This is an insightful look at the implications of the recent U.S. Climate Change Science Program’s report by one of Wyoming’s leading rangeland experts.

High Noon On The Range. By Deb Donahue. Wyomingfile.com

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

2 Responses to High Noon On The Range

  1. avatar SmokyMtMan says:

    According to the World Bank (2007), agriculture “is the main user of land and water, a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, and the main cause of conversion of natural ecosystems and loss of biodiversity.”

    Well, no kidding. As soon as we can figure out how to go without food, our problems are solved.

    With an ever-expanding human population, and crop yields basically having leveled off a long time ago, it is virtually impossibly to reduce the world’s acreage dedicated to agriculture.

    Actually, it is virtually impossible to stop agriculture’s footprint form EXPANDING.

    Particularly, as our oceans are quickly depleted, we will need to replace those food sources as well. Currently our oceans supply 15% of the world’s protein, and no scientist believes that is sustainable in the near future.

  2. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    To reiterate – this is about the choices that are made to consume and produce agricultural products that are forced upon/against the natural environments in which they are grown rather than utilizing foods that grow consistent with the conditions of a particular environment. when this choice is made, much resource is wasted in forcing.

    this is not a question of depleting/denuding/degrading the natural environment versus going without food. right now, we are making the choice to engage in the inefficient alchemy of converting 8kg of feed into 1 kg of beef – as one example.

    this is about an agricultural lobby that has exercised widespread influence over government throughout our history encouraging the widespread/bloated subsidization of our agricultural industry in ways that have obfuscated and externalized the influence of ecological necessity right out of the values-choices equation / free-market determination.

    the challenge becomes introducing, and when necessary demanding, that this ecological consideration be an integral component of future economic, political, and social decision-making such that we may begin to steer the these enterprises in directions that are sustainable.

    there is exponentially more waste than the end product sought contributes to us. we need to capture that waste-potential by making rational decisions about where food is grown, how it is distributed, and by allowing the cost of the ecological consequences of such waste and destruction to be incorporated into the cost of product. The market cost of a good ought be its actual cost.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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