High Noon On The Range

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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  1. SmokyMtMan Avatar

    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. Brian Ertz Avatar

    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.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan