Extinction is forever
November 25, 2009
We just came back from the San Diego Zoo – that, of course, is not usually a life-changing experience. But because of a challenge our valley is facing now, it does have special meaning.
When you walk around the zoo, you see all of the animals – many of whose signs said “threatened,” “endangered, “critically endangered.” And there are signs next to photos of animals now listed as “extinct.”
One has to stop and think: We can’t take our environment and animal species for granted – that extinction is forever. And we can’t be so smug as to be confident that what we have in abundance now will stay so in the future.
Wilderness is our one place we can guarantee – as much as humankind can – that the land and the creatures that live there will survive.
We do not, nor ever will, “own” the land. We are the guardians, the caretakers only. Everyone can now use the Wilderness, just not on mechanized or motorized machines that irrefutably alter the land.
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Imagine a notice someday at the entrance to your favorite National Forest or BLM trail that says “Here once were deer and elk and soft trails and clean air – all of which are now gone forever.”
I don’t think the bikers and riders really want that. They just don’t know it yet.