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The State of the Nation's Ecosystems -
September 25, 2002 1:13 AM   Subscribe

The State of the Nation's Ecosystems - According to a report commissioned five years ago by President Clinton and finally completed and released, the United States may have no streams left that are free from chemical contamination, and about one-fifth of animal species and one-sixth of plant types are at risk of extinction.
posted by dejah420 (14 comments total)

 
...and, well, precisely zero percent of that has improved under the current Administration, bless 'em.

Remember: Tuesday is Soylent Green day.
posted by adamgreenfield at 1:35 AM on September 25, 2002


Don't know what to say other than, thanx for the link! Alot to absorb as well as the racing through my mind of predictions of what anti-environmentalist naysayers would do to the incomplete sectors of this study. The out of context quote of "Absence of evidence" comes to mind. Heaven help us if we're to complete the exhaustive study and anybody around cares enough to read it by that time.
posted by crasspastor at 2:14 AM on September 25, 2002


Who speaks for the rivers?

In any case, when a man must be afraid to drink freely from his country's rivers and streams, that country is no longer fit to live in. Time then to move on, to find another country or -- in the name of Jefferson -- to make another country. "The tree of liberty is nourished by the blood of tyrants; it is its natural manure."

Water, water, water....There is no lack of water here, unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.

The Developers, of course....they see it somewhat otherwise and complain most bitterly and interminably of a desperate water shortage. They propose schemes of inspiring proportions for diverting waters by the damful from the Columbia River, or even from the Yukon River, and channeling it overland down into Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.

What for? "In anticipation of future needs, in order to provide for the continued industrial and population growth of the Southwest." And in such an answer we see that it's only the old numbers game again, the monomania of small and very simple minds in the grip of an obsession. They cannot see that growth for the sake of growth is a cancerous madness....They would never understand that an economic system which can only expand or expire must be false to all that is human.

No matter, it is of slight importance. Time and the winds will sooner or later bury the Seven Cities of Cibola, Phoenix, Tucson, Albuquerque, all of them under dunes of glowing sands, over which blue-eyed Navajo bedouin will herd their sheep and horses, following the river in winter, the mountains in summer, and sometimes striking across toward the red canyons of Utah where great waterfalls plunge over silt-filled, ancient, mysterious dams.

Only the boldest among them, seeking visions, will camp for long in the strange country of the standing rocks....where the thunderstorms blast the pinnacles and cliffs, where the rust-brown floods roll down the barren washes, and where the community of the quiet deer walk at evening up glens of sandstone through tamarisk and sage toward the hidden springs of sweet, cool, still, clear, unfailing water.

Ed Abbey - Desert Solitaire

And who speaks for the blessed, silent animals? Will all our words one day be eulogies?

It was a dead swan. Its body lay contorted on the beach like an abandoned lover....

I knelt beside the bird, took off my deerskin gloves, and began smoothing feathers. Its body was still limp -- the swan had not been dead long. I lifted both wings out from under its belly and spread them on the sand....The small dark eyes had sunk behind the yellow lores. It was a whistling swan. I looked for two black stones, found them, and placed them over the eyes like coins. They held. And, using my own saliva as my mother and grandmother had done to wash my face, I washed the swan's black bill and feet until they shone like patent leather.

I have no idea of the amount of time that passed in the preparation of the swan. What I remember most is lying next to its body and imagining the great white bird in flight.

I imagined the great heart that propelled the bird forward day after day, night after night. Imagined the deep breaths taken as it lifted from the arctic tundra, the camaraderie within the flock. I imagined the stars seen and recognized on clear autumn nights as they navigated south. Imagined their silhouettes passing in front of the full face of the harvest moon. And I imagined the shimmering Great Salt Lake calling the swans down like a mother, the suddenness of the storm, the anguish of its separation.

And I tried to listen to the stillness of its body.

At dusk, I left the swan like a crucifix on the sand. I did not look back.

Terry Tempest Williams -- Refuge

If only we may grow. May we learn to love more than the fulfillment of our own appetites. May we begin to caress and care for the earth that bears us.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 2:44 AM on September 25, 2002


Hey! How'd that pesky report get out? Looks like someone might need to ensure that it doesn't contain any redundancies.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:06 AM on September 25, 2002


Does anyone know whether this affects water reservoirs all over the country? or is the water so heavily treated and processed that it doesn't matter?

(and great quotes, fold!)
posted by amberglow at 5:29 AM on September 25, 2002


...no streams left that are free from chemical contamination... one-fifth of animal species and one-sixth of plant types are at risk of extinction...

Um, thanks for the link, De.
[Feels the undertow of depression, grabs at more coffee, vows to give the skunks, 'coons and night critters more scrap food tonight and run the hose in the dry creek so the muskrats have some fresh water...]
: I
posted by Shane at 6:06 AM on September 25, 2002


Thanks for the morning Ed and Terry dose Fold. They came immediately to my mind as well. I'll a little more Ed here as well - "Belief? What do I believe in? I believe in sun. In rock. In the dogma of the sun and the doctrine of the rock. I believe in blood, fire, woman, rivers, eagles, storm, drums, flutes, banjos, and broom-tailed horses...."
- Ed Abbey

posted by tr33hggr at 6:37 AM on September 25, 2002


Does anyone know whether this affects water reservoirs all over the country?

As long as you keep the polluted rain water out, wait that is rain water in most reservoirs around here. Well, well water is the way to go. O' great the soil is polluted, then I guess I will be distilling my own water. As you can buy it bottled which you know that joke, the hose out back. And I have been scammed with bottled water that had been refilled from the tap.

Fold, thanks for the words of wisdom.
posted by thomcatspike at 6:45 AM on September 25, 2002


what a bunch of typical liberal lefty leftist from-the-left hooabloo. everyone knows that ecosystems don't exist!
posted by mcsweetie at 8:44 AM on September 25, 2002


The study offers 103 indicators but says completed and adequate data is available for only 56 percent of them. For example, the only national data on non-native or invasive species are for birds and freshwater fish.

The worst vanity of the environmental movement - and the one that loses them the most support - is wildly overstating the results of scientific observation and experimentation for media effect. It murdered productive discussion about global warming, and it'll murder productive discussion about this.
posted by UncleFes at 8:45 AM on September 25, 2002


Foldy, great quotes man. Thanks. :)
posted by dejah420 at 9:03 AM on September 25, 2002


Shane, I don't think that's a good idea (the scrap food that is)...I'm pretty sure that giving wild animals food is bad for them as it encourages them to rely on handouts 'cuz they're easier than normal methods of getting food; and also it encourages them to hang out near human settlements where their risk of being killed (cars, Farmer Brown w/ his shotgun, dogs,etc) is much higher.

Good sentiment, tho. Maybe if you took a short walk into the woods and left food *there*...^_^
posted by cyrusdogstar at 9:26 AM on September 25, 2002


Shane, I don't think that's a good idea (the scrap food that is)...

Thanks, Cyrus! These things have been considered, though, as well as the fact that they just seem to breed that much more quickly when they have a large, ample food supply, causing more overpopulation. I have a small and specific, familiar population of wild buddies, and I feed them sparingly (and carefully--skunks cannot process junkfood or high protein. Grains are good, and they tend to clean up the seeds left behind by the birds.)
; )
posted by Shane at 11:10 AM on September 25, 2002


The worst vanity of the environmental movement - and the one that loses them the most support - is wildly overstating the results of scientific observation and experimentation for media effect. It murdered productive discussion about global warming, and it'll murder productive discussion about this.

I wonder then, if non-environmentalists are actually at all concerned about even the possibility that the environment is nearing a crisis of some sort or another. Perhaps enough to fund and institute stringent environmental safeguards for a period long enough to complete a thorough study?

Wouldn't that be a proper and conservative approach to determining the threat to the environment that supports us all (and our industry)? Fund a study, and stop doing anything that might be causing harm until it is properly determined whether or not, and if so, how much, harm is being done?

Surely if we were serious about it, the study could be accomplished in a couple of years. The price we would pay in lost economy to the temporary safeguards might be easily overcome by...oh, I don't know....maybe reducing our military budget to, say, only the combined military budgets of the next highest spending five nations? We're currently passing the mark of the next 9...

I realize I've given plenty of fodder for argument here, but I don't actually consider myself an environmentalist....but actually rather conservative of the environment. Industry and economy are very important...but um...so is the damned planet...
posted by ruggles at 3:25 PM on September 25, 2002


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