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Who Tops the Food Chain?

December 30, 2010

Reading last night, I came across an interesting question comment and question.  I think that pretty much everyone on the sane side of reality would agree that humans are on the top of the food chain.  Not only that, but we then create our own food chain that feeds a variety of animals that we’ve domesticated.  In all, we’ve created a world where we have the ability to easily feed six billion people on a small fraction of the land it would have once required.  The fact that we don’t feed them all is a crime of humanity, but that goes many ways.  As much as we can blame the corrupt government official in some backwater country, we can also blame the high-minded intellectual who forgets where we are in the food chain.

You don’t believe me?  Well, you can check out this Investor’s Business Daily article (thanks to Hot Air for the pointer) if you don’t.  From the IBD, talking about Central California:

State and federal officials, driven by the agenda of environmental extremists, have made it extremely difficult for the valley’s farms, introducing costly environmental regulations and cutting off critical water supplies to save the Delta smelt, a bait fish. It’s all driving the economy to collapse.

In the southwest part of the Central Valley, water allotments as low as 10% of normal have created a visible dust bowl. The knock-on effect can be seen in cities like Fresno, where November’s unemployment among the packers, cannery workers and professional fields that make agriculture productive stands at 16.9%.

So let’s get this right… a BAIT FISH — something we use to stay on top of the food chain mind you — is now so concerning that we’d rather stop feeding people.  In another context, if I explained to people that we had to limit water use by farms in order to supply enough water to make shoe polish, people would be up in arms over the greedy shoe polish makers.  I don’t hear a peep over the greedy fish lovers, and these are people who probably couldn’t pick a smelt out of a line-up.

And this isn’t even just a food problem.  Ed Morrissey points out:

The collapse has another element to it for Californians as well.  The state has a huge budget shortfall, currently estimated around $26 billion, and cannot afford to expand safety-net programs to help the Central Valley.  One reason the budget hole is so large is because of the lack of revenue from normally-robust agricultural production in that region.  Instead of being a net revenue producer, the Central Valley threatens to become a sinkhole of welfare spending that will hasten the bankruptcy of the nation’s largest state, and an economy that would normally rank among the top 10 in the world if considered as a nation unto itself.

So maybe the first thing states should be asking for in terms of bailout from the feds isn’t money.  They should be asking for relief from weird regulations that prevent the state from actually bootstraping itself back to success.

But still, I go back to my first point.  If the environmental movement is really concerned about the plight of humanity in the world, they’d first focus on enabling humanity to survive and thrive, and then push people to be responsible in how they use the natural resources available to us.  Instead, the movement seems focused on removing all human traces from the earth.  I wonder what they’ll say when there’s nobody with a full stomach who cares to listen?

6 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2010 11:00 am

    Science fiction writer Robert Heinlein summed the attitude up nicely:

    There are hidden contradictions in the minds of people who “love Nature” while deploring the “artificialities” with which “Man has spoiled ‘Nature’.” The obvious contradiction lies in their choice of words, which imply that Man and his artifacts are not part of “Nature” – but beavers and their dams are. But the contradictions go deeper than this prima-facie absurdity. In declaring his love for a beaver dam (erected by beavers for beavers’ purposes) and his hatred for dams erected by men (for the purposes of men) the “Naturist” reveals his hatred for his own race – i.e., his own self-hatred.

    In the case of “Naturists” such self-hatred is understandable; they are such a sorry lot. But hatred is too strong an emotion to feel toward them; pity and contempt are the most they rate.

    As for me, willy-nilly I am a man, not a beaver, and H. sapiens is the only race I have or can have. Fortunately for me, I like being part of a race made up of men and women – it strikes me as a fine arrangement and perfectly “natural.”

    Believe it or not, there were “Naturists” who opposed the first flight to old Earth’s Moon as being “unnatural” and a “despoiling of Nature.”

    This Earth has produced uncounted numbers of species; the number must be in the billions. We can only learn of the extinct ones — the 99.999% — indirectly, by the occasional happy accident of a preserved fossil or trace. New species are being created every day, and while the delta smelt is simply one species of a group of these fish, it wasn’t even a separate species for some years after its discovery. The original subspecies was described as spanning the Pacific and occurring in Japan as well, hence the scientific name Hypomesus transpacificus.

    It would be mildly unfortunate to lose this minor variant of a common fish, but only that. But some wanger … excuse me, Judge Wanger … has decided that the fish must be protected at all costs, even though the primary predators of it are bass, which the ecologists hate and consider to be “invasive species.”

    ALL species are invasive if you go back far enough, but that’s a different issue. Also a different issue is the fact that even the most fertile times in our planet’s history would be “the greatest extinction rate ever seen” — if we had been there to see it. The extinction business is an artifact of our being able to count them, just as we cannot compare warm one-day temperatures to a warm day fifty thousand years ago, as all we can get is the crudest of guesses from flawed proxies which often infer something else as well as temperature.

    Other tiny, inconspicuous creatures have been lost in recent centuries, and some of them were due to the influence of humans. Others were due to the influence of each other. New species are being created every day, and many species are expanding their ranges due to more amenable conditions. Only the bad part is talked about — just as the clear positive influence of CO2 on crop growth is not a polite subject for conversation these days.

    We should do what we reasonably can to preserve unique environments that are wellsprings of species. But this smelt business does not figure properly into anyone’s risk/reward process unless, as you suggest, the goal is to sacrifice humankind in favor of “natural” things.

    ===|==============/ Level Head

  2. December 30, 2010 10:22 am

    Many of the greenies aren’t concerned with the plight of humanity except where they can reduce humanity to insignificance. Which is odd given how many are vegetarian. What do vetegarians get to eat if the world goes back to subsistence/hunter gatherer tribes – grass?

    • ellend permalink
      December 30, 2010 10:49 am

      I agree, the most extreme greenies probably think the world would be better without people on it. Another example of fish over farmers is when they turned off the irrigation warter in K Falls a few summers back.

      • December 30, 2010 12:24 pm

        It is a bit sad how commonplace this notion is becoming. The enthusiasm with which “After We’re Gone” and “The World Without Us” are being presented in magazines and television suggests that the Vehement movement to end humanity has become mainstream.

        Even the whack-jobs of the VHEMT movement are reverently treated by Al Gore and the like. “Humans,” they insist, “are unnatural” — and “even one breeding pair of humans is too great a threat to the planet!”

        Such self-hatred is perhaps pitiable, but I suspect that these folks are really in it for other reasons.

        ===|==============/ Level Head

    • December 30, 2010 10:49 am

      ORGANIC grass.

      • December 30, 2010 12:03 pm

        It’s a common joke in California among farmers:

        Q: What do you do if your farm cannot pass state and federal health inspections?

        A: Label it “Organic”!

        You get “certified” to be an organic farmer — by private entities. It’s an oversimplification, but there are serious problems in this arena, as witnessed by recent years’ salmonella scares from lettuce and tomatoes and peppers, all from organic farms (an aspect of the narrative that does not get stressed).

        ===|==============/ Level Head

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