Environmentalism verses Conservation
A LOOK AT TWO ROADS
years past, Conservation, the wise use of natural renewable
resources, was supported and understood by a majority of people.
It was taken for granted that man, due to his ability to reason,
had the power and right to improve, change and utilize the
Irrigation ditches were built, diverting the natural flow of
water to man-made ditches, thus making mountain streams live
streams year around due to return flow. This enhanced the land
for man and animal. Stock reservoirs and dams were built in the
semiarid parts of the West allowing the land to support stock
and wildlife which, in years past, supported few animals due to
continued to progress, and with that progression he learned new
ways to better conserve and use nature. Land in eastern states
was often left in a state of little use after coal mining.
Learning from those mistakes, man came west to mine coal and now
often reclaims the land better than it was in its natural state.
Logging, though never very pretty to look at, was found to be
the best thing for nature's forests. Instead of dying off of
disease, insect infestation, fire and other common tree killers,
wood could be harvested and utilized, thus making forests
healthier and man had a natural resource to use.
along came modern Environmentalism, a view that nature and natural
forces should be the dominating force of change, a concept that
Nature is "god" and man no more or less than any other living
creature in the natural flow of events. This new philosophy was
based upon several tenets:
1. Nature was perfect
until Man disfigured it.
2. Man invariably disrupts and wreaks havoc in the environment.
3. The Natural Balance of Nature is the only way to go.
4. Man must reject all of modern technology and call for a
return to a simple, pastoral life free of fumes, artificial
chemicals, and any noise but the chirping of birds and the
croaking of frogs (Science News).
5. Animals have a right to live as much as man and therefore
man has no right to eradicate or control any living
philosophy looks good. After all, who wouldn't like to slow down
and get out of the rat race of life? And we have all seen those
places on this earth which have been set aside so that the
natural beauty and grandeur of nature fills our being with
wonder and awe. Just think of what the land must have looked
like before man came? And who enjoys killing something for the
sake of killing? Besides, go to any major city and you will see
places where it seems man has made a mess of everything he has
yes, but the longer one contemplates such a belief system, the
more questions come to mind which are quite disturbing.
spite of his obvious mistakes in the past, man has really
improved the land. Agriculture now feeds millions of people
utilizing land that was able to support only a few people in its
natural state. Without modern technology, man would have to
build a fire to stay warm, walk to get anywhere and continually
look for food for sustenance.
the Balance of Nature may be natural, but there is nothing more
cruel. Animal life prospers for a time, then dies off due to
limited food supply, harsh weather, disease or predation and the
cycle starts over again only to repeat itself. Animals used to
die off by the hundreds in winter blizzards, due to lack of food
and shelter. Do we stop feeding the massive herds of elk in the
west to let nature take its natural course? Should there be a
law requiring farmers and stockmen to tear down their barns and
sheds so animals can face the elements naturally?
what right does man have to take animal life for his consumption
or because it is detrimental to his way of life?
only has to look at the consequences if man should stop his
consumption and control on the land. How quick would the rats
increase in the cities and carry disease as in the days of the
Plague? Or, what would be the consequences if there were no
termite control? Should wolves in Alaska and Canada be allowed
to regulate game naturally so that the native Indian and Eskimo
can starve due to shortages of meat as in yesteryear? Their
history speaks of hunger often. And the coyote of the plains,
let it increase until disease such as rabies reduces its numbers
as in years past. Watch nature at its finest as this animal
writhes in pain and agony, slowly going mad. Not to mention the
animals and humans it can bite, spreading this fatal disease.
Letting animals such as elk, deer, and moose increase unchecked
will also have negative impacts. Moose are habitat destroyers if
not kept in check. They ruin their forage and soon start to die
of malnutrition or susceptibility to harsh weather and their
numbers crash. Elk and deer can destroy crops that would feed
the hungry mouths found in many parts of the world.
serious look at these two philosophies is needed today. Common
sense would dictate that we need to get back to Conservation.
Man can and should control the extremes of nature through
hunting, keeping numbers down and utilizing the meat to feed
people. He should control those pests that wreak havoc with his
crops and livestock so that he may not only feed himself but
others. We need to ask hard questions like how much benefit is a
coyote in a city suburb or on a rancher's range? Does the coyote
become more valuable after it eats 10 sheep? Just because it is
a part of nature, do we let it come in the back yard and attack
our child as they have done in California, Yellowstone National
Park and in the National Parks of Canada?
Conservation should be everyone's concern. It does not mean
elimination of any species, but rather the control and
management of all animals for the benefit of man and animal.
Conservation, not environmentalism, was important to those
before us, we were given a heritage richer than any other
nation. We have more to eat, more to see and more to enjoy than
most of the world. It didn't just happen, nor will it continue
unless we have a common sense philosophy.
1995, 2000, T. R. Mader, Research Division
granted to disseminate and/or reprint if credit is given to