Lone Wolf

Five years ago, a lone wolf found himself in Colorado, over a thousand miles away from home, and was killed on I-70. Earlier this year, a new female made her way to our mountains, but she also died within weeks. Wolves are still endangered, yet officials in the Northern Rockies, particularly Yellowstone, are pronouncing success – apparently enough to allow hunting this fall. The Obama administration affirmed a plan to resume wolf hunts in Idaho and Montana this year, originally a product of the Bush administration.
Consider the numbers: a century ago, wolves dominated the West, with an estimated 500 individuals in Yellowstone alone, but they were completely exterminated by the mid-1900s. In 1995, a controversial plan reintroduced 14 wolves to Yellowstone, with low expectations. Now, just 15 years later, approximately 1500 wolves can be found in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, with about 150 total in Yellowstone. Even though this is just a fraction of the original numbers, state officials are considering it a “population boom” which is now growing out of hand. The plan is to ultimately reduce the numbers to 600.
600 wolves, 3 states. Ecosystems already struggling to hold together will soon have less than half as many wolves to maintain the balance between predator and prey.
What does this mean for Colorado? Due to the lack of predators in the mountains, prey populations, particularly elk, have been a significant problem. One solution which has yet to find enough public support is to reintroduce both Mexican and grey wolf “trial” populations into Rocky Mountain National Park. However, Colorado is officially at a standstill. While refusing to officially fund a reintroduction program, claiming it is too difficult to maintain due to herd migration and the associated risks of predators to livestock, children and pets, state officials claim they will protect whatever wolves happen to wander down to Colorado.
It’s a good idea in theory, but the only two wolves known to have managed the thousand mile trip still died within months.

– Liz Grogan

Lazy is as Lazy Does

There is an epidemic engulfing our society at an alarming rate.  Eco-laze.  This is a new term that is defining a whole new class of lazy.  Webster defines lazy as “…not eager or willing to work or exert oneself; indolent; slothful…”, when you gear this general laziness towards the environment around us that’s when I start to rant.

I have been standing right next to my manager, when I was working at a fine dining restaurant, water was running, constantly and no place to put recyclable waste.  Now that’s eco-laze.  She could have easily implemented some simple rules that would have changed the operations of the restaurant.  This is an example of how eco-laze can spread quickly without us even knowing it.  The manager by not implementing eco-friendly policies is infecting all of her employees with the horrible affliction of eco-laze.
Another example of how the disease is engulfing the world is when the “cool kids” put down eco-friendly people for doing the simple things that everybody should be doing to protect the environment.  Just because you are apathetic towards the issue does not mean that it is not important.  It’s crazy that some people look down on others who are using canvas shopping bags or washing out and separating their recyclables.  Hey, we are the ones that are saving the world for your children!

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine that was telling me about how environmentally friendly people are the nicest and most responsible people that he has ever met.  This gives me hope for the future of this great planet.  So how about you lazy bums that do nothing for the environment take a few minutes and think about what you could contribute to the cause. I know I am not perfect, and every now and again I get a touch of eco-laze but when this happens my doctor always prescribes a long hike and a bunch of fresh air.  Breathing in all of the fresh mountain air reinforces the notion that we must protect the environment before we are so polluted that there isn’t any left.  If we all take a stand against eco-laze we can get this epidemic under control and return our environment to healthy and productive place.   If that were to happen then I would finally be able to move on to another rant, and I can assure you there are plenty more where this came from.

– Royce Johnson

Gloom and Doom

One of the problems with most environmental news and documentaries is that they present all of the negative aspects of our lives. They show us how we have destroyed the earth and tell us all is lost. Some may present methods for us to clean up our act but most don’t even worry about that. Many documentaries and authors tend to focus on the past and the present, not the future. They show us how in the past the people were one with the land and then somehow in the present we have lost that and have begun to destroy the land for our own needs.

Many of these documentaries tend to present the past as being the ideal. A time when humans and the earth lived in harmony, well that is a lie. Humans have always changed their environment to better suit themselves. From the construction of shelters to the creation of fires, humans have always left an impact on the Earth. We evolved our hands and feet and bipedalism so that we could better grasp tools, to better manipulate our environments. Even nomadic people impact their environment, albeit less than their capitalist neighbors, but they still create shelters, and hunt and gather. The past is not full of answers, it is full of questions. History and archaeology are fields of study that attempt to interpret the past but they cannot predict the future.

We should look at the past, not for answers, but for examples of what has been done. We can find new ways, we will adapt. Humans have always been good at adapting to our environments. If we do cause the ice caps to melt then we will adapt to that new climate and will be able to survive. All of the gloom and doom environmentalists are just scared that they will not be able to think up a new way to save us, and therefore have decided that it would be better to lay down and acknowledge how bad the world is. In one film, The End of Suburbia, all of the experts that were interviewed were white, middle aged, men. This does not represent the present, let alone the future. There are new thinkers and therefore new ideas being developed. If the world was over and there was no way to fix it, don’t you think we would have realized it by now?

– Ben Rogers