This video’s been making the rounds (copyright) on the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone. In it, the claim is made that Yellowstone wolves have started a trophic cascade. In hunting and clearing-out deer herds from valley floors, the wolves, as top predators, have indirectly caused more vegetation and higher trees to grow near streams and rivers. This has created more habitat in which more species flourish, allowing for greater biodiversity, straightening out Yellowstone’s rivers and even altering the very landscape.
What a noble creature, the wolf, goes the thinking, starting such an improbable causal chain. Nature has been made more whole and pure by the mere presence of such a creature, and perhaps your place in Nature, dear reader. Man is nowhere to be found, really, except perhaps as humble observer of what he’s helped put into motion (focus on the good parts).
Of course, not discussed are the costs of wolf management placed by some conservationists and activists upon ranchers and property owners as the wolves spread out beyond Yellowstone:
‘In sum, the people who support wolves need to take economic responsibility for them. But this program is about a lot more than money. It’s about respecting what the ranchers do. Eventually, I want wolves to be just another animal, not up on a pedestal as they are now. ‘
Laws cost time and money, and so does conservation. Activism isn’t free, as it comes with increased taxes, increased regulation and people to oversee both. The meter’s running in a world of economic and natural scarcity, and right now private-property owners and taxpayers are disproportionately picking up the tab when it comes to wolf reintroduction, however meager the populations.
Green Means Go, Red Means Stop?
It should be noted that the narrator of the original video is Briton George Monbiot, who seems awfully political for someone merely interested in Nature and Man’s place in it. Perhaps he’s nearing eco-socialist territory:
From his site:
‘Here are some of the things I try to fight: undemocratic power, corruption, deception of the public, environmental destruction, injustice, inequality and the misallocation of resources, waste, denial, the libertarianism which grants freedom to the powerful at the expense of the powerless, undisclosed interests, complacency.’
That sounds like an oddly specific and ideological mission-statement, going way beyond merely ordering nature and wolf-reintroduction. In fact, there’s a whole set of political assumptions and grievances under there.
On that note, some greens can become so humanist as to become anti-humanist, disgusted by man and his economic activity trampling through their visions and frustrated ideologies.
See Bob Zubrin discuss ‘Radical Environmentalists And Other Merchants Of Despair’:
Since we’re importing all this Britishness, here’s Briton Roger Scruton discussing why he thinks his brand of conservatism is better able to tackle environmental issues than either liberalism or socialism.
As an American, I have to confess that seeing Scruton is his fox-hunting attire moves me to imagine how these guys might have looked marching down the street:
Is it actual Nature, or a deep debate about civilization and morality, man and nature that fuels this Western debate: ….Roger Sandall At The New Criterion Via The A & L Daily: ‘Aboriginal Sin’…Roger Sandall At The American Interest: ‘Tribal Realism’…
Instead of global green governance, what about a World Leviathan…food for thought, and a little frightening: At Bloggingheads Steven Pinker Discusses War And Thomas Hobbes…
Ronald Bailey At Reason: ‘Delusional in Durban’…A Few Links On Environmentalism And Liberty