Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wisconsin takes another step backwards

Black-necked Stilt along a roadside wetland

Early this morning the Republican controlled state Senate passed an anti-wetlands bill that ought to be ethically reprehensible to every birder and nature advocate in Wisconsin. Sadly, this bill will weaken restrictions for developing on wetlands. So the right-wing mantra goes on, we are open for business and [BLEEP] all else.

How short-sighted some of us are by failing to fully consider that our own long-term survivability ultimately depends on the health of the earth, quality of habitat, and fragile ecosystems. Apart from the intrinsic value our wetlands provide to birds and other wildlife, a recent study found that Wisconsin's wetlands are worth billions in services and benefits each year.

More than window and tower collisions, feral cat predation, chemical spills, illegal hunting, poisoning, and most everything else, the primary reason for the decline of bird populations is habitat loss. For admirers of birds, this bill will likely turn out to be an environmentally damaging piece of legislation.

Most prevalent in today's media, conservatives are quick to criticize and denounce government as the underlying problem with just about everything, but there's a reason why Wisconsin has such wonderful natural treasures rich in biodiversity; it's because they've traditionally been protected by our state government (reversing earlier losses as well). I was painfully aware once conservatives gained control of our political processes they would eventually go after the environment; it's endemic to their nature to ignore the needs of Nature.

© 2012 Mike McDowell

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