2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 7 Nov 2003 22:07:58 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: RE: [CPEO-MEF] Marine Mammal protection weakened
The following response was posted by Theodore Henry
The weakening of the MMPA is highly disappointing, but really not
surprising in the least.  It goes along with the green-washing and
environmental roll backs that are becoming the norm. There is a clear,
growing movement within our society that places our own environmental
health, as well as the health of other animals and plants, further down
on our list of priorities. This is not only evident by the election of
President Bush and the RRPI initiative, but further proven by the recent
GOP victories for governor in two states this week. Even worse, the
choice of certain democrats not to run for re-election suggest that the
chances of regaining either the House or the Senate and bringing balance
back to Washington DC will be difficult at best.  I am not a democrat,
but I pray for their resurgence.

I did not need a masters in toxicology to figure out that smoking was
bad for you - I knew it when I was 6 years old. Similarly, I did not
need to work in this field for a decade to realize that the environment
will fall to special interests and the dollar - this too I understood in
the single digit years of my life.  But, I must admit, these days grow
colder with our regression than I have experienced before.

It does not take a rocket scientist or a marine biologist to realize
that we know very little about marine ecology and that we are far from
being able to predict sonar impacts on the remaining marine mammal
populations. Expansion of our urban areas, our need for money, and our
basic disrespect for other creatures led to the demise of buffalo,
grizzlies and countless other creatures. With over-fishing, the Navy's
new sonar, and our continued denial that our health is inevitably linked
to the earth's ecology and environmental quality, we will certainly do
to the marine mammals what we have done to the terrestrial ones.

As for the Navy's sonar, what would it be like if suddenly large
populations were forced to live, day in and day out, at the end of a
runway at a large airport?  Would we need to do 3 decades of study to
determine how it interrupts sleep, communication, exercise, procreation,
etc.?  Would we force everyone to live there until we knew for certain
it was a bad idea? I guess maybe, if the price was right.

The ignorance and arrogance of the human species continues to amaze me.
I am beginning to realize that the challenges we face are not the result
of our inability to understand the importance of the environment, or our
inability to give it proper weight in our decisions. No, the priority
our society places on environmental health is really just the
superficial expression of our larger flaw. It appears that too many lack
a reverence for life, not just our own lives, but all forms of life.  We
come up with lots of reasons to justify making the environment a good
idea when we are in clear times of wealth, at other times it does not
even get that status. Even an adequate supply of clean drinking water
seems to succumb to our lack of forward thinking.

I wonder if we as humans have the true ability to change our course, to
become bigger and better than what we are today.  I wonder.

Ted Henry

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