re: Greenies

Wayne Forrester (forrestr@mendel.Berkeley.EDU)
Mon, 23 Oct 1995 17:58:48 -0700 (PDT)

Hi John,=20
=09I couldn't help myself; I had to draft a response to your recent=20
=09To argue that all development should be prevented would be=20
foolish, and I certainly do not make that argument. However, to argue=20
that whoever owns a piece of land, no matter how significant that parcel=20
may be biologically, should have a right to do whatever they please with=20
it strikes me as being short-sighted. If it contains an endangered plant,=
animal, fungus, etc then it must be protected. It is to the benefit of=20
all of us that this should be true. Unfortunately, as many recent posts=20
have discussed, this is often not carried out. We all suffer for these=20
actions. Many organisms employ compounds that are medicinally useful,=20
which we lose when that organisms becomes extinct. In addition, varied=20
habitats provide buffers against the vagaries of nature. For example, the=
flooding of the Mississippi a few years ago was increased because many=20
wetlands and woodlands that would normally retain the rainfall were=20
removed. Lastly, the world seems to me at least to be a much poorer place=
as each animal or plant type vanishes.=20
=09Whatever humankind collectively decides is important will survive=20
and nonimportant things fall by the roadway? I find this a remarkable=20
statement. First, I see little collective decision making going on.=20
Things are being eliminated because they=D5re in the way of some=20
development, or mining operation, or logging operation, and not because=20
anyone assessed the value of an organism and decided it was unimportant.=20
Second, what would constitute important? Surely, by almost any criterion=20
that measured the benefit to humanity, the CP would almost uniformly be=20
deemed unimportant. There are few medicinal uses for them, and we can=D5t=
eat them. In addition, many important organisms would be deemed=20
unimportant before their benefit to us was determined. Only a few years=20
ago, the pacific yew was a tree that got in the way of more useful trees,=
but now we find it=D5s bark has a drug that affects proteins involved in=20
cell division and therefore may be useful in treating some kinds of=20
=09While it is true that species come and go, there is nothing=20
natural about the current rate of species loss. I think the world is much=
poorer place the more diversity we lose.=20
=09I think that this is an appropriate forum for Dole, Clinton or=20
any other candidate bashing, as long as it pertains to their stand on=20
environmental issues. I personally feel that preserving the CP we all=20
enjoy so much in the wild whenever possible is at least as important as=20
discussing how best to grow them. And if anyone has insight into which=20
candidate is most likely to support this point of view, than I would like=
to know about it. Anyway, I so enjoy standing on my little soap-box. At=20
least I must, I seem to spend so much time up here.=20
Wayne Forrester