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Spotted owl habitat cut by Bush Administration

Yesterday, I saw two news articles that made me wish that I could “force feed” science to different groups. The first news was about two young people who were killed, seatbelted into in a disintegrated Corvette that traveled 200 feet AFTER slicing through a telephone pole (that after laying 400 feet of rubber trying to stop). I wanted to teach physics to everyone who will drive, particularly the part about the “velocity-squared” term in the kinetic energy equation, and its effect in collisions. I also wanted to force feed biology to the Bush Administration (or force them to watch the entire “Planet Earth” series), until those people finally understood the science, after the decision to slash the critical habitat for the threatened northern spotted owl by 23 percent (1.6 million acres).

(Note added August 16, 2008: In looking at another blog entry of mine, I realized that the 1.6-million-acre “cut” is 0.4 million acres MORE than the size of the ENTIRE Sequoia National Forest [1.2 million acres]!)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (perhaps “Service” is too strong a word) announced yesterday that the critical habitat (a requirement of the Endangered Species Act which offers increased protections against logging) for the northern spotted owl would be “cut” (this is probably EXACTLY the correct word) in Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. Scientific research, on the other hand, shows that numbers of northern spotted owls are dropping by 4%/year as the result of logging, wildfires, and invasion of their habitat by the barred owl, a more aggressive East Coast relative. Once again, the story of The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss, seems so relevant.

The spotted owl was declared a threatened species in 1990, primarily because of the heavy logging of “old growth” forests. Lawsuits from conservation groups had resulted in a greater than 80% reduction in such logging on federal lands.

In the current mass extinction event, the first ever caused by man, humans have again shown themselves to be the most dangerous animal in the forest, even when they are sitting behind their desks in Washington, D.C.

Self preservation is supposed to be the strongest instinct, but greed must rank WAY up there! Politicians and business people do not always make the connection between our environment and our own survival.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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