Those in charge of natural law have great power!

Like many people, I like taking nature walks. There's something about getting away from humanity that I find emotionally appealing. What I don't like is the increasing tendency by other humans -- especially meddlesome humans -- to interrupt the natural beauty with constant, ugly reminders of their relentless and intrusive presence. And what a domineering presence it is!

These people (some might call them environmental crackpots) seem to believe that what they call "the environment" and what normal people might call nature, even natural beauty, is exclusively theirs to control. They believe that natural beauty of the sort we might enjoy in public parks or on public lands is also theirs to destroy according to the vagaries of their latest whims. They even think that they and they alone have the right to set fire to nature!

Not only that, but they like to brag about it in the form of offensive signs like these:



I am sick to death of seeing them, much less thinking about them. But think about them I must, for these arrogant declarations to the taxpayers who are forced to pay for them are not merely signs. They mean what they say. These people -- whoever they are -- have been given a unique right to set fires, and of course those of us who pay their salaries have no say in the matter.

If you think about it, that's real power. They alone have the power to be the fire starters! The power to destroy nature! In order to save it, so they say. Some of what we ignorant peons might think constitutes natural beauty is deemed by our moral superiors to be "non-native species" and thus worthy of being singled out for death by fire.

The fires that these specially anointed humans start are called "controlled burns." They have the right to set fire to nature whenever they deem it necessary. And they get to make up the rules as they go along, setting fires whenever and wherever they deem it necessary, supplying narratives like this to be tailored accordingly:

In the beginning stages of the prescribed burn program, frequent burns were necessary to reverse the effects of the approximately 100 years of suppressed fire cycles. More frequent burning was required to set-back exotic invasive plants such as buckthorn & honeysuckle to allow more light to penetrate into the savannah habitats. As the successes of the High Park prescribed burn program continue, the frequency and interval between burns will need to be reevaluated and adjusted accordingly.
Hear hear!

And who pays for their fun and games? We do, of course. By "we" I mean those of us who are not allowed to set fires. If you doubt me, try burning leaves or starting a bonfire. You'll be arrested. In many places now, even having a fire in a fireplace is illegal. That's because fires started by taxpaying peons pollute the air. Unlike the controlled burns which must by some magic be emissions-free, or else they'd never start them, right?

I know that bitching in my blog won't stop these relentless saviors, and I normally wouldn't have bothered with a post like this, except an item I saw in Drudge aroused my curiosity. It seems that some environmentalists don't like the controlled burns which are being done in Lousiana to get rid of the oil, because the fires are burning sea turtles:

VENICE, La. - A boat captain working to rescue sea turtles in the Gulf of Mexico says he has seen BP ships burning sea turtles and other wildlife alive.

Captain Mike Ellis said in an interview posted on You Tube that the boats are conducting controlled burns to get rid of the oil.

"They drag a boom between two shrimp boats and whatever gets caught between the two boats, they circle it up and catch it on fire. Once the turtles are in there, they can't get out," Ellis said.

Ellis said he had to cut short his three-week trip rescuing the turtles because BP quit allowing him access to rescue turtles before the burns.

"They're pretty much keeping us from doing what we need to do out there," Ellis said.

Other reports corroborate Captain Ellis' claims. A report in the Los Angeles Times describes "burn fields" of 500 square miles in which 16 controlled burns will take place in one day.

Huh? But I thought controlled burns were good for the environment. And here's this Captain Ellis (who must be an officially credentialed environmentalist, for why else would he make it into the news?) saying that some controlled burns are bad. What's up with that?

Is there a controlled burn double standard? In this case, perhaps it's because the controlled fires are being set by BP, which, because it is an evil corporation, does not set the kind of "safe" fires which environmentalists set (which of course would never harm wildlife or pollute the air.....)

But that can't be right, because I found some herpetologists complaining that controlled burns of precisely the type they're doing around here are killing and injuring helpless snakes. One herpetologist offers advice on healing a snake which was injured in a supposedly "controlled" burn:

Clean the burn twice a day with betadyne and put some triple antibiotic ointment on it after you clean it. If it doesn't start to heal up I would suggest a vet visit if that's possible. I've had a few snakes brought to me from those ignorant controlled burning on nature trails.

What if it turns out that fires burn whatever wildlife happens to be in an area -- regardless of whether they're started by environmentalists, evil corporations, or just taxpaying landowners?

I'm confused here, because if such fires are set by humans, and if man is not part of nature, then aren't these fires like, equally unnatural?

Or is there an exception for those who set the fires on behalf of what they deem to be natural law? Probably. Because it seems that only they have the right to kill snakes and turtles and pollute the air while despoiling natural beauty while advertising their prowess with annoying signs.

The rest of us can only marvel over their power, and despair!

posted by Eric on 06.24.10 at 11:24 AM


Professional environmentalists consider them lords of the manor Environment. They get really annoyed with any serfs in their line of sight.

Brett   ·  June 24, 2010 11:34 AM

My "favorite" in this sort of thing is at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. I don't know if it's still there, but it was when we went there a lot -- about ten years ago when the boys were little. There's a whole "plot" given over for a cemetery of extinct species. The gravestones include the T-Rex and the saber tooth tiger. And there's this thing with a flip up cover that says "The only species capable of causing the extinction of others." Need I say there's a mirror inside it.
My husband nicknamed this area the "Children linguistic expansion and awareness of science fiction area." The first, because uh... I tended to let myself go. In five languages. (To this day the only thing the boys do in Portuguese is swear.) The second because I would carefully explain how we'd used time machines to get rid of the dinosaurs...
Poor boys have a VERY warped view of life.

Sarah   ·  June 24, 2010 12:22 PM

Yes, and let's not forget the Invasion of South America -- which occurred 3 million years ago:


The Invasion of South America. In the upper Pliocene, 3 million years ago, the isthmus of Panama reappeared as a result of changes in the earth's crust. This was a disaster for many of the animals that had evolved in isolation in South America. South America was invaded by deer, camels, raccoons, tapirs, horses, mastodons, bears, peccaries, rabbits, shrews, cats, dogs, weasels and rodents. For some reason these animals were able to displace many of the South American species, driving many of them to extinction.


Since "the only species capable of causing the extinction of others" is man, we must have evolved much earlier than commonly believed, traveled to South America to kill off all these species, and then disappeared without leaving a trace.

Man is truly unnatural. Diabolical. (Which means Satanic!)

Eric Scheie   ·  June 24, 2010 1:17 PM

Done properly controlled burns can cut back on wild fires. Done properly of course. Our last two big fires came about because the fuel built up to dangerous levels. Thought we could save some money, ended up paying more than we saved fighting the fires and saving homes. What with the El Niño rains and the growth they've encouraged, I'm expecting especially heavy brush for this year's fire season.

Alan Kellogg   ·  June 24, 2010 4:01 PM

Honeysuckle? Dang. When I was growing up in the South it was ubiquitous. I loved it. The fireflies seemed to love it.

And these mopes consider it non-native? Dang.

They want to destroy (or at least cut back) on what I love. Dang.

A paean to honeysuckle:

I’m used to honeysuckle---we loved it as children, plucking it unmercifully, sucking the tee-ninecy drop of sweetness from the broken spot at the stem end, and tossing away the still-bright husks without a second thought. We also cut great sheaves of them, to go in cans and bottles and whatever jug or vase we might appropriate, taking them to neighbors and shut-ins and decorating our tree-houses and playhouses within an inch of Miss Martha’s life.

from the comments:

I have surely been enjoying the honeysuckle, though. The smell takes me back to childhood, Little League games, fireflies, playing kickball in our backyard.

Where I live (Rockford, Illinois) it is a good year for fireflies and honeysuckle. I LOVE it.

M. Simon   ·  June 24, 2010 6:06 PM

Are the signs flammable?

rhhardin   ·  June 24, 2010 8:50 PM

The opposite of what you write about is occurring in the Lower Columbia Basin. Instead of burning nature to "preserve" it, environmental groups are flooding it purposely.
This is not just reclaiming former wetlands, but establishing new wetlands to make up for those lost to farming & dams elsewhere.
In this effort, groups like the Lower Columbia Conservancy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife, and others bought land adjoining the Grays River, which flows into the Columbia Estuary about 20 miles up river from the Pacific Ocean. They then proceeded to dynamite levies, which in turn funneled high tides during the winter on to neighboring dairy land, causing lots of damage.
Their point seems to be to drive out the few remaining private landowners.
And those private lands protected by levies which have been neglected for more than 5 years, will also return to wetlands, because the permitting process makes it almost impossible to secure the right to repair your own property!
This effort is funded by so-called private donations, which is in fact government money channeled through entities like Bonneville Power for "mitigation" of other lost habitat.

And you can forget the takings clause in the Constitution. They don't intend to pay fair market for most of this land, rather just destroy it's human use and value first, and then offer to take it off your hands.

Frank   ·  June 25, 2010 4:08 AM

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