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NFC: Re: Fwd: Earth Day (fwd)


I was watching an old tape of the "Nature" program that I used to watch on
OPB, back when I used to watch TV (TV- less since 1995!!!) and was struck by
the similarities between what Luke shared with us and what happened to
Australian fauna and flora around 60k years ago( up to some debate) when Man
first arrived there.  They came bearing fire, and with it change to the
entire ecosystem.  Eucalypts as a group thrived and spread under the
influence of the Aborigine's habit of burning early in the dry season,
before excessive brush had accumulated so that the fires were not as
intense.  Lightning caused fires typically started towards the end of the
Dry when lots more speargrass had died and packed down into thick mats of
tinder, causing fires of much greater intensity which the young trees stood
far less chance of surviving.

I got my copy of the Nature Conservancy mag. yesterday and they had a great
article on biodiversity in N. America.  Especially nice to see the Bog
Turtle (Clemmys muhlenbergi) get some press!!


Brian Perkins, President
Metroserv, Inc.
Tigard, OR
----- Original Message -----
From: mcclurg luke e <mcclurgl at washburn_edu>
To: NFC Discussions <NFC at actwin_com>
Sent: Friday, April 21, 2000 7:22 PM
Subject: NFC: Fwd: Earth Day (fwd)

> I imagine this will get me some comments...
> Luke
> On Earth Day there will be many events applauding Native
> Americans for living in harmony with the environment before the
> evil white man came and destroyed paradise. The school children
> who participate in these Earth Day brainwashing exercises are
> not going to hear anything about the incredible environmental
> destruction by the native peoples of North and South America.
> A recent study by Robert Whelan documents the many ways in which
> pre-Columbian man absolutely ravaged his environment.
> For starters, Native Americans were big forest burners, since
> forests interfered with hunting; indeed, before the white man
> came there was virtually no virgin forest because it had all
> repeatedly been burned.
>     o   Lewis and Clark recorded that Indians in the Rocky
>         Mountains would set trees on fire "as after-dinner
>         entertainment; the huge trees would explode like Roman
>         candles in the night."
>     o   Many Buffalo jump sites have been found where Native
>         Americans stampeded huge herds over cliffs -- some sites
>         have the remains of as many as 300,000 buffalo.
>     o   They often hunted animals into extinction, including the
>         woolly mammoth, saber-toothed tiger, giant sloth, giant
>         beaver, camel, horse, two-toed horse and dire wolf,
>         according to environmental writer Alston Chase.
> Native religious ceremonies also contributed to extinctions --
> for example, women of the Crow Tribe wore dresses decorated with
> the teeth of 350 elk, and in Hawaii, natives made beautiful
> capes from the feathers of as many as 80,000 birds, some of
> which became extinct.
> Soil erosion was common long before white settlements were
> established. When the land became exhausted, Native Americans
> simply moved on.
> In many ways we treat the land better today than pre-Columbian
> man did, and are better conservationists and stewards of the
> environment. Earth Day enthusiasts should cease celebrating an
> Eden that never was.
> Source: Bruce Bartlett, senior fellow, National Center for
> Policy Analysis, April 19, 2000.
> For Whelan study http://www.iea.org.uk/wpapers/env14.pdf
> For more on Biodiversity
> http://www.ncpa.org/pi/enviro/envdex5.html#g