The painting above is of a stream in Kings Canyon National Park. It has value. This value can be established by the number of tourists that visit and the amount of money that they spend. That is how we assign value in our economic system. Under this system wild places have no value. If tourists don’t see it and we derive no resources from it then we can’t assign a value. Words are powerful. We are now defined as Human resources. A resource is a commodity that can be used to produce money. Maybe by allowing ourselves to be called human resources we are allowing employers to ask for more hours, not paying interns but counting on them to supply free labor instead of training them and having people harvest our food while treating them poorly.
In order to create our National Parks people need to care. The public was made to care about Yosemite by the wonderful photographs of Ansel Adams. The public caring that much protects the Park from legislation that would take it away. However, that much caring also means the park is so crowded that is being damaged by too many people and it feels much more like a museum than a park or a wild place. I visited this summer for the first time and couldn’t believe how artificial it felt.
No one seems to care about the plants and animals we will lose in building a wall. But then few people visit the line where the wall will be built except in cities where wildlife has already been overwhelmed. How many people know there are sky islands. Each has its own ecological system with rare birds, plants and animals found no where else. The wall would cut all of these islands in half. These islands do not produce anything counted in the Gross Domestic Product. They have no numerical value in our economic system. We have not developed a vocabulary that gives them any value at all. Yet we will loose something that can never be replaced. Declaring it a National Park would not help as the hoards of people would also damage the ecology. We have to learn to care to protect something most of us will never see.
What will sooner or later count in the GDP is the change in the environment of farms near this system when it is destroyed. But then it will be too late to care. Please look up sky Island and understand their worth. Much more than I can write in a blog.
PS. Two more Jaguar have come into the US since my blog about them. But if cut off from Mexico and others of their kinds they cannot survive for long.