Tag Archives: releasing wolves back into yellowstone

On Water, Wolves, and Wind : Civilized Compromise

Human civilization is often forced to compromise with mother nature, there isn’t much choice in the matter.

I live in northern California where water is a serious issue right now and salmon are exacerbating the problem. Shasta Dam is the cornerstone of the Trinity Dam Project that supplies power and water to much of the region, but it comes at a high price:  dams block centuries old salmon runs in the San Joaquin delta.  As a compromise, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has long had water release rights to the Dam during spawning seasons in order to keep the runs viable. In years of severe drought however, releasing sacred water for ‘fish’ doesn’t seem like the brightest idea in the box and there have been some protests over the issue.

The issue of releasing wolves back into the Yellowstone Park environment caused a lot more protests, most from area farmers who were concerned about their livestock.  Wolves were hunted to near extinction early in the twentieth century to protect valuable farm animals. But that also meant that wild grazing animals were protected as well and before the century’s end bison and deer were overpopulated to the point of devastating the park.  Creeks and rivers were unable to form banks because the trees and shrubs required to do so were being eaten or trampled.  As a compromise, wolves were brought back to the Park to hunt grazing animals.  The grazer population returned to a more balanced number which in turn created healthier water banks and greenery.

Healthy air is the motivation behind wind turbines.   In an effort to reduce carbon emissions and take advantage of a morewind sustainable energy source, turbines are proving to be excellent generators of electricity.  But there’s a significant backlash to their presence:  people complain about wind turbines ruining the visual landscape of an area.  I can understand the argument to some degree, but we currently have miles of wire running through older neighborhoods with big wooden poles every hundred feet to keep them elevated so we are quite accustomed to a skyline full of man made objects.  In the long run, wind turbines save our planet and air quality. So even if they do take some enjoyment out of our horizon gazing, implementing wind energy is a compromise we must make as civilized human beings interested in keeping our atmosphere clean.

Each day I am amazed at the way we homo sapiens can manipulate nature and make it work for us. But in our advancement, in our quest to create a high-functioning society we managed to strangle nature at some very serious junctions. We’ve had to learn to give a little along the way as a matter of consequence.  That is as it should be.  We are the conscious party after all, we have a certain accountability to  other living beings on the planet.   So while water gets released during drought years, and the first wolves have recently made their way to California, and wind turbines continue to provide clean energy, we ourselves must make adjustments to our perceptions by understanding that the cost of civilization comes at the price of compromise with mother nature.

Yours,

Frankie

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