Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Killing Trees While Blaming Cats

(Photo: Care2.com; Clear cut forest)
Everyday I read a new article or receive a new e-alert revealing a sad reality for our planet’s environment. Habitat destruction, land development, global warming, pollution and the use of herbicides and pesticides are all on the rise and their side effects on the natural world are devastating. Every year, the planet is stripped of between 3 and 6 BILLION trees and that is just for paper products and fuel; that figure does not include the number of trees cut down to make room for commercial building or those killed off by herbicides and pollution. YET wildlife organizations are more concerned with managing (aka killing) animal and plant species, claiming invasive species are higher on the list of environmental enemies, than fighting those who are truly responsible for the planet’s declining wildlife. The US Fish and Wildlife Service puts cats as the number one killer of birds—placing them well above pesticides and other man-made causes like building, power line and vehicle collisions. And they seriously expect us to believe this?! When…

According to a New York Times’ article, an herbicide called Imprelis, which is widely used by landscapers because it was thought to be environmentally friendly, has emerged as the leading suspect in the deaths of thousands of trees on lawns and golf courses across the country. Manufactured by DuPont and conditionally approved for sale last October by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, Imprelis is used for killing broadleaf weeds like dandelion and clover. But guess what—this supposed “environmentally-friendly” herbicide is now under investigation for killing thousands trees. And DuPont continues to sell the product, which is registered for use in all states except California and New York, claiming there are many places where the product had been used without damaging trees.

“This is going to be a large-scale problem, affecting hundreds of thousands of trees, if not more,” said Dr. Bert Cregg, an associate professor of horticulture and forestry and an extension specialist with Michigan State University. Imprelis is used on athletic fields and cemeteries as well as on private lawns and golf courses, he noted. While landscapers are replacing some of the trees, they cannot replace large mature ones, meaning that some homeowners have lost some of their biggest and oldest trees. There’s your explanation for declining bird populations…loss of suitable habitat, not to mention the adverse affects these chemicals have on birds and other wildlife.

AND WHEN...America's rainforest, the Tongass National Forest, continues to be under attack from legislation that proposes the forest be used for industrial clearcut logging and other private development. Sealaska Corporation has already clearcut some 300,000 acres of the best and biggest trees on the Tongass, exporting the timber to international markets (which requires tons of oil for transportation). And there’s a proposal for the Keystone XL pipeline that will transport some of the world’s dirtiest oil from the tar sands pits of Alberta, Canada across the U.S. to heavily polluting refineries down in Texas. Not only will this project destroy forests, it will also threaten miles of country side with potential toxic spills and contribute to global warming—another hot topic that is responsible for the deaths of wildlife species.

(Photo: Universetoday.com; Air pollution)
According to a newly published study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, climate change is speeding up the rate at which animals and plants are becoming extinct. By the end of the century, one in 10 species could be on the verge of extinction because of the effects of global warming. The Independent, a London newspaper, discussing the study says “The findings support the view that the earth is currently experiencing a global mass extinction where the rate at which species are being lost is many times greater than the historical extinction rate. It is the sixth great mass extinction in the history of life on earth.” Dr. Ilya Maclean of the University of Exeter and co-author of the study says, “Our study is a wake-up call for action. The many species that are already declining could become extinct if things continue as they are. It is time to stop using the uncertainties as an excuse for not acting. Our research shows that the harmful effects of climate change are already happening and, if anything, exceed predictions.” Dr. Robert Wilson, also from the University of Exeter and co-author of the study reiterates, “From birds to worms to marine mammals, from high mountain ranges to jungles and to the oceans, scientists seem to have been right that climate change is a real threat. We need to act now. This means cutting carbon emissions and protecting species from the other threats they face, such as habitat loss and pollution.” Both men agree that their findings are just “further evidence that we are experiencing a global mass extinction.”

How much more evidence do these wildlife organizations need to see that the number one causes for wildlife decline, with at least 10% of today’s species on the verge of extinction, is due to habitat destruction and pollution?! Evidence that human activity is to blame for species extinction is slapping them in the face, yet they continue to advocate for the eradication of countless plant and animal species who have as much of a right to life on this planet as we do. Humans need to take a hard look at our interactions with the planet and see every move we make has a direct or indirect effect on the world around us…before it is too late. Sadly, some of us have been saying this for a long time and only time itself will reveal if we have already passed the “too late” mark. Let’s hope not.


Strayer said...

Cats are routinely blamed for all world problems. Drives me nuts. I ran into a guy in the cat food section of a grocery store who called the bird people crazy. Maybe they are for their single minded one faceted approach to blaming cats.

I try to point out two seed warehouses. At one warehouse, they seal it up and gas it, to kill rodents. These are huge warehouses, and the gas kills everything alive, including birds. In fact you don't any life at warehouses where gas is used to eliminate rodents. Then there's the other warehouse, where they save tons of money by not using gas for rodent control. They have cats. But, they also have tons of birds. The birds swoop by when you open a door to enter a warehouse. They have all kinds of birds, and hundreds upon hundreds of them.

That's pretty much all I need to see--the nerve gas rodent control warehouse and the cat rodent control warehouses, to know the bird people don't know shit.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure where you got this: "The US Fish and Wildlife Service puts cats as the number one killer of birds—placing them well above pesticides and other man-made causes like building, power line and vehicle collisions. "

From the USFWS own website, they put cats at #4, behind habitat loss, collisions, and poisoning.


I know you probably want to be as accurate as possible.

Alley Cat Rescue said...

Thanks Anonymous! We do want to be accurate!