The lilly smelling three foot long lilly white spitting earthworm is going extinct, and it’s Bush’s fault.

Well, actually, the Palouse earthworm had been thought to be extinct already, since the last one was sighted in 1988, but now that an Idaho scientist found one in 2006.

So now conservationists are suing the administration to try to get the worm declared an endangered species.

“The native Palouse ecosystem is precious. It represents beauty, heritage, wildlife habitat, drinking water and a clean, simple quality of life; yet this ecosystem is one of the rarest on earth. Listing the giant Palouse earthworm may be the only salvation for the Palouse prairie,” said O. Lynne Nelson, who helped write the petition to protect the worm.

“If there is one point that I think people should know, beyond the fact that the administration is genuinely hostile to protecting our wildlife and wild lands, it is that the agency is creating an expensive situation for the people who value these native wildlife and ecosystems, and an expensive situation for the creatures themselves. Extinction is forever and we have no time to spare,” added Paulson.

Yes! let’s save the ecosystem….

Whoops…wait a minute. That “ecosystem” is now farmland.

This region underwent a settlement and wheat-growing boom during the 1880s…By 1890 nearly all the Palouse lands had been taken up and converted to wheat farming.[5]

The entire article by the Center for Biodiversity shows the problem I have with the “green” environmental movement.

First, it blares out a problem as if it were the Apocalypse.

Second, it politicizes the environment (e.g. blaming Bush for a100 year old problem is not logical. It is merely pandering to those with “Bush Derangement syndrome” presumably to raise money for their center).

Third: It uses Federal law as a bludgeon.
If the worm is declared an “endangered species” will farmers be forced to stop plowing, going bankrupt like the Oregon farmers of Klamath or the loggers who lost jobs to protect a spotted owl?

There are better ways to do it.

Tax cuts for those who leave land fallow, for example, Riparian zones.

Privately encouraging farmers in practices that encourage wildlife, such as Ducks Unlimited has done. Yes, they do so in order to conserve hunting, but hunting allows farmers to make a living, and having worked in farm areas, I think this is a good idea.

Buy up vacant farms, and have conservationists work to revert them back to the native species, such as is being done by the Nature Conservatory to preserve the tall grass prairie areas.

There is a need to educate locals on the stewardship of their lands, so that natural habitat can be preserved. But outsiders who see worms more important than people are not the ones who will improve things.

Federal law, complete with thousands of pages of regulations that don’t see the subtleties of the problem, and that could threaten hundreds of locals with bankruptcy is not the way to go.

The ecology movement needs to learn a new word: Stewardship.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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