Andrew Carothers-Liske 
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Re: “Determining the Future of Point Reyes National Seashore

The fundamental question here is not about the livelihood of a handful of ranching families that have chosen to remain as lease holders of heavily subsidized acreage on the public dime, but rather it is about our collective relationship with dynamic unfettered wildlands. Yes, we have intentionally slaughtered and displaced native fauna and introduced plant species that spread and push out native grasses and shrubs, and we have done that for hundreds of years on this continent and for thousands elsewhere. Yet that does not mean that we cannot make the decision to reverse gears and consciously move in the exact opposite direction. Who needs cows and beef on every acre if you could let wild elk do what they are evolved to do in one small remnant ecotone might that be preferable? Who needs massive almond farms in the West Central Valley at the expense of the two greatest salmon rivers ever known in North America. We killed the San Joaquin, the Sacramento and the Bay Delta so that a few nut and tangerine barons could reap millions at the expense of the natural ecosystem. We diverted rivers and warped the hydrologic cycle so that the LA basin could be egregiously overpopulated to make billions for real estate speculators. Perhaps there is one place that we could focus our energy and resources on in the attempt to regenerate its wild characteristics. Lets not support both elk and cow. Its not time to build more elk fences now! Its high time we take a good hard look at how we have been extorting the ecology of the Golden State, stripping the landscape, and mining the states fresh water all at the expense of the native wildlife and plant communities for almost two centuries.

Why not opt for the complete opposite model in one small biome: Get the ranchers out of the peninsula and reintroduce as many of the exterpaited organisms as possible. Once we nudge things in a restorative and regenerative direction then there will be an ecological cascade effect and the land and the mosaic of dynamic natural relationships will begin to heal themselves. Lets consider the possibility that human consciousness does not confer meaning on the universe- no, that paradigm operates in the other direction. The overshoot and gluttony of our experiment at consumer industrial society is about to run its course, and for all we know, we might just find ourselves excommunicated from the cosmic narrative all together. . .

Are we just Lemmings with car keys here in the fading twilight of the Anthropocene? The real question to be asking is this: Have we humans with all of our technical facility, our titillating consumptive gadgetry, and our capacity to generate ecosystem-wide impacts. . . Have we forfeited the moral fitness to survive as a species?
We may take a huge chunk of the biosphere with us, but Mother Nature will sing on her song for countless millennia, giving rise to unimaginable organisms that thrive on depleted uranium, neutralizing the toxic legacy of our brief meteoric path long long after our arc across the earth has vanished from the face of this planet that is our only home.

Andrew Carothers-Liske
Oakland, CA

Posted by Andrew Carothers-Liske on 05/11/2018 at 12:03 PM

Re: “Zoo Gone Wild

As a longtime resident of Oakland, and the father of two daughters who are now high school students-- both keenly interested in ecological matters of moment, I can say that the environmentally-conscious side of their personal interests is due in large part to the unique attributes for self-discovery that many of our local open spaces afforded them for personal investigation and protracted observation of the natural world during the many outings my wife and I took with the girls during their childhoods. These are experiences that you cannot purchase a ticket for, they cannot be duplicated in a zoo, nor can you hope buy them in a restaurant that misguided Zoo Board Developers want to perch on top of unique California Bay Area habitat-- Regardless of how much energy and thought goes into the design of such a space the vision is myopic and commercial: zoos are fundamentally a contrived set of relations, and their ecology is not open, or even natural in any real sense.

We don't need a big theme park and restaurant plopped down at the top of the ridge in Knowland Park to tell us what the Bay Hills were like pre-contact, when the grizzly bear roamed the watersheds and salmon teamed in the streams. We have already destroyed that eden with our overdevelopment and avarice. Common sense tells us that all we need to do is keep the zoo contained within its current footprint and encourage people to explore and understand the intrinsic ecological mosaic that already exists in the sensitive habitat that is still there on the undeveloped acreage of Knowland's open upper reaches. The zoo and it's board needs to take a step back and consider the absurdity of what it is attempting to ramrod down the taxpayers throats. We don't want Jellystone Park and a cage full of grizzly bears and bison warehoused on a relatively unsullied existing open area whose unique attributes make it a last refuge for endangered species like the California Whip Snake.

The Zoo Board has attempted to sidestep and brush away the many legitimate concerns that clearly point to the fact that expanding the Zoo is not only a financial burden which is not best use of available resources, but more to the point, burgers and fries and stuffed animals made in sweat shops in China on the top of the Knowland ridge is not a sound ecological approach to stewardship of one of the East Bay's few remaining prime hills habitat. What we need to be doing it educating people and continuing to support native plant and animal species by monitoring and removing invasives ( Let's start with the Zoo Board-- get your hooks out of our publicly entrusted open park space here in Oakland)

As a resident of Oakland I am opposed to this misuse of our tax dollars for an ill-conceived and ecologically destructive "pet project." Native animals are already struggling for survival in the sensitive and largely degraded Knowland land habitat. The zoo board should focus on keeping the zoo where it is and improving its vision by evolving its mission inside the fence they've already erected on this piece of public land. It is our obligation to protect and enhance the native mosaic of biodiversity that is already there on the upper reaches of the park.

Andrew Carothers-Liske
Oakland, CA

33 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Andrew Carothers-Liske on 09/09/2014 at 11:30 PM

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