Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bald Eagles' restoration occurred only because of wise federal scientists and politicians who listened to them

We saw 10 Bald Eagles and perhaps as many as 15, including
white-headed adults and younger birds, during the Arkansas Audubon
Society field trip to Maysville November 19. They were listed an
Endangered Species because by the 1950s widespread nesting failures
due mainly to impacts of agricultural chemicals, especially DDT, had
caused near total nest failure in Arkansas and throughout the lower 48
states. Their comeback is one of our proudest achievements.

At their great size and prestigious status as national bird, Bald
Eagles are poster children for the the Endangered Species Act and
public will productively at work through government. It is because of
the ESA we still have eagles throughout Arkansas. Because of ESA,
Whooping Cranes did not go extinct. I saw 6 of them in central
Oklahoma during fall migration two years ago.

It has become hugely fashionable to condemn anything public or
governmental. Watching debates among Republicans, it appears they hold
common contempt for government, even though they have little in common
about their religious faith or life experiences. It was private,
corporate interests that caused the near extinction of Bald Eagles. It
was we citizens acting through our government who said we wouldn't
accept extinction. I'm not saying here that a Republican president
might not act responsibly when it comes to endangered species, but it
is now difficult to see one in this political climate defending the
ESA and the Bald Eagles it saved. This is just an observation: I don't
mean it as an endorsement of Democrats.

I find it difficult to look at Bald Eagles on a field trip and realize
many people of national stature, any one of whom could wind as
president, express contempt for regulatory laws like the Endangered
Species Act. On a field trip Thanksgiving Day we saw eagles everywhere
we stopped: two adults in a nest tree at Sequoyah NWR and a nest below
Tenkiller dam, both in eastern Oklahoma (and both areas are government
projects). These are things for which I give thanks for sure. I
consider it dangerous to deliberately ignore or conveniently forget
why it is that we can now find eagles so easily. There is a reason for
it, and you don't have to be a genius or a loud-mouthed radio or TV
talker to grasp it.

I am looking for government, private corporations, and small
businesses to recognize that we voters and American citizens are OF
the earth, not THE reason for the earth. The earth is not privately
and solely OURS. I would like the current president and the wanna-bes
to step up and let us know he or she will not sacrifice every piece of
life's puzzle on the altar of political purity and ideology convenient
for the moment. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying our national bird, in the
field, and thankful that citizens, through government, have made it

JOSEPH C. NEAL in Fayetteville, Arkansas
"I loaf and invite my soul..." -- Walt Whitman

No comments:

Post a Comment