Re: Life Duty Death

Richard Grant (
23 Sep 1995 22:17:38 GMT

Warrl kyree Tale'sedrin writes:
>How about if we arrange for *more* forestland in the US than was the
>case, say, 100 years ago.
>Oops, sorry, already done.

It depends on what you're willing to define as a "forest." The
vast tracts of land managed by timber-products companies, especially in
the southeastern U.S., are more accurately characterized as "tree farms."
They are essentially monocultures of fast-growing softwoods. A
large-scale survey of the biodiversity of such places was published
recently; the results (is anyone going to be surprised by this?) were
rather dismal.
Where I live in New England, it's true that a lot of previously
cleared land is returning to forest. But this trend is offset, even
here, by *larger* areas in the northern parts of Maine, NH, and New
Brunswick that are being cut over and replanted with softwoods -- then
the planting regime enforced by aerial herbicide application -- in the
style established earlier in the southeast. Ecologically speaking, it
There is also the question of the *health* of existing forests,
which is rapidly declining -- you might say crashing -- in many places:
the Smokey Mountains, northern Europe ... the list is long and depressing.
And of course this is not even considering the total loss of
forest in the southern hemisphere, with consequent catastrophic soil
erosion and species loss and related horrors.
I really don't get it. *Why* are you so determined to find a
bright side to this biological catastrophe? Pagan or not, any literate
person with access to the resources of the internet does not need to
remain ignorant of the terrible knot of problems -- surging human
populations, a wave of extinctions, rapid accumulation of CO2 and other
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and the rather terrifying
possibilities these things portend for the lifetimes of (to cite a
personal case) my 3 young children -- that are almost inevitably going to
rewrite the rules of the biosphere. Is it simply a political thing,
denying the reality of the crisis long enough for the Republican Party to
strip environmental laws off the books? Is it that you don't personally
*like* environmentalists? Is it sheer contrarianism? I mean, I know I
shouldn't become _ad hominem_ in a discussion of this type, but I am
genuinely curious as to how it is that any thinking person could maintain
an anti-ecological stance. (And I'm sorry, but I just can't buy a
response like "Getting the government out of the way and turning Mother
Earth over to the gentle mercies of the Holy Marketplace is the best
thing for the environment in the long run.")

Yours in the north woods -- rg

"I realized that everything in the world was an interplay of identical
particles...the trees, the water, you. All was unified, equivalent,
Nabokov, SOUNDS <1923>
physics imitates fiction