Environmental Sustainability - It Hurts to Act Slowly Quickly

Larry Neal Gowdy Copyright©2005-2013

A man of words and not of deeds
is like a garden full of weeds.

-English proverb

In an environmental slant the proverb might read:
A man of endless words and aimless deeds
reduces the magnificence of forests to that of polluted weeds.

Currently there is much activity by local government employees towards 'fixing' environmental problems. In a river region of central USA non-Native humans arrived in the late 1800s, cut down almost all of the native trees for fencing and firewood, and then with the idea to 'fix' the problem of erosion due to almost no trees remaining, non-Native humans imported non-Native salt cedar brush from China. The salt cedar partially helped slow some of the erosion, but within the brush were venomous foot-long black Chinese centipedes that now plague the region. Adding to the problems, dams were built upstream so as to help provide water supplies to another booming human population 200 miles away. For over 20 years the river region has now had very little water allowed to flow from the dams, which has resulted in the thirsty salt cedar brush consuming much of what little water might have otherwise been available for new tree growth. With the dams preventing surface water from flowing, killing many more trees due to lack of water, and the trees not providing a natural moistening of the top soil through condensation, rainfall has now greatly diminished in the region and a harsh drought has gone unabated for over seven years. Adding in another problem of salt leeching into the river basin due to erosion and lack of quantities of fresh water, the region's soil surface is now often visibly white with deposits. Due to the high salt content, the more moisture a tree drinks, the faster the tree dies.

Dead trees in the Texas panhandleEvery fix only makes matters worse.

Without trees, few birds can find a safe height to build nests. Attempting to build nests in the salt cedar brush results in reptiles and rodents eating the eggs. Without the trees, there are now few birds, and without a sufficient number of birds there is now a strong infestation of insects, and without a sufficient quantity of moisture for the existing insect-eating birds and dragon flies, there is now a severe problem with flesh-eating insects biting all animals (including humans) for survival.

Though the land has a good location, has good scenery, and once was a comfortably inhabitable region capable of growing crops and providing entertainment to countless previous generations of Native humans, many parts of the region are now unhealthy, intolerable, and generally uninhabitable due to the insects, heat, cold, and lack of water. All of the problems are non-Native man-made, and no quick fix can remedy any of the problems. At this point not even replanting the millions of cedar and cotton wood trees that were cut down will help unless all human fixes are also dismantled, including the dams, and there is a sufficient quantity of time allowed for Nature to heal itself.

The idea of removing all man-made obstacles, replanting trees, and then waiting fifty to a hundred years, sounds slow and incomprehensible to the common thought process that is too anxious to give knee-jerk reactions rather than diagnose the real problems, but there is no other solution.

Humans destroyed approximately 600 square miles of wonderfully inhabitable resource-rich land to provide heating fuel and water for about 40 square miles of otherwise uninhabitable land. Validating the stupidity of the non-Native humans' actions, the 40 square mile region is currently once again experiencing serious water shortages. Now both the 600 and the 40 may die because humans could only see fixes, never a cure, and never a logic. Countless other regions of the world have been laid waste with the similar senselessness of feeding a cancer while allowing the living host organism to die.

Local government employees recently released 'salt cedar eating beetles' into the region with the idea that somehow the beetles will fix the salt cedar problems. The new problems caused by the introduction of yet another non-Native specie into an environment where it does not belong will not be known for a few years, but it is a safe bet the problem will be as equally invasive as all the other fixes.

Whatsoever invasive humanity touches, dies. Thousands of years have passed, humanity's cleverness continues invading and destroying the very foundations of life itself, and no quantity of quick fixes will solve any problem. It is faster to invest fifty to one hundred years into correctly remedying a problem than to continue throwing quick fixes for another 100,000 years without a cure.

With tremendous pleas for all creatures, living and yet to live, please stop fixing the environment.

Beyond Prodigies website

Beyond Prodigies book cover

Update for March 22, 2013 — the new prodigies book is now available through Barnes&Noble.
Much of the book's information is based on SesquIQ's SQ project, and since the book details some of the features within the SQ classifications of cognition then the previous SQ tests have now been halted and no scoring will be given except for the new SQ tests.

Update 04-08-2005

The National Park Service is currently burning a proposed 12,000 acres of land along the river bottom as a reported measure to control salt cedar brush (too early in the season, after a heavy rain, during a wetter than normal season, and in winds of 25 to 31 mph). All individuals experienced with salt cedar know that it vigorously grows back after a fire. Documented studies in New Mexico specifically state that fire will do little damage to salt cedar unless the fires are during hot dry seasons with little moisture and minimal wind. The government employees are either too inexperienced and incompetent to know better, or else the fires are directed towards killing nested 'salt cedar eating' beetles.

The temporary fix will predominately only hurt native plants, native animals, native soil, native water, and native air.

Update 10-03-2006

Another knee-jerk reaction, now approved by the USA Congress by a vote of 84-19, is to build a Berlin Wall type of fencing along much of the USA/Mexico border. The Great Wall will not stop illegal immigration, but it will destroy the habitats of many animals, some of which are already on protected lists. Humans made a mistake, and now all life must suffer for the humans' mistakes because the humans are not competent enough to recognize the mistakes nor how to correct the mistakes.

The temporary fix will predominately only hurt native plants, native animals, native soil, native water, and native air.

Update 02-20-2007

The Osborne Reef Waste Tire Removal Pilot Project article (no longer an active link) is but one of the countless examples of profound ignorance perpetrated by 'experts'. The Tire Reef Off Florida Proves to Be a Disaster article (also no longer an active link) provides additional information. "No one can say with certainty why the idea doesn't work ... Some scientists also believe the rubber leeches toxins." How is it possible for anyone with healthy senses to not know that tires are toxic? The only thing dumber than believing that old tires are good for the environment would be to cut down the oldest living tree on earth to measure its rings.... oh wait, that's already been done.

Update 06-06-2008

As a boy in 1967, two friends and I walked home from the Tri-State Fair. Approximately six of the ten mile walk was in the west-bound lane of the unfinished Interstate 40 highway. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) participated in the construction of Interstate 40 that now crosses through Amarillo east to west, and Interstate 27 that runs north to south. The highways cut through neighborhoods that had thousands of mature elms and other types of trees. Almost forty years later, TxDOT and city employees planted approximately one-hundred young trees along the Interstates near the center of town, and TxDOT then announced that it was behaving with the environment in mind. Forty years of lost benefit from thousands of mature-sized trees can never be replaced by a score of little trees.

In 2004 TxDOT made plans to destroy trees along rural panhandle highways with the excuse that fewer fatalities would occur if no trees were present for drunk and sleepy drivers to run into. The Texas panhandle is relatively flat, mostly populated with farms and ranches, and very few trees exist near rural highways. It is common to drive twenty miles or more without seeing any tree near a highway. The trees are often home to birds, some of which were protected species. TxDot received a negative public response, but TxDOT still destroyed every tree it wanted. "If it saves only one life" is the typical phrase used by liars who know that their actions will cause far more harm than good. The general mindset of government is that if a thing cannot be controlled, then tax it. If the thing cannot be taxed, then ban it. If it cannot be banned, then destroy it. Free-growing trees cannot be controlled, nor taxed, and the only option left to government employees was to destroy the trees.

If it was so important to cut down the trees along the rural highways, then why are trees now being planted along the sides of urban highways? What happened to the "if it saves only one life" excuse?

TxDot and other government agencies continue destroying the environment, and as long as the current government is in power, there is nothing that anyone can do to stop the destruction. Regardless of what government agencies might claim, they may not be here to help you.

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