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Sour Persimmon
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Far better to keep him a unitary minority. It will make the whole exercise more educational for everyone. Think of them trying to explain to him what he missed as they ponder whether they've understood anything at all. That's an education.
Toggle Commented Sep 10, 2010 on Abstinence Only, Middle School Style at Meanderthal
I think rewilding is a conceit, mostly because any real healing at the ecosystem scale is going to happen at a pace that is either geological or at the very least beyond our patience and longevity. Beyond that, we lack the scope of knowledge it would take to plan a coherent restoration strategy. Even the default strategy of doing nothing but allowing nature to repair herself requires major investment, both to isolate protected lands and to control what has already infested them. As climate change grows more severe, the concept of what is invasive will change. Right now it generally refers to plants and animals introduced by human activity, intentional or not, but at some point it will be hard to distinguish species that are colonizing new turf with the aid of commerce from those spreading in response to climate change. When such decisions impose themselves, will we have the patience and perception to choose correctly, or will we try to be heroes? My guess is we will pendulum between "fix it now!" and "dude, relax, it'll fix itself" like Sneeches until the grander-scale incoherence of our efforts does them in. Just when we were finally getting Southern Appalachian forests on a healthier trajectory, the hemlock adelgids hit. We learned how to protect bat caves just in time for white-nose fungus to infect them. Staving off such sicknesses is a prerequisite for a rewilding strategy, and we are just not there. I'm all in favor of reintroductions and wilderness, but I have no illusions about our ability to accomplish "rewilding." Do we even know what plants and insects and fungi and what else vanished with the chestnuts or the passenger pigeon? We could conceivably create a million living passenger pigeons from scraps of DNA scattered across a hundred museum drawers and never realize that our attempts to reverse extinction fail because some crucial gut microbe they got from chestnuts no longer exists. When the rubber hits the road, repairing ecosystems is mostly going to be about assembling an army big enough to yank a million privet bushes up by the roots every year for a half century, then letting that army's offspring go to work on whatever affront is next in line. We'll need a Senate that convenes every half-century to oversee the projects.
Disgusting indeed, and more so because of the way the media is downplaying the story. The Commercial Appeal has stuck close to the official version of events, which involves fixating on the admitted error and pretending all the other charges are just kooks and sore losers spouting nonsense. It's reminiscent of how the problem with chads in Florida overshadowed all other concerns, thereby hiding the more sinister activities from the spotlight. A quick Google News search suggests that a brief mention of the challenge lawsuit in the Tennessean is the only mention of the problems in newspapers outside Memphis. Fortunately, I can do something about that!
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Sep 5, 2010