Friday, May 06, 2005

Serendipitous Updates to Recent Posts

Even though I tend toward strong opinion, at least strongly-stated opinion, I do try to audit what new information or perspective is available. Surprisingly, I've got timely updates on topics I've just posted.

1) If my Wednesday post on global warming coverage left you hungry for more contrarian viewpoints, read this article in Nature. After being lambasted for dismissing work that's skeptical of anthropogenic (human-related) global warming, they've finally found a way to twist the set-up but keep the doomsday punchline! The article posits how Earth's cleaner air (that's right, cleaner) may be enhancing the greenhouse effect. Can't win for losing.

2) Last week, I criticized the enormous landgrab by the Dept. of the Interior for their Corridor of Hope in Arkansas, the home of the once considered-extinct Ivory-billed woodpecker, because I fear how attached restrictions may economically hurt the area. This USA Today article talks about how tourism dreams have been rekindled. (Okay) Then, I got to the part where an already poor county has suddenly limited its hunting and fishing to conform to the new protective guidelines. These people were hunting and fishing for subsistence. I wonder how long will it take for new truck stops and hotels to provide jobs replacing the food they're losing today? I'm being small-minded and intractable.

3) In the same post, I commented on our not much-publicized, but increasingly forested America. For subscribers only (gnash teeth here while respecting capitalist imperative) today's WSJ has a great story on the comeback of forests and how we can use them locally. I excerpt liberally, but not unforgiveably, I pray.

"Not since the collapse of Mayan civilization in Central America more than a thousand years ago has such a vast landscape reforested itself, says David R. Foster, director of the Harvard Forest unit near Petersham, Mass., and lead author of its new report...William Schuster, executive director of the nonprofit 3,785-acre Black Rock Forest preserve 50 miles north of New York City, says students who come there bring an almost universal abhorrence of logging. In forest-management classes, when he discusses options, he says students almost always say, "Don't cut the trees."...In a 2002 study, "The Illusion of Preservation," Harvard Forest scientists reported that because of tree growth in the Northeast, "We now have the opportunity to cut trees locally, in a heavily forested and ecologically resilient landscape, in order to reduce the impact on often more fragile and globally threatened forests."

It's not only safe to log our ample woodlands, it's responsible (as demonstrated by the California wildfires) to manage forests so they're safe, productive, and good habitats for wildlife. But many people are reflexive naysayers, unwilling to perceive their local hunters and loggers as conservationists.

Most exurbanites are two or more generations removed from hands-on rural life, Mr. Donahue says. Many grew up hearing logging is bad for redwoods, spotted owls and the climate. "They don't have a clue" where their wood comes from, Mr. Donahue says -- but consume it in record amounts. Is it responsible, he asks his students, to build and furnish homes in a giant New England forest with wood cut from Canadian wilderness or Borneo's tropical rain forest?

4) From my suggestion yesterday about using foreign languages to test IQ, if you want to learn more about the damnable difficulties in deciphering lost languages and how many are yet impenetrable, the Straight Dope has the fascinating run down of need-ems vs. got-ems.

1 comment:

nH said...

I think cities that have large bombed out spaces should purposely be reduced back to green fields. Then, everyone would want to live there again, they would build large sprawling estates on these green fields. Soon, everyone would want to live there, businesses would move in and flourish, and voila, suddenly city!

I am so smart, it hurts!
-N