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The Myth of the Wild
by Jonah Goldberg
The pristine natural world has been gone for a long time; get used to it.
Nearly all of the earthworms in
The notion that America was "wild" when Europeans found it is more than a little racist; it assumes Indians didn't act like humans everywhere else by changing their environment. Native Americans weren't Ur-hippies taking only photos -- or I guess drawings -- and leaving only footprints. They cultivated plants, cleared forests with extensive burning to boost the population of desired animals, and otherwise altered the landscape in ways that may have seemed natural to newcomers but were nonetheless profound. As biologist
Kay goes on to note that when we set aside a "wilderness" and then let "nature take its course," we aren't preserving "some remnant of the past." We are instead creating "conditions that have not existed for the last 10,000 years."
And even then, these supposedly wild places aren't truly wild. That's because to the extent they are preserved in their seemingly natural state, it is by humanity's will. Also, the remaining wild animals in those places are often the ones we decided should live or didn't accidentally kill. And the plants and animals that ate -- or were eaten by -- those creatures have never been the same. Without humans, dogs, cows, pigs and chickens wouldn't have evolved the way they have.
The wild environment isn't just about trees and bears and other forms of charismatic mega flora and fauna. I heard
In other words, we pick and choose what should be "wild" and what shouldn't all of the time.
Last year, the salmon catch in southeast
Geoengineering proponents hope that such techniques might one day be used to sequester large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere (though studies are mixed on this score), thus diminishing the need for wealth-crushing fossil fuel prohibitions while making food cheaper for humanity. In principle, this is no more outrageous than draining swampland to eradicate malaria and create farmland.
But some of the ideological responses Zubrin cited are ridiculous.
That ship sailed at least 10,000 years ago.
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Article: Copyright © 2014, Tribune Content Agency
"The Myth of the Wild "