Revenge on Mother Earth

Individuals revolt against environmentalist tyranny.

On page 11 of the Summer 2007 issue, the Wilson Quarterly reported on manatee preservation efforts in Florida.  These slow-swimming sea creatures are often killed or injured by motorboats in coastal waters.  They're known as "nature's speed bump," but getting hit by a hull or sliced up by a propeller usually kills a manatee.  Having declared them endangered in 1967, government agencies try to protect manatees.

Two scientists from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission measured the speeds of boats in a waterway that was popular with manatees.  They then put up six signs cautioning "Watch your speed / Max fine $500" with a sketch of a manatee that "enhances the sign's attractiveness and thus the probability of its being read."

And what happened?  Boats sped up!

Blatant noncompliance increased from 8 to 14 percent.

The number of speeding boats nearly doubled after signs asking boaters to watch out for manatees were put up.

Are boaters deliberately trying to kill manatees?  Manatees are not as cute as porpoises, but it's unusual for people to go out of their way to hurt animals

What's happened is that the environmental movement has oversold itself.  It was one thing to put scrubbers on coal-fired electric plants.  Power plants are a long way away and very few people blame environmentalists for small increases in their electric rates.

It's quite another thing to ask people to make personal sacrifices.  We're being told that our backyard barbecues cause too much air pollution, our cars need expensive car repairs if they fail the emissions test, and environmentalists are saying that we'll all have to buy new lawn mowers because our old mowers have bad breath.

Then there's the conflict over forest fires.  For nearly a century, the environmental movement has urged the US Forest Service to put out any and all forest fires at any cost.  Now, we've learned that periodic fires burn out the brush.  Fires happen due to lightening often enough to keep the brush from building up; trees and animals survive small fires.  If these natural fires are put out, however, brush builds up.  Then when a fire comes along in a dry year, the piled-up brush burns like gasoline and incinerates huge areas.  This has happened nearly every recent year in California.

The role of environmentalists in bringing about huge fires in the American West hasn't gotten enough publicity, but word is spreading.  The ethanol scam was presented as a global warming issue, but people are beginning to realize it's just another environmental rip-off.

As the environmental do-gooders keep pushing the envelope, we're beginning to see pushback.  It's too bad that people take out their frustrations on innocent manatees, but "events occur" as the bumper sticker puts it.  The poor manatees remind people how their freedoms are being taken away, and they react accordingly.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Environment.
Reader Comments

Since the people can't fight the government directly, they fight what they can.  The government has wrapped its arms around animals so when people feel bitter, they can act on their feeling with little recourse.  I wonder how many extra people are buying real Christmas trees now just to get back at the earthicans.

November 2, 2007 12:36 PM
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