Conservamentalism

It is not often that I turn a comment into a complete post, but this comment from Willis Eschenbach on the Trust and Mistrust article today, merits such a promotion. – Anthony

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/images/herring1.jpg

Which death is more troubling? (images: from NOAA, upper, Wikimedia, lower)

Willis Eschenbach (20:55:17) :

I am surprised at the visceral nature of the rejection of the term “environmentalist”. I had not realized it had gotten that bad. I don’t think I’d want to be one of those if that’s how people feel.

It also appears that the new preferred term is “conservationist”. But as I said, I don’t make those fine distinctions, so I’m not sure how that differs from the “e-word”.

So let me modify my statement, and say that I am a conservamentalist. I would define that as someone who thinks long and hard about the effect of our actions on the tangled web of life that surrounds us.

I was fishing herring in the Bering Sea one season. I heard on the radio that the annual killing of the Canadian Arctic fur seals had begun, along with the obligatory protests that seem to be required these days.

We’d caught about fifty tonnes of herring that day, killing on the order of a million living beings. I remember thinking how if some creature has big soft baby eyes, it gets lots of sympathy. But if a creature is slimy and has cold fish-eyes, its death doesn’t matter. People hated the seal killers for killing a few dozen creatures, while I killed millions of creatures and was ignored.

If I had to pick one word to describe my position on the ecological webs that surround us, it would be “realist”. Life eats life to live. I am not a man who eats the meat and blames the butcher.

I’ve worked a good deal as a builder. I build with wood. I cut down trees to make room for the building I live in. I grew up in the forest, my step-daddy was a timber feller, the royalty of the logging fraternity. I’ve worked killing trees on an industrial scale.

And I’ll also fight like crazy to see the logging done right. with proper roads and proper setbacks, and proper slope limits, and reforestation. I’ve seen what bad logging practices look like and do.

So for me, a conservamentalist is someone who has thought hard about and balanced the needs for wood and cleared land, balanced those needs with the way that wood is harvested. I grew up in the middle of hundreds of square miles of virgin forest. I have a deep and abiding admiration for that raw wildness. And yet, I cut down trees. I just want to see things done carefully and with forethought, see them done properly with respect for the consequences. I don’t elevate some mythical “Nature” above humans, and I don’t forget nature either.

I was a sport salmon fishing guide a couple years ago, on the Kenai River in Alaska, as I described here. Kenai River king salmon are magnificent beings, fifty pounds or more of powerful, glittering, awe-inspiring fish. When one of my clients caught a salmon, I always thanked the fish in a loud voice for giving up its life for us. Life eats life, beings die so that I can live, and I can’t ignore that. I don’t let it keep me from fishing salmon, but I won’t pretend that I am not killing a splendiferous entity. Some of my clients understood.

Heck, I apologize to trees when I cut them down. Yeah, I know it looks dumb, a grown man talking to trees. But it doesn’t stop me from cutting them down by the scores if need be, I’m a realist. Life eats life. Me, I don’t take killing anything lightly, be it redwood or herring or salmon. Someday, I’ll be chopped down in the same way.

So I’m forming the Conservamentalist Party, our motto will be,“Conservamentalists unite! You have nothing to lose but your minds”.

Now, back to the climate…

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318 thoughts on “Conservamentalism

  1. The same sort of soppy illogical thinking is behind emotive Global Warming?. Look go eat some meat and get some protein into your diet and you may start thinking clearer.

  2. I’m a science-based environmentalist with socialist and vegan leanings.

    That is why climate change pisses me off. It distracts from humanity’s real problems.

  3. There is a bit of a difference though. The Seals weren’t being harvisted for food during the seal fur trade heyday and the fish aren’t being killed for their skins. Many prople are also against killing Sharks for their Fins and discarding the rest. Something similar was done in the 1800’s as Buffalo were killed for their skins and the corpses being left on the prarie to rot in the sun.
    Is is shameful to discard any animal for the sake of harvesting their skin. Use it all or don’t use any.

  4. Environmentalism lost its soul as soon as it began to adopt the motto, “The ends justify the means.” This never has been true and never will be true.

    At the risk of sounding maudlin, I’d say what is most needed is Love. If you Love the land, and Love your fellow man, you simply do not resort to the deeds people with weak understanding resort to, out of greed and sheer self-interest.

    I am pretty disgusted with what fellows like Hansen and Mann have done to both science and environmentalism.

  5. When they wanted to control you in your community they called themselves communists.

    When they wanted to control you in your society they called themselves socialists.

    When they wanted to control you in your environment they called themselves environmentalists.

    What comes next?

  6. I myself tended to be a conservationist before the word changed meaning back in the 1970s and at thT time had a thought about the difference in philosophies:

    The old school conservationist was oriented to preventing waste

    The new school conservationist was oriented to keeping things the same

  7. My Dad was a logger/high climber most of his life also, and died in the forest. I spent a lot of time in the woods and have the same reverence that Willis feels. Well stated position sir.

  8. I don’t mean to nitpick Willis, but do you mean harp seals? The “seals” in your picture are Northern fur seals, which are more like sea lions, that breed in the summer in US and Russian territory.

    Arctic harp seal pups are the species hunted on the east coast of Canada that draw lots of protest. The zoologist in me needs this clarified, although I realize it is hardly the point of your post.
    Susan

    REPLY: I chose the photo based on Willis text. I’ll leave it to him to clarify if he meant a different seal or not. -Anthony

  9. “Conservamentalists unite! You have nothing to lose but your minds”
    You just said it all buddy!, that’s like a well and newly concocted pacifist declaring war.
    O My!, I pledge to God: “Help me from the GOOD GUYS that I’ll take care of the bad guys”
    This is also like being a “progressivetalist”, a cheating leftist or a pseudo-marxist! or like a tea bagger drinking coffee. Wow!

  10. So obviously, Lesley Nelson and Philadelphia Electric Company were ahead of their time when they ran an ad in the Philadelphia area back in the 80’s where Nelson was reduced to exclaiming … “… but these envionmentalists

  11. The natives in North America always had a sustainable way of life and thanked every animal and the Earth for giving what they used or eat. They are the first Conservamentalists.

    Conservamentalism is not a religion but a way of life.

  12. “I don’t elevate some mythical “Nature” above humans”

    Are you arguing that all self-described environmentalists or conservationists ARE doing this?

    In fact, what exactly is the point of this post? Besides the obvious recanting of your exploits in the fishing and timber industries?

    Your blog entry [snip] and merely regurgitates material from an undergraduate environmental ethics course. Congratulations on only being 40 years behind the environmentalist movement.

  13. Nice post, WIllis.

    vboring (12:39:31) :

    I’m a science-based environmentalist with socialist and vegan leanings.

    That is why climate change pisses me off. It distracts from humanity’s real problems.

    Just for balance, I’m a science based conservative and carnivore.

    But I’m with you 100 pct. at pissed off over the way AGW has sucked all the air away from dealing with real problems.

  14. Willis:

    Your comment is a keeper.
    However,
    “Life eats life….Someday, I’ll be chopped down in the same way.”, conjured up, “Tuesday is soylent green day”. ;>)

  15. Bryan:

    “Is is shameful to discard any animal for the sake of harvesting their skin. Use it all or don’t use any.”

    I’m sorry, but there is some illogic in your statement. Mind you, I used to “feel” the same way until I became a hunter at age 42.

    My reasoning: Nothing is wasted in nature. Protein is a valuable commodity in every ecosystem I can think of, so there are always life forms that will eat the “leftovers”.

    I am a hunter of the boreal forests of central Ontario, Canada. Mostly, I hunt deer, moose, and the occasional turkey. When we do a field dressing on a deer, and leave the majority of the internal organs on the forest floor, are we guilty of something in your way of thinking?

    When I pass by a previous day’s “gut pile”, there is rarely anything left. the bears, coyotes, wolves, crows, hawks, etc. make short work of the leftovers. Scavengers don’t let much go uneaten. Bacteria take care of the rest.

    So, I would say that whether sealers take the seal carcass for meat or leave it for other creatures to consume, the animal is just as dead either way. And nothing goes to waste.

    And for the record, like Willis, I too say a prayer for the animal I harvest. In not too many years, we will all join in on nature’s protein recycling system.

  16. “Environmentalist”

    The word was demonized by the right wing scream team. They focus on the more obscure or radical types of environmentalists, and smear everyone else by comparison. Environmentalists cannot be countenanced because their faith that industry protects them is challenged by accusations of impiety, creating pollution and such. Environmentalists in this regard are the skeptics, the right wing scream team the believers.

    The right wing scream team likes the debunking process of the global warming interests, but they are speechless when then financial interests behind global warming are exposed, the same interests they trust with reverence. So they reflexively imagine hippies or tree huggers or such for AGW.

  17. I agree with every word written here.

    I am not a vegetarian because I don’t just love mammals. I also love leccuce and carrots, and they are living beings too.

    It’s a fact of life that we kill each other to live.

    And since we are spilling our loony innards here, I think Man’s greatest tragedy is that we are the only single species genus on the planet (as far as I know). Our cousins died out Neanderthals etc. Therefore we are peculiarly alone. I think there is a deepseated psychological need expressed by our desire to know whether there is other intelligent life in the universe.

    Because as human beings we are very lonely. There is just us.

    Maybe this is why we seesaw wildly between thinking we are too important and thinking ourselves too little important.

  18. I see a difference between killing a seal for its fur and killing fish so that we can have a supply of healthy food. The seal fur can be easily be substituted with synthetic garments, the fish not so easily.

    I’m willing to have living things killed for my benefit so long as it is done as humanly as possible, used efficiently and there is not a non-living substitute available.

    Regards

    Michael

  19. The conservation movement died by the end of the first earth Day in 1970. There had been 3 competing environmental visions- the century old conservation and preservation movements and the growing ecosocialist movement of the 60s led by Marcuse, Bookchin and Commoner. A columnist for Berkeley’s underground paper The Rat said it best “revolutionaries must begin to think in ecological terms,” and that “an attack against environmental destruction is an attack on the structures of control and the mechanisms of power within a society.”
    Sen Nelson’s goal for Earth Day set the stage for environment ideological control:
    “I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.”-
    There would as a result of Earth Days’ success no longer be a need for a conservation science. The environment was now to be decided in the political arena where democratized science fits quite well. The philosophy of the anti war movement would control by days end- It was Commoner’s vision that the root cause of pollution was excess economic growth fostered by cheap energy.’ A vision that said all efforts must be directed at the root cause rather than fixing existing environmental problems.This was the culture infused into EPA and controls till this day.
    The focus of environment was also to shift as a result of the Earth day victory away from the traditional views of wilderness and wildlife enhancement as quoted by environmentalist Mark Dowie:
    “The central concern of the new movement is human health. Its adherents consider wilderness preservation and environmental aesthetics worthy but overemphasized values. They are often derided by anti toxic activists as bourgeois obsessions. People are drawn to grass roots environmental politics because they fear for their lives and those of their children”
    The new movement only needed political skills and the ability to instill fear. It is difficult to amass a movement if you require the followers to spend hours in some science lab. Kafka was correct The flood of the revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.

  20. I would favor ‘conservation-minded’. Breaking it up into two parts seems to fit the mouth better, plus it has less of a chance of implying that I want to mandate that you become ‘conservamentalistic’ or else.

    We say the Outdoor Code every week at Scouts.
    “As an American, I will do my best to
    Be clean in my outdoor manners,
    Be careful with fire,
    Be considerate in the outdoors,
    and be conservation-minded.”

    I believe it has also cut-down on unwanted pyrotechnics at Scout camp, but I may be mistaken on that.

  21. A splendid read, and a very thoughtful position. I am very supportive of Mr. Eschenbach’s realist approach.
    I think the backlash on the term environmentalist has been a result of the thoughtless people that have taken up that torch. Global warming is only one of it’s preferred scare tactics, although likely it’s greatest scam to date. Not sure if that term can or should be saved in the longterm… I personally feel revulsion at it these days.

  22. I’m sure the Easter Islanders and the Greenland Vikings thought similarly when chopping down their trees …..

    We don’t stop eating fish or stop chopping down trees – but we should think about the consequences of today’s actions on our future, and maybe cut back a little here and there. And maybe put in place polices for sustainability. It’s only common sense ….. Isn’t it?

  23. There is nature and there is also the nature of the human spirit. Conservation should extend to both. Human freedom is something which is shrinking on a daily basis in this world. It’s being ground down and thrown away as it falls to the axes of the controllers and power seekers, many of whom do their work under the flag of environmentalism.

  24. Unintended consequences happen again. Thanx to PETA et all, the Canadian Government is not only fighting the ban of seal meat/fur from the EU, but has now set its’ sight on the Asian market for new sales. It has been estimated that this Asian market could be upwards of ten times the size of the EU market.

    Let’s not forget what happened when Greenpeace tried the same thing with pelts back in the late 80’s early 90’s. By getting these pelts restricted for EU sales, they, GP, decimated a lot of northern communities, as this was their main economic source. Greenpeace quietly dropped the campaign when the results were brought to their attention.

    We are in every way a part of nature. What ever we do, we do according to (our) nature. Nature has no feelings for what we do or becomes of us. Nature is a process, not an entity.

  25. Maybe you are organic and natural? After all, you are simply behaving according to a particularly thoughtful version of human nature, and doing what natural human beings have done since the species first emerged in order to survive. I identify strongly with what you are saying. Some environmentalists embrace a gnostic vision of humanity: so long as we’re spiritual and anti-materialistic, we’re o.k. – in small doses (i.e. so long as there are not too many of us). Their position is hypocritical, since most environmentalists are evolutionary materialists. This life is all there is, so we must protect the earth in a pristine and unchanging form, free from human contamination. This denies the inevitability of environmental change or the possibility that human beings might simply be acting out a natural evolutionary role. (Yet how, if you are an evolutionary materialist, can human beings be doing anything else?)

  26. “I would define that as someone who thinks long and hard about the effect of our actions on the tangled web of life that surrounds us.”

    I would agree with this wholeheartedly. But I think we need to be careful to not demonize people who just want to live thier lives and don’t spend much time or energy making sure they’re not overconsuming.

  27. You don’t see many photos of Polar Bear ripping a baby seal limb from limb either. The Polar Bears being “Barbequed” in the arctic are all doe eyed cubs named fluffy, … so kind hearted they only eat rocks.

    I’m not promoting a slash and burn mentality. But environmentalists now see Earth as an untouchable shrine. It’s shutting down our economy.

    Ever wonder why tobacco became what it is? I admit I haven’t looked it up and someone will probably correct me, but I’ll bet the large leaves had a lot to do with it. Who looked down from heaven and decided tobacco was for smoking?

    Would you walk into a forest, select some leaves or twigs, light them on fire, and inhale the smoke? (Okay, not THOSE leaves or twigs)

    So the notion of “fine tobacco” is entirely a perception. There is no such thing. There is perhaps less obnoxious tobacco that doesn’t burn as bad on the way down. (Now I’ll take a beating from the smokers)

    But my point is that many things we think “normal” are just a perception.

    Earth is just a rock, covered with the debris of ages. A pile of bones, dust, stone, waste and plant matter…teeming with insects. A large stand of weeds grows upon its surface. We just happen to look upon this and perceive beauty. It’s entirely in the eye of the beholder. I personally hate deserts. Some people love them.

    If we dug a hole deep enough, and dumped all of man’s waste inside and then covered it, if we didn’t affect the ground water, I don’t think we’d change anything. Everything man has made came from this rock. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.

    We benefit from bio diversity. It’s where many discoveries are made. No question there. But environmentalism has lurched into the absurd.

  28. Conservationist may be a new preferred term, but it’s an old world. Environmentalist is a 60s coinage, I think.

    Lots of enviro-thinking is sentimental, but that doesn’t mean it’s always wrong. I’ll wager that seals have more capacity for fear and pain than fish, and clubbing them for fur poses moral issues that fishing herring doesn’t. Still, I’m not a vegetarian either. Thinking long and hard is a good idea, in this, as with many things.

    Stewardship is not a concept that is popular these days because it puts humans in control, rather than surrendering our egos to Nature, but that’s where we are in reality. Do we destroy irreplaceable habitats for short-term goals, or do we think that future generations might like to have them around? That’s an important ethical basis for environmentalism, conservationism, whatever name you call it by.

  29. Off topic: You might like to look at what is happening in Australia right now. A one in 100 year drought has broken with a one in 100 year flood. An area half the size of Europe is under water. The farmers are dancing for joy and the outback is turning green.

  30. Agree with your position 100%. The one thing I don’t get though, is trophy hunting, whether for sport, horns or heads. It just gets me that some folk get all excited about having a Lion’s or Bears head mounted in their “trophy room”. I don’t really have a problem with culling if it is absolutely necessary and unavoidable, but for sport – naa!

  31. The old school conservationist was oriented to preventing waste

    The new school conservationist was oriented to keeping things the same

    Either you’ve confused conservationist with conservative, or I missed the memo when ‘conservationist’ changed meanings…

  32. Perhaps conservation scientist William Royce 1985 lecture at Woods Hole says it best:
    “One of the consequences of the environmental movement was to regard solution of environmental problems as entirely a political action. An example was the approach of the Sierra Club (Mitchell and Stallings, 1970). That “Handbook for Environment Activists” includes statements about the need to restructure society in a conservation revolution, and the need to deal with a system of suppression and oppression. It gave no recognition to the long history of the development of professional environmental sciences, or even to the use of science in solving society’s environmental problems.
    Nor have some leading academic ecologists recognized professional con- servation science. In two comprehensive “ecology” texts (Ehrlich et al., 1977; Moran et al., 1980) there is no recognition of the conservation movement as we know it; rather, it is portrayed as a fight to save endangered species, to prevent oil drilling, to save whales, to save energy, and to reach other broad political goals. They convey no sense of the use of science in order to attain specific environmental objectives, as steps toward long-term goals. They make no mention of a century during which forest, wildlife, soil, water, agriculture, ocean, atmospheric, fishery, and other professional environmental sciences have developed in hundreds of departments in leading universities, nor how scientists in these disciplines contribute daily to civilized problem solving. They merely advocate a general environmental political movement.”

  33. Our forest here is in a state of environmentalist waste, meaning that it isn’t in much of a useage cyce.
    Our forest here should be in a state of conservationalist usage, getting the most out of a sustainable yield.
    Our land here is over 80% owned by the federal government. It’s obvious what interest group is calling the shots. It does not generate sufficient revenues to pay for it’s withdrawal. It could be managed a lot better, as any usage is better that watching it go up in smoke. The lands need to be returned to the private sector.

  34. Reminds me of that great ballad from Paint Your Wagon. Clint Eastwood sang ( ?) “I talk to the trees, but they don’t listen to me.” Laughed my *ss off.

    There is a lot of soupy, maudlin stuff when it comes to nature. We use what we need; we do not need to destroy wantonly. But cutting timber is not a religious experience. Watch the series Ax Men to get a picture.

    And as to herring…I LOVE herring in cream sauce.

  35. I enjoy eating vegies. That may be why I enjoy eating beef steak. The angus also enjoy eating corn and vegies.

  36. I agree with Bryan. The clubbing of harp seal pups is appalling. Hurting anything needlessly is repulsive. If you need to kill to eat, that’s one thing, but to kill for fun or unnecessary luxury fur sales is barbaric. In China, dogs and cats are skinned alive for their fur. Where does one draw the line?

    All sentient beings deserve to be treated as well as possible, or left alone.

    So how come the AGW folks aren’t screaming about all the rare (many on the endangered list) birds and bats being ground up in “alternative energy” wind mills and turbines? How is it that a political ideology can become so all-important that it supersedes ones own ethics and values? Do they still think the ends justify the means?

    I don’t elevate Nature above Man, but I don’t elevate Man above Nature, either, and I have no tolerance for religious people who claim Man has dominion over it. This egotistical delusion based on primitive literature has caused incalculable harm for thousands of years. It is the same argument behind the AGW hubris that pretends humans can control the Earth’s climate.

  37. Excellent post, spoken like a man who has truly spent much of his life in the wild. I suspect that most of the hard core enviros like Phil M. criticize because their only contact with the wild comes in a sterile, academic, and thus totally unrealistic sense.

  38. Wendell Berry has some fine essays on the subject of usufruct that dovetail with Willis’s post. “Christianity and the Survival of Civilization,’ and “God and Country.” Early 90s, I believe.

  39. There must be something wrong with me, but I don’t find the baby seals in the picture at all cute, and have no instinct to protect them.

    I once refused to sign the save the seals petition of some animal rights group. The activist collecting signatures became aggressive asking “So you’re happy (word stressed) to see baby seals clubbed to death (words stressed)?”

    His self righteous indignation, and the affront my refusal to sign brought out in him was so funny, all I could think of to answer him with was a simple “Yes” then smile and walk away. It is not my job to minister to those in dire need of a BJ, they were that way before I got to them. Wind them up further, I say, mock away! Let them seek their own cures.

    Besides, nothing on offer convinced me that his petition was anything more than a futile waste of his time and that of everyone he persuaded to sign it.

    Did i want seals to die? Baby or not, not particularly. I’ve got nothing against herring either – I don’t eat fish. But what I do enjoy is discovering more facets of Willis Eschenbach.

    Willis, you really ought to write a book.

  40. “I talk to the trees,
    but they don’t answer me.”

    I have to say I mostly agree with this post. I grew up in the woods and in a family that was involved in the lumber industry. I have seen what can come from good logging practices and, unfortunately, from bad. It’s always best to stop and consider before doing irreparable harm to the environment, but that goes equally for people who want to do irreparable harm to economic and social institutions

  41. On a visceral level, I feel more for a dieing seal than a dieing fish because I am biochemically programmed to. As a social animal, I am programmed to be in tune with the suffering of my peers. Since seals are genetically similar, of course there is going to be some crossover between a seal’s and a human’s expression of suffering. And it touches me. Maybe if fish screamed more I would feel just as bad for them, but they don’t so I don’t. That is irrespective of how little of their flesh is used after the killing. Without the visceral feedback the same emotion just isn’t there.

    On an intellectual level I can train myself to feel just as much for the life of a fish as the life of a seal. I’m the best self-programming machine yet. Think Pavlov, or A Clockwork Orange – I can juxtapose two ideas in order to elicit a visceral reaction in one that, previously, was only elicited by the other. If my culture is awash in the idea of animals and humans as bound peers, my culture is doing the job of ensuring that some portion of that visceral reaction normally reserved for humans is applied to other living things (even objects).

    And my culture did. I realize that this isn’t everyone’s culture – that’s why the term culture shock exists. Nature is, almost, my peer. For some cultures, nature *is* a peer. There are people like me who respect/love nature in and of itself. It doesn’t have to be performing any function for me. People unlike us need some logical reason for not killing or disrupting nature, and that reason usually comes down to “Well if you do that, you’re only hurting yourself/your loved ones.”

    Understanding this, it isn’t a leap of logic to understand why people like me would support an idea like anthropogenic climate change. It’s the biggest “you’re only hurting yourself” reason out there. For now.

  42. bryan (12:40:42) :

    “… Something similar was done in the 1800’s as Buffalo were killed for their skins and the corpses being left on the prarie to rot in the sun…..”

    The buffalo are a very good case to really look into. The buffalo were killed in an attempt to to control (kill off) the American Indians by removing their food supply. Control of CO2 is just such an attempt but it is limiting our ability to manufacture goods as well as grow food. It will place restrictions on commercial fertilizer, irrigation and ruminant livestock as well as the transportation of food to cities. The USDA is already flying the idea of treating tractors as “commercial vehicles” with similar regulations! http://nonais.org/2010/03/02/feds-dot-farm-tractors/

    The Buffalo Massacre
    “The civilization of the Indian is impossible while the buffalo remains upon the plains. I would not seriously regret the total disappearance of the buffalo from our western prairies, in its effect upon the Indians, regarding it as a means of hastening their sense of dependence upon the products of the soil and their own labors.”
    Interior Secretary Columbus Delano, 1873

    “….It was also at this time that the U.S. Government desired to separate the Indians from the rest of “civilization” by placing them on reservations. In order to do this, the U.S. Army aggressively pursued a policy to eradicate the buffalo, intentionally extinguishing the Indians’ sustenance, which would force then onto reservations.

    …when the Texas Legislature was discussing a bill to protect the buffalo, General Philip Sheridan defended the buffalo hunters and opposed the bill by saying:

    ”These men have done more in the last two years, and will do more in the next year, to settle the vexed Indian question, than the entire regular army has done in the last forty years. They are destroying the Indians’ commissary. And it is a well known fact that an army losing its base of supplies is placed at a great disadvantage. Send them powder and lead, if you will; but for a lasting peace, let them kill, skin, and sell until the buffaloes are exterminated. Then your prairies can be covered with speckled cattle.” http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-buffalohunters.html

    General Sheridan was in charge of the army that was “dealing” with the Plains Indians.

  43. Great post, Mr. Eschenbach, and no… Nothing at all wrong with talking to the trees and animals. Myself, I say a prayer before meals in which meat is served, especially beef. Maybe a lot of people don’t think so, but I think cows are beautiful creatures and deserve as much for filling my need for protein.

    bryan (12:40:42) : “Use it all or don’t use any.”

    Really, now? That’s an interesting philosophy. Maybe you can show me how well you practice it some day. In the meantime…

    I find it funny that what the Indians (I know, I know… Native American. But I don’t like being called that when Indian sounds much cooler!) did is/was praised while something like hotdogs are called eventual cancer (or whatever they’re supposed to cause due to the grossness of how they’re made). That’s the card I play whenever a perfectionist criticizes modern ways. Why was it okay for Indians to use every last bit but not the Western-invented hotdog?

    Besides, the idea of the never-wasetful Indian is a myth. Several mass buffalo graves have been discovered over the years in which bone and hide were left behind in favor of the meat. Among the mess were found spear and arrow heads. The bones of entire herds had the look of being scraped in a hurry, clealy indicating that at times the Indians favored meat over hide and bone trinkets. So it was a lot of waste, a lot left behind. I’ve no links to back this up, but it was shown on the Discovery channel about, oh, five years ago iirc.

    And there is a very simple explanation for why there is waste and why there will always be waste. The fact of the matter is, there is never going to be enough capital to make all things into something at all times that people would want or need. This is true whether we’re talking about money in a capitalist society or simply effort per man in a hunter-gatherer tribe. Competition of limited capital deems that waste a nessecity at least some of the time, if not most of the time.

    The trouble I have with conservationism/environmentalism is that it isn’t. It’s perfectionism. Any little thing that can be said about our modern way of life automatically damns the activity as irredeemably wasteful. And so long as something hasn’t been said about, say, hemp, then we should all abandon our wasteful, imperfect ways for the as yet uncriticized one.

    But I’m not stupid. I know nothing is perfect nor ever will be. I realize there will always be waste. I realize why that will always be so. I don’t need someone telling me to clean up and perfect my ways. My ways are good enough, else I would not exist, plain and simple.

  44. Susan C. (12:57:10) : You are more than two decades out of date – baby seals have not been taken in Canada for some 25 years. Too much PETA and Sea Shepherd propaganda is still widely circulated. Without culling, the seals decimate the fish populations; I live near a salmon run and the seals simply gorge themselves but are too cuddly to be eliminated. The protected eagles have a grand time too – it’s tough to be a fish.

  45. So much of this ends up as just another form of increasing government revenues. Carbon caps in the end just becomes another 25% increase on our electricity bills, 30% more on what we pay for cars, 33% increase in the running cost of our factories and offices.

    None of these are called taxes, but the net effect is the same. Governments all like this since they believe they are better than the private sector in reallocation of resources. They can run car companies better, they can loan mortgages better, that’s why we should be happy that we have so many smart people in our government managing our money and allocating it to where the need is greatest.

  46. Where do I put “endangered species”????–right next to the mashed potatoes !!!!!
    Of course, after being properly barbecued…

  47. Earth Day is a good example of how the environmental movement has become hijacked:
    “Forty years after the first Earth Day, the world is in greater peril than ever. While climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, it also presents the greatest opportunity – an unprecedented opportunity to build a healthy, prosperous, clean energy economy now and for the future.

    Earth Day 2010 can be a turning point to advance climate policy, energy efficiency, renewable energy and green jobs. Earth Day Network is galvanizing millions who make personal commitments to sustainability. Earth Day 2010 is a pivotal opportunity for individuals, corporations and governments to join together and create a global green economy. Join the more than one billion people in 190 countries that are taking action for Earth Day.”

    Earth Day used to be about the environment, and about real-life issues, such as pollution, poor forestry practices, etc. Now that has all fallen by the wayside, in favor of a complete fantasy. It’s a travesty.

  48. Being a realist, not killing more than necessary, and preventing the exhaustion of natural resources are all well and fine.

    Apologizing to the fish and talking to trees is religion. As I noted before, your “stewardship” has distinctly religious overtones.

    The last thing we need on this planet is more mysticism. Get over it.

  49. In some ways, the Environmentalist image has been tarnished the same way that the image of Muslims has been tarnished. There are plenty of nut cases using the name and there isn’t any practical way to tell the nut cases from the rest of those who share the same category name.

    I too have long discounted anything published by ‘environmental’ groups because there are enough of them who believe that the end justifies the means and that deliberate deception is ok if might motivate people to take their desired action.

    I don’t have a way to tell the lies from the truth unless I have access to the background information, and often that is being supplied by the same people and cannot be trusted either.

  50. In fact, what exactly is the point of this post? Besides the obvious recanting of your exploits in the fishing and timber industries?

    Warmistas tend to portray all climate sceptics as right-wing cranks. But we aren’t all like that by any means. It is important that sceptical sites actively support those who are left-leaning and/or liberal and/or environmentally concerned.

    Your blog entry [snip] and merely regurgitates material from an undergraduate environmental ethics course.

    In other words, far in advance of most of the population? Replace the topic and see how stupid that comment sounds: — your entry merely regurgitates material from an undergraduate quantum physics course.

    We can’t all work at PhD level ethics like you obviously do. Let us get up to your grand level slowly, huh?

    If scepticism about AGW is to succeed it has to be able to replace the alternatives offered with a politically and economically workable framework. Taking environmental concerns into how we deal with global climate changes is part of that.

    Just shouting the warmistas down by calling them “Socialists” or “criminals” is never going to be an effective method.

  51. Willis Eschenbach (20:55:17) : thank you sir- I’m the son of an Old Eastern Oregon Cowboy /Logger. Pop Punched cows and cut trees with a “Misery Whip” before Chainsaws. Pop had that reverence for life- instilled on him from his Native American
    mother.
    “If you don’t want to eat it-don’t shoot it!” Pop’s hunting motto…

  52. IMO Willis said it succinctly and got it exactly right, when in thread start he sez:

    ”I just want to see things done carefully and with forethought, see them done properly with respect for the consequences. I don’t elevate some mythical “Nature” above humans, and I don’t forget nature either.”

    If you think about it objectively, the above is good common sense.
    The world would be a lot better off, if this kind of commeon sense was not so UNcommon. . . .

  53. Well I don’t deliberately damage or destroy anything; living or not, unless I have some specific purpose in doing that. #1 being food. And I do not differentiate between flora and fauna, when it comes to food. I don’t want to rejoin my ancestors up in the fig trees; besides hwo do I know that fig trees don’t scream, if I wrest one of their children to be from the cradle, and devour it, before it had a chance to become a new fig tree.

    In an ideal world, we would have an infinite supply of non-polluting energy, and we could manufacture our own food out of rocks and dirt like Gaia does. Then we wouldn’t need to kill either flora or fauna.

    I won’t kill what I won’t eat; unless it has designs on me so I have to for self preservation.

    But then think what a mess we could make out of pristine mountains, if we butchered them, and turned them into man made (izzar anthropogenic) food.

    Bottom line might be a Sierra club mantra. Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints.

    But how many of us get up from the table in a fast food restaurant, and walk out leaving our messy tray and dishes on the table; even though the local practice is to empty the junk in the trash/recycler, and place the tray/dishes, in an easily rcognizable location.

    So thus we teach our kids to not clean up after themselves, and they carry that into the outdoors.

    But when my ancestors discovered they could let the little monkeys gather the figs, and then kill their a**** and eat them, as well as killing the gazelle, and thereby becoming a grass eater; that is when we; the various “human” species started to pull away from the competition, and overpopulate Gaia’s laboratory.

    So I don’t feel bad a bout eating meat, or fish, or anything else that is nutritional to sustain myself; and to me a seal is as much a meat as is any sheep. We raise sheep for their outer coats, and for their meat; so I don’t see pinnipeds being any different; except they aren’t so easy to mass produce, so it is not a sustainable choice of food.

    Destroying multi-tons of prime bait fish stocks (like menhaden) to make snake oil; “food supplements” is however a totally wasteful enterprise in my book; they serve us better in the long run, if we leave them be to sustain healthy manageable food fish stocks.

    If some doctor can point out to me how you identify a human that is taking Omega-3 food suplements from one who isn’t, then maybe I’ll think about the merits of it. But right now it is just a wasteful fad, and one that is much more destructive than any possible experimentally observable merits.

    So far as I know, I do not contain any Trans-Uranic elements; so that makes me “natural” , just like everything else around me; and my “needs” are as natural as those of a brain coral.

    I happened to catch the “deal or no deal” show last night; part of teachers week. The purveyors of that show have cut costs by eliminating all the high paid model “babes” (except two), and simply made the studio contestsnt candidates, their “models”. Wonderful; no salaries; no fancy costumes; just peopel wearing what they want to.
    The player turned out to be a near brain dead school teacher (glad my kids aren’t in her class); and all she wanted out of winning the half million dollars prize was a pet monkey.

    Well this one pretty much could be a pet monkey for somebody else. In her first three number choices, she succeeded in wiping out the 250k safety net, and then the 500k big ticket. from there it went from bad to worse, till she had a top prize of 10k and a $200 safety net. At that point she might as well have said that she had nothing to lose by playing out the hand, with just three small numbers of 200 or less, and the 10k.

    The banker tricked her mind by offering her $2500, which she took, having previously had a maximum offer of 9k, and a low of 1500.

    So she did walk out with 2500, but left the 10k in her case, that she had fought so hard for. That has to be the worst dealt hand I have seen on that show; but I thought it poetic justice for a supposed school teacher who just wanted a pet monkey.

    So is our maintenance of pets an environmentally sound practice; or does Gaia’s natural wild life suffer because we have our pet fetishes ?

    And to answer Willis’ original question; no Willis I don’t find the massive fish kill any more palatable than the seal; but in either case, I would hope for full and purposeful use for the now defunct animal; including using either for food (if you are going to kill it anyway).

    Luckily with sheep, we actually can enjoy the coat, and still keep the sheep.

    In NZ, they have 4 million people and 60 million sheep; so we do know sheep. (maybe 75 million total livestock in all; most in the world)

  54. Environmentalist thinking, reasoning & actions are identical to that of an alcoholic; diseased, mentally disordered, progressively doomed to fatalistic choices.

    Many years ago, people thought we should save the habitat of the spotted owl. Today, environmentalists are against all harvesting of lumber.

    Many years ago, people reacted to the smog in our cities & wanted improved air quality. Today, environmentalists believe we should ban carbon dioxide.

    Many years ago, concerned nutritionists believed we should eat less red meat. Today, PETA & many environmentalist believe no one should eat meat… all “animal killing should stop.”

    How is this like alcoholism? For the alcoholic, you start having fun with alcohol. Then you have fun & some problems… then you have no fun & only problems.

    Once the environmentalist got the taste of power, it was fun, then it was fun with trouble… now environmentalism is only trouble.

    They are drunk with their powerlessness over power. They are fanatically egotistical. Fanatically unmanageable in there quest for control over what we breath, how we eat, how we heat our homes, how we use our land…

    Just as the drunk… they are spreading wreckage where ever they go, what ever they do.

  55. Pat Moffitt

    Thank you for taking the time to research how conservation was derailed and corrupted into a political hammer.

    Back in the sixties I wished everyone could respect nature as I did… Be careful what you ask for you might get it… Now I feel like I am trying to stop a run away train with my bare hands and it is head for a cliff.

  56. People are one of the few animals that manufactures food for itself. Even though people will sometimes eat food items with minimal processing, there almost always is some processing/manufacturing. Even eating a carrot from your garden usually involves washing the dirt off of it. On almost every part of the earth, people manufacture foods with whatever raw materials are available.

    I would suggest that a word be created to fit our eating habits. We are not herbivores, or carnivores, or omnivores. We are factorvores. We take things that are not edible, and manufacture edible foods. For instance, there is haggis and lutefisk . . . OK, maybe those are a bad example. How about cured olives? Raw olives are inedible, but after extensive processing/manufacturing, they become a delicacy.

    More back to the topic, I think the basic question is whether people have the right to modify their surroundings. And I think the answer to that is a resounding yes, because that is how people have survived, and sometimes thrived, in this world.

  57. I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK
    I sleep all night and I work all day
    (He’s a lumberjack and he’s OK
    He sleeps all night and he works all day)
    I cut down trees, I eat my lunch
    I go to the lavat’ry
    On Wednesdays I go shopping
    And have buttered scones for tea
    (He cuts down trees…)
    (He’s a lumberjack…)
    I cut down trees, I skip and jump
    I love to press wild flow’rs
    I put on women’s clothing
    And hang around in bars
    (He cuts down trees…)
    (He’s a lumberjack…)
    I cut down trees, I wear high heels
    Suspenders and a bra
    I wish I’d been a girlie
    Just like my dear papa
    (He cuts down trees…)
    (He’s a lumberjack…)

  58. Susan C. (12:57:10)

    I don’t mean to nitpick Willis, but do you mean harp seals? The “seals” in your picture are Northern fur seals, which are more like sea lions, that breed in the summer in US and Russian territory.

    Arctic harp seal pups are the species hunted on the east coast of Canada that draw lots of protest. The zoologist in me needs this clarified, although I realize it is hardly the point of your post.
    Susan

    REPLY: I chose the photo based on Willis text. I’ll leave it to him to clarify if he meant a different seal or not. -Anthony

    Yeah, you are exactly right, Susan. I meant the fluffy white type baby Harp Seals … here’s a picture of the ones I was talking about.

    Like I said, if you want Hollywood types to protest your death it’s much better to have big bunny eyes … I’ve updated the head post with this picture, thanks, Susan.

  59. vboring (12:39:31) :

    I’m a science-based environmentalist with socialist and vegan leanings.

    That is why climate change pisses me off. It distracts from humanity’s real problems.

    I thought people like you were the problem.

  60. Shona (13:24:19) :

    Single species genus – don’t forget the dear little Platypus, who is the only member of the genus Ornithorhynchus. Because it’s one of very few mammals that lay eggs, and one of very few mammals to be venomous.

    I used to often stop by the local creek on the way home from school to see if I could see the platypus that inhabited a slow-moving bend in it. They’re elusive little fellows and tough to spot.

  61. PaulsNZ (12:37:33)

    The same sort of soppy illogical thinking is behind emotive Global Warming?. Look go eat some meat and get some protein into your diet and you may start thinking clearer.

    Assumptions, what is it with the web and assumptions? You assume I don’t eat meat … why?

  62. There’s a difference in kind between eating a soy bean and eating a steer. The soy bean is not sentient. Where sentience of fellow travelers on the wheel of life should become a moral concern isn’t the easiest thing to demarcate but warm blooded is a good rule of thumb. The days when humans were obligatory omnivores is, for the vast majority of the 6 billion people on the planet, long past. Eating flesh is hedonistic these days rather than a matter of survival or even good health. I have no particular problem with hedonists but I do have a problem with being in denial about it. If the shoe fits, wear it.

    Granted everything dies and we ourselves will eventually be eaten by something or even if we are cremated we return to the air and soil and nourish something in that manner. Again, there’s a difference in kind between being eaten young or eaten old. Ask yourself if you’d rather give up your life at age 20 or age 80. The way I figure it a cow should get the same opportunity to live a full life that you desire for yourself.

    I’m not a particularly religious person but I figure there’s a better than fair chance that since I became self-aware once it’ll happen again but it’ll be a random lottery when it comes to what species I’ll be. So when an animal crosses my path if it’s hurt I help it, if it’s healthy I leave it be, and if it’s sufferering at the end of its days I bring its suffering to a swift end. If there’s any justice in the universe the next time I might open my eyes as one of the animals that have crossed my path. If that’s the case I should be in fine standing with lots of good karma. If I *were* particularly religious, especially a believer in the God of Abraham, I’d be very rightly concerned about whether I was living as God intended everything alive to live as outlined in Genesis, with no killing or death or destruction and being given seed bearing herbs as food, or whether I was wallowing in original sin by taking part in the death and destruction and flesh eating that followed the Fall.

    Proceed at your own risk. My ass is covered for most eventualities.

  63. I am with Layne Blanchard.

    Environmentalists pretend and preen with their “deep ecology” but they are only willing to so deep and not deeper than that.

    Why?

    “Let us beware of saying that death is opposed to life. The living is merely a type of what is dead, and a very rare type”
    -Nietzsche

  64. Leif Svalgaard (14:45:56) :

    “one day a bacterium will be eating me”

    Haven’t they already?

  65. JimBrock (13:57:03) :

    Reminds me of that great ballad from Paint Your Wagon. Clint Eastwood sang ( ?) “I talk to the trees, but they don’t listen to me.” Laughed my *ss off.

    The late, great Spike Milligan put it better with “I talk to the trees, thats why they put me away”

    Quizchair

  66. Very thoughtful post, Willis.

    Mr Alexander Feht, above, doesn’t want more ‘mysticism’ around.

    Denis Dutton’s ‘Art Instinct’ links the need for art back to our evolutionary roots. But what if we are also wired to need something larger than ourselves?

    I’m coming around to that notion myself…and a simple respect for the great web of life is as good a place to start as any.

  67. The vast majority of species in our biosphere are predators, prey or both. Why is that we humans are constantly criticized by the environmentalists and their loony cohorts for doing what is intrinsically part of our nature, preying upon lower life forms?

  68. From Michael in Sydney (13:27:38) :

    I see a difference between killing a seal for its fur and killing fish so that we can have a supply of healthy food. The seal fur can be easily be substituted with synthetic garments, the fish not so easily.

    I’m willing to have living things killed for my benefit so long as it is done as humanly as possible, used efficiently and there is not a non-living substitute available.

    The problem with this viewpoint, of course, is that you end up consuming all the non-renewable resources in order to make “synthetic” boots and coats. It is completely unsustainable.

    If you use leather (skin) and fur instead, you are surrounding yourself with the natural products of the ecosystem. Such products are completely renewable and ecologically sound. After all, the Native Americans used them exclusively.

    A true environmentalist wears fur, not highly processed oil, and other chemicals that destroy the environment.

  69. As I sit on my deck watching the birdfeeder and contemplating weather it is time to put out my hummingbird feeder I glance upward and notice Eschenbach’s hawk circling higher, ever higher, until it touches the clouds. Maybe it’s really an eagle.

  70. Willis,

    Really enjoyed your post. Very thoughtful and I agree with 99.9% of everything you said. I need to go back now and read up on your thermostat theory…very interesting…thanks!

  71. Dear Willis,

    I can completely agree with your reasoning. I am a biologist working (amongst others) with rats and mouses. I am doing reseach for cancer cures. I have killed at this moment about 2500 rats for my research. Does this make make a monster?

    Without the type of research I am doing there would be not a single cure for cancer.

    Sometimes I hope (in vain) that this message gets through into the nutcases that oppose this type of experimenting (before they are struck with cancer, that is).

  72. I grew up in the middle of hundreds of square miles of virgin forest. I have a deep and abiding admiration for that raw wildness. And yet, I cut down trees. I just want to see things done carefully and with forethought, see them done properly with respect for the consequences. I don’t elevate some mythical “Nature” above humans, and I don’t forget nature either.

    Early conservamentalists, admiring Nature, yet making a buck, too:

    http://www.redwoods.info/showrecord.asp?id=2464
    Enjoy, before they fall over.

  73. Baby seals are cuter than fish, but if it were spiders instead of seals or fish, no one would give a damn, nor would they care if only 10% of the carcass was used and the rest left to rot.

    It’s all subjective

  74. Ray (13:07:18)

    The natives in North America always had a sustainable way of life and thanked every animal and the Earth for giving what they used or eat. They are the first Conservamentalists.

    Conservamentalism is not a religion but a way of life.

    I agree entirely. I have learned much from those who are usually called “Native Americans”, but who I refer to as “Early Asian Immigrants”.

    I used to troll for salmon off the West Coast of the US. Many Early Asian Immigrant tribes depended heavily on the salmon, particularly the upstream tribes with no access to the ocean. For them, if the salmon didn’t come back in the fall, it meant hungry winters and early deaths for them. I and some of my fishermen/women friends used to follow their ancient practice with the first fish we caught every year.

    What the villagers did was this. When they caught the first salmon of the year, they would put it on a broad wooden plank. They would carry in place of pride on their shoulders it into the village, singing and dancing along the way. Every one would come and cheer for the salmon. They would invite it to a great feast in its honor, and at the feast everyone would stand up and declaim the virtues of the Salmon Tribe, and of that individual fish.

    Then, when the feast was over, they would re-assemble all the bones of the salmon in order on the wooden plank, and submerge it into the river it came from. As the current carried the fish downstream, they encouraged it to tell all of its friends about the great village upriver. They said it should tell its brothers and sisters what great parties the village threw, and of the the singing and the dances and the speeches. They wanted it to inform all the other salmon that they should not stop at the downriver villages, but to swim up to the wonderful village upriver where the people loved and respected the salmon.

    So we did that too.

    Now, did we think that the salmon bones physically reassembled themselves into their previous fleshy form and swam downstream to speak to the other salmon on their way upriver? No, of course not, no more than the villagers likely did. It was a way for us, as it was for them, to honor the fish we killed, to acknowledge that they died so that we would live.

    Life eats life, we kill a wide variety of living creatures for a host of reasons. I have no problem with that. But that doesn’t mean we should do it lightly, or that we should treat them or their bodies with disrespect and contempt. They are giving up their lives for me. I refuse to pretend that they are not dying, I will not deny that I am the one personally killing them, and I won’t act like their death is meaningless.

    Is this “soppy illogical thinking”? Not for me. For me it is the height of realism. It reminds me that I am not separate from the natural world, that I am another being who will die. John Donne famously said:

    No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.

    I agree completely, and I would expand that to say “any being’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in nature.” That doesn’t stop me from killing salmon and cutting down trees and eating meat and wearing leather. It just reminds me to do it with respect and honor and conscious forethought and due regard and responsibility for all of the consequences, intended and unintended.

  75. I understand where Willis is coming from. As a farmer, you don’t take more than you need, and what you do take you are thankful to have. You think carefully about outcomes from actions before you proceed, and where possible you work to help….say for example, managing invasive weeds.

    The reason most environmentalist/green organizations in my country gather little respect from people like me, is that they have strayed from that basic approach. Painting with a broad brush, they are either emotional about issues while having little or no practical understanding, or they are deliberately anti-human and work with hostile, closed minds. I know that there are some exceptions, but by and large those are the elements that steer the movement’s many varied groups.

    They punch well above their weight, and gather more media and political attention than they deserve. Sadly, a lot of the time this leads to outcomes that do not help the environment, or even outcomes that affect the environment negatively. All too often, their yardstick is just to measure success by how much they exclude or hamper humans. Damned if I know how to change all that, but something clearly has to.

  76. I really would describe you more as a conservalumberealist. I want to be a megaconservadraganaught, and I’m prepared to do whatever it takes to become that, whatever it is.

  77. Thank you Willis.

    (Not read all of the posts here.)

    I love the term “realist” because it is all about the reality of life and death. It is also about perspective. Your comparison of herring and a few seals is timely.

    I live in Alberta, home of the much-maligned tar sand (oils sands) where 1,500 ducks unfortunately died last year. The event was hit with a storm of protests and media coverage. As unfortunate as that event was, it was minor compared to the tens of thousands of bats and birds we kill in Alberta with our horrid wind farms.

    And don’t even get me going on domestic cats that eat something like half a billion small birds in North America annually. ☺

    “In Canada, 5 million pet cats kill about 140 million birds and
    small animals each year. ”
    http://www3.sympatico.ca/samgreen/webcats.html

    That quote is probably not accurate, but that is not the point. The point is, we never hear about this stuff and yet “tar sands” bird deaths are plastered across the globe on YouTube and never put into perspective.

    It is all about reality and perspective.

    Clive

  78. Hey!
    No pictures of white baby seals.
    Us Canadians don’t club that type any more! Not that there was anything wrong with it when we did…
    So Willis, for accuracy’s sake, during the era of your story it was the white fluffy ones getting clubbed.
    Now its big ugly worm infested brown and grey ones.
    It is important to clarify this since so many livelihoods in poor and remote parts of Canada depend on this very politically incorrect and threatened hunt.

  79. Right on, again, Willis. I’m part of the forest products industry and damn proud of it. BTW, the word “conservation” was coined by Teddy Roosevelt and Gifford Pinchot and it meant “wise use” to those guys. It did not mean “preservation,” like many today think.

  80. Hey how come my comment is not getting through? It is harmless. :)

    [Reply: it was in the spam filter. Rescued and posted. WordPress is often mysterious. ~dbs, mod.]

  81. As the terms Environmentalist and Conservationist have been denatured by modern extremist practitioners, might I suggest one of the following:

    Steward

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/steward

    1. One who manages another’s property, finances, or other affairs.
    2. One who is in charge of the household affairs of a large estate, club, hotel, or resort.
    3. A ship’s officer who is in charge of provisions and dining arrangements.
    4. An attendant on a ship or airplane.
    5. An official who supervises or helps to manage an event.
    6. A shop steward.
    7. A wine steward.
    intr. & tr.v. stew·ard·ed, stew·ard·ing, stew·ards
    To serve as a steward or as the steward of.

    husbandry

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/husbandry

    1 archaic : the care of a household
    2 : the control or judicious use of resources : conservation
    3 a : the cultivation or production of plants or animals : agriculture b : the scientific control and management of a branch of farming

    If these don’t strike a chord, please, find alternatives. There are a lot of us who don’t believe in waste and abuse of anything, but, can’t identify with the modern versions of that which we used to identify.

  82. Willis, Jivaro men (head hunters from Ecuador and Peru) ask for fogiveness to the tree theyare about to fell when clearing a jungle patch for making their samll crop land. They eat meat from pecaris, boas, caimans, birds of all kind, but never eat venison becasue they believe they are their recently defunct relatives reincarntion. After reincarnating in venison, the soul of relatives reincarnate in butterflies and afterwards they go the pardise.

    A weird costume is: they never drink water. Instead they drink ‘nijiamanche’, the beer (or ‘chicha’) they make from sweet manioc and fermented after their women have chewed the manioc pure and spit it in a huge bowl. They drink this low alcoholic beverage at about 10 liters a day. Because their carbohydrate intake is so high the purify their stomach by drinking when they wake up (at 3.00 am) an emetic infusion (guayusa) that makes them vomit everything they haven’t digested.

    But they kill between 20 to 30 toucans for taking the colorful feathers in the base of the neck and in the belly for making their headresses called ‘tawaspa’, and another ornament called “atsukanka apujtai”: toucan feathers forming flowers tied to a long streak of human hair taken from a dead enemy. Only warriors can wear those.

    Primitive people are nothing close to environmentalists. They damage their environment a lot. The only difference with us is they are much less and they are much less powerful. A sson as the evolve a little and can get ‘white men’ applinces, firearms, machinery, they don’t differentiate from the rest of ‘civilized’ people. There is not such a thing as a ‘noble savage’ as envisioned by Rousseau.

  83. Lost in this discussion of conservation versus current environmentalism is who pays. Hunting and fishing licenses paid for vast tracts of land across the US and the salaries of of the wildlife biologists. There is also the 10% Wallup- Breaux tax that is added to the wholesale price of all hunting and fishing equipment in the US and returned to conservation type efforts. Sportsmen groups like Ducks Unlimited have purchased or leased significant amounts of wetlands. It was sportsmen who fought against the depletion of salmon stocks, striped bass and any number of game animals long before it became fashionable. It is sad that the sector that has paid its own way -that was at the front lines from the beginning are vilified by those that pay nothing. Environmentalism is too often “this is what I want and this what you will pay to give it to me” Users fees insure wildlife management will survive long after environmentalism is no longer fashionable.

  84. Willis,
    I agree with all you said, but showing the seal pup is not the way to win the war.

    “Now, back to the climate…”

    Please ?

  85. Well, I know that the more CO2 is in the atmosphere, the more plants will grow. (Michaelis-Menten kinetics backed up with empirical data) So, driving a car makes me environmentalist or not?

  86. First, let me say that I like you Willis and appreciate your posts. I am not so enamoured of “conservamentalism” as a word, however, although I share your concerns.

    I prefer “scientific conservationism” or sometimes, “realistic stewardship of the environment”. Realism, especially science-based realism, is preferable to unscientific idealism.

    When it comes to branding in the climate change debate, I prefer to be called a “climate realist”. I also prefer:

    * Landscape, watershed, forest, and range conservation realism

    * Wildlife conservation realism

    * Agriculture and rural economic development realism

    * Energy realism

    * Water and air realism

    * Wildfire realism

    * Private property rights realism, etc.

    all of which I put in the general category of “scientific conservationism”, (which is a mouthful but oh well).

    The important point is all this is that these various manifestations of environmental realism are CONNECTED. It is not satisfactory to be a climate realist, a devotee of good climate science, and yet at the same time to be an irrational and unscientific proponent of mythologies in the other environmental sciences. As in basketball, a valuable teammate plays the game on both ends of the court. Science-based realism should be applied to all the various environmental science and management disciplines.

    Which is what I think you meant, and if so I wholeheartedly agree with you.

    For the record, if it matters, I have been a professional forester for 35 years and am currently the executive director of the Western Institute for Study of the Environment, a non-profit think tank and consortium of scientists, practitioners, and the interested public. I practice what I preach, or try to.

  87. Al Gore’s Holy Hologram (12:43:28) :

    When they wanted to control you in your community they called themselves communists.

    When they wanted to control you in your society they called themselves socialists.

    When they wanted to control you in your environment they called themselves environmentalists.

    What comes next?

    —-when they want to control all your money they call themselves capitalists—–

  88. I support the concept Willis…. but conservamentalist? Not like I have a better word to offer, but I just don’t think that one is going to catch on.

  89. “As the terms Environmentalist and Conservationist have been denatured by modern extremist practitioners, might I suggest one of the following:

    Steward”

    It was all the protesting and complaining about ‘steward’ship in the previous thread that got us here in the first place. :)

  90. Benjamin (14:23:39) : …..sweet, realist, meet realist.

    Honestly, Willis, I get too emotional when killing animals, but I’m not that hungry anymore, I’ll let the butcher bare the burden. Trees, grass and weeds, not so much.
    I may have a different perspective. These things, be it flora or fauna(mineral too) are here for us(people). It could be for food, warmth, or aesthetic value, but they are here for us. Of course we should conserve, if we kill, cut, or use too much, it won’t be here for us anymore. Trees are not people too. Neither are bears, otters or mice. Nor ants, fleas, or ticks. We need to recognize the difference between rational and emotional thinking.
    Then, there’s the survival of the fittest and natural selection thoughts. While there are statements of how the buffalo diminished, there isn’t a real reason why. (Yes, Sheridan understood how to defeat an enemy in a brutal but effective manner. That’s what good generals do.) But I live in Kansas. What would I do if buffalo roamed the open plains? Well, not much. We couldn’t really have roads and even if we did, seat belt or no, many of us would die. Heck, the deer are bad enough, I wish they’d open the season up to kill more. They are so thick here, they eat the farmers crops in herds, the truck I was driving still has a dent in it when a deer was agile enough to hit me with his hip instead of killing us both when I was driving to work. I don’t want, no, I can’t(nor can anyone else) live a normal productive life if the wildlife were to inhabit this part of the country as they did 150 years ago.

    I guess what I’m trying to convey is that while I wax nostalgic of the way things were, it isn’t the way things ought to be, and can’t be. The resources of the earth are here for us, and we need to guard them because they are our resources, but not because we’ll have some sort of bad karma because we irked or killed some tree spirit or wolf soul. I know others here will vehemently disagree, but that’s the way I call it.

  91. End of the IPCC: one mistake too many – April 7, 2010

    http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/sub/views/story/0,4574,380103,00.html?

    Opinion
    Published April 7, 2010

    End of the IPCC: one mistake too many
    ‘Climategate’ suggests a conspiracy to commit fraud by a small gang of influential UN panel scientists

    By S FRED SINGER

    THE United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has acknowledged they made a mistake in their projection of 2035 as the date when all the Himalayan glaciers would melt. But the Himalayan blunder is not a one-off mistake; it is only the latest of a long list of errors that have dogged the IPCC over the past 10 years. And by now, after the ‘Climategate’ flap of last November, ‘Glaciergate’ seems to have opened the floodgates with reports on ‘Amazongate’, ‘Natural-disaster-gate’, and many more. […]

    [Reply: please post the link and just the opening paragraph(s), or key parts of long articles. ~dbs, mod]

  92. xx (16:39:16),

    What I want to know is who wears those white baby seal coats? Has anyone ever seen someone wearing a white baby seal coat?

    Since I can’t get one, I’m saving up for a Polar bear rug. They’re eco-friendly, because they’re slaughtered by Eskimos, not by evil Canadian caucasians.

  93. peterhodges (17:11:43) :
    —-when they want to control all your money they call themselves capitalists—–

    Wrong, a true capitalist knows that if he has all the money, then there is no more wealth to be generated. Basic economics.

  94. The natives in North America always had a sustainable way of life and thanked every animal and the Earth for giving what they used or eat. They are the first Conservamentalists. Conservamentalism is not a religion but a way of life.

    Is it necessary, really, to explain how and why this is a dangerous nonsense, full of contradictions and misrepresentations of facts? Isn’t it obvious?

    We are being offered, as a “noble example,” a primitive, bigoted, and ruthless religion of savages who lived in constant fear, prejudice, disease, and misery, exhausting natural resources without having a clue about sustainable agriculture or hunting, robbing, raping, scalping, torturing, burning, and eating — yes, eating — each other. Their life was a never-ending disaster.

    Before the coming of Europeans, North America was practically depopulated: not because the land couldn’t sustain a larger population, however primitive, but because American Indians were exterminating each other with a passionate fury of obsessed madmen; all their beliefs, rituals, and myths were focused on murdering and robbing their neighbors.

    I thought the Noble Savage myth has been thoroughly discredited by science since the halcyon days of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Henry David Thoreau. It was a nice dream, perhaps, but no less a dream than a narcotic pipe fantasy of a hippie.

    You dare say environmentalism is not a religion? Go for it, comrades. Mumble apologies to animals you eat, hug trees you fell, burn candles for men and women murdered and raped. It will make you feel better about yourselves, no doubt. But it won’t make a bit of a difference in the real world. Dissolve in your mystical self-admiration.

    Other, hard-working and clearly thinking people would have to sigh and pick up their tools to make life livable. Again.

  95. The word “individualist” is, I think, preferred if one feels the need to wear a label.

    It is stupid that universities have courses in “ethics” that promote communalism of thought. They might as well have courses for newborn children named “How to suck at the teat” for all the use they are in supplanting what people know innately.

    Generic terms lead to contradictions. For example, I was part of a small team with a big uranium mine that has substituted for fossil fuel and saved the emission of about a billion tones of CO2 into the air. Some would say “nuclear is evil, you are wicked” and others would say “Few people have done so much to reduce GHG and you are a hero”. Life is mundane and I take no notice of these attributions. Nor do I worry about the ethics of killing what I eat. Much of the living world depends on killing its food. I’m not about to switch to a daily jug of synthetic NPK fertilizer with added micronutrients along with my metamucil and largactyl.

    Nature blessed us with a brain and it guides most of us along acceptable lines. It is noted that the worst behavior in history has been done by a tiny percentage of the population. I’m grateful that the MTBF of the human brain is so small.

  96. peter hodges
    —-when they want to control all your money they call themselves capitalists—–
    >>

    No, they call themselves communists. They call ME a capitalist and sometimes conflate me with a pig or dog at the same time. To which I must observe that the poorest amongst us capitalists suffer frequently from obesity, while the average North Korean gets along on a ration of 4 ounces of rice per day. But they are all equal and that’s what is important.

    Willis – I think you are looking for a word the implies sustainable harvesting practices. Again, I have no word to offer, just conservamentalism doesn’t do it for me.

  97. Smokey

    Maybe someone already said. FYI. In Canada, it has been illegal to kill those small white ones for something like 15 years. Yet WWF et al still use them as their poster seals.

    The Canadian Weather Chanel today had an item on how AGW was endangering seals. What a crock of crap. And of course they featured the cute white pups. Argghh!

    Clive

  98. u.k.(us) (17:04:40)

    Willis,
    I agree with all you said, but showing the seal pup is not the way to win the war.

    Well, I’m not in a war, so I’m unsure of your meaning. My point was that the death of a fish-eyed herring and the death of a bunny-eyed seal pup are equivalent, regardless of the bunny eyes. I was attempting to illustrate the illogical nature of protesting the death of a single seal pup, while ignoring the death of a million herring. That’s environmentalism gone way off the rails, in my book. Which is why I’m a conservamentalist.

  99. James Sexton (17:26:09) : Basic economics.

    well, basic economic theory anyway. unfortunately, it seems actual economics works more like i described it. i.e. tell John “Competition is a sin” Rockefeller or the folks who own the fed they are not true capitalists.

    while i agree with your sentiment, i guess i am saying that monopoly-capitalism as practiced today is incompatible with freedom

  100. davidmhoffer (17:14:20)

    I support the concept Willis…. but conservamentalist? Not like I have a better word to offer, but I just don’t think that one is going to catch on.

    Yeah, I know, I was trying in part to lampoon the nature of our reactions to words … success is an elusive bird.

  101. Alexander Feht (17:41:06) :

    I was going to type something witty and sarcastic, but on second thought, I’d like to thank you for stating the obvious, yet unpopular point of view, apparently. I’d have thought that most had a more pragmatic view here. Willis is correct, in my view, a herring’s death is a much as a seal’s death. I just don’t view it as necessarily a sad or bad thing. Odd that it seems many here will deny the existence of a higher power and the eternal soul of man, yet, many here will speak to the “spirit” of an animal. Very odd.

  102. peterhodges
    i.e. tell John “Competition is a sin” Rockefeller or the folks who own the fed they are not true capitalists>>

    Well Peter, no need to be vague. Step up and spell it out. Just what does this Rockefeller guy have a monopoly on and just who are these “folks” that you say “own” the fed? Could you be more specific?

  103. Urederra (17:06:08) :

    Well, I know that the more CO2 is in the atmosphere, the more plants will grow. (Michaelis-Menten kinetics backed up with empirical data) So, driving a car makes me environmentalist or not?

    Most plants won’t grow. The success of a plant to survive under CO2 concentration stress depends on a sole adaptation. If the plant has it, good! If the plant doesn’t have it, well… it will not grow more than other plants.

    Some plants like Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) starts enhancing its growth under CO2 stress, but it declines its growth some weeks or months after the carbon dioxide in its environment was increased:

    http://agron.scijournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/67/5/685

  104. Talking to trees, thanking fish, I’m starting to get worried about you Willis!

    But I like your story.

    Of course 90% of the city people don’t understand a word you’re saying.
    Last week I visited a school and in the entire class there was not a single kid who could explain where milk is coming from.
    Our modern city life first made the masses a stranger to nature and today they are becoming a stranger to agriculture and farming as well.
    Kids grow up in an urban jungle with shops and supermarkets.
    Most of them have never visited a farm or a natural park.
    Even holidays are now limited to full service family resorts.

    It won’t take much time before we can tell people anything because they know nothing!

    That’s why we are in a mess in the first place.

    I say keep up the good work, we can’t do without it.

  105. Just a few decades ago, vast herds of naugas roamed the plains and savannas of Sumatra and neighboring tropical countries. Today, you see only a few dozen. The rest were hunted for their hides. Immediate action is mandatory if this rare and beautiful…well, incredibly ugly, actually…creature is to be saved from extinction.

    http://www.naugahyde.com/history.html

    REPLY: There a song for that –

    Rolling, rolling, rolling
    Rolling, rolling, rolling
    Rolling, rolling, rolling
    Rolling, rolling, rolling

    Naughide

    Roiling, rolling, rolling
    Though the streams are swollen
    Keep them doggies rolling
    Naughide

    Rain and wind and weather
    Hell bent for leather
    Wishing my gal was by my side

    All the things I’m missin’
    Good vittels, lovin’, kissin’
    Are waiting at the end of my ride

    Move ’em on, head’ em up
    Head ’em up, move’ em on
    Move ’em on, head’ em up
    Naughide

    Cut ’em out, ride ’em in
    Ride ’em in, cut ’em out
    Call ’em out, ride ’em in
    Naughide

    Keep moving, moving, moving
    Though they’re disapproving
    Keep them doggies moving
    Naughide

    Don’t try to understand ’em
    Just rope, throw and brand ’em
    Soon we’ll be living high and wide

    My heart calculatin’
    My true love will be waitin’
    Be waiting at the end of my ride
    Move ’em on, head’ em up
    Head ’em up, move’ em on
    Move ’em on, head’ em up
    Naughide

    Cut ’em out, ride ’em in
    Ride ’em in, cut ’em out
    Call ’em out, ride ’em in
    Naughide

    Move ’em on, head’ em up
    Head ’em up, move’ em on
    Move ’em on, head’ em up
    Naughide

    Cut ’em out, ride ’em in
    Ride ’em in, cut ’em out
    Call ’em out, ride ’em in
    Naughide

    Rolling, rolling, rolling
    Rolling, rolling, rolling
    Rolling, rolling, rolling
    Rolling, rolling, rolling
    Naughide

    Naughide

  106. Willis, I may share some of your opinions, but, this sort of rhetoric is seen as weakness by AGW proponents. They view you as that much more of a traitor that you would share part of their world view and not the rest. You have betrayed the true religion with your non-belief that man and his industry are evil. You see what I mean?

  107. PETA recently protested the throwing of fish at the Pike Place Fish Market because it was disrespectful to the dead fish. The only reason they did so was because a Veterinarian convention was in town and was getting a special show from the guys at the market.

    In unrelated news, use of studded tires for the Cascade passes in Washington state has been extended again, due to the amount of snow and adverse wintry weather continuing to show its ugly head. So in spite of the “early spring”, winter rolls on.

  108. Smokey (17:23:15)

    xx (16:39:16),

    What I want to know is who wears those white baby seal coats? Has anyone ever seen someone wearing a white baby seal coat?

    Since I can’t get one, I’m saving up for a Polar bear rug. They’re eco-friendly, because they’re slaughtered by Eskimos, not by evil Canadian caucasians.

    That cracked me up, but surely you mean slaughtered by Northern Early Asian Immigrants?

    Calling the locals “Indians” was OK by me, because it was the result of a typical bozo European mistake and kinda funny that way. But that’s just me, I can see how being mistaken for someone from another continent might rankle a man. Plus people always gotta ask “You mean Indian with a dot or Indian with a feather”, that could get old real fast.

    But “Native Americans” simply isn’t true. They’re no more “native” to the Americas than are tilapia or pears. Interesting people, fascinating cultures, cheated and mistreated, defeated and discriminated against but still fighting, sure, but “Native”? No way.

    Which is in part why your comment was so funny, the idea that it’s OK and perhaps even noble for early immigrants to kill polar bears, but not for later immigrants … what a crazy world. My theory is that you shouldn’t be able to shoot a polar bear until you’ve made your living in their world for a full year, worked through the dark winter, so it’s OK with me (within reason and with the usual caveats) for the Northern Early Asian Immigrants to shoot polar bears. But not trophy hunters from Texas or Arizona , that’s sick … however, what do I know, I was born yesterday.

  109. I didn’t have the time to read all comments, so maybe what I am going to say has been said before. My apologies, if that’s the case. Anyway, here’s what I think:

    The original sin committed by environmentalists and many others who bear warm feelings towards the environment is to impose human categories upon nature. Categories such as good, bad, deserving, “sustainable”, morals, worth, love… Animals don’t think in categories like that (to say nothing of plants). They don’t think at all. They don’t know the meaning of the word “category.” Or morals. They aren’t even indifferent to that kind of thing, because they don’t know what indifference is. They aren’t even aware of themselves.

    The lion kills the gazelle, without giving a damn about the beauty of his prey.
    The lion doesn’t know what beauty is. He, she or it kills to live, but feels no need for vindication. Because a lion doesn’t know what vindication is.
    Nature has no morals. Morals exist for one reason, and one reason only: because we humans exist. Morals are human, totally seperated from nature. Like Hamlet says: “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” But thinking, my friend, is reserved to us. Call that human arrogance, I call it the truth. Try to “talk” to your cat – in a meaningful way. Try a conversation about morals with your dog. Ask your pet what it “thinks”. They won’t even know what you’re talking about. They don’t know what “talk” is.

    In my opinion you don’t have to apologize to a tree you cut down. Or to a fish you killed. They wouldn’t understand you, even if they were still alive.
    Where does all this lead to? For one thing, I don’t want to say we cannot enjoy nature – of course we can! I for my part will never forget the feelings I had when I looked down at the Grand Canyon – for hours! But those feelings were one sided; the Grand Canyon didn’t feel anything about me.

    You still are totally free to think that it is necessary to protect the environment, or that it’s bad to beat a seal pup to death, but you have to be aware that these are human decisions. It is sensible to protect the house you live in, but it’s not a question of morals. (Only in the sense that you’re responsible for somebody living in that house, of course.) Nature doesn’t know what protection is. Just look at all the species (way over 90 percent!) that have become extinct before us humans invented the term “endangered species”. Nobody shed a tear for the dinosaurs, and if humans – millions of years later – wouldn’t have shown up, no living creature today would know that there ever was such a thing like a dinosaur.

    So yes, I think that mankind is something very special. Not for religious reasons; like Laplace I don’t think religion is necessary. But we are the only living creature on Earth (maybe in the Universe) capable of inventing something like the term “endangered species”. And that is immense.

    Does all that really make us the pride of creation? Let me put it this way: I prefer to live in a world where killing animals is accepted, and killing people is not. Which way it is depends on us; we are responsible for our decisions. After all, unlike a seal or a herring we know what responsibility means.

  110. I don’t necessarily think that one life can be equated to another. I don’t think it is an axiom that a herrings life is equal to that of a seals. Of all the life forms on this planet I think there is a continual spectrum (given variation between and within species) of awareness. If we think it is natural to equate the value of one animals life to that of another then it would be logical to equate the life of a dolphin to that of a bacteria as they could be linked progressively to each other by other life forms. If you don’t believe that the life of a bacteria is equal to that of a dolphin then there has to be somewhere along the spectrum where you place a cut-off line or grey area and this would not be objectively placed but subjective. It becomes very hard then unless you think all life is equal to argue where that cut-off is.

    Also I was wondering if you had ever tried to cut down the biggest tree in one of your forests with one of your herrings?

  111. peterhodges (17:47:04) :

    ” i guess i am saying that monopoly-capitalism as practiced today is incompatible with freedom”

    Peter,
    Either you don’t know what capitalism is or what freedom is – or both.

  112. Willis Eschenbach (17:46:36) :

    u.k.(us) (17:04:40)

    Willis,
    I agree with all you said, but showing the seal pup is not the way to win the war.

    Well, I’m not in a war, so I’m unsure of your meaning. My point was that the death of a fish-eyed herring and the death of a bunny-eyed seal pup are equivalent, regardless of the bunny eyes. I was attempting to illustrate the illogical nature of protesting the death of a single seal pup, while ignoring the death of a million herring. That’s environmentalism gone way off the rails, in my book. Which is why I’m a conservamentalist.
    ==============
    Make no mistake, whether you call it:
    “environmentalism gone way off the rails”, or
    Catastrophic AGW “Theory”, it is a war.

    A “war” against the latest Utopian fantasy, we are being subjected to.

    BTW, I thought I was the only one that apologized to things I kill :)

  113. Me dad hunts and fishes. I occasionally read the magazines he subscribes to on those subjects.

    Yes, the preferred term in all those publications is ‘conservationist’. I agree with some that it may not be the best word. But it currently works.

    I disagree with the ‘New conservationist’ and ‘Old conservationist’ comment way up there(sorry max). The conservationist I read are partially described well as the 1st, and most definitely not the 2nd.

    Some(most?) fisheries need to be given time to restore themselves, so these conservationists willingly lobby to restrict or otherwise reduce fishing in that fishery.
    Unlike environmentalists, these conservationists willingly, and with the same amount of vigor, lobby to loosen restrictions and allow increased fishing when these fisheries recover.
    Same with hunters.

    Conservationists don’t have a problem with accepting the evidence that many offshore oil rigs increase sealife. Environmentalists don’t care. They hate evil oil.
    Proper logging which is sustainable and, in certain forests/regions increases animal, especially large(non-human) mammal, life? Conservationists can get behind that, provided the evidence shows such. Environmentalists’ only argument is killing trees is bad.

    Ohh crud. I’m being incredibly provincial. Conservationist is an accepted term in certain parts of the US. I fully understand why the term doesn’t get much coverage and while my description of environmentalists is very general and stereotypical, it’s mostly true across both the US and Europe.

    For research purposes:

    http://www.floridasportsman.com/confron/

  114. ‘Northern Early Asian Immigrants’ you say ?
    I saw some research indicating some of them travelled from the East, along the fringe of the retreating ice, from Greenland &/or Scandinavia. Similarities in primitive toolmaking, distinct from Asian characteristics.

  115. The further we’ve “progressed” and removed ourselves (as a species) from Nature and lorded over every other species on the planet, the more “OUT OF TOUCH” we have become from reality. Is there any wonder then why “civilized” humans can’t bare the thought of killing another animal to feed themselves, or have some problem with cutting down a tree –if they knew how to do either?

    Civilization is a great accomplishment but it is not without its fatal faults and illusions. Nothing in life is free. And, if and/or when we (the species) get hungry enough, civilization goes right out the window and we revert to kind. That’s an ugly fact, but absolutely true.

  116. I’ve given up trying to define myself in a way that nobody else can co-opt the term and twist into something that I find distasteful.

    So I’ve settled back to things like “Homo sapiens sapiens” and Top Of The Food Chain.

    For those of The Book, the key words are “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

    There are responsibilities and duties in there and I accept them.

  117. Alexander Feht (17:41:06)

    The natives in North America always had a sustainable way of life and thanked every animal and the Earth for giving what they used or eat. They are the first Conservamentalists. Conservamentalism is not a religion but a way of life.

    Is it necessary, really, to explain how and why this is a dangerous nonsense, full of contradictions and misrepresentations of facts? Isn’t it obvious?

    We are being offered, as a “noble example,” a primitive, bigoted, and ruthless religion of savages who lived in constant fear, prejudice, disease, and misery, exhausting natural resources without having a clue about sustainable agriculture or hunting, robbing, raping, scalping, torturing, burning, and eating — yes, eating — each other. Their life was a never-ending disaster.

    Well, kinda … you should read “Memoirs of a Captivity Among the Indians of North America” for the story of someone who was actually there. I’m not holding them up as “noble savages”, that’s a straw man. They are folks like us. I’m simply saying that there are things we can learn from the Early Asian Immigrants, just as there are things that they can learn from us. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    Before the coming of Europeans, North America was practically depopulated: not because the land couldn’t sustain a larger population, however primitive, but because American Indians were exterminating each other with a passionate fury of obsessed madmen; all their beliefs, rituals, and myths were focused on murdering and robbing their neighbors.

    Nonsense. Before the whites reached most Early Asian Immigrant villages, a variety of imported diseases had already reached them and wiped most of them out them quite efficiently. You haven’t been keeping up with modern scientific research in this field.

    And killing each other “with a passionate fury of obsessed madmen”? That’s something out of a dime-story novel. For many tribes it was much more honorable to count coup on an enemy (by striking them with your “coup stick” and getting away alive) than to kill them. That’s formalized and ritualized warfare, not the action of “obsessed madmen”.

    …You dare say environmentalism is not a religion? Go for it, comrades. Mumble apologies to animals you eat, hug trees you fell, burn candles for men and women murdered and raped. It will make you feel better about yourselves, no doubt. But it won’t make a bit of a difference in the real world. Dissolve in your mystical self-admiration.

    Other, hard-working and clearly thinking people would have to sigh and pick up their tools to make life livable. Again.

    I never said environmentalism is not a religion, that’s another straw man. For some people it is, for some it’s not.

    If you want to ignore or gloss over the fact that you go around killing things without a second thought, that’s your choice. My choice is to acknowledge that no man is an island, and that my actions have effects. I’ve worked as what we called a “shade-tree butcher”, killing and skinning farm animals all day long. I’ve worked doing nothing but cutting trees down. I’ve personally killed millions and millions of fish. And I would do any of those jobs again. It’s not just theory to me, you are making a huge mistake if you think I’m a vegan or a tree-hugger. I am a hard-working man who takes an equally hard and unflinching look at my own actions.

    Finally, I would venture that I’ve worked as hard and I think as clearly as you do. Did you ever fish the Bering Sea as I have? That’s as hard a work as a man might do, day after day of gruelling physical labor with no sleep in a cold, nasty, dangerous environment. I don’t recommend it for any but fools like myself.

    Your pretence that there are two kinds of people, those that care about the effect of their actions in the larger world on the one hand, and those that work hard and think clearly on the other, is a specious but puerile point of view so common that it has it’s own fallacy named after it, the Fallacy of the Excluded Middle.

  118. Is it just me, or “what up with that” James Hansen and his April 5th post on Huffington Post , what the ??? “Obamas second chance?”

  119. I’m not too much for guilt. So I’ve never wanted to be an environmentalist whose tool is guilting people. I’ve never wanted to climb the Golden Gate Bridge in some environmental protest like Woody Harelson did. I eat meat. I don’t have a problem with anyone that wants to be Vegan. And I don’t want to try to control people. I don’t believe in the global warming hysteria because I’ve looked into it for myself and saw that it isn’t real.

    Most of all I think America should go to Alaska and get as much oil out of it as quickly as humanly possible and release some of the economic pressure that is on America. We have all benefited from oil here in America, including every environmentalist that takes his microwave for granted. I say let’s bring even more benefit to America.

    And let’s get so much oil out of Alaska that we have a super abundance of it and then can sell it cheap to poor countries. :-) America the beautiful!

  120. Just out of curiosity, does anyone know why the seals were harvested?

    Has anyone wondered what would happen to the seals if they were not?

    Did anyone check out what happened to their natural predators?

    And last, is it better for an animal to be immediately killed with a tool devised for the purpose of instantly killing, or to die in agony of starvation?

    Things are not always as they seem.

  121. Alexander Feht (17:41:06) :

    We are being offered, as a “noble example,” a primitive, bigoted, and ruthless religion of savages who lived in constant fear, prejudice, disease, and misery, exhausting natural resources without having a clue about sustainable agriculture or hunting, robbing, raping, scalping, torturing, burning, and eating — yes, eating — each other. Their life was a never-ending disaster.

    Alexander, I know of one exception to your rule: the Nez Perce of N.E. Oregon and adjacent area. I live there. They were not the “noble savage”, but they were easily more intelligent and ethical than the people who eventually pushed them out in 1877. Read up on ’em! You’ll be amazed.

    Check out the works by Alvin Josephy, esp., “The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest”. Josephy “was a vice president and editor of American Heritage magazine, the founding chairman of the board of trustees of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and president of the Western History Association. Josephy died in the fall of 2005.”

  122. Christoph Horst (18:38:49)

    In my opinion you don’t have to apologize to a tree you cut down. Or to a fish you killed. They wouldn’t understand you, even if they were still alive.

    You seem to think I do it for them. I don’t. I do it for me. I do it to stay human and humane, to keep myself from forgetting that I am engaged in a lethal, death-dealing business. I know people who kill animals and fish without a single thought. I don’t want to become like them, coarse and brutal, laughing about the death of some magnificent animal. I am willing to kill. I am not willing to say that killing is no different than pounding a nail.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever had a job where your task was to kill living things all day long. I’ve seen it turn decent men harsh and hard. Perhaps that is the difference here, I’ve done mass killing as a job, and most people never have. They are free to eat the meat and then blame the butcher.

    I don’t have that luxury. When you kill things for a living, you have no choice, you have to come to some kind of peace with it. I’ve told you how I do it, by respecting the beings that I kill, by seeing that I am no better and no different than what I kill, whether it’s a herring or a seal pup. Might not be the best way, but it’s what has worked for me. Hasn’t stopped me from killing, hasn’t turned me into a Vegan or a tree-hugger …

    … You still are totally free to think that it is necessary to protect the environment, or that it’s bad to beat a seal pup to death, but you have to be aware that these are human decisions.

    Where did I say it was wrong to kill seal pups?

    And of course these are human decisions. All I’m saying is that we need to be honest and thoughtful about both the immediate and indirect results of our human decisions, and not treat the death of a herring as somehow less than the death of a seal pup, or treat killing something as though it was the same as stacking bricks to make a wall.

  123. Nasif Nahle (18:06:58) :

    Most plants won’t grow. The success of a plant to survive under CO2 concentration stress depends on a sole adaptation. If the plant has it, good! If the plant doesn’t have it, well… it will not grow more than other plants.

    Some plants like Tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum L.) starts enhancing its growth under CO2 stress, but it declines its growth some weeks or months after the carbon dioxide in its environment was increased:

    Oh please…. Most plant won’t grow? And you just cherry picked a paper? Have you read the paper, BTW?

    Let me copy and paste just one sentence of the Abstract:

    Enrichment of atmospheric CO2 is a generally recognized technique of increasing growth rates.

    And of course it is. For 1 paper where you find no increment of growth you can find hundreds of papers proving that CO2 increments result in plant growth increments.

    Here are a few:

    http://www.co2science.org/subject/r/rubiscoag.php
    http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/dry/dry_subject_r.php

  124. Elizabeth (Canada) (19:22:52) : edit

    Wow, that is one ADORABLE little seal pup.

    Oh, very good, I busted out laughing …

  125. Please, less emotion, preaching, finger-pointing, and noble posturing on both sides of the climate debate. Let’s be honest for a moment: while we argue passionately about fur, fish or a few degrees Celsius, mankind is cheerfully overpopulating our way toward oblivion.

    Every single environmental issue originates in human population pressure. Until we seriously address this, the rest is just meaningless tinkering.

  126. igloowhite (19:11:09) :

    “Is it just me, or “what up with that” James Hansen and his April 5th post on Huffington Post , what the ??? “Obamas second chance?””

    Relax – it’s just another “product” produced by that great scientific team at NASA GISS – LOL!

  127. If you give yourself a classification, you get lumped in with the criticism of the group, which can cop nastly little pieces like this one:

    Exposed: green shoppers’ dirty little secrets
    GREEN consumers sometimes take the moral high ground – but it’s all too easy to slide back down. New research suggests that those who make “green” purchases are more likely to behave selfishly, cheat and steal afterwards.
    Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong of the University of Toronto in Canada presented students with simulated online stores. Half were given a store stocked mostly with “green” products – compact fluorescent lamps instead of incandescent light bulbs, for instance – to make it more likely that they would shop green. The other half were given a store stocked with mostly conventional products, and all the volunteers were told to spend up to $25.
    The students then did one of two tasks. One group was told to share $6 between themselves and another participant, Mazar and Zhong found that green shoppers in this group kept more for themselves than the others did {Psychological Science, DOI: 10.1177/0956797610363538).
    (More in original article)
    It’s unclear how far the moral glow of green shopping makes people feel it’s OK to cheat and steal in the real world. Still, moral “self-licensing” could explain the counterproductive results of some attempts to reduce environmental footprints, such as the recent finding that people in the UK who have made their homes more energy-efficient are more likely to turn up their heating or keep it on for longer. “New Scientist” 27 March 2010.

    (I thought that the Gore mansion syndrome had been known for longer than that).

  128. Jack Maloney (19:39:01) :

    Interestingly species which historically suffered catastrophic population reductions tend to compensate with catastrophic population growth, so the present human population explosion could be due to an underlying causation based on our past.

    Quite a few native peoples as well as our own societies, have accounts of earlier global catastrophic events that affected humanity, Aztecs, etc etc.

    Yet after Charles Lyell’s time 2 centuries ago, “civilised” man rejected that anything catastrophic ever happened to humanity in the past, but, and perhaps not so strangely, is presently obessing over a potential future climate catastrophe that’s going to affect everything.

    Velikovsky called it “mankind in amnesia” and it was his contention that as long as humanity kept denying our catastrophic past, then that well known pyschologically based suppression of the past will keep resurfacing into the present as humanity tries to relive that past in order to understand it.

    As a species we seem to be expecting another future catastrophe, hence the population explosion.

    I suggest that those interested study the http://www.thunderbolts.info site and see what progress has been made in the understanding of humanity’s past, and the physics behind the those earlier catastrophes which so many of us refuse to admit ever happened.

  129. Christoph Horst (18:38:49) said:

    “Animals don’t think in categories like that (to say nothing of plants). They don’t think at all. They don’t know the meaning of the word “category.” Or morals. They aren’t even indifferent to that kind of thing, because they don’t know what indifference is. They aren’t even aware of themselves.”

    This is stupidest thing I’ve read in many years. Clearly, Christopher, you know nothing about animals, and live in a day dream fostered by religion or some such. Animals DO think, they ARE aware of themselves, and those who live with humans demonstrate extraordinary abilities and awarenesses, including morals and ethics.

    Years ago I read an asinine book by some bible-thumper that claimed animals didn’t REALLY feel pain, and that what we perceived as suffering was nothing more than unconscious reflex actions. The author had to concoct this theory in order to reconcile his religion with the observable world, and to justify all those animal sacrifices in his religious textbook. Incidentally, this is the same argument put forward by human abortionists to spin away the obvious suffering of their human unborn victims.

    _____________________________
    Larry Sheldon (19:03:01) said:

    “For those of The Book, the key words are “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

    “There are responsibilities and duties in there and I accept them.”

    Larrry, IT’S A BOOK. It isn’t reality; it’s a collection of plagiarized tribal myths. To live your life by a story compendium and to base your treatment of other sentient beings on said compendium is beyond unconscionable. You are exactly the kind of person I was referring to in my original post. It isn’t your duty to reproduce yourself ad infinitum or to subdue and control all the other beings on this planet, and your acceptance of such an imaginary duty tells me you are far less evolved than the the poor animals you disparage. What an ego. So the Universe revolves around YOU, huh?

    I’ve spent most of life rescuing sentient, intelligent, self-conscious, but horribly abused and neglected, animals from people like you and Christopher. Every cent I have goes to veterinary care, most of which would never have been necessary if it weren’t for spiritual snobs of your kind who think themselves special, unique, superior, blah, blah, blah.

    Reply: Biblical references to humans’ relationships with non-humans will no longer be discussed, nor biblical reference to sentience or non-sentience. If you need to go down the path of sentience or consciousness discussions please discuss in terms of Behaviorism, ie Skinner. This is not a blog to debate religion. ~ ctm

  130. Jack:
    You are a neo-Malthusian. Malthus was wrong on the issues and so are you. The earth could support three times the current 6B if do-gooders did not convert grain to alcohol (instead of oil for the environment – what a joke) and began to distribute food properly. This attitude is the reason we slaughter babies for stem cells (another fraud, BTW) and push to euthanize the elderly by passive or active means. No prayers for these humans, I’ll wager. Neo-Malthusians are based in hatred of all living things, starting with humans. They are fundamentally racist elitists from their beginnings with Margaret Sanger and Mengele. Oh, the hypocrisy.

    My advice? For population control, why not volunteer?

  131. Thank you Mr. Eschenbach for writing this post! Though I am a daily “lurker” here on WUWT, I felt compelled to write a comment.

    I am not the standard WUWT reader. I am a 31 year old, female, skeptic, left leaning independent who’s former career included working on an oil rig as a geologist and cleaning up contaminated sites for reuse. I have seen environmental protests from the small scale to the large-a couple people with signs to a whole community of people with shot guns!

    In 5 years as a geologist, I saw protests beginning to change from peaceful and informational to violent and irrational. While I once considered myself an environmentalist, this shift has caused me to take a look at my views and actions and make changes as I did not want to be identified in the same breath as someone who would hurt someone else or destroy property to keep a tree from being cut down. I felt I was not doing enough good in this world and decided to end my geology career and become a science teacher at the middle school level to help young people challenge the accepted understanding of what science is and how they impact their surroundings.

    Mr. Eschenbach, thank you for giving a name to the actions and beliefs that I have made a part of my daily life. I am excited to say that I am a conservamentalist….ok, at the very least, I am glad you gave a name to what has given me peace at my roll here on Earth. By the way, I too talk to my plants when I am working in my garden and thank them for growing for me. I thought I was alone in that and, therefore, a little off of my rocker!

  132. Bryan: Fur seals, any seals for that matter harvested in Alaska are not wasted. This is considered a subsistence hunt and is closely controlled. Seal pelts, throats, teeth, and whiskers can be taken for arts and crafts purposes. These can then be sold by Alaska Natives. The seal is butchered and the meat harvested and eaten. When you have a choice between locally harvested meat and $15+ a pound frozen hamburger flown/barged in the word conservation has a slightly different meaning.

  133. Shona (13:24:19) wrote :
    “I am not a vegetarian because I don’t just love mammals. I also love leccuce and carrots, and they are living beings too.”

    That reminds me of a bit of political backlash that a hiking friend, Paula McMasters, embroidered onto her hat:
    “If you like plants, don’t eat them!”

  134. Phil M
    “In fact, what exactly is the point of this post? Besides the obvious recanting of your exploits in the fishing and timber industries?”

    Got me guessing Phil. What exactly has he recanted?

    As word meanings evolve, regional dialects emerge. I am not familiar with two meanings for “conservationist,” although I don’t doubt that you have encountered them. My own experience leads me to the following observations:
    Conservationists give us multiple-use.
    Environmentalists give us wilderness areas.

    Both are needed, but some environmentalists don’t seem to think so.

  135. hendrik (16:12:22) said :

    “Dear Willis,

    “I can completely agree with your reasoning. I am a biologist working (amongst others) with rats and mouses. I am doing reseach for cancer cures. I have killed at this moment about 2500 rats for my research. Does this make make a monster?

    “Without the type of research I am doing there would be not a single cure for cancer.

    “Sometimes I hope (in vain) that this message gets through into the nutcases that oppose this type of experimenting (before they are struck with cancer, that is).”

    Yes, it DOES make you a monster. Experiment on humans with cancer; they will let you, but do not inflict disease on innocent animals and then torture them in search of a cure.

    According to you, I’m a nut case. According to the Dalai Lama, I’m on the right track. You arrogance is amazing. You claim that without “the type of research” you are doing “there would be not a single cure for cancer.” Really? And how many millions upon millions of animals have been tortured and sacrificed for the supposed cures it has produced? Have YOU or your findings cured anyone of anything?

    [I’m deleting this rest of this. Ethics of medical research may be a valid topic, but when we get into terms such as “supposed cures”, dismissing modern medicine outright, the discussion is not a rational discussion. I’d probably lean against allowing much more of this. ~ ctm]

  136. I would like to point out that the updated image of the correct type of seal is that of a white-coat put. It has been illegal to hunt white-coat pups since 1987.

  137. Dave Springer,

    If you were more religious you would realise that the instructions in Genesis changed radically when God sent the flood and wiped out the natural riches that allowed an easy vegan diet. After the flood Noah’s descendants had different instructions.

  138. To summarize then …

    “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
    a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
    …”
    Ecclesiastes

  139. Juanslayton,

    wrong on both counts.

    BigGubmint TAKES this land from private citizens and charges us money to be allowed to enjoy a small part of it.

    Environmenalists use contributions to buy land to preserve from exploitation and then lease the mineral rights to buy more land.

    How long do you think it will be before normal citizens will not have access to any of this land at a price they can afford??

  140. Hi Willis. Interesting comment. Much of it resonates with me. I “talk” to plants and animals, etc. as well. I recycle — and do a sight better at this than several self-styled environmentalists who live nearby, judging from the number of recycling bins in front of my — versus their — houses, as well as garbage bags (my one per week versus their 10 or 12). I’m also a major scrounge, and never buy new when I can reuse, repair or restore. I also (until we learned it was meaningless) only bought EnergyStar and low-wattage bulbs.

    I will say, however, that your term “conservamentalism” doesn’t work for me. My first reaction was “conservationism + fundamentalism” — probably not what you mean. Indeed, almost exactly the opposite. It would make a nice pejorative label for Greenpeace, WWF and PETI sorts.

    How about “enviro-rationalism”? Or, something slightly less sterile, like “philonaturalogism”, which combines roots for “love of”, “nature” and “study of/rationality”? A term, I mean, whose root words imply that one is oriented to care about the health of the environment, but subsumes this love of nature to a rational outlook. This view is typified by many farmers and outdoorsmen. Last I looked, Ducks Unlimited (to name an example) was an “activist” organization with this type of philosophy. Now, please, nobody tell me that DU has bought the AGW stuff hook, line and sinker — if so hopefully it’s a barb-free hook :-) :-) — all I need is one more shattered illusion :-(

    Regarding your ongoing discussions with Mr. Fehr: It seems that the two of you are not as far apart in your philosophy as your debate would suggest. But I beg to differ with some of your statements about the pre-colonial natives. I won’t say “counting coups” didn’t happen; it evidently did in some places and contexts, but no true history of native warfare leads to the conclusion that they NORMALLY regarded “battles” as a variation on flag football. They played for keeps. Battles were their way of protecting territory against invaders and, at times, to strategically weaken tribal enemies, which in both cases meant killing, sometimes wiping out entire clans, kidnapping and raping, etc. It was not necessarily any more brutal than much that was going on in Europe at the time, but it was certainly not a peacenik’s paradise, and comparisons of which society was more brutal or destructive gets moot when we talk (in both cases) about slaughters of hundreds at a time, or (in the natives’ case) of driving thousands of buffalo over cliffs to feed a few dozen people for a couple of months, or the inuit habit of slaughtering enough elk to make mountains of bones, orders of magnitude beyond their collective needs in any given season.

    Yes, I agree the natives have given us much positive tradition to think about. I agree that “thanking the fish that gave it’s life” helps orient one correctly WRT nature. I do something similar. I regard GAIA-ism and animism repugnant, but in my way I offer thanks for what is received (I am a Christian; I thank my god and I pray for the welfare of nature, and that God who, according to Jesus, sees every sparrow that falls would care for even the animals that I kill and eat — and I only do so with profoundest respect for His creation). At the most basic level this is an important spiritual exercise, in whatever form it makes sense for each person. Far more repugnant to me is the notion that “exploiting” nature means to crash, burn and destroy out of self-interest with no thought to the larger issues or one’s place in the universe. Shooting squirrels (for example) for no reason other than it is fun, or pulling wings off flies, or torturing feral cats for entertainment. There’s no excuse, anyone who does this stuff is already damaged.

  141. peterhodges (17:47:04) :

    James Sexton (17:26:09) : Basic economics.

    well, basic economic theory anyway. unfortunately, it seems actual economics works more like i described it. i.e. tell John “Competition is a sin” Rockefeller or the folks who own the fed they are not true capitalists.

    while i agree with your sentiment, i guess i am saying that monopoly-capitalism as practiced today is incompatible with freedom

    Agreed, sort of. My apologies. I was on the phone for a protracted period of time conversing about American football. I’d have liked to responded more intelligently before I consumed so much beer. The connotation you tried to convey is true, sort of. Monopolies in themselves are not necessarily a bad thing. I know many will disagree with me, but it doesn’t make it not true. It is the abuse of a monopoly that is bad. (Rockafellers, to my knowledge, hold no monopoly.) In fact, I’m not sure there is a good example of a monopoly today in a capitalist society. Bell was one, but we broke that up for a more complex and expensive form of communication. It has been said that Bill Gates is a monopolist, but that’s only because we’re too lazy or stupid to be able to use an alternative form of an OS.(As I type this on a Vista infected machine.) Regardless of his fiscal morality, he’s done the world a huge favor. We would not have this wonderful forum today without the likes of MS, Intel, or IBM. All of whom have been accused of monopolistic behaviors, and yet, were integral in the advancement(maybe) of mankind. But those capitalistic ventures were created to make capital, not to control all aspects of mankind’s life. On the other hand, totalitarian communism or fascism……..both state sponsored control of life. Well, until we find a more perfect way, I’ll stick with capitalism. I prefer a Gates or Rockefeller over a Stalin or Pot any day.

  142. Blessing an animal for its sustenance is the best spirit a man can have. Willis, you are the best- Thankyou.

  143. Reply: Biblical references to humans’ relationships with non-humans will no longer be discussed, nor biblical reference to sentience or non-sentience. If you need to go down the path of sentience or consciousness discussions please discuss in terms of Behaviorism, ie Skinner. This is not a blog to debate religion. ~ ctm

    Anthony, you should have known it would go down this path. ctm, you should have jumped earlier.

    The reason why we call them animals, is because they’re NOT PEOPLE.

    Reply: There are multiple moderators. This is volunteer work. I’m not here all the time. Sometimes the food fight breaks out while I’m in the bathroom and I have to come back and be all adult ‘n stuff. ~ ctm

  144. By the way, I too talk to my plants when I am working in my garden and thank them for growing for me. I thought I was alone in that and, therefore, a little off of my rocker!

    You’re quite mad. But in a nice way.

  145. or provide a different thread/website? for those that wish to go down this path. For me, it isn’t why I’m here, but feel obliged to respond to the ignorant/condescending articulations. And……. I’m morally compelled according to my beliefs.

    Reply: Have fun. ~ ctm

  146. I don’t feel a bit guilty about being at the top of the food chain. I also don’t believe that man is the scourge of the earth. I can release into the wind every plastic food bag that I have every encountered and the difference to world is nothing compared to a single tornado. I declare myself inconsequential. Is there a government form that I can fill out that will release me from the bullshit?

  147. Too many comments to read at bedtime, but I must say “Conservamentalist” is an awkward locution.

    How about a simple “Conservator”? My dictionary widget defines it as, “A person responsible for the repair and preservation of works of art, buildings, or other things of cultural or environmental interest.”

    I’m not for ‘-ists’ any way. Years ago a friend named Todd Kelso, now gone, used to complain about ‘-isms’, claiming he was an ‘anti-ism-ist’.

    I wouldn’t mind being a conservator, and I think Willis is one, already.

    /Mr Lynn

  148. “The natives in North America always had a sustainable way of life and thanked every animal and the Earth for giving what they used or eat. They are the first Conservamentalists.”

    The prairies were fertile grounds for thousands of years, and when white folks went to the prairie, they turned it into a dusty heap in less than a century. That’s not some greenie hyperbole, that’s history.

  149. Christoph Horst (18:38:49) :
    The original sin committed by environmentalists and many others who bear warm feelings towards the environment is to impose human categories upon nature. Categories such as good, bad, deserving, “sustainable”, morals, worth, love… Animals don’t think in categories like that (to say nothing of plants). They don’t think at all.>>

    So certain are we? How many animals kill for sport? Besides humans, weasels. There are probably other examples… but not many. In summer, my dog likes to sleep on the lawn in the back yard. We have a local bird called a Grackle. They pick up pebbles off the road, fly to a tree branch, very carefully line up the shot… and drop it on the dog’s head. When one scores a direct hit, the whole bunch start cackling. Ever sit in a canoe on the lake watching a bear rip through your camp site? They are very good at taking the lids off of jars. I do not think anyone sat down with a bear and “showed them how”. Ever see a dog corner a racoon on a beach? The racoon will fight, but slowly retreat into the water. Once the racoon has suckered the dog in far enough it will climb abord the dog’s head and hold it under until it drowns (good thing for stupid dog he was over his head, but not over my head). I had the neighbour’s dog show up in my yard once, barking like crazy. Tried to shoo her away and she lunged at me, bit the bottom edge of my pant leg, and started dragging me. It was half a mile to the neighbour’s place and they weren’t home. There were some three month old puppies and one of them had it’s head stuck in a tin can. That dog knew she couldn’t help the puppy but that she could go and get someone who could. On a trout lake, loons will follow the fishermen about. When you try and release a small one, the loons come up from the below and take the fish right out of your hand, they know it is too exhausted to swim away and avoid them, and no one taught them that, they figured it out on their own.

    As a rule, animals don’t kill except to eat or in self defense. If that isn’t a sense of morals, I don’t know what is. They reason, they amuse themselves, they problem solve. No not to the extent that we do, but suggesting that they don’t think at all and aren’t self aware? Observation suggests otherwise.

  150. bubbagyro (20:08:43) : I was/am in total, complete agreement with you, really, until you stated “if do-gooders did not convert grain to alcohol”. Then I was taken aback. I coughed my beer on my shirt when I read it!!!! Obviously, you’ve disregarded Tom Jefferson’s thought, “Beer is proof God wants us to be happy.” And for you people across the pond, I believe there was a minister that asked about the inseparable idea of beer and Britannica, but I don’t recall the name, you’ll have to help me out.
    I’ve drank dandelion wine, and don’t wish to do it again. Like energy, we’ve an abundance of grain, all we have to do is to choose to have it. We’re no closer to “running out of resources” than when Adam first drew a breath. Go to the USGS to understand that we find more resources at an exponential rate. How it compares to our reproductive rate? IDK, but I know we’ll always find a way without having to engage in some ‘cide or another. Reality is always there, we just have to find it.

  151. “Biblical references to humans’ relationships with non-humans will no longer be discussed, nor biblical reference to sentience or non-sentience. If you need to go down the path of sentience or consciousness discussions please discuss in terms of Behaviorism, ie Skinner. This is not a blog to debate religion. ~ ctm”

    Bring it up with Larry. I don’t believe in the bible. As for sentience, who cares what Skinner had to say on the subject? This is 2010, and we’ve progressed.

    Editing out anything I’ve said that might strick someones conscience or ability to empathize with animals is interesting. Is this really what “science” has come down to? Defending ancient scientific truisms (“animals can’t think”), just to appear scientific?

    The religious posters attacking Eschenbach or trying to “correct” him are part of the subject at hand. If they’ve made religion an issue, how can we suddenly pretend otherwise? His own post strays into this area.

    Incidentally, are moderators supposed to judge letters based on their personal beliefs or on their relevance to the threads?

    Just wondering.

    Reply: Don’t take it personally because my inline response appeared in your comment. My response was for everyone involved. This means the end of the Biblical discussion even if you did not start it. Don’t get defensive. Nothing you said was deleted. ~ ctm

    Reply 2: Oops, I was mistaken, some of your medical testing comment was deleted. I was focused on the religion ones. Yeah well, moderation has a subjective side, and there are certain subjects we can decided are too inflammatory for a particular thread. I often censor comments I agree with because they could launch flame wars and off topic discussions. I did make a negative comment in your deletion, because you went from a potentially valid question to being completely dismissive of modern medicine. ~ ctm

  152. @Jack:
    ‘ “Environmentalist”

    ‘The word was demonized by the right wing scream team. They focus on the more obscure or radical types of environmentalists, and smear everyone else by comparison. Environmentalists cannot be countenanced because their faith that industry protects them is challenged by accusations of impiety, creating pollution and such. Environmentalists in this regard are the skeptics, the right wing scream team the believers.’

    Amen. For whatever reason, if you buy a hybrid car, or you buy perfume-free dryer sheets, or if you turn off your lights when you’re out of the room, you’re trying to destroy capitalism. Um, sorry, I didn’t realize it was my moral obligation to be wasteful, in order to help those poor billionaires in the energy sector get more of my money. I thought the money was mine, to spend as I saw fit…and I choose to conserve it. :-> The perfume-free dryer sheets are because the regular ones make me sick as a dog, and I try to cut back on the chemicals as much as possible because, ever since I was a teenager and got an overdose of a strong pesticide, loads of products set off the same dire reaction.

    Along those lines, have you noticed how many conservatively-minded folks out there talk a mean game about how they’re free to do as they wish and don’t want those darn “greenies” telling them how to live, but they seem awfully eager to tell everyone what they should eat, how they should get to and from work, who they should marry and what they should worship? If the majority weren’t so darned hypocritical I’d identify with the conservatives. I might, if they ever stop trying to run everyone else’s lives.

  153. “The prairies were fertile grounds for thousands of years, and when white folks went to the prairie, they turned it into a dusty heap in less than a century. That’s not some greenie hyperbole, that’s history.”

    There are more trees and green areas now than before “white folks” settled here. The Native American’s (Indians) moved from site to site, spoiling everything in their path. They only took because it never occurred to them to give back. The environment was saved because Native American’s were not very successful at population growth. THAT’S history.

  154. regeya (21:20:36) :

    “The natives in North America always had a sustainable way of life and thanked every animal and the Earth for giving what they used or eat. They are the first Conservamentalists.”

    The prairies were fertile grounds for thousands of years, and when white folks went to the prairie, they turned it into a dusty heap in less than a century. That’s not some greenie hyperbole, that’s history.

    Nice fictional history. Lewis and Clark’s expedition described it as a “vast wasteland.” You been by Kansas lately? The bread on your big mac? Where do you think that came from? Right now would be a good time for you to pop by. Come see the “dusty heap” now. We provide much of the food you’re eating. What the heck our you people smoking? READ SOMETHING MORE USEFUL THAN A COMIC BOOK!!!!

  155. Sorry.

    I really and truly did not mean to trip a religion alarm–I was looking for a way to make the point.

    Which is this:

    For some reason (whose nature I am willing to leave to individuals) we humans wound up in charge here.

    There is no mandate to eradicate humans to protect the snail darter.

    If the humans didn’t get the seals, the polar bears would.

    If the humans didn’t get the fish, the whales would.

    That’s the way the system works.

    And part of my point was that they way the system works involves responsibilities and duties 0n me and my kind.

    I don’t fish unless I am hungry.

    Hanging deer heads on the wall and throwing the rest in the garbage (or putting it in the freezer until it is too old to eat and then putting it in the garbage) is, I think, just wrong.

    I do not endorse waste of resources of any kind (including letting oil seep out of the earth and float away like it does in the sea off of California).

  156. regeya (21:20:36) :

    “The natives in North America always had a sustainable way of life and thanked every animal and the Earth for giving what they used or eat. They are the first Conservamentalists.”

    The prairies were fertile grounds for thousands of years, and when white folks went to the prairie, they turned it into a dusty heap in less than a century. That’s not some greenie hyperbole, that’s history.

    I live on the prairies. It is most certainly NOT a dusty heap.

    European style farming generated an absolutely massive food growing capability. Unfortunately the combination of pioneer attitude and European methods got a bit out of hand, and there were some issues in the 30s.

    But “we” (humans) adapt. The prairies ARE sustainable, sustaining, and in no danger (unless CO2 bans make it difficult to create proper fertilizers, which is NOT hyperbole but a frightening possibility).

    The prairies were not fertile before. Grasslands are typically only one step short of desert, and in fact there are desert areas on the prairies.

  157. davidmhoffer (21:24:49) : How many animals kill for sport?

    You, uhmm, ever watched a cat and a mouse? Most cats don’t actually eat the mouse, they play with it to death. I had a curr dog once. Dad bought a bunch of chicks to raise for the year. Came home from church one day and had 50 bright yellow and red spots all over our lawn. None ate, just dead. Oddly, dog died of lead poisoning an hour later.
    Do you people ever really know what your talking about? Do you ever really observe their behavior? Do you know what bull bovines do on occasion do to the people that care for them? Deer? Raccoons? “Other examples”????? R U kidding me? You ever drag bodies that were killed by mountain lions home? Because the bodies were moved affirms they weren’t ate. Nor were they armed. Animals kill. It’s not good nor bad, that’s just what they do. There’s no psychology about it, it is their nature.
    I’ve a black lab. I love the guy. He has a great demeanor and I wouldn’t part with him for love nor money. But he’s an animal. His life is in no way comparable to the life of a human. Any human. Its an apple and orange comparison that shouldn’t even be attempted to be made. It is obscene to even try to draw a comparison.

  158. Calling the locals “Indians” was OK by me, because it was the result of a typical bozo European mistake and kinda funny that way. But that’s just me, I can see how being mistaken for someone from another continent might rankle a man. Plus people always gotta ask “You mean Indian with a dot or Indian with a feather”, that could get old real fast.

    They call themselves “indians”, so I go with it. All the signs for their reservations put up by them signify “indian”. I agree that “native american” doesn’t do it. I was born here, so I’m a native American.

  159. Urederra (19:30:34) :

    Oh please…. Most plant won’t grow? And you just cherry picked a paper? Have you read the paper, BTW?

    You could assure that for a single species (what it is real cherry picking), not for all plant species. :)

    http://www.pnas.org/content/104/37/14724.full.pdf
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/327/5973/1642

    Read any book on plant physiology. You will see that there is a big difference among C3, C4 and CAM photosynthesis on taking and using the carbon dioxide when it is at of high concentrations, so in the air as in the water.

  160. The major difference between a conservationist and a environmentalist, is the first understands he/she is preserving “nature” for the benefit of others humans while an environmentailist is preserving “nature” for some obscure philosphy and/or some equally obscure nature god.

    Environmentalist is an epithet because many self-described environmentalists wrap themselves in the cloak of “science” but are totally dogmatic in their belief structure. While Al Gore is the charlatan face of the AGW crowd, it is the scientists in government and academia who have knowingly made the term environmentalism profane in order to gain more grants or fleeting fame.

    Stick with the term conservationist – it denotes a respect for life and that humans are atop the food chain.

  161. Reply: Have fun. ~ ctm

    Uhmm, yeh, thanks. That was a hoot. :D. The first headline I saw was asking “What is your vision of a perfect mate?”…………..With the beer in me and all, well, criminey ……………….hahaahahahahaha…..

  162. KCT in MN (20:16:17)

    Thank you Mr. Eschenbach for writing this post! Though I am a daily “lurker” here on WUWT, I felt compelled to write a comment.

    I am not the standard WUWT reader. I am a 31 year old, female, skeptic, left leaning independent who’s former career included working on an oil rig as a geologist and cleaning up contaminated sites for reuse. I have seen environmental protests from the small scale to the large-a couple people with signs to a whole community of people with shot guns!

    … [much good stuff snipped] …

    KCT, thank you for a very inspiring story about your life, much appreciated.

    w.

  163. Gary Mount (20:31:54)

    I would like to point out that the updated image of the correct type of seal is that of a white-coat pup. It has been illegal to hunt white-coat pups since 1987.

    My point exactly. If you have bunny-eyes you get legal protection … and meanwhile, the PETH* can’t get any traction at all …

    w.

    * PETH – People for the Ethical Treatment of Herring

  164. ctm said . . .

    “Don’t take it personally because my inline response appeared in your comment. My response was for everyone involved. This means the end of the Biblical discussion even if you did not start it. Don’t get defensive. Nothing you said was deleted.”

    Please note your own words added to my comment at 20:29:30

    “[I’m deleting this rest of this. Ethics of medical research may be a valid topic, but when we get into terms such as “supposed cures”, dismissing modern medicine outright, the discussion is not a rational discussion. I’d probably lean against allowing much more of this. ~ ctm]”

    And you did delete it.

    [[Reply: Yes when I realized I was dealing with the same person on two different issues and went back and put in an update, hours before I saw this comment. ~ctm]]

    It was a perfectly reasonable comment and question, intended to encourage “hendrik” to think about what he was doing.

    I appreciate your response, above, but I think “hendrick” (or, more accurately, the unfortunate animals he experiments on) might have benefited from what I had to say.

    [[and I don’t which is why I am now deleting your similar words for a second time. I will paraphrase for you. You think medical research on animals is evil and never produces any discoveries or medical procedure of value and hendrick is a bad person. New comments noted with dual brackets. ~ ctm]]

  165. Willis,

    You are right on with this post.

    I have noticed from reading this blog that you are a sort of lightning rod for the assorted and varied views on AGW and it’s implications or lack thereof.

    Hello Phil M and please feel welcome here as I respect your conflicting views as posted here as valuable arguments in this important and crucial topic.

    Now as for conservamentalism as you call it, let’s not forget humanism. I bring this up because of the disturbing consequences suggested by environmentalism, that is, that being human and pursuing human interests we are manifestly destroying planet earth. We are not destroying planet earth. CO2 is not destroying planet earth. Planet earth is doing fine.

    Let’s keep the debate focused on humanity and how we can all pull together and get everyone on the planet up to the same level of wealth and freedom shared by us on this blog.

  166. regeya (21:32:46) :

    “Amen. For whatever reason, if you buy a hybrid car, or you buy perfume-free dryer sheets, or if you turn off your lights when you’re out of the room, you’re trying to destroy capitalism. Um, sorry, I didn’t realize it was my moral obligation to be wasteful, in order to help those poor billionaires in the energy sector get more of my money. I thought the money was mine, to spend as I saw fit…and I choose to conserve it.
    Along those lines, have you noticed how many conservatively-minded folks out there talk a mean game about how they’re free to do as they wish and don’t want those darn “greenies” telling them how to live, but they seem awfully eager to tell everyone what they should eat, how they should get to and from work, who they should marry and what they should worship? If the majority weren’t so darned hypocritical I’d identify with the conservatives. I might, if they ever stop trying to run everyone else’s lives.”

    Uhmm, out of curiosity, what is it that the conservatives are telling you to eat? The reason I ask, is that I’m a card carrying conservative, and I don’t remember the memo. How you go to work? We’d just be happy if you did!!! Most of us would just love it if you did recognize some being to worship, much less what.

    I don’t mean to pick on you, but this one, I really don’t get. “or if you turn off your lights when you’re out of the room, you’re trying to destroy capitalism…”. I guess I don’t understand your understanding of “conservative”. I don’t know a person that advocates you leaving the lights on if you leave the room. In fact, I’d encourage you to turn them off. It is reasonable and sensible, to do so.
    Sis, I WORK FOR AN ELECTRIC COMPANY, and there is no one in my company nor any electric company that I know of that wishes you to waste energy in that manner. Not even the IOU’s (Independently Owned Utilities) Further, If there is someone who actually tells you that turning off your light while you’re not in the room is detrimental in any way, please understand, that isn’t conservatism, that’s liberal use of electricity. And, we all know liberal anything is discouraged.

  167. James Sexton (21:57:55) :
    davidmhoffer (21:24:49) : How many animals kill for sport?
    You, uhmm, ever watched a cat and a mouse?>>

    Yes I have, another exception. And I have paid personally with my entire summer’s wages when I was in high school because MY dog killed 200 chickens at my neighbour’s place. Instead of KILLING her, I tied a dead chicken to her collar for three weeks. Yes it stank, and she never played with chickens again, which is what she was doing, not intentionaly killing them. Your dog got “lead poisoning” because it was PLAYING with the chicks and didn’t understand it was killing them. The dog was PLAYING and took a bullet to the head because you didn’t understand that is what happened and couldn’t be bothered to train the dog not to do it anymore? And you call ME down? And yes I know what bull bovines can do. They can become very agressive when they feel threatened and they can do a lot of damage, but they are reacting out of fear or anger. Have you ever broken up a bull fight? You go on horseback because the horse is smart enough to help you break up the fight and keep you and him safe. You don’t go on a motorcycle. I know someone who did. The funeral was three days later. You don’t even go in a half ton truck. You would be amazed what an enraged 2800 pount Charlois bull can do to a truck. If you approach an enraged animal, it is taking out its fury (and fear) on what ever is nearby. And yes, mountain lions will kill. So will bears. They are territorial, and like humans, will defend it, and will attack if they feel threatened. That is not the same as killing for sport.

    I never said humans and animals were equivelant. I said the notion that they can’t think, and aren’t self aware was wrong. Nor is it the same for all animals. There’s a big difference in cognitave function between a rat, a monkey and a herring.

  168. Whilst Willis Eisenbach makes some good points in his latest contribution methinks he did a much better job of demolishing the CAGW nonsense. I don’t think– as already pointed out by others — that the term conservamentalist will ever catch on. It is a far too awkward six syllable word.
    I don’t think the idea of the earlier inhabitants in North America being concerned for the environment has any real substance to it. As Alexander Feht points out the true facts tell a very different story. So forget about this noble savage nonsense and leave it in the hands of long gone and much deluded Rousseau.
    Whether you are a conservementalist or conservative-minded or what have you there is much that we do to the environment which is inexcusable such as deep sea trawling, flooding the oceans with plastic and using really bad tree harvesting methods (which Willis so clearly describes). And the real tragedy of the AGW scam is that it has placed so much emphasis on phony global warming which it dishonestly refers to as “climate change” that all other aspects of environmental damage have been forced to take a back seat. Labelling CO2 a pollutant is probably the most dishonest aspect of the story with untold deleterious consequences.
    I am truly surprised that in this discussion of the need to be thoughtful about the way we treat other living animals and plants no one seems to have mentioned the worst thing we humans have done, to planet Earth or Gaia or whatever you want to call it, is to overpopulate our home. Nothing can or will come right unless and until we bring population growth to a complete halt.

  169. @ Christopher Horst

    Imagine having a conversation about morals with Adolf Hitler. Quite frankly I trust my dogs to make moral choices superior to that of many humans. It’s all a matter of how they’re raised whether human animals or non-human animals. My dogs don’t kill living things they but rather, like me, protect living things and they make very well reasoned choices on when, where, and how to do it well outside their previous experience or training. Humans are animals and run the gamut in moral character from Mahatma Ghandi to Genghis Khan. I’m not really aware of any non-human mammal so adept and willing to kill their own kind. Dogs don’t torture other living things unless some sadistic human taught them to do it but humans will not only torture a dog they’ll torture other humans. Tell me again which is the moral animal?

    I admire Willis’ awareness of taking the lives of other living things. The apologies to trees are to keep him aware of his actions not to make the tree feel better about it. Apologizing to whatever is being harvested is traditional in many native American cultures although as far as I know the Aztecs didn’t apologize to the victims of their mass ritual human sacrifices so it isn’t by any stretch of the imagination a universal practice in native American culture. I don’t mean to single out meso-Americans. History is replete with examples of human atrocity. The games and spectacles in the Roman Colosseum come to mind. Humans murdering humans, animals killing animals, animals killing humans were entertainment for 50,000 screaming grinning spectators who flocked to see it. Have some moral conversations with those folks and you’d find yourself a member of the cast instead of the audience.

  170. April E. Coggins (21:16:11)

    I don’t feel a bit guilty about being at the top of the food chain. I also don’t believe that man is the scourge of the earth. I can release into the wind every plastic food bag that I have every encountered and the difference to world is nothing compared to a single tornado. I declare myself inconsequential. Is there a government form that I can fill out that will release me from the bullshit?

    The problem with that theory is that one person dumping junk into a big river makes no difference. When an entire city full of people do it, it makes a big difference. So even though one person’s actions are not consequential, that doesn’t absolve us from personal responsibility. I had a real hard time with that one myself, because I grew up on a cattle ranch in the middle of miles of forest. Regarding my habits, I figured “Good enough for Daniel Boone, good enough for me.”

    But one day I realized that when a million or so Danny Boone Juniors live together, they simply can’t live the way Daniel Boone lived. One person can throw a plastic bag in the air, sure, no problem. But when a million people do it, it’s an ugly plastic blizzard …

  171. Urederra (19:30:34) :

    For example, some C3 plants would enhance their growth at high concentration of CO2, but almost all C4 plants would not take advantage of the same condition. Actually, many C3 plants won’t be benefited by the high concentration of CO2 if they lack of an efficient symbiotic mechanisms with microorganisms which fix the N from the soil. CAM plants growth enhancement is barely 12% and stops its enhanced growth when photosynthesis stabilizes. The latter happens also to C3 plants and those few C4 plants which enhance their growth at merely 21%.

    We cannot deduce from experiments over few species that all plants benefit from high concentrations of CO2. The same happens with temperature, light, water, etc. Excessive exposition to light, for example, directly damages the plants.

  172. “These are the cries of the carrots. You see… to us today is harvest day, but to them it is the holocaust”

    Great sentiment here Willis. Thank you

  173. Al Gore’s Holy Hologram (12:43:28)

    I think you missed the point.

    When they want to control you…they are Fascists!

  174. regeya (21:20:36)

    “The natives in North America always had a sustainable way of life and thanked every animal and the Earth for giving what they used or eat. They are the first Conservamentalists.”

    The prairies were fertile grounds for thousands of years, and when white folks went to the prairie, they turned it into a dusty heap in less than a century. That’s not some greenie hyperbole, that’s history.

    Dusty heap? Say what? That’s some of the most productive farmland known. The prairies are still, to use your term, “fertile ground”. I fear the hyperbole is on your side.

    Here’s a related curiosity. One of the less known stories of the prairies is that the Early Asian Immigrants didn’t live much on the prairies until the coming of the Europeans. This was because buffalo are very hard and very dangerous to kill if you are on foot. It wasn’t until the locals had enough escaped or stolen horses to be able to use mounted attacks against the herds that people could make a full-time living on the prairies. History is weird …

  175. I have no problem with conservation or protection of the environment. I do have a problem with people who have co-opted those imperatives into something called “environmentalism” whose aims fundamentally oppose economic behaviours which actually protect and conserve the environment.

    Like liberalism, which has in the Western world has been co-opted by an extremist political position that is fundamentally illiberal and irrational, environmental concern has been taken over by eco-apocalyptism and Bolshevist beliefs that are fundamentally anti-human, anti-science and anti-progress and will inevitably lead to environmental degradation and destruction as we found when the Berlin Wall fell 21 years ago.

    I also find that those most taken by eco-alarmism are those least likely to have experienced what they propose for others: subsistance agriculture and grinding economic poverty.

    I’m with Willis on these particular issues (but when he talks nonsense I say so). Perhaps we can forge a new consensus.

  176. @JamesSexton

    You’re right that humans are in a separate category. We are by far the most sadistic creatures on the planet and there is simply no equivalent category of critters that practice the killing of their own kind in such great numbers and constantly increasing efficiency. Sticks and stones, then bows and arrows, then rifles and grenades, then tanks and bomber aircraft, then nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons of mass destruction. Unlike you I’m not beaming with pride about how special we are. I’m rather sad about it and a bit frightened that we’ll be the cause of our own near-term extinction. There’s a good reason we’re a single-species genus and the same reason might soon make us a zero-species genus.

    “Our age is one of guided missiles and unguided men.” ~Martin Luther King

    Truer words were never spoken.

  177. Willis Eschenbach (22:43:22) :

    April E. Coggins (21:16:11)

    I don’t feel a bit guilty about being at the top of the food chain. …..

    The problem with that theory is that one person dumping junk into a big river makes no difference. …….
    But one day I realized that when a million or so Danny Boone Juniors live together,……. it’s an ugly plastic blizzard …
    (Abbreviated for brevity, not significance.)

    Of course, you’re right. OTOH, if one thinks about it properly, if we took it out of the land, it should go back in the land. If we are raping the land as some have indicted here, then it stands to reason that we should put it back. Sequestering our waste, obviously, is a failed perspective. Given that man does not create, but only modifies, and given that everything degenerates, April isn’t too far off. Plastics are problematic, but most else is better served on the ground.
    Heh, I’ve got to go to work early tomorrow, but this has almost been a hoot.

    Willis, I don’t think you intended all of this, but maybe you did. Some could perceive this as divisive in nature. I find it comforting to see so many people of diverse mindsets, here because of the obscene bastardization of naturalism created by the CAGW alarmists. We’ll work the rest out later, but for now, we’ve more important things to set straight.

    Cheers to all.

  178. Susan C. (12:57:10) : “Arctic harp seal pups are the species hunted on the east coast of Canada that draw lots of protest.”

    It is true seal hunt protests centre around images of the seal pup; however, the fact remains seal pups (Whitecoats and Bluebacks) have not been legally harvested in Canada since 1987. Only self-reliant and independent seals are harvested during Canada’s seal hunt. Harp, hooded, grey, ringed, bearded and harbour seals are the six species of seal harvested during the Canadian seal hunt.

    Sources:

    http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/seal-phoque/myth-eng.htm#_04

    http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/fm-gp/seal-phoque/faq-eng.htm#_2

  179. A few years ago I would have proudly described myself as an environmentalist. Sadly, I have become very sceptical of much of what passes for environmentalism these days. This to me is one of the worst effects of the “climate change” movement – environmentalism has become a bit of a dirty word. In the past few days we have seen evidence of what was once a shining example of concern for the environment – Greenpeace – turning into yet another bunch of “climate change” extremists.

    The obsession with CO2 has distracted attention from good old-fashioned environmental causes. We are told that measures to limit CO2 will have positive effects on other environmental problems, but I think it is more likely to be the other way around – if we deal with the immediate, tangible problems, such as deforestation and loss of habitat, this will do more to help regulate climate than any pointless, futile attempts to limit CO2.

  180. “… I killed millions of creatures and was ignored…”

    Don’t concern yourself Willis, Fish were reclassified as vegatables a long time ago, ask any vegatarian, they will reassure you.

  181. @ vboring (12:39:31) :

    “I’m a science-based environmentalist with socialist and vegan leanings.

    That is why climate change pisses me off. It distracts from humanity’s real problems.”

    Vboring, there is no joined-up logic in your statement – in fact the more I read it, the less sense it makes. Furthermore, I would suggest that as a socialist you ARE humanity’s real problem.

  182. James Sexton (21:57:55) wrote:

    “You, uhmm, ever watched a cat and a mouse? Most cats don’t actually eat the mouse, they play with it to death. I had a curr dog once. Dad bought a bunch of chicks to raise for the year. Came home from church one day and had 50 bright yellow and red spots all over our lawn. None ate, just dead. Oddly, dog died of lead poisoning an hour later.

    “Do you people ever really know what your talking about? Do you ever really observe their behavior? Do you know what bull bovines do on occasion do to the people that care for them? Deer? Raccoons? “Other examples”????? R U kidding me? You ever drag bodies that were killed by mountain lions home? Because the bodies were moved affirms they weren’t ate. Nor were they armed. Animals kill. It’s not good nor bad, that’s just what they do. There’s no psychology about it, it is their nature.

    “I’ve a black lab. I love the guy. He has a great demeanor and I wouldn’t part with him for love nor money. But he’s an animal. His life is in no way comparable to the life of a human. Any human. Its an apple and orange comparison that shouldn’t even be attempted to be made. It is obscene to even try to draw a comparison.”

    Obscene to draw a comparison? Says who, what, where, where, and why? Your letter is ungrammatical, so I doubt you are particularly well-read on animal psychology or anything, for that matter. And how do you know your dog died of lead poisoning? Did you have a necropsy performed? Did it occur to you that perhaps your dog was just playing with the chicks, unaware that he (she) was hurting them in the process? Dogs do the same thing with socks, shoes, and all kinds of things on the ground.

    I feel sorry for your current black lab. To have a human who regards one as an inferior being is awfully sad. The fact that you think comparing his life to YOURS is obscene tells me how highly you think of yourself.

    I would give my life for any of my creatures. As the person responsible for them, I am supposed to place their well-being above my own. When you love someone, that’s what you do. If you think you’re superior to the other, it isn’t love. I don’t know what it is. But, it sucks.

  183. Willis Eschenbach (22:52:21) :
    regeya (21:20:36)
    “The natives in North America always had a sustainable way of life and thanked every animal and the Earth for giving what they used or eat. They are the first Conservamentalists.”

    Here’s a related curiosity. One of the less known stories of the prairies is that the Early Asian Immigrants didn’t live much on the prairies until the coming of the Europeans. This was because buffalo are very hard and very dangerous to kill if you are on foot.

    The Early Asian Immigrants *did* “hunt” buffalo on foot — they’d stampede a herd over the edge of a precipice.

    Fifty to a hundred dead and crippled buffalo in a heap at the bottom of a cliff provided a lot of meat, hides, and sinew at a very low risk to the hunters — and provided a lot of leftovers for scavengers.

  184. davidmhoffer (21:24:49) :

    As a rule, animals don’t kill except to eat or in self defense. If that isn’t a sense of morals, I don’t know what is.

    Morals have nothing to do with wild animals generally not killing for sport.

    Think about it: killing for sport uses energy, thus requiring more killing for food, which depletes the food source and further exposes the animal to the risks to it of making the kill, as well as consuming precious time obviously better used toward basic survival hunting – where in a balanced relationship between predator and prey, the situation usually requires it; killing for sport also further exposes such an animal to its own predators as well as to injury, again. An injured wild animal is a dead animal.

    In general, it doesn’t make survivalistic sense for animals to kill for sport, and that’s all there is to it, not “morals” or “choices”.

  185. regeya (21:32:46) :

    @Jack:
    ‘ “Environmentalist”

    ‘The word was demonized by the right wing scream team.

    […]

    Amen.

    Right, the “right wing scream team” caused every “Environmentalist” organization I’ve heard of to essentially make Environmentalism’s chief cause the CAGW hoax.

    But a few years ago one Environmentalist had already told me that I couldn’t call myself an “Environmentalist” because I didn’t want to tear down all the dams on the Columbia and Snake Rivers to “save the Salmon”, which is a gigantic fiasco as is. That after I’d purchased 200 acres of land 30+ years prior, situated almost entirely within a legal Wilderness, partially to preserve it from development or commercialization and later took him on as a partner!

    I guess the “right wing scream team” must have finally got to me./sarc.

  186. magicjava (16:05:32) :

    Great video.

    Biofuels are a farce. And palm oil is particularly pernicious.

    I hope we can stop the palm oil parade before all those species are extinct.

    There is no need for palm oil for biofuels.

    There is plenty of oil and will be.

    Oil companies play along with the biofuels scam to score “green” points with the public, but their preference is to produce hydrocarbons from oil wells.

  187. Willis, another keeper :-) I’ve always been taken by an aphorism I read in a magazine once many years ago: “There is but one sin — disrespect for life”.

  188. Nothing wrong in talking to trees. I talk to my choc Labrador all the time, it’s only when he answers me back that I have a problem!

  189. Bill Tuttle (01:05:33)

    Willis Eschenbach (22:52:21) :

    Here’s a related curiosity. One of the less known stories of the prairies is that the Early Asian Immigrants didn’t live much on the prairies until the coming of the Europeans. This was because buffalo are very hard and very dangerous to kill if you are on foot.

    The Early Asian Immigrants *did* “hunt” buffalo on foot — they’d stampede a herd over the edge of a precipice.

    Fifty to a hundred dead and crippled buffalo in a heap at the bottom of a cliff provided a lot of meat, hides, and sinew at a very low risk to the hunters — and provided a lot of leftovers for scavengers.

    True, except for the part about the leftovers, the Early Asian Immigrants didn’t leave many.

    However, since the buffalo herds were always on the move, you couldn’t build a lifestyle around hunting them that way. Once horses were available, the tribes could (and did) follow the herds in their wandering, and build a life around them.

  190. @ John A: “I also find that those most taken by eco-alarmism are those least likely to have experienced what they propose for others: subsistance agriculture and grinding economic poverty.”

    The first part’s correct, but I’m not so sure about the “grinding economic poverty” bit, at least in Western society. When my wife and I took up subsistence farming (organic) in the early 80s, we were indeed *economically* impoverished, but we had lots of gourmet food, more than passable wine and beer far better than you could buy. (Guests used to bring the storebought stuff and leave it for me to drink!)

    She Who Must Be Obeyed said on one memorable occasion: “I wonder what the poor rich people are having to eat tonight.”

    Actually, I think there’s an easy way to tell the difference between eco-weenies and the conservamentalists: humour.

  191. @ Dave Springer (15:39:59) :

    “There’s a difference in kind between eating a soy bean and eating a steer.”

    There sure is! Where I live (Tasmania) soy beans mostly come from Asia. The steers eat the grass outside my back door. Their manure grows my vegetables.

    So if I eat imported beans trucked here from overseas and buy my vegetables at the supermarket I’m saving the planet. But the planet is doomed because I prefer to eat what I can grow locally. Hmmmmmm….

  192. Animal consciousness:

    “Animal behaviour expert Dr Bekoff, of the University of Colorado had an encounter with four magpies alongside a magpie corpse as proof that animals have a ‘moral intelligence’. Birds such as this yellow-billed magpie may have a more sympathetic side to their character than their notoriously harsh image

    ‘One approached the corpse, gently pecked at it, just as an elephant would nose the carcass of another elephant, and stepped back,’ he said. ‘Another magpie did the same thing.

    Next, one of the magpies flew off, brought back some grass and laid it by the corpse. Another magpie did the same. Then all four stood vigil for a few seconds and one by one flew off.’

    After publishing an account of the funeral he received emails from people who had seen the same ritual in magpies, ravens and crows.

    ‘We can’t know what they were actually thinking or feeling, but reading their action there’s no reason not to believe these birds were saying a magpie farewell to their friend,’ he writes in the journal Emotion, Space and Society.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1221754/Magpies-grieve-dead-turn-funerals.html

  193. kuhnkat (20:32:34) :

    Dave Springer,

    If you were more religious you would realise that the instructions in Genesis changed radically when God sent the flood and wiped out the natural riches that allowed an easy vegan diet. After the flood Noah’s descendants had different instructions.

    Maybe God thought the vegan experiment had been a failure.:-)
    ——–

    Where I live we have an avian problem. These Green Woodpeckers are destructive little buggers! Tearing anthills apart, exposing bare earth to rain and wind causing erosion. And all to feed their greed. And for this, murdering millions of innocent ants. I can’t see why these evil birds can’t become vegetarian, like Dr. Pachauri. After all the latest research (based on computer modelling designed by climatologists) proves that meat, when not eaten, lives forever. And they breathe out CO2. And they don’t even have the decency to be furry; they’re covered in feathers. FUR GOOD: FEATHERS BAD! FUR GOOD: FEATHERS BAD!

  194. Willis Eschenbach (02:23:18) :
    Bill Tuttle (01:05:33)
    True, except for the part about the leftovers, the Early Asian Immigrants didn’t leave many.

    They left enough to make 20-foot-high walls of bones and skulls at some of the sites, and the buffs, being creatures of habit and instinct, returned to the same sites — with predictable results.

    However, since the buffalo herds were always on the move, you couldn’t build a lifestyle around hunting them that way. Once horses were available, the tribes could (and did) follow the herds in their wandering, and build a life around them.

    Right you are. The sites of the “buffalo jumps” were mostly in the northern portions of the plains, or along the Missouri where the river carved steep bluffs. The horse not only untied the Plains Tribes from highly-localized hunting areas, but allowed them to become world-class light cavalry.

  195. Phil M:

    “I don’t elevate some mythical “Nature” above humans”

    Are you arguing that all self-described environmentalists or conservationists ARE doing this?”

    All, I’m certain not. A large number? Absolutely yes.

    When big wigs in the community can say with a straight face that the population of earth needs to decrease in order to be sustained, that’s putting “nature” above humans.

    “http://www.npg.org/forum_series/sus_econ_91.htm
    But to create such a sustainable economy would be impossible without a smaller world population than the 3.8 billion existing in 1972 when NPG was founded.”

    “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overpopulation
    n a study titled Food, Land, Population and the U.S. Economy, David Pimentel, professor of ecology and agriculture at Cornell University, and Mario Giampietro, senior researcher at the US National Research Institute on Food and Nutrition (INRAN), estimate the maximum U.S. population for a sustainable economy at 200 million. According to this theory, in order to achieve a sustainable economy and avert disaster, the United States would have to reduce its population by at least one-third, and world population would have to be reduced by two-thirds.[23

    On the other hand, some researchers, such as Julian Simon and Bjorn Lomborg believe that resources exist for further population growth. However, critics warn, this will be at a high cost to the Earth: “the technological optimists are probably correct in claiming that overall world food production can be increased substantially over the next few decades…[however] the environmental cost of what Paul R. and Anne H. Ehrlich describe as ‘turning the Earth into a giant human feedlot’ could be severe. A large expansion of agriculture to provide growing populations with improved diets is likely to lead to further deforestation, loss of species, soil erosion, and pollution from pesticides and fertilizer runoff as farming intensifies and new land is brought into production.”[37] Since we are intimately dependent upon the living systems of the Earth,[38][39][40] some scientists have questioned the wisdom of further expansion.[41]
    ]”

    When Willis declares that he isn’t one of these people, he’s declaring that he isn’t one of these people, not that every Leftie IS. You know that.

  196. The “white coat” in the amended photo isn’t quite right either – they don’t get clubbed that young in Canada.

    And, for the record, some people *do* eat the seal meat. Heck, if I could find it at my grocery store, I’d buy some in a minute…

  197. Anton wrote: “And how do you know your dog died of lead poisoning?”

    I think that one just sailed right over your head. I’d be willing to bet that there was no doubt whatsover.

  198. I think that’s a brilliant post/article. Reminds me of something I’d read.

    “We must forgive each other our arising, for our existence always torments others. The golden rule in the midst of this mutual misery has always been, not to do no harm, but as little as possible; and not to love one another, but as much as you can.” — Ken Wilber

    Believing a fairytale that we can live without causing harm somewhere is more damaging that simply looking at reality and asking how our means and technology can be used to reduce suffering. The Vegetarian Myth is interesting reading in that light, along with Paleo-diets. The question is whether these things are broadly correct, and then we can, calculate the relative levels of suffering.

    Speaking of technology, I look forward to the day when food products come packaged with RFID chips so I can view a detailed history of their production on my tablet reader whilst walking past them in the market.

  199. When you boil Fat Albert’s message down to it’s lowest common demominator (luv’ mixed metaphores) it’s all about population and how that population operates on this “beautiful blue marble” in the middle of this fantastic universe.

    For them, Nature and its limited resources and beauty take precidence over people –especially those second and third world people who don’t know how to do anything except make too many copies of themselves. If you think he and his gang ‘care’ about humanity you’re sniffin’ too much glue or need some stronger specs to read between the lines.

    The pure, wonderful, beautiful, brilliant campaign called “Climate Change” (I thought climate did change?) or AGW is only a means to an end, they (the organizers) couldn’t care less about the expense or the end impact on countries, industries, economies, or our way of life (civilization). They want to start over. They want to “really” start over and create Utopia.

    To create their new, beautiful world, a lot of you’s and me’s on this planet are going to have to disapear, along with all our kids and our bloodlines.

    Every reasonable person on the planet is a ‘conservamentalist’, but –as always– there’s some in the tribe who have big, bright ideas about how things could be sooooo much better if there weren’t sooooo many folks and smoke and smelly toilets in this little old cave of ours. Most people agree with most of what this group is preaching. Most think they’re going to be one of the ‘lucky’ folks who survive — after all “we’re NOT the problem” RIGHT?

    People are really funny! Sometimes they’re really stupid too! It’s not the climate that’s changing –climate always changes– it’s the way we live and the who that live. This is politics not climatology.

  200. BTW: The last stupidity: Have you seen, last night at Bill O´Reilly show, that in San Francisco it has been forbidden to eat meat on mondays?
    ♪♪♪
    Monday, Monday, so good to me
    Monday mornin’, it was all I hoped it would be
    Oh Monday mornin’, Monday mornin’ couldn’t guarantee
    That Monday evenin’ that steak would still be here with me
    ♪♪♪
    …..This is a symptom that the Big One is coming sooooon!

  201. I just figured it out….Willis is the Dos Equis guy….”and when I drink beer…”

    Nice post, interesting discussion. thanks.

  202. Wow, slip off to bed and wake to some visceral reactions to my beer induced statements. I’m working so I’ll only reply to one I think needs replied to.

    Anton (00:33:48) :

    James Sexton (21:57:55) wrote:

    “You, uhmm, ever watched a cat and a mouse? Most cats don’t actually eat the mouse, they play with it to death…………..”

    “Obscene to draw a comparison? Says who, what, where, where, and why? Your letter is ungrammatical, so I doubt you are particularly well-read on animal psychology or anything, for that matter. And how do you know your dog died of lead poisoning? Did you have a necropsy performed? Did it occur to you that perhaps your dog was just playing with the chicks, unaware that he (she) was hurting them in the process? Dogs do the same thing with socks, shoes, and all kinds of things on the ground.”

    “I feel sorry for your current black lab. To have a human who regards one as an inferior being is awfully sad. The fact that you think comparing his life to YOURS is obscene tells me how highly you think of yourself.

    I would give my life for any of my creatures. As the person responsible for them, I am supposed to place their well-being above my own. When you love someone, that’s what you do. If you think you’re superior to the other, it isn’t love. I don’t know what it is. But, it sucks.”

    You can save your sympathy. Using your line of thinking, and the thoughts that seemed to be expressed, I’ve sympathy for your children and society in general if your teaching them that they’ve no more value than the neighbor’s mouser. If that’s the case, I truly wish you don’t reproduce. Small wonder young people grow up with such complex emotional issues and seem to have little regard for societal norms. If animals are people too, then people are of the same value as animals. Nice. No way that thinking can go wrong. Now where have I heard that expressed before? So, yes, OBSCENE, is the appropriate verbiage.

  203. @Willis Eschenbach

    ‘However, since the buffalo herds were always on the move, you couldn’t build a lifestyle around hunting them that way.’

    Why would the natives have been any different than european natives back in the day?

    Or better yet perhaps, why would they have been any different than people today?

    You yourself did a lot of fishing, there’s whole lot of life styles been built around seasonal fish, but probably it shows more with dolphins and whales. And what about the life styles that has been built up around hunting seasons?

    A method such as driving herds out off a cliff would’ve been a tried and proven method, and very effective method of mass hunting. And lots of time and energy would have gone into strategy and tactics to up the bounty. Add to that some common greed…. whether for pelts, meat, or just fame, and you have yourself people building a lifestyle around it all.

  204. You nailed it Willis. I even apologize to worms when I thread one onto a hook… I “save” worms that crawl out onto a road, or will carefully trap spiders in the house then release them outdoors. Same goes for most insects except mosquitoes! (I’m hoping there is a special place in hell for mosquitoes) I quit hunting Grouse/Partridge 25 years ago as I just haven’t the nerve to kill anything anymore… Well, anything except trout and those damned mosquitoes!

    Consider me a member of your Conservamentalist Party! I’ll bet you would have several millions of members with the right kind of marketing.

    hmmmmmmmm….

  205. wws (04:50:57) :

    “Anton wrote: “And how do you know your dog died of lead poisoning?”

    I think that one just sailed right over your head. I’d be willing to bet that there was no doubt whatsover.”

    Yeh, but I didn’t want to tease.

  206. @James Sexton

    So your father brought home a bunch of chickens the size and color of tennis balls and similarly animated then left them alone with a dog that hadn’t been taught to leave them alone. So then he shot the dog for not being bright enough to know the difference between a chick and a tennis ball. There was a moron involved in that situation but it wasn’t the dog.

  207. Re: Willis Eschenbach (Apr 7 19:29),

    All I’m saying is that we need to be honest and thoughtful about both the immediate and indirect results of our human decisions, and not treat the death of a herring as somehow less than the death of a seal pup, or treat killing something as though it was the same as stacking bricks to make a wall.

    This is the stance of an honorable man. As many have noted we live because we feed on things that were once alive. All organic matter that can be absorbed by our body was once alive. From a lettuce salad to a lamb chop, and by eating fruits and grains we deprive billions of new shoots to come out in the sun. Actually only the fruits of plants who use us to propagate their species are death neutral.

    We are a pattern of electromagnetic energy riding on death:

    The continuous death and replacement of the cells of our body, the death and replacement of the symbiotic species in our body ( I think something like 75% of cells in our body do not have our DNA), the death of invading viruses, bacteria. One could coin: as inside so outside: more macroscopic, insects and pests, and predators on our species, all this going on continuously in parallel with the three times a day need to replace our energy through food sources.

    And in turn, we become a food source at death to bacteria that already are symbiots in our guts.

    Re: Alexander Feht (Apr 7 14:42),

    The last thing we need on this planet is more mysticism. Get over it.

    99% of people on this planet are not mystics, so your statement is strange. In addition, formulating a philosophy of life and death and an ethics is inherent in all human societies: we might disagree with the ethics of fundamentalist Muslims for example, but they have developed an ethical system.

    Ethical systems that stress universality of the human condition, empathy and respect for fellow humans and living things in general, as Willis is proposing should be encouraged as a way for human societies to advance without destroying what we know as our civilization.

  208. Re: Ted Swart (Apr 7 22:30),

    I am truly surprised that in this discussion of the need to be thoughtful about the way we treat other living animals and plants no one seems to have mentioned the worst thing we humans have done, to planet Earth or Gaia or whatever you want to call it, is to overpopulate our home. Nothing can or will come right unless and until we bring population growth to a complete halt.

    Studies show that once the economy of a nation goes over a certain wealth, birth rate plummets. Europe is not replacing itself already and there are incentives for people to have a second child.

    The solution is: plenty of energy for all nations to develop, and the globe population will stabilize and start diminishing.

  209. Willis Eschenbach (19:05:16) :

    Alexander Feht (17:41:06)

    Thanks. Willis for setting that one straight. Being part Cherokee/Choctaw, and
    knowing a bit about the Eastern tribes, in particular, the Eastern Indians like the Cherokee were actually quite settled, lived in houses, farmed, and had a relatively civil life. Surprised the Europeans.
    As far as incivility ask me why my Granma would not take a $20 bill in
    change…

  210. Bulldust (22:04:26) :

    My environmental message has always been as follows ;)

    Thanks for posting the link. Very funny.

  211. J.Peden (01:07:25) :
    davidmhoffer (21:24:49) :
    As a rule, animals don’t kill except to eat or in self defense. If that isn’t a sense of morals, I don’t know what is.>>
    Morals have nothing to do with wild animals generally not killing for sport.
    In general, it doesn’t make survivalistic sense for animals to kill for sport, and that’s all there is to it, not “morals” or “choices”.>>

    If a fox gets into your chicken coop it will kill one chicken, drag it off to be eaten and not return until it gets hungry again. If a weasel gets into your chicken coop, it will systematically go through the whole flock and kill every last one of them. Why does a weasel kill for sport while a fox doesn’t? I don’t know, but it does, and that is abnormal behaviour and doesn’t fit with survival instinct. Not only does the weasel risk injury and expend energy, it eliminates what might have been a repeat food source. Nor do most animals kill others of their own kind. When a male lion usurps control of a pride, he drives off the previous male and then kills its cubs so that the females will be ready to breed sooner. But one pride doesn’t exterminate the one next door.

    Read the history of Treblinka, Dachau, Auschwitz and Transnistria. Read the history of the Soviet starvation of the Ukraine. Read the history of Sarajevo which went from host of the Olympics to scene of mass murder in a few years. Read the history of Rwanda. Read the current headlines in Iran where the religion prohibits executing virgins, and so young women convicted of crimes like being unacompanied in the presence of a boy are first forced to marry a prison guard, raped, and then executed.

    I don’t know precisely why animals don’t as a rule engage in genocide of their prey or of their own kind. The point is that they don’t. Regardless of motivation, their behaviour in general fits the definition. They take what they need for themselves from their environment, they defend themselves and their territory, and sometimes they over react when threatened, or, as in the exampe of the dog and the chicks, they do not understand the consequences of what to them was just play. Why someoene would shoot their dog rather than train it is frankly, beyond me.

    Human beings have no such excuse, yet “civilization” frequently turns out to be a thin veneer that, once pierced, unleashes a lack of morality and a capacity for evil displayed by no other animal on this planet.

    I am not elevating animals to the status of humans. I am pointing out that many of them have reasoning capabilities, senses of humour, sadness in the face of death (see magpie story above) and rarely take from their environment more than what their current need is. For all the sanctimonious preaching of human capacity for moral reasoning that separates us from the animals, may I point out that an outside oberver of our planet’s history over the last 100 years alone could well come to the conclusion, with considerable evidence to support the theory, that the ONLY species on the planet that shows via repeated behaviour that they LACK morality is homo sapiens.

    Willis’ habit of apologizing to the animals that he harvests is one that I fully support and it should be taught to the city dwellers who never see a drop of blood shed, or a slaughtered animal in its death throes to provide the steak on their plate at some elegant restaurant. Doing so is not for the benefit of the animal slaughtered, or for some invisible Gaia spirit. It is to remind ourselves not of our humanity, but the opposite, that we are animals who take from our environment just like other animals and that we should do so with respect. When we lose this respect, when we convince ourselves that we alone have capacity for reason and morality that sets us apart and above the animals, then it is only one more small step to one group of humans deciding that their morality and their reason surpasses all others, and genocide soon follows.

    When a dog plays with 50 chicks and kills them, it is not a sign of an animal killing for sport, but of one not understanding the consequences of what to it was just a game. The person who responded by putting a bullet in its head did not do so out of some higher moral authority or reasoned response, but out of revenge, yet another trait that sets us apart from animals. It is nothing to be proud of.

  212. Alexander Feht (14:42:26) :
    Being a realist, not killing more than necessary, and preventing the exhaustion of natural resources are all well and fine.

    Apologizing to the fish and talking to trees is religion. As I noted before, your “stewardship” has distinctly religious overtones.

    Can I just add a philosophical point regarding categories: the physical material stuff of the world is purely that, material stuff. A brick, for example, is just a brick. But meanwhile, people are conscious self-enquiring individuals who can consciously intend to have certain kinds of relationships. They can consciously choose their behaviour. I can for example, decide that I love a particular painting, and so I will spend money on it, put it in a special place in the home, and so on.

    The painting is just a physical object, but as a person I have feelings and attitudes towards that inanimate object.

    It is this aspect of personal feelings which we might wish to cultivate, that religion often preaches about. That’s why feeling kindness towards trees can have religious overtones. It is the same reason people who “love” their iPods can seem like an Apple “cult”.

    Sure it is just a tree, and you are just a heap of atoms. When you love your partner, that’s just some chemicals in the brain. But your personal inner experience isn’t just chemicals. You don’t say, honey, I’m having a rush of serotonin. You say, honey, I love you.

    So it sounds religious because it is the same sort of stuff that religion often talks about. I don’t think Wills truly believes the tree is inhabited by a conscious spirit. But the attitude of care, that’s real.

  213. James Sexton (20:53:24) :

    peterhodges (17:47:04) :
    James Sexton (17:26:09) : Basic economics.
    well, basic economic theory anyway. unfortunately, it seems actual economics works more like i described it. i.e. tell John “Competition is a sin” Rockefeller or the folks who own the fed they are not true capitalists.
    while i agree with your sentiment, i guess i am saying that monopoly-capitalism as practiced today is incompatible with freedom>>
    Agreed, sort of. The connotation you tried to convey is true, sort of.>>

    Beware the connotation. I challenged peterhodges to provide specifics as to what monopoly he suggests Rockefeller has, and to spell out just who the “folks” are who “own” the fed. I support the logic of your well reasoned response, but I suspect that if perterhodges were to step up and answer me a different connotation might emerge. I hope that he both answers, and that I am wrong.

  214. Nasif Nahle (22:43:31) :
    Urederra (19:30:34) :

    For example, some C3 plants would enhance their growth at high concentration of CO2, but almost all C4 plants would not take advantage of the same condition. Actually, many C3 plants won’t be benefited by the high concentration of CO2 if they lack of an efficient symbiotic mechanisms with microorganisms which fix the N from the soil. CAM plants growth enhancement is barely 12% and stops its enhanced growth when photosynthesis stabilizes. The latter happens also to C3 plants and those few C4 plants which enhance their growth at merely 21%.

    We cannot deduce from experiments over few species that all plants benefit from high concentrations of CO2. The same happens with temperature, light, water, etc. Excessive exposition to light, for example, directly damages the plants.

    Experiments over few species?

    CO2science compiles literally thousands of papers with thousands of experiments performed with many different species and in most of them plants increase their growth in CO2 enriched atmospheres. Both in C3 and in C4 plants.

    http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/dry/dry_subject.php This is the index or papers studying dry weight gain responses classified in alphabetical order.
    http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/dry/dry_subject.php And this is the classification of papers that study the photosynthetic response in alphabetical order.

    Please don’t compare light and CO2, light is radiation, CO2 is a chemical. Apples and oranges have more things in common. Besides, that is what Michaelis Menten kinetics says. When you increase the concentration of a substrate (CO2 in this case) the enzyme that uses that substrate (rubisco in this case) works faster, up to a point, where the enzyme is saturated.

    The point in this discussion is whether 400 ppm is the saturation point or the saturation point is higher. Both experiments and history indicates that the saturation point is way over 1000 ppm. You can find the experiments on co2science.org. For the history, just read about plant life during the carboniferous period (well over 1000 ppm of CO2). Way more prolific than nowadays.

    I have checked the papers cited on CO2science and all varieties of the main agricultural plants grow faster in enriched CO2 environments. (The classification ranges from Acacia to Zea mays)

    So, my initial point is: If most (or many, if you don’t like most) plants grow faster in enriched CO2 environments, then increasing CO2 levels is helping the environment. If you pump CO2 into the atmosphere, you are feeding plants, and therefore, you are being a TRUE environmentalist Even if the growth is only 21% as you say, and even if not all plants grow, you are helping the environment because less farm land will be needed to feed the human population, and more wild land can be left to nature.

  215. James Sexton wrote:

    “You can save your sympathy. Using your line of thinking, and the thoughts that seemed to be expressed, I’ve sympathy for your children and society in general if your teaching them that they’ve no more value than the neighbor’s mouser. If that’s the case, I truly wish you don’t reproduce. Small wonder young people grow up with such complex emotional issues and seem to have little regard for societal norms. If animals are people too, then people are of the same value as animals. Nice. No way that thinking can go wrong. Now where have I heard that expressed before? So, yes, OBSCENE, is the appropriate verbiage.”

    Tell that to every practicing Buddhist and Bonpo, and most Hindus, on this planet.

    Sorry I missed your awful joke about lead poisoning. What a great dad you had for putting the defenseless chicks in harms way, going to church (what else?), and then coming home and killing the loving, loyal family dog…for being a dog. And you think a human like this is superior to animal life-forms? Who are you more likely to meet in heaven? Him or the dog?

    Kids raised by, and around, me learn to respect ALL life, not just themselves and those beings that look like them. The ability to empathize with different species is a plus, not a minus, and NOT thinking of oneself as more important than everything else in the Grand Scheme of Things does wonders for curbing megalomania.

    Look up “obscene.” I think you’re aiming it in the wrong direction.

  216. François GM (18:41:48) :

    peterhodges (17:47:04) :

    ” i guess i am saying that monopoly-capitalism as practiced today is incompatible with freedom”

    Peter,
    Either you don’t know what capitalism is or what freedom is – or both.

    ?? with some patience i will avoid the ad hominem and re-emphasize the monopoly part.

    however one defines “capitalism” it ought to be clear that a multi-polar system has more degrees of freedom than mono-polar one.

    people sure love to hold onto their definitions and identities, which is maybe Willis’ point. i prefer to reject -ism, -ist, and -acry. these labels omit a variety of attitudes which one may choose hold, and by adopting such a label one tends to limit ones outlook and choices. and surely this is not freedom.

    anyway my own opinion is that capital-ism would be rule by capital and i prefer not to be ruled, thank you.

  217. Alexander Feht (Apr 7 14:42),

    The last thing we need on this planet is more mysticism. Get over it.

    huh. would not the practice of science be considered a mystical endeavor?

  218. Willis, again not to negate your very good points but to toss more factual information into the discussion on pre-colonial native Americans, here’s a story on the South American natives, in climate context: Aztecs “sacrificing” 80,000 prisoners of war to rededicate a temple to the Sun god (in the hopes of gaining influence on the climate). I don’t argue that precolonials were despicable, unredeemable savages, only that neither were they idyllic innocents morally superior to the marauding white-eyes who invaded and slaughtered them mercilessly.

    The truth lies between the caricatures we’re being fed.

  219. anna v (07:47:11) : You are correct, however “too little, too late”, all efforts have been made to secularize us, beginning with the several political revolutions all over the world, to set us apart from traditional knowledge to even traditional measuring units once anthropomorphic now abstract, detached from natural laws: from the pitagorean perfect 3:2 fifth (0.666) to the concocted and imperfect Plank´s constant of 0.66252, and thus with everything. The on purpose desacralization of the world done through the so called “secret societies” (politicians´cradle) and now with the help of “holy and untouchable” NGOs to attain a supposed paradise on earth, from the jesuists´ “theory of liberation” to the global warmers´Gaia Cult of Saint Gore, or the liberals´ “social justice” kool-aided heaven.
    Only a change of paradigms will make it, a change which would mean, as any other change, a parturition, and as a parturition, pain.

  220. You conservamentalists are all the same, PETH is a front for Big Cod-Liver Oil.

    Always enjoy reading your posts, Willis.

  221. brc (15:29:31) :
    …don’t forget the dear little Platypus, who is the only member of the genus Ornithorhynchus.”

    I won’t :) But those duckies must feel lonely too. :)

  222. JimBrock (13:57:03) : “Reminds me of that great ballad from Paint Your Wagon. Clint Eastwood sang ( ?) ‘I talk to the trees, but they don’t listen to me.'”

    I was reminded of that, too, only it was the Smothers Brothers version.

    Excerpt: “Hello, Tree. How’s Mrs. Tree? How are all the little bushes?”

  223. anna v (07:47:11) : “99% of people on this planet are not mystics…”

    Possibly true, but only if we exclude religious believers (including Gaia worshippers, both explicit and de facto).

  224. Thanks for another good post Willis, which has raised some thought provoking comments. For me people are the most important thing. However, we all need to have respect for the environment that supports us all by using it in a responsible way.

    The planet can support many more people than we have today, providing we continue to innovate to find the energy necessary for growth.

  225. peterhodges;
    anyway my own opinion is that capital-ism would be rule by capital and i prefer not to be ruled, thank you.>>

    Capitalism is an economic system, not a government system. The US has a democratic government and a capitalist economy. China has a communist government and a capitalist economy. North Korea has a communist government and a command economy.

    Of the three combinations, which one has the highest standard of living, the highest levels of personal freedom, the highest levels of political freedom, the longest life expectancy, the highest standards of social safety net for the poor, and represents the best chance for someone born poor to become middle class or wealthy?

    Democracy/Capitalism winning on that score card 6 to nothing, precisely what is the problem in a system where some people have a lot more capital than others?

  226. peterhodges;
    ?? with some patience i will avoid the ad hominem and re-emphasize the monopoly part>>

    Name one. In democratic countries with capitalist economies… name ONE.

  227. Bill Tuttle (03:58:22), thanks for your thoughts.

    Willis Eschenbach (02:23:18) :

    True, except for the part about the leftovers, the Early Asian Immigrants didn’t leave many.

    They left enough to make 20-foot-high walls of bones and skulls at some of the sites, and the buffs, being creatures of habit and instinct, returned to the same sites — with predictable results.

    Apologies for my lack of clarity. You said they left plenty of leftovers “for the scavengers”. My point, obviously poorly phrased, was that they left almost nothing for the scavengers, just bones and skulls (minus the brains, of course) that no scavenger could eat. Minor point.

  228. Well, here is a nice piece of music which echoes alot of the sentiment here by a guy called Paddy McAloon called Earth: The story so far

  229. “Al Gore’s Holy Hologram (12:43:28) :
    When they wanted to control you in your community they called themselves communists.
    When they wanted to control you in your society they called themselves socialists.
    When they wanted to control you in your environment they called themselves environmentalists.

    What comes next?”

    It’s called a wife ;)

    Good way of looking at things. We need to take better care of the place we live in. I wholeheartedly agree that the AWG nonsense has cost us real environmentalists decades of lost time on serious issues like mercury pollution. If we are going to have 8-12 billion people on the planet we need to be several orders of magnitude better in resource utilization and scale back the stupid trillion dollar a year arms race.

  230. R. Craigen (10:00:02)

    … I don’t argue that precolonials were despicable, unredeemable savages, only that neither were they idyllic innocents morally superior to the marauding white-eyes who invaded and slaughtered them mercilessly.

    The truth lies between the caricatures we’re being fed.

    Agreed. I believe (in my usual skeptical way, which is to say alternate weeks) in the 80:20 rule, which has been expressed in various forms.

    One is that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. Another is that in terms of humans, in every society that I have experienced, 20% are decent interesting respectful folks, and 80% not so much. Same with cultures, 20% seem to be moving forwards, and 80% standing still or worse.

    I suspect the same is true about Pre-columbian societies as well. Some of them, call it 20%, had societies of surprising complexity and depth and beauty and insight. The other 80% were more into cutting people’s hearts out while they were still beating and the like … and besides, where in the world is Precolumbia anyhow? Between Columbia and Ecuador?


  231. davidmhoffer (11:09:56) : Democracy/Capitalism winning on that score card 6 to nothing
    davidmhoffer (11:13:08) : Name one. In democratic countries with capitalist economies… name ONE.

    Well i think we either disagree on definitions and/or have radically different opinions on the architecture of the actual modern political economy. i don’t think there are any “capitalist” or “democratic” countries that fit your description ;) and i have been around a little.

    …precisely what is the problem in a system where some people have a lot more capital than others?

    not a problem as long as people are allequal under the law…and corporations are not considered people!

    “I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.”-Thomas Jefferson

    Our political economy today bears absolutely no resemblance to that envisioned at the founding of the republic.

  232. Willis Eschenbach (19:29:02):

    I understand your point, and I thouroughly respect it. And though I admit I was trying to be a bit provocative, I want to make one thing clear: I feel no contempt towards animals. I don’t even have much sympathy for people who actually enjoy killing animals (like sport hunters). I grew up with cats and loved them, if not in the same way I love my family. I admire the beauty of the leopard, the pride of the eagle, even the malicious rapacity of the shark. But once again: These are human categories; you cannot discuss those topics with animals. You cannot hold them responsible for what they are or what they’re doing. They live in a completely different world.

    You say you are no better and no different from animals. That’s where I differ. Or rather: You are perfectly entitled to say so if you really talk only about yourself. As soon as you say “we” are no better, I have to strongly object. There are many people who think “we” are no better than animals – in fact, they say, we are worse, some evil kind of vermin for this planet, which would be better off without us. This sounds very self-critical. But they are not talking about themselves, really. They are talking about 6 billion plus other people. And what do you do to vermins?

    The whole thing is a question of valuation. It’s our responsibility to value life, and I simply cannot valuate the life of animals – any animal – as highly as people’s – any people’s. After all, that’s the way the law sees it as well.

    Talking about the law, Dave Springer (22:39:52) applied Godwin’s by citing Hitler as evidence for his (Dave’s) assertion that humans are morally inferior to animals. Apart from the fact that this inappropriate generalisation is very weak evidence, Dave commits exactly what I called the original sin. He imposes morals upon nature, or rather: he confounds the two worlds. Of course Hitler was evil, but we can only say so because we have a conception of good and evil. And of course there is no such a thing as an evil animal – as I said, you simply cannot hold them responsible. They don’t know what good or evil means.

    There is a line between us and them – call it the value border: The border between the land of values and the realm of instinct. In my opinion this border must never ever be crossed. My fellow-countrymen (I’m German) crossed it; they referred to other humans as “sub”-humans, as rats, as vermins. And they did to them just that what you would do to vermins. It’s the same spirit, the spirit of devaluating humans for some threadbare reason, which makes people like Keith Farnish write a book like “Time’s Up”, with people like James Hansen applauding (even if he back-pedalled recently).

    And now, back to the climate. You really do a very good job fighting the AGW-folly. Keep up the good work!

  233. Lovely turn of phrase sir:

    “I am not a man who eats the meat and blames the butcher”.

    Very good!

  234. Willis Eschenbach (19:29:02)

    I understand your point, and I thouroughly respect it. And though I admit I was trying to be a bit provocative, I want to make on thing clear: I feel no contempt towards animals. I don’t even have much sympathy for people who actually enjoy killing animals (like sport hunters). I grew up with cats and loved them, if not in the same way I love my family. I admire the beauty of the leopard, the pride of the eagle, even the malicious rapacity of the shark. But once again: These are human categories; you cannot discuss those topics with animals. You cannot hold them responsible for what they are or what they’re doing. They live in a completely different world.

    You say you are no better and no different from animals. That’s where I differ. Or rather: You are perfectly entitled to say so if you really talk only about yourself. As soon as you say “we” are no better, I have to strongly object. There are many people who think “we” are no better than animals – in fact, they say, we are worse, some evil kind of vermin for this planet, which would be better off without us. This sounds very self-critical. But they are not talking about themselves. They are talking about 6 billion plus other people. And what do you do to vermins?

    The whole thing is a question of valuation. It’s our responsibility to value life, and I simply cannot valuate the life of animals – any animal – as highly as people’s – any people’s. After all, that’s the way the law sees it as well.

    Talking about the law, Dave Springer (22:39:52) applied Godwin’s by citing Hitler as evidence for his assertion that humans are morally inferior to animals. Apart from the fact that this inappropriate generalisation is very weak evidence, Dave commits exactly what I called the original sin. He imposes morals upon nature, or rather: he confounds the two worlds. Of course Hitler was evil, but we can only say so because we have a conception of good and evil. And of course there is no such a thing as an evil animal – as I said, you simply cannot hold them responsible. They don’t know what good or evil means.

    There is a line between us and them – call it the value border: The border between the land of values and the realm of instinct. In my opinion this border must never ever be crossed. My fellow-countrymen (I’m German) crossed it; they referred to other humans as “sub”-humans, as rats, as vermins. And they did to them just that what you would do to vermins. It’s the same spirit, the spirit of devaluating humans for some threadbare reason, which makes people like Keith Farnish write a book like “Time’s Up”, with people like James Hansen applauding (even if he back-pedalled recently).

    And now, back to the climate. You really do a very good job fighting the AGW-folly. Keep up the good work!

  235. peterhodges;
    Our political economy today bears absolutely no resemblance to that envisioned at the founding of the republic>>

    Stop changing the subject.

    Name ONE monopoly.
    Specify exactly what you mean by “folks” who “own” the fed.

    Why are you afraid to answer direct questions?

  236. Willis!
    I got it! I got it!
    I know what you are!

    You are not a conservamentalist, you are something more sophisticated. You are a…

    POST NORMAL ENVIRONMENTALIST

  237. @Dave Springer (07:32:10) :
    @James Sexton
    So your father brought home a bunch of chickens the size and color of tennis balls and similarly animated then left them alone with a dog that hadn’t been taught to leave them alone. So then he shot the dog for not being bright enough to know the difference between a chick and a tennis ball. There was a moron involved in that situation but it wasn’t the dog.

    You guys are a hoot, way to take the context of the post and pick an obscure part to try and make a point. Way to make assumptions about things I hadn’t included in my post. Mainly, because, IT WASN’T RELEVANT TO THE OBVIOUS POINT I WAS MAKING. But, then you’d have to address the point I was making if you didn’t pick a part that wasn’t relevant. Yeh, the poor chicks were left all alone. We’d left the first few batches alone too, but the dog survived them. My point of the post had been in response to another poster claiming the benevolence of animals and how they don’t kill unless hungry or threatened. Which is total bs. My point was that animals do indeed kill needlessly, sometimes for no reason and always without remorse.
    Continuing on with another point I’ve made, when animals are considered people too, then people must be considered the same value as animals. I believe I used the word “obscene”. History is replete with examples of atrocities committed to mankind because they were regarded as the same value as an animal. Further, when we try to teach people that they are of no more value than an animal,(which is true if an animal is the same value as a person.) they then tend to treat others in the same manner. This would explain many societal difficulties. I’d like to extend a heart felt thanks for giving me something else yet to fight, right after the fight against global control of the world’s energy is won.

  238. davidmhoffer (13:36:11) :
    You are a…

    POST NORMAL ENVIRONMENTALIST
    Yes!, then according to the uncertainty principle, when in doubt if to kill an animal or a man, to be sure, you choose to kill the man!

  239. …or, “by forbidding CO2, you kill both, and vegetation too. That’s better ”
    Al “Baby” The magnificent polpotian environmentalist (aka: The fifth sword of the world revolution).

  240. enneagram;
    Yes!, then according to the uncertainty principle, when in doubt if to kill an animal or a man, to be sure, you choose to kill the man!>>

    Nope.
    Post Normal Science is to Science as
    Post Normal Environmentalism is to Envrionmentalism

    PNS bans fossil fuels thought the science is uncertain
    PNE continues fossil fuel use UNLESS the science is certain
    PNS demands action because of uncertainty
    PNE refuses action because of uncertainty

    Science says CO2 might be bad
    PNS says take action on the assumption that it is

    Environmentalism supposes that humans are not part of the environment and can only be bad for it
    PNE says that humans are part of the environment and can be good for it.

  241. Christoph Horst (13:03:57)

    … You say you are no better and no different from animals. That’s where I differ. Or rather: You are perfectly entitled to say so if you really talk only about yourself. As soon as you say “we” are no better, I have to strongly object. There are many people who think “we” are no better than animals – in fact, they say, we are worse, some evil kind of vermin for this planet, which would be better off without us. This sounds very self-critical. But they are not talking about themselves. They are talking about 6 billion plus other people. And what do you do to vermins?

    Ah, the constant frustration of writing and communicating, where I can never quite get across what I am trying to say.

    I disagree entirely with those who say that humans are the problem, or that civilization is the problem, or that we are vermin. To me that’s nonsense.

    I also disagree with those that say that we have the right to rule the earth and dominate its creatures in any way we damn well please. Equal nonsense to me.

    Are “we” better than animals? Depends on who you ask … but if you asked the animals to vote for their favorite species, I doubt that we’d win any popularity contests …

    However, in fact, I was not referring so much to being equal in our actions or our value or our lives. I was talking about deaths, of herring and of seal pups, and I was referring to being equal in our deaths.

    To me, my death is the most important thing in the world. And the same is true to a herring. To that herring, his/her death is the most important event in their life. And I do not believe that there is some huge eternal scale, in which my death is more important than the death of that herring. That is the underlying equality to which I was referring, wherein the death of a herring and a seal pup weigh the same as my own death.

    Note that this does not stop me from killing herring, or eating meat, or using animals for laboratory experiments. I once was talking to a doctor. He said he practiced a certain, very delicate neck operation on monkeys. He said that they were the only animal similar to humans in this particular part of their anatomy.

    I asked how many monkeys died in the process. He said now that he was good, none died, but when he was learning he had killed four. When I looked dismayed, he asked, “Would you rather that I had practiced and perfected my skills on your daughter?”

  242. James Sexton;
    History is replete with examples of atrocities committed to mankind because they were regarded as the same value as an animal>>

    If you think for one moment that defining animals to be without any scrap of a characteristic that is remotely human will somehow protect people from being dehumanized and killed….

    Then I commend your goal no matter how naive your methods.

  243. “”” davidmhoffer (08:54:50) :

    J.Peden (01:07:25) :
    davidmhoffer (21:24:49) :
    As a rule, animals don’t kill except to eat or in self defense. If that isn’t a sense of morals, I don’t know what is.>> “””

    Well not true either. Animals most certainly do kill, other than for food or self defense; even kill their own kind; would we call that murder (in the first degree).

    Two examples. Male lions, and male baboons.

    When a new intruder male lion invades a lion pride, and challenges the pride male; who likely is older and more dilapidated; after killing the former pride male; unless he successfully escapes to a future of total isolation; the new dominant male, will within minutes hunt down and kill every single nursing infant cub.

    And within no more than hours of that event; the formerly nursing female lions will all come into heat and become mating partners of the new pride master.

    Exactly the same process will occur in a baboon troop, when an intruder arrives, and takes on the alpha male. Only difference, is that the new boss, may not kill the old boss. That works out well, because the new boss does need some assistance in protecting the troop females from the leopard; so so long as the old alpha male, immediately submits to the victor, and signals his acceptance of the new world order. Adn the new top-dog will chew him out royally, if he catches him tyring to mate with any of the females; but once again he will kill nursing infants to get the females lining up for him.

  244. James Sexton (13:37:40)

    … My point of the post had been in response to another poster claiming the benevolence of animals and how they don’t kill unless hungry or threatened. Which is total bs. My point was that animals do indeed kill needlessly, sometimes for no reason and always without remorse.

    While needless killing is not uncommon among domesticated animals (as your example shows), it is extremely rare among wild animals. I can only think of claims that weasels do it, but I’ve never seen it happen. I also find this from a reputable source:

    Long-tailed weasels typically prey on one species that is continually available. The size of the prey population varies from year to year and from season to season. At times, weasels will kill many more individuals of a prey species than they can immediately eat. Ordinarily, they store the surplus for future consumption, much the same as squirrels gather and store nuts.

    I also find in other sources:

    Weasels will kill more than they can eat when prey is available, caching the excess in the side passages in their dens.

    and

    The weasel frequently kills more than it can eat and often caches leftover food. The weasel can consume up to one third of its own weight in a 24 hour period.

    So it appears that the claim that weasels are some kind of aberrant animal that goes on “kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out” rampages is an urban legend. They kill more than they can eat, and they stow the excess for future consumption. And with their raging fast metabolism that lets them eat a third of their weight in a day, “future” means the next few days.

    In short, your idea that it is “total bs” that animals don’t kill unless hungry or threatened seems to only be true about domesticated animals. Although like you I’ve seen dogs do it on the cattle ranch where I grew up, I don’t know of any wild animals that kill for sport.

  245. davidmhoffer (21:24:49) :

    As a rule, animals don’t kill except to eat or in self defense. If that isn’t a sense of morals, I don’t know what is.

    It is not morals. It is simple self-preservation. The life of a predator is a very risky one. Even if the prey animal doesn’t hurt the predator, the slightest injury occurring in the chase or capture (say a broken toe) can be a death sentence for the predator.

    As a result, animals have evolved to only go out killing when necessary. But that’s not morals. That’s evolution, where the animals who killed for fun died early and died out.

  246. Thinking about fishing, and reflecting on the death of herring and seal pups and humans, reminded me of something I wrote a while ago that is somehow appropriate here … or not.

    Of Sharks and Men

    In Fiji, there is an ancient god named Dakuwanga, the Shark God. Even today, it’s hard to find out much about Dakuwanga — when I mention his name in Fiji, conversation slows to a crawl, and then people look away and speak loudly of other, much more important matters than some nearly forgotten pagan deity …

    I went to an art exhibit in Fiji a few days ago, and I ran into some old friends. I asked them about Mike Loxton, a long time mate of mine. Mike was living in Viani Bay, on the island of Vanua Levu. Viani Bay is a lovely green hidden valley that lies a few miles across from the island of Taveuni. Every weekday, he got into his skiff and crossed to Taveuni, where he worked. Because there is no dock at the hotel where he usually landed, he would beach the skiff, offload his gear, take the skiff a little ways offshore, drop the anchor, and swim to shore.

    On December 14, 2000, he followed his usual routine. Thinking his usual thoughts, dreaming his usual dreams, reflecting perhaps on the day’s work to come or on the days gone by, he offloaded his gear, took his skiff out and anchored it, jumped into the shimmering sea, and was immediately struck and killed by a tiger shark.

    And so, dear friends, reflecting on his passing I write you with a simple purpose, which is to thank each one of you, individually, for your contribution to my life. Some people say that everything worthwhile they learned in kindergarten; but for me, everything worthwhile in my life I have learned from my friends. For this I am immensely grateful; but in my recurring delusions of immortality, in my fantasy that there will always be one more day to clean up my loose ends, I rarely acknowledge your gift.

    So I thank you all, deeply and profoundly, for all that I have learned from you. Mike Loxton sleeps his dreamless sleep in the soft, silent, verdant soil at the head of Viani Bay, while you and I are in the midst of life. I am in the Solomon Islands now, on a hilltop where lightning is flashing and a warm, torrential tropical rainstorm is stirring life on the land below and the sea around.

    And in the midst of this life giving rain, I am thinking of Mike’s death, and of my friends, and I am forcefully reminded of Dakuwanga, that most ancient of gods, who does not ever sleep but is always cruising slowly through the uncharted oceans of this existence, hidden behind a curtain of moving water, awaiting with perfect patience his preordained opportunity to deliver his final, fateful, fatal bite …

  247. Uhmm, Jee whiz, I guess I should clarify. Not because I give a crap about what people I’ve never met think about me or my father, but rather they missed the entire point of my little story.

    First, the point of the story is that animals do randomly kill, without remorse. Not always for food or protection. I would have thought that clear by the first example. I kinda thought it cute some one berated me for my grammar when reading comprehension……..well anyway.

    Some history about Spunky, whom I referred to as a curr dog. He was a poor natured dog. He often bit strangers and non-strangers alike. (Dad paid hospital bills.) There never seemed an apparent reason. As I’ve mention earlier, there had been chicks left all alone in the same yard before. Apparently, they didn’t appear as fun to kill. There had been other animals spunky had killed and not ate. Maybe they were a game to him too. We were in the middle of trying to curb him from running the neighbors cattle. Seems spunky wasn’t very popular over there either. (With threats on spunky’s life and lawsuits against my father.) The killing of the chicks was the last event of a series of events. It wasn’t revenge that killed spunky, it was the only thing to do with the damned animal. As I’ve mentioned, he was poor tempered. No one would have him. We could have sent him to the pound, but at the time, once a month they’d seal the pound and back a truck up and attach a hose to the tail pipe. End result would have been the same except we’d been out significantly more expense than a bullet. We could have just dumped the dog in the wild, but then he’d still run cattle and probably kill other people’s poultry. He was, and should have been, put down. I know some will still not approve, nor understand, but that was the most humane?(poor choice of words for this discussion) option available at the time. Again, the story wasn’t about the dog being shot, if it were, I’d have included more details. it was about how animals will randomly kill, not simply for food or protection. I don’t know way so many were sooo upset. Because of the loss of property, capital and the potential of loss of capital(and lets not forget life of chicks), and that capital was used the feed that pod of human animals, the alpha male of that particular human pod, killed for food. That should meet with the approval of you “animals are people, too” human animals. Dolts.

  248. Crap, why, not way. I’m sure there are other errors, feel free to pick out the minutia of the statement, I’ll be back later for further explanations for the slow ones. Off to shoot a couple rounds of pool.

    Cheers to all.


  249. davidmhoffer (13:33:47) : Name ONE monopoly. Specify exactly what you mean by “folks” who “own” the fed.

    You’re kidding me, right?

    Stop changing the subject. Why are you afraid to answer direct questions?

    i have not changed the subject and have answered questions. i think we are in such fundamental disagreement about how the world works that we are having difficulty communicating.

    In my opinion the rest of the world works just like your “Follow the Money” blogs. you could write one called, “Follow the money: Governments.” And the fact is, whoever owns the FED has a private MONOPOLY on the creation of money. Only worse, our money is DEBT. It is not even real money.

    That is not capitalism, and that is not “democratic”. Our money system is in fact a pillar of Communism. Only it is in the unaccountable hands of private interests. And with it, the powers of the state.

    You borrow a dollar at interest which the bank creates out of nothing. Meanwhile, according to the FED itself:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MULT

    that dollar you are paying 2 dollars for is actually putting something like .60 into the economy.

  250. Willis – do you think killer whales kill for fun? This clip is pretty grim nature raw in tooth and claw:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p004t03t

    and I wonder at how little they consumed of the kill. Is it perhaps that is all the easy meat their jaws and teeth can take from this catch or is there some inter species competition going on? I’ve also seen clips of them throwing seals about without eating them – like a domestic cat does with a mouse.

  251. “As a result, animals have evolved to only go out killing when necessary. But that’s not morals. That’s evolution, where the animals who killed for fun died early and died out.”

    Clearly not familiar with cats.

    That’s enough from me.

  252. I just don’t understand the seal ban thing. People eat sushi but they won’t let others eat baby seal meat?

    Baby seal meat is quite tasty. I don’t see a need to eat it every day, but for people who live there, it is a good source of protein for hundreds of years.

    It’s not like there’s a shortage of seals, they breed about as fast as kangaroos and rabbits. Australians sell kangaroo meat in their supermarkets, and there’s lots of places where we can get frozen rabbit meat.

  253. @Douglas DC

    ‘Being part Cherokee/Choctaw, and knowing a bit about the Eastern tribes, in particular, the Eastern Indians like the Cherokee were actually quite settled, lived in houses, farmed, and had a relatively civil life. Surprised the Europeans.’

    Did all “Eastern Indians”, not least the Cherokee, live in houses? Did all the europeans get surprised?

    The last question would actually be a surprise considering that the europeans encountered far more “civilized” people long before they actually encountered north american eastern indians, and cherokee, at all. Lest we count the supposed vikings the europeans encountered the somewhat rather higher civilizations in central and south america before they went north.

  254. Michael:
    “I see a difference between killing a seal for its fur and killing fish so that we can have a supply of healthy food. The seal fur can be easily be substituted with synthetic garments, the fish not so easily.”

    I do not really agree. Whilst I do agree with Willis post and sentiments
    and the idea of managing and protecting, the fact is, seal fur is warmer than synthetics and the synthetics are largely made from petroleum.
    Leather is better than vinyl and real wood better than plastic, or particle board.
    This doesn’t stop me from using synthetics, vinyl or plastics of other kinds.
    But these products are not always equivalent just because they look so.

  255. slow to follow (16:22:57)

    Willis – do you think killer whales kill for fun? This clip is pretty grim nature raw in tooth and claw:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p004t03t

    and I wonder at how little they consumed of the kill. Is it perhaps that is all the easy meat their jaws and teeth can take from this catch or is there some inter species competition going on? I’ve also seen clips of them throwing seals about without eating them – like a domestic cat does with a mouse.

    Link doesn’t work, but I would distinguish between “kills for fun or sport” and “plays with food”. In the clips I’ve seen, either the whales ended up eating the seals, or the clip ended with the whales still toying with the seals. Our cat plays with mice, too … but she sure eats them at the end.

  256. peterhodges (16:01:06) :
    “You borrow a dollar at interest which the bank creates out of nothing. Meanwhile, according to the FED itself:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MULT

    that dollar you are paying 2 dollars for is actually putting something like .60 into the economy.”

    I think you missed a BIG point you are confusing money with wealth. What is wealth vs Money?

    In The Wealth of Nations, Adam smith defined wealth as “the annual produce of the land and labor”..Wealth creation is combining materials, labor, land, and technology so there is an excess for trade to others, that is “a profit” in excess of the cost of production.

    Money: Is Coin, Currency (paper money), and Credit. If the paper money is not backed by gold, silver or other “wealth” it is a fiat currency and only as good as the people’s ignorance of its origin. Federal Reserve notes, and credit is “created” by banks backed by nothing and DOES NOT REPRESENT WEALTH. Fractional Banking allows private banks to lend out ten times the amount of money deposited.

    That means when you say “that dollar you are paying 2 dollars for is actually putting something like .60 into the economy.” You actually mean the banks have devalued the currency you saved that represents your labor by injecting more fiat currency into the economy. Now the dollar you saved is only worth 0.63 cents

    In other words the bankers stole your wealth (labor) but continually injecting fiat “counterfeit” money into the economy. This is why gas cost quarter a gallon and a coke cost a dime when I was young and now you have to add a zero to get the current price. The hundred dollars a month I put into savings was fifteen percent of my salary It was also the amount I paid for groceries. Now that same hundred dollars is worth ten bucks. Who got the other ninety dollars of the wealth that hundred dollars represented????

    Congressman, Louis T. McFadden does a better job of explaining than I can.
    “On May 23, 1933, Congressman, Louis T. McFadden, brought formal charges against the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve Bank system, The Comptroller of the Currency and the Secretary of United States Treasury for numerous criminal acts, including but not limited to, CONSPIRACY, FRAUD, UNLAWFUL CONVERSION, AND TREASON.
    The petition for Articles of Impeachment was thereafter referred to the Judiciary Committee and has
    YET TO BE ACTED ON. “
    http://hiwaay.net/~becraft/mcfadden.html

  257. K~Bob (16:27:46)

    “As a result, animals have evolved to only go out killing when necessary. But that’s not morals. That’s evolution, where the animals who killed for fun died early and died out.”

    Clearly not familiar with cats.

    That’s enough from me.

    Brush up on your reading skills there, Bob. I clearly said that I was referring to wild animals, and I distinguished them from domestic animals, which I said killed when not necessary, viz.

    While needless killing is not uncommon among domesticated animals (as your example shows), it is extremely rare among wild animals.

    This was not posted someplace obscure, it was the post immediately before the post you cited. If you are not going to follow the thread before jumping in with incorrect assumptions, I hope that is enough from you.

  258. peterhodges;
    And the fact is, whoever owns the FED has a private MONOPOLY on the creation of money>>

    Again…. who owns the FED? The FED being a government construct, it is by definition public, not private. So the statement “whoever owns the FED” is meaningless. No one owns it, it is a branch of government. Is it a monopoly? Of course it is, but it is a public monopoly. It would be difficult (impossible?) to manage a country’s currency through more than one institution. You can argue that it is badly managed, but that it is a private monopoly that somehow controls you is a stretch.

  259. peterhodges;

    I just reread your post and realised you also said:

    “That is not capitalism, and that is not “democratic”. Our money system is in fact a pillar of Communism. Only it is in the unaccountable hands of private interests. And with it, the powers of the state”

    C’mon. What “private interests” do you think the money system is in the hands of?

  260. George E. Smith;
    Of lions and baboons…
    Yes, one my own comments went into exactly that issue with lions! There are lots of examples, with the diversity of the biosphere, one would expect that, would one not? I said as a “general rule” and there are far more species that follow that rule than don’t.

    Willis Eschenbach;
    On weasels…
    If it were a legend, would it not be rural rather than urban? :-)
    If you google “weasel chicken” you will get multiple articles like this one:

    “When they are faced with a super-abundance of food, weasels sometimes go on a lustful killing spree. A weasel in a chicken-house, for example, will kill a much larger number of birds than it could ever hope to eat. However, in more natural circumstances, these animals will attempt to cache their excess food”

    or this one

    “The weasel is prone to violent killing sprees. Weasels are notorious for killing entire coops of chickens”

    And having dealt with the aftermath of a weasel (OK OK, a PRESUMED weasel) in a chicken coop, it didn’t seem much like an urban legend to me.

  261. Willis,

    Darn it, you write so beautifully. I was transported by your story “Of sharks and Men”. You have a gift. I urge you to add ‘book author’ to your many careers. I’ve enjoyed the thoughts expressed in this thread.

    I’ve just come across an article by a scientist named Peter Koeller, titled
    “Ecosystem-based psychology, or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the data” (Fisheries Research 90 (2008) 1–5) and a passage reminded me of the discussion in this thread. Koeller describes the different reactions of fisheries scientists, including himself, to killing large numbers of fish.

    “… one November gale on a mesh selectivity study, as I looked into the glazed, dying eyes of a thousand cod grunting their last, I had the notion that they were trying to tell me something more than how many of them pass through codend meshes of various sizes, specifically, the ultimate reason why fundamental physical particles are organising themselves into ever more complex life forms.
    I am keenly aware that the influence of this and similar experiences on my professional attitudes are unique and entirely personal. Someone with different predispositions, given the exact same circumstances, may well have assimilated them differently, with different results for themselves and their influence on the external world. One may have abandoned fisheries science for a religious calling, as one of my colleagues has done. Another may have moved to a field of research or institution where encounters with dead fish and live fishermen were less visceral and disturbing. Still another may have been driven to regard fish as units, much as an accountant sees dollars and a dentist teeth. In my case, I developed an excessive, some might say neurotic, need to remain grounded in reality, which unfortunately was only really ever satisfied at sea. And I worried a lot. During long steams on groundfish surveys, I worried that the amount of fish caught at the last station plus the amount we would catch at the next divided by two, was not as representative of the hundreds of square kilometres we were steaming across as the models assumed. And I doubted the models more than the data.”

    Unfortunately, he later in the article likens the overfishing crisis to global warming, which he assumes to be real. But he has interesting things to say about how the responses of scientists, including those who advocate marine protected areas, are grounded in fear.

  262. James Sexton said . . .

    “Continuing on with another point I’ve made, when animals are considered people too, then people must be considered the same value as animals. I believe I used the word ‘obscene’. History is replete with examples of atrocities committed to mankind because they were regarded as the same value as an animal.”

    This isn’t a potential problem except where people place a low value on animals. If I place a very high value on animals, and humans at the same level, then those humans have nothing to fear. Your dread of humans being treated as badly as animals only goes to show how horribly animals are commonly treated. And who in this dispute places such a low value on animals that equating humans to them so disturbs you? Hmmm…

  263. davidmhoffer (19:47:19)

    Willis Eschenbach;
    On weasels…
    If it were a legend, would it not be rural rather than urban? :-)

    Very good, cracked me up.

    If you google “weasel chicken” you will get multiple articles like this one:

    “When they are faced with a super-abundance of food, weasels sometimes go on a lustful killing spree. A weasel in a chicken-house, for example, will kill a much larger number of birds than it could ever hope to eat. However, in more natural circumstances, these animals will attempt to cache their excess food”

    This contains far too much emotion for me to consider it as authoritative. “Lustful?”

    In any case, a weasel can easily eat half its weight in food every day. So for them to cache excess food makes perfect sense. And in the wild, it would be extremely rare to be able to kill more than they possibly could stow and eat, so they are hardwired to kill whatever they can.

    or this one

    “The weasel is prone to violent killing sprees. Weasels are notorious for killing entire coops of chickens”

    And having dealt with the aftermath of a weasel (OK OK, a PRESUMED weasel) in a chicken coop, it didn’t seem much like an urban legend to me.

    I didn’t mean that weasels killing stacks of chickens was an urban legend. I meant that them killing wantonly or for sport was an urban legend. We got into this because you said:

    Why does a weasel kill for sport while a fox doesn’t? I don’t know, but it does, and that is abnormal behaviour and doesn’t fit with survival instinct. Not only does the weasel risk injury and expend energy, it eliminates what might have been a repeat food source.

    I agree that weasels can kill a whole bunch of chickens, more than they could eat. I suspect that if the farmer didn’t come back, however, that the weasel (and perhaps his wife and kids) would eat many more of those chickens than we would imagine.

    But my point is, this is not wanton killing, this is not “killing for sport” as you say, it is not killing just for the sake of it. Weasels are killing to eat, and they will kill what is there to kill. Under modern farm conditions, they may kill too many chickens to eat, but that does not make their killing wanton. How many times in the wild does a weasel encounter a flock of birds that can’t get away? Their programming has enabled them to survive for millions of years.

    You ask the difference between a weasel and a fox. There are two big ones. Weasels (like most very small carnivorous mammals) have a very high metabolism. They must eat a huge amount for their size simply to stay alive. That’s the first difference.

    The second difference is that because they need to have food every day, and lots of it for their size, they have evolved to store excess food in their dens. This means that if they can kill more than they can eat right then, it makes perfect sense for them to do so. A fox doesn’t have either the need or the food storing habits to take advantage of multiple kills.

    So this is not “abnormal behaviour” that “doesn’t fit with survival instinct” as you say. It is perfectly reasonable behaviour for a tiny mammal predator with a very fast metabolism. And it is behaviour which has allowed them to survive for millions of years.

  264. vigilantfish (20:45:29)

    Willis,

    Darn it, you write so beautifully. I was transported by your story “Of sharks and Men”. You have a gift. I urge you to add ‘book author’ to your many careers. I’ve enjoyed the thoughts expressed in this thread.

    Thank you for your kind words. I’ve considered writing a book, but time, time, time …


    I am keenly aware that the influence of this and similar experiences on my professional attitudes are unique and entirely personal. Someone with different predispositions, given the exact same circumstances, may well have assimilated them differently, with different results for themselves and their influence on the external world. One may have abandoned fisheries science for a religious calling, as one of my colleagues has done. Another may have moved to a field of research or institution where encounters with dead fish and live fishermen were less visceral and disturbing. Still another may have been driven to regard fish as units, much as an accountant sees dollars and a dentist teeth.

    This is what I was trying to get at above when I said:

    You seem to think I do it for them. I don’t. I do it for me. I do it to stay human and humane, to keep myself from forgetting that I am engaged in a lethal, death-dealing business. I know people who kill animals and fish without a single thought. I don’t want to become like them, coarse and brutal, laughing about the death of some magnificent animal. I am willing to kill. I am not willing to say that killing is no different than pounding a nail.

    I don’t know if you’ve ever had a job where your task was to kill living things all day long. I’ve seen it turn decent men harsh and hard. Perhaps that is the difference here, I’ve done mass killing as a job, and most people never have. They are free to eat the meat and then blame the butcher.

    The scientist you quote describes a number of ways that people he knew coped when confronted daily with the reality of death on an industrial scale. I did not take any of the paths that he described. I took a different path, the path of not averting my eyes, while at the same time not regarding fish or animals as “units” in his words. I take full responsibility for their deaths, secure in the knowledge that someday I will die just like the animals. Here’s a story (not mine) that illustrates the issues far better than I could:

    I automatically started off, proceeding the way I had done scores of times. Don Juan walked beside me and followed my movements with a scrutinizing look. I was very calm and moved carefully and I had no trouble at all in catching a male rabbit.

    “Now kill it,” don Juan said dryly.

    I reached into the trap to grab hold of the rabbit. I had it by the ears and was pulling it out when a sudden sensation of terror invaded me. For the first time since don Juan had begun to teach me to hunt it occurred to me that he had never taught me how to kill game. In the scores of times we had roamed in the desert he himself had only killed one rabbit, two quail and one rattlesnake.

    I dropped the rabbit and looked at don Juan.

    “I can’t kill it,” I said.

    “Why not?”

    “I’ve never done that.”

    “But you’ve killed hundreds of birds and other animals.”

    “With a gun, not with my bare hands.”

    “What difference does it make? This rabbit’s time is up.”

    Don Juan’s tone shocked me; it was so authoritative, so knowledgeable, it left no doubts in my mind that he knew that the rabbit’s time was up.

    “Kill it!” he commanded with a ferocious look in his eyes.

    “I can’t.”

    He yelled at me that the rabbit had to die. He said that its roaming in that beautiful desert had come to an end. I had no business stalling, because the power or the spirit that guides rabbits had led that particular one into my trap, right at the edge of the twilight.

    A series of confusing thoughts and feelings overtook me, as if the feelings had been out there waiting for me. I felt with agonizing clarity the rabbit’s tragedy, to have fallen into my trap. In a matter of seconds my mind swept across the most crucial moments of my own life, the many times I had been the rabbit myself.

    I looked at it, and it looked at me. The rabbit had backed up against the side of the cage; it was almost curled up, very quiet and motionless. We exchanged a somber glance, and that glance, which I fancied to be of silent despair, cemented a complete identification on my part.

    “The hell with it,” I said loudly. “I won’t kill anything. That rabbit goes free.”

    A profound emotion made me shiver. My arms trembled as I tried to grab the rabbit by the ears; it moved fast and I missed. I again tried and fumbled once more. I became desperate. I had the sensation of nausea and quickly kicked the trap in order to smash it and let the rabbit go free. The cage was unsuspectedly strong and did not break as I thought it would. My despair mounted to an unbearable feeling of anguish. Using all my strength, I stomped on the edge of the cage with my right foot. The sticks cracked loudly. I pulled the rabbit out. I had a moment of relief, which was shattered to bits in the next instant. The rabbit hung limp in my hand. It was dead.

    I did not know what to do. I became preoccupied with finding out how it had died. I turned to don Juan. He was staring at me. A feeling of terror sent a chill through my body.

    I sat down by some rocks. I had a terrible headache. Don Juan put his hand on my head and whispered in my ear that I had to skin the rabbit and roast it before the twilight was over.

    I felt nauseated. He very patiently talked to me as if he were talking to a child. He said that the powers that guided men or animals had led that particular rabbit to me, in the same way they will lead me to my own death. He said the rabbit’s death had been a gift for me in exactly the same way my own death will be a gift for something or someone else.

    I was dizzy. The simple events of that day had crushed me. I tried to think that it was only a rabbit; I could not, however, shake off the uncanny identification I had had with it.

    Don Juan said that I needed to eat some of its meat, if only a morsel, in order to validate my finding.

    “I can’t do that,” I protested meekly.

    “We are dregs in the hands of those forces,” he snapped at me. “So stop your self-importance and use this gift properly.”

    I picked up the rabbit; it was warm.

    Don Juan leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Your trap was his last battle on earth. I told you, he had no more time to roam in this marvelous desert.”

  265. Willis Eschenbach;
    on weasels…

    OK, I grew up on a farm where certain prejudices against weasels are commonplace due to repeated chicken coop incidents. Having read your explanation, I can see that the killing spree may be a natural behaviour that only gets exhibited when the weasel encounters a dense population that can’t really happen in the wild, it can only happen when humans introduce chicken coops. Got it. (actually figured it out on my own but you had already posted, couldn’t wait just five more minutes?)

    Now MY original point was that animals don’t kill for sport, and I cited weasels as the exception that proves the rule. Then I wound up trying to show that they do, even though my base argument was that animals don’t kill for sport. I should’ve just said, yep, you’re right.

  266. davidmhoffer (21:29:38)

    Willis Eschenbach;
    on weasels…

    OK, I grew up on a farm where certain prejudices against weasels are commonplace due to repeated chicken coop incidents. Having read your explanation, I can see that the killing spree may be a natural behaviour that only gets exhibited when the weasel encounters a dense population that can’t really happen in the wild, it can only happen when humans introduce chicken coops. Got it. (actually figured it out on my own but you had already posted, couldn’t wait just five more minutes?)

    Now MY original point was that animals don’t kill for sport, and I cited weasels as the exception that proves the rule. Then I wound up trying to show that they do, even though my base argument was that animals don’t kill for sport. I should’ve just said, yep, you’re right.

    Sorry I didn’t wait the five minute, and you are right on all counts. Didn’t mean to rain on your parade, I’m impressed that a) you figured it out yourself, and b) you are willing to discuss it further. Science at its finest.

    A minor note. “The exception proves the rule” is widely misunderstood. The word “prove” is used here in the sense of a “proving ground”, meaning a testing ground. Therefore, the meaning of the phrase is “the exception tests the rule” … which makes a lot more sense. If the rule is that 2 + 2 = 4, finding an exception where 2 + 2 = 5 wouldn’t prove that the rule is true, it would test whether the rule is true …

  267. @ Anton (21:00:07) : “This isn’t a potential problem except where people place a low value on animals. If I place a very high value on animals, and humans at the same level, then those humans have nothing to fear. Your dread of humans being treated as badly as animals only goes to show how horribly animals are commonly treated. And who in this dispute places such a low value on animals that equating humans to them so disturbs you? Hmmm…”

    Yeh, right, I eat steak from time to time. I don’t and won’t apologize to Gaia for it. I eat frog legs from time to time. If need be, and I wouldn’t wish this on any one, I’ll eat darn near anything necessary to keep me alive. Except human. (I’ve been hungry once.) Then, tell me you’d wish something different on your loved ones. Then tell me how animals would make a distinction when they’re hungry. Heck, I’ve seen mammals and avian kill their own even when they weren’t hungry. Get back to me and let me know how and why we shouldn’t distinguish the difference between man and animal. And again, if you can’t see where there is a precedence to your same thought, there is no hope for you nor the people you try to teach. They will be as wretched as you.

  268. Willis Eschenbach;
    Therefore, the meaning of the phrase is “the exception tests the rule” >>

    I shall adopt your phrasing provided you adopt “rural legend” or “rural myth” in appropriate cases such as this one. I will be attempting to dispell this particular myth at the family dinner tomorrow night. This is at some risk to myself as various uncles may be offended that I am challenging their belief system and they tend to express their point of view with a cuff upside the head. I am steadfast however in my resolve to speak the truth, and I promise not to weasel out of it.

  269. @ Anton (21:00:07) : Sorry, I took the wrong approach earlier. I’ll try it this way. If indeed. you “place a very high value on animals, and humans at the same level” then surely, you’re outraged at the slaughter of every meat food source that mankind eats. If you do indeed believe we are wantonly and needlessly slaughtering the equivalent of people, where is your outrage? Where is your indignation at all who participate? Why aren’t you more visceral than the anti-abortionist? Could it be that you’ve lowered the value of human life instead of raising the value of an animal? But then, you make no distinction. The Africans today, the Natives in the U.S., the Jews in Germany and Russia, the Kurds in Turkey……..all the same as a slaughterhouse in Emporia, KS and people here don’t see why I think that’s obscene?

  270. Willis Eschenbach (21:29:32) :


    Don Juan said that I needed to eat some of its meat, if only a morsel, in order to validate my finding.

    “I can’t do that,” I protested meekly.

    “We are dregs in the hands of those forces,” he snapped at me. “So stop your self-importance and use this gift properly.”

    Sounds like something from Castaneda. I wish some of our greenie politicians could understand this.

    If civilisation collapsed, I would tip you to survive longer than a post-normal philosopher.

  271. James Sexton;
    If you do indeed believe we are wantonly and needlessly slaughtering the equivalent of people, where is your outrage?>>

    I do not recall anyone arguing that animals are the equivelant of people. Some animals have some capacity for thinking and reason, this does not mean on the same scale as humans and it does not make them equivelant to humans. Some animals walk on two legs. This no more makes monkeys equivelent to humans than does the fact that they use very primitive tools.

    You still haven’t answered my direct question. Who are the “private interests” that you claim control the Fed?

  272. James Sexton;
    My apologies last post. Coffee hasn’t kicked in all the way yet. The question about private interests and the fed was for peterhodges. Global Warming has caused a decline in caffeine concentration, as a consequence of which it takes two cups of coffee to bring me to complete waking status. Having had only three, you can see the problem. Global Warming also affects math skills, though I have seen no direct evidence of that. It has however, caused considerable aging. 25 years ago I was a lot younger than I am now, and today I am twice as old as I was then which is proof of global warming.

  273. And the angel of the Lord came unto me,
    Snatching me up from my place of slumber,
    And took me on high,
    And higher still until we moved in the spaces betwixt the air itself.
    And he bore me unto a vast farmland of our own midwest,
    And as we descended cries of impending doom rose from the soil.
    One thousand, nay, a million voices,
    Full of fear.
    And terror possessed me at end.
    And I begged,

    “Angel of the Lord, what are these tortured screams?”
    And the angel said unto me,
    “These are the cries of the carrots,
    The cries of the carrots.
    You see, reverend Maynard, tomorrow is harvest day
    And to them it is the holocaust.”
    And I sprang from my slumber drenched in sweat like the tears of one millions terrified brothers
    And roared,
    “Hear me now,
    I have seen the light,
    They have a consciousness,
    They have a life,
    They have a soul.
    Damn you!
    Let the rabbits wear glasses,
    Save our brothers…can I get an amen?
    Can I get a hallelujah? thank you, Jesus.

    Life feeds on life feeds on life feeds on life feeds on…
    This is necessary

    Lyrics from a song by Tool called “Disgustipated”, you can listen to it here if so inclined. Should have posted it yesterday, somewhat OT but not completely IMO. It is tongue in cheek, I don’t really believe carrots have souls but the point remains, as Willis eloquently raised, life feeds on life… and for me acceptance of that fact instead of denial is an important life lesson for all.

  274. James Sexton:
    You did not understand my comment about alcohol. I am opposed to converting grain to alcohol for fuel for cars. It is absurd, inefficient, and damages cars earlier, so we have to spend extra energy to make a new car.

    My alcohol-from-grain objection point was that we are taking food from people who were in famine situations even before we began converting corn to ethanol, for the sake of the eco-insane fundamentalists’ uneducated, illogical mind set.

    Now, the neo-Malthusians who want people dead need only volunteer as substrates for Obama’s new Soylent Green Bill – then we can all be happy!

  275. That reminds me of a joke:
    A farmer at a fair had a pig that was so highly trained that it could count, guess peoples’ weight, etc. It only had three legs. After a strong performance by the animal, an inquisitive bystander asked, “how did the pig lose its leg?” To which the farmer replied, “a pig that smart you don’t eat all at once.”

  276. Nice explanation of your belief Willis. I guess the main question is: why?

    Why engage with folks who seek to put down others with their rhetoric and their labels?

    For those who call themselves, “environmentalist”, what exactly does this label mean? Do you mean you care about the environment? That’s not a terribly useful label then is it… how many people do you know that DON’T care about the environment? How many people do you know that want pollution??? Or, does the term imply that one REALLY cares about the environment (again, as opposed to….???).

    Why not simply call yourself a, “Non-wife-beater”? The use of the term dictates the rest of the discussion. How can one NOT obviously be a member of the non-wife-beaters?? If you don’t explicitly agree with the platform of the non-wife-beater movement and their beliefs, then clearly you must be a WIFE BEATER! Same thing with the term, “environmentalist”. It’s nonsense.

    Bruce

  277. David

    I guess it is hard to believe but the Federal Reserve really is privately owned! The structure of the FED is detailed on their website, it is no secret. Who the ultimate shareholders of the owning banks are, is another question.

    Just google search “banking quotes” and you will get reams of statements by politicians and bankers themselves illustrating how our money system works. i also recommend “money as debt”, a short movie detailing how debt money works.

    in my opinion private control of money and debt money are the root of tyranny, that is the whole point of having established such a system.

  278. “the Court of Appeals, Poole, Circuit Judge, held that federal reserve banks are not federal instrumentalities for purposes of the Act, but are independent, privately owned and locally controlled corporations.” –Lewis v. United States, 680 F.2d 1239 (1982)

    The FED is composed of 12 regional reserve banks owned by shareholders in their respective region: generally the largest banks have the most shares. And who owns those member banks?

    And only recently the New York Fed defended itself against a FOIA request from Bloomberg media by saying since they are not a Government entity, they are not subject to FOIA.

    And don’t forget the whole debt money thing. you are paying interest on money created out of nothing. you are required to accept FED notes as legal tender, and the FED alone controls the value of those notes. if they were not legal tender, they would be worthless. If you had $19 in 1913 you had a months wage. If you have nineteen dollars today you maybe have an hours wage. If you had an ounce of gold in 1913, you had $19. If you have an ounce of gold today you have something like $1200. The dollar has lost 96% of it’s value since the advent of the FED.

  279. bubbagyro (08:59:15) :

    James Sexton:
    You did not understand my comment about alcohol. I am opposed to converting grain to alcohol for fuel for cars. It is absurd, inefficient, and damages cars earlier, so we have to spend extra energy to make a new car.

    My alcohol-from-grain objection point was that we are taking food from people who were in famine situations even before we began converting corn to ethanol, for the sake of the eco-insane fundamentalists’ uneducated, illogical mind set.

    Now, the neo-Malthusians who want people dead need only volunteer as substrates for Obama’s new Soylent Green Bill – then we can all be happy!

    lol, uhmm, yeh, that was, yet another poor attempt a humor. I totally agree about the grain alcohol as fuel. There were many other ways to do it. They mostly use corn here in the states. A high priced commodity to begin with. Covers much ground and requires a special head on a combine to harvest. This drove the price of corn so high, that it was cheaper to make plain gasoline. All at the same time lessening the supply of food. Brilliant. If they were going to be that silly, why didn’t they just have a grass processing center on each corner where after a mowing, the people could deliver the clippings for processing? I’m pretty sure the use of corn(and other high priced commodities) was to ensure it wasn’t going to be effective.

  280. No-ones escapes killing to live — even vegans kills billions of beings everyday in order to survive.

  281. peterhodges;
    The FED is composed of 12 regional reserve banks owned by shareholders in their respective region: generally the largest banks have the most shares. And who owns those member banks?>>

    Nope. The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States and was created by an act of Congress which maintains ovesight. It has a board of directors, a chairman and a vice-chairman all appointed by the President. The Federal Reserve operates (is not composed of, big difference) 12 regional reserve banks. Each district reserve bank in turn has a board of directors comprised as follows:

    “Each Reserve Bank has its own board of nine directors chosen from outside the Bank as provided by law. The boards of the Reserve Banks are intended to represent a cross-section of banking, commercial, agricultural, industrial, and public interests within the Federal Reserve District. Three directors, designated Class A directors, represent commercial banks that are members of the Federal Reserve System. Three Class B and three Class C directors represent the public. The member commercial banks in each District elect the Class A and Class B directors. The Board of Governors appoints the Class C directors to their posts. From the Class C directors, the Board of Governors selects one person as chairman and another as deputy chairman. No Class B or Class C director may be an officer, director, or employee of a bank or a bank holding company. No Class C director may own stock in a bank or a bank holding company. The directors in turn nominate a president and first vice president of the Reserve Bank, whose selection is subject to approval by the Board of Governors.”

    So the commercial banks get to elect 6 of nine directors at each reserve bank, only three of which can even be in the banking industry. their budget is subject to approval by the Federal Reserve, and they are accountable to the Federal Reserve which sets broad monetary policy which the reserve banks only implement, not define (though they can recommend but they have no authority). The Federal Reserve is in turn accountable to congress and the President, though in matters of monetary policy they can act without approval, they just get fired if they screw up.

    So, there are no “private interests” that “own” the Fed.

  282. @davidmhoffer

    ‘Now MY original point was that animals don’t kill for sport, and I cited weasels as the exception that proves the rule.’

    That’s presuming a lot. “For sport” is a human definition. What we’d call crazed, maybe mass, murder might be for the dog, wolf, rat, chimpanzee, or the polar bear, just that: “for sport”.

    The human “need” to hunt for sport might actually not be viewed as sport by a hummingbird. In the eyes of the hummingbirds humans might be the crazed mass murderers. ;-)

  283. davidmhoffer (15:39:02) : So, there are no “private interests” that “own” the Fed.

    Well that is just plain wrong. The stockholders in the 12 regional Federal Reserve Banks are the privately owned banks that fall under the Federal Reserve System for each region. These include all national banks (chartered by the federal government) and those state-chartered banks that wish to join and meet certain requirements. About 38 percent of the nation’s more than 8,000 banks are members of the system, and thus own the Fed banks. that is slightly out of date information, as i believe the fed now requires all banks to deposit at the FED and thus receive shares.

    I will grant that one may dispute whether the banks control the government or the governments control the banks. and on that we clearly disagree! you don’t have to believe me or them, but i resort to an appeal to authority:

    “When a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes.”– Napoleon

    “Some people think the Federal Reserve Banks are the United States government’s institutions.
    They are not government institutions. They are private credit monopolies which prey upon the people of the United States for the benefit of themselves and their foreign swindlers”– Louis T. McFadden, Chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency

    “This [Federal Reserve Act] establishes the most gigantic trust on Earth. When the President [Wilson} signs this bill, the invisible government of the monetary power will be legalized…”- Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr.

    “A great industrial nation is controlled by it’s system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated governments in the world– no longer a government of free opinion, no longer a government by conviction and vote of the majority, but a government by the opinion and duress of small groups of dominant men.”- President Woodrow Wilson, in his memoirs

    b franklin, jefferson, madison, jackson, van buren, lincoln, garfield; all opposed a banking monopoly, especially in private hands. congress is supposed to regulate the value of the currency which has nothing to do with a central bank or banking in general. paper money as legal tender is expressly ommitted from the constitution.

    “It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”-Henry Ford

    a true free market capitalist ought to prefer a free banking system with real money. those opposed to freedom oppose free banking and real money:

    “If that mischievous financial policy, which had its origin in the North American Republic, should become indurated down to a fixture, then that government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off debts and be without a debt. It will have all the money necessary to carry on its commerce. It will become prosperous beyond precedent in the history of civilized governments of the world.
    The brains and the wealth of all countries will go to North America. That government must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe.” – 1862 The Times of London

  284. thanks for the conversation david, and thanks for the barstool and table, A and mods

    and a few more parting shot appeals to authority ;)

    “Whoever controls the volume of money in any country is absolute master of all industry and commerce.” – President James A. Garfield

    “Those who create and issue money and credit direct the policies of government and hold in the hollow of their hands the destiny of the people.” – Rt. Hon. Reginald McKenna, former Chancellor of Exchequer

    “Bankers own the earth. Take it away from them, but leave them the power to create money and control credit, and with a flick of a pen they will create enough to buy it back.” – Sir Josiah Stamp, former president, Bank of England

  285. A conservationist wishes to conserve nature. An environ-mentalist is someone who wishes to hypnotize you and convince you that he is conserving nature.

  286. peterhodges;
    Your selective use of quotes and out of context statements combined with a dogged determination to fit the facts to your theory, is impressive and compelling. That you actually believe it may be a real possibility. I suppose some might say that a discussion regarding your theory of who controls the money supply doesn’t belong on a science blog. My thought is all myths, scientific or economic, should be debunked at every opportunity.

    Peter, the FED pumping money into the economy by increasing the money supply will in fact to much harm in the long term, driving yet another wave of inflation and further devalueing the American greenback. Some say the short term gain might even cause currency collaps at some point. But make no mistake about the fact that the decisions regarding monetary policy are in the hands of officials like Bernanke who have been appointed by politicians elected to office like Obama.

    If the banks you accuse of somehow controlling what are clearly political decisions by appointed officials through a shareholder system that doesn’t even exist, then the money supply would be constrained, not increased. There is no value to a bank to drive inflation. Inflation is a bank’s worst enemy because the money they loan out is paid back to them with dollars that have lost their value. The bank is only profitable when the money it lends is repaid at an interest rate higher than that of inflation. If inflation spirals out of control after the loan is made, the bank loses money. If interest rates go higher than out of control inflation rates, commerce comes to a halt because the cost of borrowing exceeds the possible rate of return. Banks are most profitable in a constrained money supply (which causes interest rates to rise because businesses most compete for available financing) combined with low levels of inflation (which allows a larger spread between the interest rate and the rate of inflation).

    If the banks had the influence you claim, that would be their goal, not what the FED is doing right now.

  287. “right wing scream team”, indeed. How poetic. Designed as a talking point to stick in your mind long after any other association to the concept might be lost. An Alinsky-type tactic. When science isn’t going your way, attack and demonize the “opposition.”

    I agree with the gist of the posted article. And any smart harvester of anything seeks to protect what they harvest, not for just the “balance” of nature which, by the way, is kill and be killed, but because it ensures bountiful harvests in the future. I have a friend who has a lifetime hunting license in Oklahoma. OK has done so well with their wild deer management and keeping the land clean, that the herds are overpopulated, especially with old doe who don’t fawn anymore. So much so that the state wildlife is begging hunters to harvest the old doe, which is plenty of good meat. The reason being that the old doe are also using resources that would be better kept for the fawning doe and their young. A herd is improved by getting rid of the old and infirm.

    When I fish, I buy a fishing license. Not only to avoid penalty, but to underwrite fish and game management. It pays to have the lakes re-stocked. Species of fish have blossomed to healthy numbers because of law-abiding fishermen paying for licenses which funds the raising of fish for re-stocking of lakes. But we all eat and are eaten.

    If a human is buried directly in the ground without casket, the worms, bacteria, the soil itself, will leach our the components of our physical make-up. “From the dust didst thou come and to the dust shalt thou return.” And yes, organs from a deer that is field-dressed in the forest do not go to waste. And the hide, too. We can wear the hide. Ted Nugent once did an impression of an environmental protestor who gave him grief from wearing leather goods (the hide of one animal.) He pointed out, instead, because of their predilection to wear cotton, they are also causing the land to be cleared of natural habitat and many creatures do die or are misplaced to clear a field for cotton. Cotton needs direct exposure to the sun and leaches the soil from both the land clearing and the growth of cotton. When you could kill just one animal, and have enough food for a while and some clothes, and the rest of the animals in the forest can go about their business.

    But I bet we’re the only species that considers ourselves a blight upon the Earth. The other species just go about living as best they can, doing what they can, and nature limits them, so to speak. Which species is smarter?

  288. Ray (13:07): “The natives in North America always had a sustainable way of life ”

    Would you include the buffalo jump in that “sustainable way of life”?

  289. Could I please request that the people discussing the US Reserve Bank find a thread that is actually about the US Reserve Bank and discuss it there?

    Many thanks,

    w.

  290. Shona: the orca is another single-member species of its genus. as is the hippopotamus. i dont think its as uncommon as you think. any experts around?

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