as eight times across the USA, coast to coast and border to
border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece.
He presents: The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it; to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world population balance at www.frostywooldridge.com He is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans. Copies available: 1 888 280 7715