Re: Saving The Planet

Michael S. Lorrey (
Thu, 13 May 1999 21:24:01 -0400

Billy Brown wrote:

> > Mature maybe, old growth... no way. They log on so-called nature
> > preserves all the time..
> I know - one more example of how well socialist solutions work. :-)

Its funny, much of the remaining old growth in the US is actually in PRIVATE hands, because the government has allowed the logging of the old growth that it owns but is not in National Parks. The logging companies get their hands on the private lands when the state increases the property tax assessment on the land (because its old growth its obviously worth more), and the owner cannot justify paying the greatly increased taxes, so they either sell it or log a greater percentage of it. Private forests are typically managed far better than public forest here.

The old growth here in NH was gone long ago. The old magnificent white pine was nearly exterminated by the agents of the British Royal Navy. There are less than a few dozen trees here that still have the King's Cross engraved in the tree. The other species were pretty much stripped by the 1880's. At the time, 90% of NH was cleared. Now less than 10% of NH is cleared. Thats a significant regrowth, and there are areas that are starting to reassert old growth characteristics, especially as wet as its been the last three years.

> But it only matters for a tiny fraction of the ecology. We've got lots of
> 30-60 year old timber, which is plenty old enough to form a habitat for
> virtually the entire ecosystem. It would be nice if we could also save that
> last 1% that needs an authentic old-growth forest, but that isn't in the
> same league as the major problems in other parts of the world.

At least 75% of the forestland that was cut in the US in the last century has now grown back, which proves my original assertion: ecological catastrophes are temporary. The current earth-first nuts are just as spoiled and demanding of instantaneous results that they can't have as the brats of the consumer culture.

> > We have completely dominated our ecosystem, I don't see this as
> > enviromentally sound. I agree on Brazil and Bangladesh..
> Well, what exactly do you mean by "environmentally sound". Pollution levels
> are falling, conservation efforts are growing, and every reasonable effort
> is being made to avoid causing damage (along with a lot of unreasonable
> efforts). I don't see that it would make sense to do more. It makes more
> sense to devote our limited financial resources to developing advanced
> technology (which could free us from many of the tradeoffs we currently
> face) than to spend even more money trying to preserve a tiny fraction of
> the ecosphere that happens to be very vulnerable to perturbations.
> > This is the best of the options you've stated, but the answer is to
> > set a good example ourselves, something we've been reluctant to
> > do....
> Again, what exactly do you think we should be doing that we don't? We are
> already well past the point of diminishing returns where environmental
> spending is concerned.

Yes, if we spend more money than is cost effective at this point in time on ecological recovery, the drag on the economy actually causes more pollution and ecological disruption than it prevents or mitigates.

Mike Lorrey