Grasshopper Soup: Federal war on wildlife exposed |

Grasshopper Soup: Federal war on wildlife exposed

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; Taking out the garbage can be a source of great inspiration. After coffee with friends in the morning, and reading all the bad news in the paper (yes, some people still read newspapers), thereand#8217;s nothing like taking out the garbage to help make sense of it all.

Especially when the conversation has been about protecting human interests by destroying natural predators, retiring from investment banking, cleaning 14,000 sq. ft. lake front homes, sculling on the glassy Tahoe waters in the early morning and affectionately referring to your charming wife as and#8220;The War Department.and#8221;

Thatand#8217;s what the current Department of Defense was originally called after World War II, the War Department, but the name was changed because war doesnand#8217;t sound good.

So I did just that. I took the garbage out, and still, nothing. Same old smelly garbage bin, same old gooey handle. Same old helpless feeling to know that garbage doesnand#8217;t just disappear when I toss it in the bin. It has to go somewhere. Every little bit of recycling helps, but, on such an overpopulated planet, one canand#8217;t help but wonder if protecting the environment isnand#8217;t a lost cause. Especially knowing how much man loves to interfere with nature to protect his precious assets (pun intended).

Tom Knudson, a Tahoe area resident, had to file a Freedom of Information Act request to write his series of articles in The Sacramento Bee about the federal governmentand#8217;s nearly century long interference with nature. Herbert Hoover signed a law in 1931 to help it along. You can read Tomand#8217;s in-depth analysis of this story in the Bee from last Sunday, Monday and next Sunday. Tomand#8217;s front page findings will alarm you, in a good way.

Tom reveals that what is now called Wildlife Services, a secretive federal agency, has been killing livestock and mule deer predators by the hundreds of thousands all over the Western United States, including bears, mountain lions, bobcats, foxes, wolves and coyotes, using several methods, including shooting them from the air. With their wildlife and#8220;service,and#8221; the feds have created more problems than they have solved. Among the many unintended consequences, besides the plague, the demise of eco-systems and the deaths of family pets, is the slow starvation of the mule deer the and#8220;serviceand#8221; seeks to protect.

All the worldand#8217;s creatures are subject to the risks and rewards inherent in the balance of nature. The wrath of natural predators upon man and his possessions can only be prevented by eradicating entire species, which destroys the balance of nature itself. That would eventually result in our being denied natureand#8217;s benefits and pleasures as well.

When we tamper with nature, too often all we do is bring more problems upon ourselves, yet we persist, even when the scientific data indicates that and#8220;helpingand#8221; only makes things worse. Thatand#8217;s the definition of insanity.

Protecting manand#8217;s need for profit from natureand#8217;s harsh realities is impossible. Not even the transparent and optimistically Green Obama administration can change that.

On the brighter side, there was nothing more I could add to an already exquisite morning upon which even the chill of rain clouds made headlines. The bold characters with white hair and dark, grey bellies emblazoned on the sky provoked many a skeptical comment from local dignitaries and blue collar luminaries heading off in different directions after filling their cups at the caffeine spigot Monday morning.

You have to be alert to survive in this unpredictable drama. Donand#8217;t run short on firewood for your house or your brain. The Tahoe Basin runneth over with the grandeur of nature, and we have to be able to drink the good with the bad.

Whose turn is it to take out the garbage?

Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University. He has lived at Lake Tahoe for 30 years.

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