Biologists Know Only Intact Ecosystems Can Save Species

Real conservation requires first and foremost an acknowledgement that all life is immersed in one interconnected system. Since writing 'Let The Buffalo Roam' a few months ago i've finally found the time to read Richard Manning's 'Rewilding the West'. In it Manning recounts the history, since European settlement, of 3.5 million acres of grasslands in and around the Missouri Breaks that the American Prairie Foundation is attempting to buy up and 'rewild'.

About one quarter of the earth's land was once grasslands, today little remains intact. What hasn't been destroyed by the pastoralists plows has been by their cattle and sheep including the Missouri Breaks. Manning shows how our failures to tame the grasslands of N. America have been a blessing in some ways and how their 'rewilding' will happen one day in spite of our meager attempts to control it. One day the perennials will re-inhabit the area, one day the fence posts will rot, one day the rivers will run clear and clean, The American Prairie Foundation hopes to help hurry that day along.

Species, all species, co-evolve. The earth's grasslands co-evolved with the ungulates that grazed them, with the prairie dogs whose burrows brought nutrients to the surface, with the predators, with the soil and the climate. When droughts came, as they always do, the bison, elk and deer moved hundreds of miles to better pasture. The grasses themselves being perennials would seemingly vanish, as they appeared to do during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, only to regrow from the biomass in their deep and abundant root systems.

Wheat and corn are annual grasses, they must produce seed or not regenerate, so we dam every stream, plow under the original miracle, pile on the chemicals and wait for the Great Mother to laugh at our short term hubris again. i am a conservative, i believe that real conservation's only hope is intact ecosystems. Further i believe that the re-sequestration of greenhouse gases could be accomplished in large part if we stopped trying to control the earth's grasslands [and other ecosystems] for the benefit of the bankers and special interests but instead allowed The Great Mother to once again abide, as she will one day anyway, despite our short sighted plans.

Restoring the great American prairie


Moving North to a New Hideout in Powell River

Last time i changed communities was almost 35 years ago. We moved to Roberts Creek on the lower Sunshine Coast to look after a friend's little farm for a year while they and their kids went on a tour of Europe. We arrived in Roberts Creek in the late summer of '76 just in time for our little girl to start kindergarten. We all made friends, turned out we fit right in to the small rural outlaw community so we bought a little bit of paradise and stayed.

The years rolled by, the family evolved as many did back then. New partners, new loves, new jobs, new little farm. Lottsa good times and good people. But the old community evolved too, folks slowly moved on, or passed on and one day i realized Roberts Creek, the one i'd fallen in love with, wasn't really there anymore. Being only about an hour, including one ferry ride, away from Vancouver meant Roberts Creek and its environs faces steadily rising real estate prices and a steady influx of the city folks who could afford them.

We lived for 25 of those years on a small organic farm, couldn't see another human, could live the old life insulted from the gentrification slowly chocking that old lifestyle into submission. Roberts Creek is still a neat place, better than most for sure. Some oldtimers still live the outlaw life but not many anymore. Young families can't move in unless they are of the silver spoon variety. The newcomers drive shiny SUVs, ski at Whistler, and get a latte buzz.. The oldtimers drove beaters and raised kids, dogs, chickens, and pot at the end of long dirt driveways.

Haven't had much time for writing lately cause i'm movin north. Time for a change while i've still got a bitta time and energy left. The new paradise for me is Powell River South. The new hideout is about 3 hours including two ferry rides north of Vancouver. It's like stepping back in time, my old beater van fits right in, roosters crow at the break of dawn, dogs bark, and most thrilling of all kids go outside-unchaperoned-and play. The other day my youngest daughter and i hiked Palm Beach just down the road from the new hideout, it was glorious, it reminded me of the first time i visited Roberts Creek's beach all those years ago.

Goin north-it's the new west.


Go North, It's The New West

The corporate control of our governments is so complete that people should be banding together against Big Business. Instead the Empire rules and we the people remain hoodwinked, divided and conquered. Dylan said "When you got nothin, you got nothin to lose." Like those folks in Libya throwing stones at tanks. Big business, big oil in Libya's case, big money, big corruption, it's the same dark lord holding sway from Libya to Wisconsin.

In 'Another Road' Ed’s Apprentice says, "I’m driving away from empire, thought long and hard about saving the living world, but I decided otherwise. I just can’t. For starters, nobody wants to let go of the lie." Unfortunately Ed’s Apprentice, and most of us, see the lies and illusions of others clearly, our own not so much. Driving away from empire is a powerful thought. i wonder which way he's goin?

Personally, i'm heading north, it's the new west here in N. America. Go north old man, find a little town, settle down, your neck may get redder, but you'll feel a lot better. The only real way to have more is to want less. Empire's grip loosens with every bend in the road headin north. We're real lucky here on the coast of BC because we got something way more liberating of Empire's grip than any pothole or bend, the ferry. BC Ferries separates the wheat from the chaff daily up here.

According to the country song, "When the talking is over, it's time to get a gun."