SanClemente Eagles Return

Conservation & Preservation
RE California Channel Islands -- another great recovery story for our bald eagles. Much of this California Channel Islands recovery is due to Dr. Peter Sharpe and the non-profit Institute for Wildlife Studies and their predecessors.
 

I remember seeing unoccupied old remnant nest structures on San Miguel Island back in the early 60's when I went to Santa Barbara to help set up recovery centers for birds oiled from the offshore oil well blowout.  I saw no eagles or recent nesting on San Miguel but I did find very old rotted-out eagle nests on the low bluffs overlooking the sea lion colonies.  I look forward to all the Channel Islands again being populated by eagles.
 
We had our own boat and went to San Miguel to photograph the oiled sea lions.  Here I also met my first tiny and totally tame San Miguel Island Fox.  It would walk up and take the food off your plate as you were eating.  We had been "personally" invited by a friend with the National Park Service to go out to see the damage to the sea lions but he warned that we might get "arrested and the film seized".  The Island had just been declared out-of-bounds due to the oil slick.   And after a day's camping and photography we were "escorted" by US Navy and US National Parks service people off the island at gun point.  We did not get arrested as that would have incurred more bad publicity for these Agencies but some of my movie film was taken.

At that time the Parks Service was still saying that the Santa Barbara Oil Spill was not affecting the offshore Wildlife Reserves and particularly the sea lion and sea otter habitat.  Of course oil covered the beaches and seals and sea lions littered the beaches of San Miguel Island.
 
My friend was on the combined flotilla of Navy & Park Service zodiacs 'swat-crews'  that came in to arrest us but neither of us acknowledged the other.  This was one of my early experiences learning that Government Agencies, attempting to support business, do not always tell the truth.  Another interesting point - not all government people are as uncaring!  Unconscious greed for dollars trumps common rational sense.

I was reminded of this on last night's TV when Julian Assange was again in the news for his enlightened responses to government and business overreach.  Thousands of sea lions were oil covered and dying due to the oil spill all being denied by the Parks Service and other Government Departments at the time.
 
Everyday Canadians and Americans are bombarded by ads about how wonderful and responsible the oil industry is in protecting us.  Exxon Oil, the perpetrators of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, did spend a few dollars in ineffectively cleaning a few beaches (still today thick with tar!) but they fought through every court for 20 years to insure that they paid no damages and they got out of them all. The Prince William Sound region surrounding the oil spill is still, 20 years later, producing a tiny fraction of many of the key food species.  What a warning to British Columbia, and world citizenry, that pipelines and tankers are insecure and fraudulent enterprises only going to bring disaster.
 
Another biologist friend (and his committee), part of the 20 year study to follow the Prince William Sound biological recovery or in many cases the LACK of recovery,  was asked by President Obama just a few days after the BP blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, to go to Washington DC to give opinions on what the long-lasting costs of such a spill would be to the US economy.  He and his committee, after 20 years of study in the Prince William Sound estimated that 3 Trillion Dollars was probably on the low side. YES, that is TRILLION, not the few billions even paid by Exxon or BP for cleanup.  It was the citizens who paid.
 
Re Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline:   Canadians, certainly greed driven and misinformed ones, are still touting the benefits of how exporting the Alberta tar sands oil to Asia, by any route through the US or through BC's west coast, has some benefits to Canada.  The mere 47 permanent jobs touted by the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project to keep their pipeline annually functioning is a cost to Canada that we can't afford.  The long term costs to Canada and the world will be astronomic.  We should be closing down the tar sands, perhaps keeping one Canadian plant functional to pay off the trillions of dollars of debt already incurred destroying the northern waterways and rebuilding the habitat and lifeblood for our peoples.  No tar sands oil would be better.

CANADA, wake up and smell the roses.   Interesting old refrain!  Alberta is just removing their Provincial Flower, the Alberta Wild Rose,  from their license plates and promotion.  Is their emblem already dying out or do they just prefer the stench of oil?   Canada will never in our children's lifetime recover from the ecological disaster that we are hoisting on the world from the tar sands. Since each Canadian also buys each tank of gas at the local store but at international prices we have to continually pay more for the economic enrichment of Asia by higher gas prices in Canada each few months.  A few foreigners are walking off  and laughing all the way, stealing our Canadian heritage, future and our money!

Then of course, all the air filled with contaminants over China eventually settles on North America and, as many of us have seen, we also get their contaminated oceans washing our shores.  This is what is likely to first kill our eagles and us!. We even get the Asian flotsam and jetsam -- by the millions of tons on our shores to match the underwater contamination and contaminated air fallout over the landscape.
 
Lets hope the First Nations, who we have treated abysmally since occupying their country,  can work to saving the environment so we all collectively might have another 10,000 years in this area, not just a few desperate years trying to survive escalating ecological degradation that we have brought on through greed and not caring.  This is the time for Canadians to stand up and care and work towards an ecologically sustainable land. 

The real question is:  Are Canadians just stupid or just greedy or just conned by deceptive ads by a few people who will make short-term dollars?   Or can we claim victory on all three fronts?  The Canadian psyche speaks to compromise, a trait that may well be read into our obituary.  You can't compromise the last breaths of air, the last fresh water, the last productive ocean or the last uncontaminated soil.  That is a death wish!  Some people would define that as insanity:  doing the same greed driven irresponsible actions thing over and over but expecting different results!
 
Re Keystone Pipeline:   America, please don't let our tar sands oil, the world's single biggest ecological destroyer, go to Asia through the your beautiful country.  The tar sands oil is ecologically the most costly oil to produce.  It is not just dirty oil imbedded in sand, but it takes more than twice as much energy to produce a single barrel than your oil does.  This extra cost is only to Canadians who own Canada.  The thieves stealing our resources don't pay for it!  Already Canada has exceeded Brazil as the world's most egregiously greed-driven nation in the world.  I am ashamed to be Canadian!   

Americans if you don't care about the local US pollution from local spills because it is not "in your State"  then think about how all that burned carbon contamination is going to come eastward from Asia, on the continual wind and ocean currents that come to our North American shores and pollute your US air, soil and water and our Canadian landscape as well.  Then of course the atmosphere is also changing, contributing to a changing climate but the polluted fresh water, oceans, soil and the air we breath will kill our generations before we loose the lower 10 feet of waterfront that will be submerged by melting ice around the world.  Don't get deceived by the fact that the changing climate will only swamp out 10 to 15% of the world's population and agriculture areas in 20 to 40 years.  The pollution and loss of our present food production is coming long before that.  You bloody well wake up!

Most Americans are now beginning to realize the pipeline is not delivering oil to them for local US consumption but totally for export to Asia.  The US is already self-sufficient in oil.  A few make great profit, but you the citizens will get the costs!  Every time you see a BP, Exxon or oil industry ad think of how they have made so much money to buy these ads by buying off politicians, knowing they will not have to pay the pollution costs for their destruction.  That is your debt!  Remember, every time you see another ad touting how wonderful oil, coal or gas is, this is another peg in your coffin for which you paid. 
 
The value of jobs are totally negative over even a few years. Don't let this environmental catastrophe worsen your water and air supplies.  A couple of years back already 37 US  States were importing water.  Only a few places in Canada are self-sufficient in water and with changing weather patterns most of Canada will be short of water or under momentary floods.  The present fracking practice across North America is going to be our totally most wasteful contamination of precious water. 

The boreal forests north of the tar sands had a lot of standing water but this is largely due to the low lying nature of the land.  The low rainfall of the area simply does not readily drain away.    Most of that water is now contaminated and many communities are already, before we get the tar sands even functional, deprived of fresh or unpolluted water.  The tar sands are not just a world tragedy they are a total devastation to our local communities.  Wake up Canada, wake up world! 

As I was writing the above paragraph I got a call from a good personal and HWF friend.  He just learned that an entire family, related through marriage, just went down on the bombing of the civilian airliner over Ukraine.  The reasons are always the same.  Greed greed greed.  No one is happy with what they have, they always want something someone else has and are willing to lie, cheat, and kill to destroy to get it.  We have a world so overpopulated with humans all trying to make a living from overused resources and trying to take more than they need.  Yet we won't tackle the key issue to our survival.  Someone can always come up with an irrational reason, usually greed and power, to justify more people.  It is fine to develop medicines, treatments and longevity practices but what we must concentrate on is curbing human population growth.  

Yes, I am greed driven.  I want some water and some food and from an ecologically sustainable source so my offspring can do the same. 

Promote population control through birth control, not through wars and disease.
 
Keep the eagles healthy and we will be healthy but only in an ecologically sustainable world. 
 
Thanks.
 
David Hancock
 

 

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