We Have But One Planet

Letter: Don’t change the Endangered Species Act

We have but one planet. We have but one land. We have evolved over the course of millions of years in concert with our ecosystem and environment.

Our technology is a wonderous thing. It is also a dangerous thing, as is our superior attitude toward the land. The idea that the land is ours to do with as we wish may come from our Judeo-Christian beliefs.

However, those who lived upon the land of what is now the United States had a different attitude. They viewed the land as a living entity. One whose sacredness was clear. One whose purpose was to be supportive of humanity as long as we respected it and sought to keep a balance to prevent its overuse. To overuse or destroy the proper balance causes the collapse of the system.

We are part of a web of interconnected plants, animals and environment. The smallest element in the ecosystem may hold a linchpin position. We have learned that the activities of the prairie grouse and the prairie dog help keep the soil renewed so the native grasses that hold the soil thrive, allowing even the tiniest insects to prosper.

We have learned that invasive species, which migrate due to warming temperatures or human activity, can overwhelm and destroy both native animals and plants upon which a local web depends. The quail in South Carolina were decimated due to fire ants and human patterns that prevented the ecosystem from supporting them.

We humans have a belief that we are always right. We are not. We are merely a latecomer to this party of life. We must respect the land that supports us. We must realize that our big-foot actions to rape the land and foul the air can tip the scales and, before we know it, we will have caused so much death that our world is besmirched.

Look at China. Its air pollution from industry drifts in the upper atmosphere to our continent causing acid rain and lung cancer.

Science has helped us see things beyond money.

I call upon you to ensure that economic interests are not superior to the interests of a balanced environment and ecosystem. Do not destroy the land just for gold.

Those who care more for gold and money than the balance of all things care only for their power and ability to extract all they can from the land. Need examples of this? We have thousands of stories of carelessness embodied in Superfund sites awaiting cleanup.

Please do not vote for the changes proposed by Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s office at the behest of those who would sacrifice all living things on the altar of mammon. Surely, you are able to see that we must be above money.

I’m encouraging all my elected representatives to look to a higher goal: caring for our ecosystem so that our grandchildren’s children may thrive and experience the joy of these, our United States.

Cheryl Smithem
Bellerive Lane

This opinion article was originally published by The Post and Courier

In addition to a barrage of riders and stand alone legislation attempting to radically alter the ESA (including a nine bill ESA reform package, widely supported by the extractive industry), we are also faced with a proposed rule that threatens to dismantle the ESA, and weaken protections for threatened and endangered species.

The new rule proposal is open for comment until 11:59 pm ET, September 24, 2018. Please take the time to voice your opposition to a plan that would scale back protections for species categorized as threatened and pave the way for the extraction industry to enter and exploit protected habitat. Tap the photo below to take action.

Thank you.

Feature image credit: Yva Momatiuk & John Eastcott/ Minden Pictures