Paying for Panic

Bill Neinast

“Report: Many wildlife species face extinction” was a headline on Page 1 of this newspaper’s Friday edition.  So what?  What’s new?

Do alarmists like those quoted in that article and in others about global warming, climate change, disappearing fresh water supplies, and other naturally occurring phenomena  ever read anything other than their computers programmed to give them the results they desire?

Did those who are gleefully rubbing their hands to spend the $1.5 billion annual appropriation of federal dollars to fund state wildlife action plans forget reading in grade school about the dinosaurs that ruled this planet for eons.  There were hundreds of dinosaur species.   They came in a multitude of shapes and sizes.  Some ran on legs.  Some soared in the air on wings.  Some swam in the waters of the world.

Where are they now?  What happened to those millions of living things?  Would we be better off today if those creatures had not become extinct?

Just forget those questions.  The answers are too obvious.  Let’s now consider the last 40 years.

When I moved here 40 years ago, the woods and pastures were crawling with ticks and chiggers.   Bull frogs were harrumphing in the ponds.  Red ant beds were a dime a dozen.  Two coveys of quale were nesting in my back yard.  Pictures of rattlesnakes killed somewhere in the county would appear in the local paper three or four times a summer.

None of those have been seen, heard, or felt around here for 30 years or more.  That is not all bad.  Actually, some of the extinctions are very good.

I definitely prefer the short, minor discomfort of a fire ant bite to a week of scratching chiggers and picking ticks.

Also, shortly after moving here I asked County Agent Bill Thane for advice on what fruit trees to plant.  His answer was, “Don’t bother.  It is cheaper to go to Fredericksburg to buy your fruit than to buy all the chemicals you will need to keep the insects off your trees and fruit.”

I disregarded that advice and planted an orchard of peaches, plums,  and apricots and harvested delicious bug free fruit without buying an ounce of chemicals.  Establishing that orchard coincided with the invasion of the imported fire ants.

The fire ants feasted on the fruit flies, ticks, and chiggers and I was happy to compensate them with a few bites around my ankles.  That was a small price to pay for the extinction of the disgusting vermin in the area.

Similarly, the extinction of the dinosaurs, buffalo, rattle snakes, and other long forgotten species do not bother me at all.  The only extinction that I worry about is that of the human race, and I believe that will not occur during the lifetimes of many, many generations of my descendants.  We humans are just too adaptable for that to happen in the coming millennia.

That adaptability is what will take us through the current climate change.  As mentioned earlier, Al Gore and his cult of followers do not bother to study how our ancient ancestors, in whatever form, adapted to and survived much wider temperature swings than the one we are now enjoying.

There is also another group of catastrophe wailers that we do not hear too much about here in Texas.  These are the ones lamenting the plight of the residents of Cape Town, South Africa, running out of water.  Just as the extinction soothsayers never look in a history book, those wringing their hands over the plight of Cape Town never look at a map.

Cape Town is surrounded by water on three sides. This is the unlimited water of the Atlantic Ocean.  That is salt water, but every drop of it is consumable for humans. 

The nation of Qatar, for example, gets approximately 97% of its drinking water through the process of desalinization.  Conversely, instead of developing desalinization systems to harvest all the water needed, the city fathers of Cape Town sat on their hands and hoped for rain.

So here’s the perspective.

Why are we constantly bombarded with so-called experts’ warnings of pending natural disasters like species disappearing, drinking water drying up, unbearable global warming, etc.?

The answer is simple.  You will find it in the third paragraph above.  How much of that $1.5 billion would be available for so called researchers and experts if they said simply that history was repeating itself.

Money talks.


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