Endangered Ethics in Modern Environmentalism and the Plight of Misplaced Species: This is the Result of High Level Federal Agency Corruption
Environmental health is vital and currently being exploitated and abused by those agencies that are supposed to be protecting it. National parks are highly corrupt and in many cases, are causing more harm than help.
Our human habits of commerce and development have impacted the environment in such an extreme manner that thousands upon thousands of species have been misplaced and find themselves fighting to survive in foreign environments and unfamiliar habitats. These misplaced species have been cleaved into a variety of categories based primarily on what we deem to be human needs. The following article examines this movement and why these misplaced species are now considered one of the number one issues in modern environmentalism. It confronts the initiating forces that are behind the issue, the ethical values that they bring into question, and the inherent dysfunctions involved in our response.
May we open our mind to new perspectives, encourage and listen to original thinking, and act so that our understanding continue to expand and our vision broaden to one that encompasses the heart of all beings.
“We are being called to recognize interdependence, responsibility, and compassion as universal truths that will enable us to survive yet another century.” (Monserud 2003)
Environmentalism has gone through several transformations since its original foundation and now stands at the crux of its own demise. Gone are the pioneering days of John Muir’s preservation ideals versus Gifford Pinchot’s conservation rights. It’s taken on a force of its own fueled by social and cultural ideologies fed to us by the media and bolstered by irrational science, fear, emotionalism, and vested economic and political interests. We have been faced with a disastrous environmental crisis for the past 5 decades and although the environmental movement has continued to grow exponentially, that crisis has only retrogressed.
By closely reevaluating our current responses and exploring others, we can help ensure that they do not continue to cause more harm than help. This is not to say that there have not been any victories and that there are not pockets of well-intended individuals within it’s fold that work out of a true desire to make things right. Yet despite these categorized successes and sincere efforts, the environmental movement as a whole now finds itself strangely battling itself in a paradox of illusory modern values.
Land Grabs & Power Plays
On February 3, 1999, the President of the United States issued Executive Order 13112 which proclaims the need “to prevent the introduction of invasive species and provide for their control and to minimize the economic, ecological, and human health impacts that invasive species cause.” (Presidential Documents 1999) Thus was born what has become the biggest buzz word in modern environmentalism, the now dreaded and dangerous “invasive species”.
Numerous species that had been misplaced by human activities were suddenly looked upon with great disdain and separated into a negative context. Initiating and leading this change was The Invasive Species Council which was established as a part of Executive Order 13112. Several high ranking government officials such as the Secretary of Defense, Secretary of Treasury, and the Secretary of the Interior along with carefully chosen stakeholders were appointed to this council to integrate their self-created Invasive Species Management Plan with a mission which states that “Among other things, the advisory committee shall recommend plans and actions at local, tribal, state, regions, and eco-system based levels to achieve the goals and objectives of the Management Plan.” (Presidential Documents 1999)
The success of the Invasive Species Council to fuse itself into the fabric of environmentalism and society at large continues to build momentum and has become a hot topic for all those involved in resource management. Clearly, species that cause adverse impacts on any level, pose a challenge that we must rise to meet. However, we need to ensure an appropriate attitude and not allow ourselves to participate in persecution that will mislead us to places in ourselves where we begin to think and act in violent and barbaric ways; much less, begin to believe that this is acceptable behavior.
These sorts of presumptions have already led us down several roads that have only proved to be dead ends and caused severe destruction in the process. We usually don’t acknowledge this directly and the past shows that indeed, hindsight is often much clearer. We tend to wait until our mistakes have become painfully obvious and then we stand with open mouths as we observe this all too often wondering how we could not have seen it before. It doesn’t have to be that way though. This time we have a great opportunity to see the truth and act on it before this point arrives. We must meet this challenge not with primarily brute force, but a broad vision inclusive of our love and the inter-connectedness we share with all life.
Learning from the Past
We do not have to look too far back into our history to see how these sorts of responses have failed time and time again. For example, there are noteworthy cases in bio-control where a species was brought in to help balance out an ecosystem, and now that species has become one of the “enemy invasives” when it was once heralded as a good solution (HBST 2001). It becomes apparent that we often lack extensive understanding into the real nature of things when we use only a small measure of time as a window and bits and pieces of fragmented evidence we’ve gathered. Although we seem to miss the vastness and ever-changing nature of our environment throughout time, we react to environmental challenges, ironically enough, with a strong focus on time and the intention of preservation for our future generations.
This has brought us many failures and we’ve lacked an awareness that involves an integral resolution of which to respond with. What can serve us now is to change our overall perspective to one that is more inclusive of what we don’t know and make every effort to start knowing; rather than continuing our participation in rash activities that we are only guessing will help. They may lessen economic impacts in the short-term, but the overall picture is yet to be revealed, and even greater problems are left for the future to deal with.
Compartmentalized Compassion in Resource Management
“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered." Ralph Waldo Emerson
How is it that a plant that is valued and admired in one country, becomes an invasive weed to be “eradicated” at all costs in another? Consider the high number of these plant species and their incredible abilities to spread and grow at expedient rates. Will we really be able to accomplish these sorts of eradications with the increasing amount of species movement that occurs regularly all over the world? Hand weeding each plant is not realistic or possible in several areas. Is polluting the land with toxic chemicals to remove the plant really a lesser evil? According to Beyond Pesticides, a non-profit group that works with allies in protecting public health and the environment, the harsh and still unseen in entirety impacts of these toxins is much larger than what may be accrued as the benefit. In addition to the many water-ways that are polluted regularly by pesticides, Beyond Pesticides also points out the following important factors:
First, herbicides not only destroy the target weed, but often reduce a number of non-target plant species as well. In addition, an increase in toxic poisons in some plants -- including potassium nitrate and cyanide that occur naturally in some plants -- has been documented following herbicide use. These poisonous chemicals have been demonstrated to be toxic to livestock as well as wildlife, so increasingly the levels of these poisons is surely detrimental to the animals that live among these plants. Furthermore, some herbicide-tolerant plants may be physiologically affected by the herbicide. For example, several herbicides that did not kill certain non-target plants did significantly increase (up to 3-fold) the attack of pest insects on the non-target plants. Similarly, plant pathogens often increase in abundance (up to 5-fold) on non-target plants exposed to herbicides. (Pimentel 2010)
It is also interesting that an animal which is loved and protected in one state becomes an evil enemy in another to be “controlled” and hunted down. Several people in communities impacted by these so-called “invasives” angrily blame these species for their problems as if the animals were intentionally attempting to harm anything. Rather than looking to the root of the issue, they demand a reactionary solution to the many inconveniences they believe “invasives” cause them.
This is further exacerbated by those in professional positions, such as naturalists and park rangers, who unabashedly preach about “invasive species control”. In reference to “invasive species”, it is not uncommon to hear professionals encourage a perverse violence toward these species. The mission and funding demands of their positions are often bound to the requirement of upholding these agendas that have been skillfully put into motion from the top down and then these workers are bred further into these beliefs by fallacious training. Grave misunderstandings such as this have a definite impact and people follow suit with their fists raised. It is an akin reminder of the KKK lynching mobs, but this time, it’s a righteous “eradication” of nature’s nonhuman species that impact places in ways we do not yet understand.
To “eradicate” and in many cases to “control”, is simply a camouflaged way of encouraging kill campaigns on species that have no choice in the matter. One park ranger who works in an area where mongooses are considered “invasive” because they sometimes prey on “native” bird populations, was observed saying that she hated mongoose and planned to start a Mongoose Killing Club. There is a dark confusion reflected here that must be brought to light. It demonstrates an immediate need for ethical, moral, and spiritual reflection, and most certainly a call for compassion.
*Below Image: Baby Mongoose riding on it's Mother's back (source)
"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming ALL other living beings, we are still savages." (Thomas A. Edison, Souls like Ourselves 2000)
The current war against “invasive species” will inevitably reveal itself as propaganda, a hoax with an underlying economic guise that we’ve bought into ignorant to the manipulation of our own emotions. It has unleashed a powerful passion based on the solicitation of cultural pride and economic prejudice to save what have commonly become defined as “native species”.
Certainly ecosystems do require a certain web of life to sustain and remain healthy. This is not to discount all the ecological and biological challenges involved. It is a closer look at the current methods of battling “invasive species” and a consideration of their effectiveness as well as the value system that supports this. Many believe that it is about saving our “native species” but what are “native species” in this context? Executive Order 13112 tells us that, “native species means, with respect to a particular ecosystem, a species that, other than as a result of an introduction, historically occurred or currently occurs in that ecosystem.” (Presidential Documents 1999)
But what really are “native species” when we look at the bigger picture and concentrate upon understanding the nature of evolution and species extinction which has occurred throughout the ages. We can accept what Executive Order 13112 dictates it to be or we can ask the difficult questions. First of all, how far back does “historically” mean? And how can we be sure that there was no human intervention that caused the introduction of what is now considered “native” to an area and why is that seen as a primary measurement? There are countless possibilities and scenarios we can present here but the point is that we don’t know. And from this vague unknowing, we’re asserting decisions and practices that impact the very nature of life and bring into question important ethics that move into the depth of what it means to be human. We’re drawing theories and making conclusions that result in the massive kills of several innocent animals and toxic eradications of plants that will prove to be more detrimental than helpful as it leaves in its wake even more serious challenges.
Eradicating Economic Control
Have we compartmentalized things to be merely more efficient, to provide soley for unnecessary products of commerce? After all Executive Order 13112 states the need to “minimize economic impacts through Invasive Species Control” (Presidential Documents 1999). Due to this major factor, the National Invasive Species Information Center website has a link for a Tool Kit for Economic Analysis of Invasive Species and this states:
In fact, invasive species are fundamentally an economic problem – in terms of their causes, effects and remedies. Most invasions can be linked to the intended or unintended consequences of economic activities, which in turn means that economic solutions are also required. At the same time the major (although not only) reason that invasives are considered a problem by human beings is because they ultimately impact on economic systems and undermine human well-being: by directly affecting particular sectors, sites or groups; by indirectly affecting economic processes and opportunities through their knock on effects and secondary impacts; and due to the expenditures that are required to manage them. (Emerton & Howard 2008)
Simply stated, the campaign against “invasive species” comes down to money and power. Why else are important and broad based decisions made without the natural inclusion of such obvious self consciousness? How did a living being become diminished to be a mere term and an enemy that must be “eradicated”? What happened to the reverence for all life that inspired some of the original founders of environmentalism (Muir 1913)?
Important universal questions such as, is killing one animal for the sake of another for our own human convenience ethical? Is it moral to actively take part in eradication efforts? Do we even understand the magnitude of our actions or are we simply following along, taking the easy route? Why have we compartmentalized our compassion to ecological definitions geared toward economy created from the top down? Esteemed academic writer and lawyer Wendell Berry has some insight to offer here:
The 'environmental crisis' has happened because the human household or economy is in conflict at almost every point with the household of nature. We have built our household on the assumption that the natural household is simple and can be simply used. We have assumed increasingly over the last five hundred years that nature is merely a supply of 'raw materials,' and that we may safely possess those materials by taking them.... And so we will be wrong if we attempt to correct what we perceive as 'environmental' problems without correcting the economic oversimplification that caused them. (Wendell Berry 2010)
Ecology ebbs and flows and species evolve and eventually become extinct on there own regardless of human interaction. Undoubtedly, recent economic globalization has certainly accelerated the process. Nonetheless, we must keep in mind that the earth could not house all the species throughout its history at once and if the process has been sped up by us, maybe we need to be pointing the finger back at ourselves rather than promoting and participating in harmful reactions that demonstrate only a minor short-term success since that’s all we are going by (Raup 1991). We can and must make the extra effort to understand the numerous other issues tied to this and discern our actions using wisdom and courage.
Our zest for self preservation, material goods, and control has certainly hastened ecological distress today so we are unquestionably faced with a dilemma that may be dawn of a new paradigm. Whatever the case may be, several questions beg more consideration and it is our natural duty to address them respectfully and self reflectively if we are to find an enduring solution.
Related Article: Stop Slaughter of Yellowstone Bison
“Again, the Feds team up with Welfare Ranchers to destroy and slaughter yet another species of America’s wild four legged National Heritage” ~ R.T.