Why I don't care why ranchers adopt sustainable practices (postscript to my last post)

My early November garden - Madia elegans,  common madia

A Gardening with Natives Forum participant pointed the group to this article in the New York Times, which made me think about my last post regarding Allan Savory and his "Holistic Management" ideas in a somewhat different way.

The article is in the main, depressing. It's about the disappearance of monarchs, bees - and all the less charismatic insects that are an essential part of the web of life, due to unsustainable farming - and gardening - practices. Please read it.  The Year the Monarchs Didn't Come, by Jim Robbins.

Here are a few key paragraphs:

Another insect in serious trouble [besides the monarch butterfly] is the wild bee, which has thousands of species. Nicotine-based pesticides called neonicotinoids are implicated in their decline, but even if they were no longer used, experts say, bees, monarchs and many other species of insect would still be in serious trouble.
That’s because of another major factor that has not been widely recognized: the precipitous loss of native vegetation across the United States.

Another major cause is farming with Roundup, a herbicide that kills virtually all plants except crops that are genetically modified to survive it.

Farm fields are not the only problem. Around the world people have replaced diverse natural habitat with the biological deserts that are roads, parking lots and bluegrass lawns. 

When the Florida Department of Transportation last year mowed down roadside wildflowers where monarch butterflies fed on their epic migratory journey, “there was a huge outcry,” said Eleanor Dietrich, a wildflower activist in Florida. So much so, transportation officials created a new policy that left critical insect habitat un-mowed.
People! - we are the hope. We who care can make a difference:

My today right now garden, golden-crowned sparrows feasting on Madia elegant seeds - November 25

And this is why I don't, at least in one sense, care why ranchers adopt sustainable practices and cherish  biodiversity on their land, as espoused by the Holistic Management movement (among other things that are at least potentially problematic). As long as they do it.

Also - I have at least a pinch of faith that once you're on that path, you start to see old things in a new light and new things you didn't know existed. Your frame of reference shifts. 

And so maybe the ranchers will be able to self-correct those problematic aspects. I know - this is idealistic talk. But still. And yes, I know there are a lot of other factors and beliefs at play. But still.

A gardener may switch to natives to save on the water bill, but she will then discover new sources of enjoyment and satisfaction in the life those plants bring to the garden. I've heard this story over and over again, at native plant society meetings.

Geez, you gotta have faith in something in this world.


Terra said…
I am in agreement with you. Did you hear Linda Moulton Howe on coasttocoastam.com the radio show last Thursday? She explained how growing GMO corn and soybeans is wiping out Monarch butterflies east of the Rockies, since NO MILKWEED survives in those fields! Terrible.
That radio show reaches millions of listeners, so bless her heart.
Country Mouse said…
I missed that Terra - not much of a radio listener. But thanks for the heads up - I found the shoe's web site and a link to a very informative blog post all about this issue of missing monarchs: http://www.earthfiles.com/news.php?ID=2145&category=Environment - thanks