California is confused about its nature, literally.
For a state that over the past decade has repulsed anything with the letters G, O, P in it, it now manages its own nature through a political program set up by George Bush Jr. Perhaps you’ve heard of it and yes, like anything else associated with George Bush Jr’s administration, the name of it is Orwellian. It’s called the “Healthy Forests Restoration Act” implying of course that before the “act” we didn’t have any, healthy forests that is. Other names for it could be, “The Human Arrogance Perpetuation Act” or “The Nature Destruction Act”, “Blame the Biodiversity Act”, “We Won’t Take No Stinkin’ Responsibility for Nothin’ Act”, “Get ‘Cher Hands on Easy Money Act”.
Once in California, there existed an ethic about tearing stuff up. Oh yea, we tear stuff up, but there was a tacit understanding among the citizenry that we tear stuff up judiciously. Instead of letting OHV’s tear up the desert, we ask them to tear up the desert only in certain areas. Logging in CA used to be called, yup, logging and it took place only in certain areas; never in state parks. Pesticides were taboo. In other words, the destruction was kept track of more or less, managed. Nature preserves were nature preserves. Wilderness areas were wilderness areas. State Parks didn’t have “foresters” on staff. Of course, what administration trashed this paradigm? Bush Jr’s.
The Healthy Forest Restoration Act sounds nifty but it doles out money, to the tune of millions, for thinning and brushing projects, ANYWHERE, under the guise of “fire safety” and no piece of land ANYWHERE in California is immune now to being logged, brushed, chained, bombed with pesticides because, of course, it’s for “fire safety”. It’s all for YOUR SAFETY.
Of course, this is complete b.s. Ask me because not only did I clear (along with my neighbors) and we all still lost our HOMES MADE OF WOOD in the 2003 wildfire in San Diego, I hear from hundreds of people who did the same. “We cleared but our house still burned down.” Of course you did and of course IT did. The “Healthy Forests Restoration Act” doesn’t include any incentives/funding for shoring up a HOUSE against a fire, like putting on a fire safe roof, purchase of barricade gels, installation of water tanks for a neighborhood…it only cuts sht down, chains stuff out, sprays pesticides all over…this is all it does. Our houses, made of wood, sitting on steep slopes because they were PERMITTED by the counties (the steep slope ordinances mysteriously discontinued)–naaa, don’t talk about all the hypocrisy–just cut all your trees down.
It’s been danm hard to get used to–the sound of chain saws just about anywhere, the dropping of old oak trees, the decimation of a once thick wildlife- supporting chaparral layers, and everybody’s in on the game. CA State Parks now logs in the state parks, of course for “fire safety”. The truly ecologically pristine places in CA were once held by our state park system but they’re gone. CA Fish and Wildlife now goes in and, yes, destroys excellent fish and wildlife habitat, of course, for our safety. Even the so-called “Sierra Conservancy” is in on the game, getting millions…then up creeps the Biomass Boys who want to build plants all over to burn this evil stuff that was once the home of quail, salamanders, foxes, bobcats, deer, and hundreds of species of birds…the list is far longer than this.
Why? You know why. Because the “Healthy Forest Restoration Act” doles out “grants”–MONEY like candy and if you’re a cash strapped public agency, hell, you’ll chain out some juniper, spray pesticides all over God knows what (they don’t know) if it means a FTE or a few thousand. Policy, ethics? Na.
Today I heard native frogs, thousands of them, in the valley below my house about the same time I watched a flock of hundreds of sandhill cranes fly overhead. “FROGS?” I said to myself. “FROGS?” Frogs mean clean water. Frogs mean no pesticides. Frogs mean a healthy ecosystem. My neighbors aren’t spraying the wetlands I guess this year, not yet, because when they do, the sound of the frogs will end, immediately. The pesticides kill the tadpoles/frogs on contact and who determined this through indisputable research?
We have a new Rachel Carson and his name is Dr. Rick Relyea. See his research at his website:
Like Rachel, he is being attacked by the chemical companies that manufacture these poisons. He deserves our support.
Frogs calling by the thousands didn’t used to be a big deal in California but now that everyone can do anything to the land in the name of making us all “safe”, the sound of frogs calling from a wetland is a thing to stop you in your tracks, unique, precious, and rare. I almost wish they weren’t calling because now all I will do is listen for the day they all die.