Staff Reviews

How Earth's Garden Grows


“Nature is almost everywhere,” the science journalist Emma Marris writes in Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World (Bloomsbury). “But wherever it is, there is one thing nature is not: pristine.” Marris’ message will discomfort many environmental activists, who are often in thrall to the damaging cult of pristine wilderness and the false ideology of nature’s balance. But it should encourage and inspire the rest of us.

Marris shows that humanity has created rambunctious, novel ecosystems across the globe that often harbor more biodiversity than pristine ones. She acknowledges that choosing to conserve some areas as “pristine” with regard to some preferred aesthetic baseline is OK. But she argues that such areas are essentially wilderness gardens maintained by only “perpetual weeding and perpetual watching.” We should widen the scope of our appreciation to the actual nature found all around us, she writes. Conservation should be seen not as “restoration” but as a kind of “rambunctious gardening.” 

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  1. Marris shows that humanity has created rambunctious, novel ecosystems across the globe that often harbor more biodiversity than pristine ones.
    Noble Ruby Jewelry:…..y_c15.html

  2. Man is responsible for coffee just about everywhere outside of Yemen and Ethopia and horses and cows in North America. Think about that next time someone argues against imports or against “non-native” vegetation.

    Absent mankind, coffee almost certainly never makes its way to Hawaii.

  3. Regarding environmental activism, this by Jim Beers;
    Home > Why They Love Predators

    Guest post by Jim Beers

    A growing chorus of hunters, dog owners, ranchers, and rural residents of all stripes are becoming aware of the magnitude of the enthusiasm and support for predators from wolves and grizzly bears to coyotes and cougars. While this enthusiasm is seen as a core belief by environmentalists and animal rights radicals intent on destroying animal ownership, hunting, fishing, trapping, grazing, public land use, natural resource management and use, rural economies, and a long list of impediments to their national hegemony like state and local governments and private property rights; the existence of this veritable predator worship among “scientists”, “experts”, University faculties, and government bureaucracies is surprising many, especially rural Americans.

    Long lists of predator “studies” ? cited to “prove” that predators don’t depress prey species, or that large predators are not dangerous, or that predators are not vectors for deadly diseases, or that non-lethal protections for humans threatened by predators work, or that if individuals and communities simply adjust their lifestyles living with deadly and destructive predators will result in some sort of pre-human Eden ? all baffle rural residents whose daily experiences expose these lies being used to pass laws to control, regulate, and adjudicate them and their families and lifestyles out of existence. The questions, “How can they believe this stuff?” and “Why do the politicians and courts and bureaucrats accept these lies and their truly evil purposes?”, are heard increasingly as wolf, grizzly bear, coyote, and cougar protection, population increases, range increases, and damaging effects spread like a snowball rolling down the long and steep national slope.

    I believe that growing numbers of citizens are coming to understand the various self-serving agendas of those responsible for the growing list of deadly attacks, property destruction, and rural mayhem being perpetrated by these predators:

    – Environmentalists use the “native species”, “balance of ‘naychur'” and “endangered” myths about predators to get laws passed that advance their blitzkrieg campaign to totally control every inch of rural America.

    – Animal rights radicals use the myths about predators to justify destroying game herds and bird flocks that support hunting and trapping. The widespread killing of dogs discourages animal “ownership” (just like diminishing hunting decreases public support for the 2nd Amendment) thus reducing objections to eventual elimination of private property rights in animals. Livestock depredations increase costs to livestock owners forcing bankruptcies and small herds as seen in central Asia where livestock production is a tiny, local, and more subsistence thing. Human attacks discourage not only hunting, fishing, camping, and other outdoor activities; they discourage rural residency and thus private property owners in rural areas slated for radical/government acquisition and (cheaper) easements to employ land control that is but another key to people control.

    – Politicians love to “pass” warm and fuzzy laws to “restore the ecosystem” and “save the environment”. Predators are romantically portrayed via an environmentally-friendly media in anthropomorphic caricatures beloved by urban children, urban elites, and moneyed powerbrokers ? none of whom live with, raise families near, recreate near, or struggle to make a living near these very destructive predators. The result is a hard-core predator constituency that votes enthusiastically and supports expensive lobbying for more and more and more predators. This is why the increasing predator/human interfaces are more and more costly due to prohibitions against killing them as only an unjustifiable last resort in favor of catch-and-release processes that merely transfer the problem that more often than not returns to the scene of their original, sighting or crime ? take your pick.

    At this point I would like to take the liberty of “lumping” the rest of the predator lovers into one herd. I know that this leaves me open to charges of not “celebrating diversity”, but so be it.

    Most University faculties, in addition to their personal interests in reaping the 30+ year bonanza of federal grants and professorial benefits attendant to “findings” confirming radical/government self-serving claims, have an even more visceral “love of predators”.

    Most federal and state bureaucracies over the last 30+years preferentially hired and promoted women and other urban government-designated minorities (the majority of whom were at least uncomfortable with and at most unalterably opposed to hunting, fishing, trapping, logging, grazing, rural lifestyles, local governments, etc.) as they eliminated the legally-designated purposes of their agencies and the lands they acquired. The agencies that were once respected authorities have become little more than politically “responsive” roosts for political sycophant employees that support this visceral “love of predators”. Hence the lies about wolf impacts, the disinformation about grizzly bear’s presence in settled landscapes, the claims about how human behavior is responsible for human deaths, the encouragement for wandering cougars and wolves to settle in places like Iowa, Wisconsin, etc. (where they do not belong) and how “they were here first” chirping from government employees regarding a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum to the very citizens that pay their salaries and retirements.

    There are, in my opinion two basic reasons why Universities and government bureaucracies “love predators”.

    1. The gradual perversion of the study of natural resources and applied methodologies resulting from such studies over the past century.

    When I first began reading about wildlife and nature in the 1950’s there was a subtle undercurrent regarding “predator control”. It was often “unnecessary”, “ineffective”, and the advocates of predator control were often characterized as “uneducated” rural rubes simply tolerated out of necessity by the college-educated elites that ran the agencies. Predator control administrators that were once equal administrators that moving around and moving up in the agencies, were increasingly isolated in their control specialty where grades and responsibilities were less than the more “modern” branches proliferating in the agencies. Control agents were often called “killers” and were detested by the environmentalists, animal rights radicals, and New Age hires referred to above. From a premiere section of the federal bureaucracy that emerged under Teddy Roosevelt 100 years ago, predator control was unceremoniously and quietly moved to the US Department of Agriculture in the 1990’s where it was hoped that established agriculture priorities would lead to the demise of this despised activity.

    When I went to college in the 1960’s predator control was recognized by some professors and dismissed by others. Very much like political discussions today, predator control v. anti-predator control discussions became heated matters that were irresolvable and only evoked recrimination and personal animosities.

    When I went to work for the federal government I came to understand that since the time of Teddy Roosevelt there evolved the common-sense attitude toward natural resources v. the romantic attitude toward natural resources. Forests were either lands that produced timber, fish and wildlife, grazing lands, revenues, jobs, recreation, etc. for people and the Nation; or they were “Wilderness”, “Roadless”, “Closed”, “Preserved for their own sake” sacred lands to be kept inviolate ad infinitum. Wildlife management was either the preservation, control, and use of species supportive of human societies and landscapes or it was the “Native species” or “Native Ecosystems” or “necessary Apex Predators”, etc. to be protected, never interfered with, lived with or avoided by moving to urban areas. Similarly grass lands were either grazing lands or agricultural lands to be developed in line with American rights and principles or they were lands that must remain in “Native” grass, lands that should be let burn whenever the fire is “natural”, and only used by free-roaming buffalo or whatever “native” species that government designates based on the “science” bought and paid for by government and radical groups.

    From all this in the 1970’s the federal bureaucrats were wearing hats that read, “Save The Dirt” and there were increasing calls for “more” federal authority over “ALL” Waters of the US, increasing conversions of National Forests, National Refuges, and the uses of other federal lands from the Bureau of Reclamation to the Bureau of Land Management from traditional uses and management to non-use and “let ‘naychur'” take care of it non-management.

    Throughout the above scenario, predators and their effects were romanticized and distorted by “science” and “scientists” that basically wanted to lift their image from Middle Ages Gamekeepers providing desirable species for those that employed them, to “Einsteins” of the Natural World deciding what will go where based on their knowledge that a befuzzled public would never understand or much less appreciate.

    2. As a result of the foregoing (#1.) there has arisen a pervasive disenchantment with and growing disdain for US Constitutional government among Universities and bureaucracies that see themselves as representing not humans and their needs but a romanticized notion or plants and animals that need to be restored where people have “taken” their habitat from them. US Constitutional government represents the people that formed the government and people are the enemy of those thinking of themselves of serving this higher good of reducing the human presence to favor the plant and animal presence of their choice.

    For those familiar with my essays, I have written and spoken at great length about how the US Fish and Wildlife Service stole $45 to 60 Million from state fish and wildlife agencies and used it to introduce wolves, an action that Congress had previously refused to fund. I have detailed a dozen serious violations of federal law involved in this theft. See my talk “Criminal Activities by Federal Bureaucrats and Others Involved in the Introduction, Protection and Spread of Wolves in the Lower 48 States” given in Bozeman, Montana for The Friends of the Northern Yellowstone Elk Herd in May of 2010. The result was that no one was ever prosecuted. The Director at the time went on to a high-paying job with the Defenders of Wildlife and the National Wildlife Federation. The political hire that was in charge of the funds at the time is now the Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Finally, the State fish and wildlife agencies NEVER requested that the funds be replaced. So much for what everyone likes to deny exists: environmental extremism is eroding the rule of law and our limited government from beneath our feet.

    As this “love of predators” more and more perverted wildlife “science” and as Universities, state bureaucracies, and federal bureaucracies merged like some biblical plague of locusts into a single form destroying Constitutional government beneath it, other things became impediments to their agenda:

    – Private property rights were peppered like shooting targets that were not replaced. Whether it is livestock, dogs, or rural homesteads, predators are a wedge to government dictation of how and where we live and what we will be allowed to eventually “control” but not own at government sufferance.

    – Local governments’ representation of local communities becomes irrelevant as such governments are stripped of tax sources and federal courts set one precedent after another about such government’s irrelevance in this New Age.

    – State bureaucracies more and more depend on federal funds. State bureaucrats; like politicians, federal bureaucrats, and political staff employees; look to future job enhancements among these entities as retirement transfers and hiring become payoffs enabled by recent laws and the elimination of hiring standards and requirements have become the norm. There is no “credible” opposition as all recognized expertise resides with those adopting the new normal. Local communities are at the mercy of federal overseers that not only ignore them but actually work to remove them from the landscape.

    – Authority and jurisdiction over “ALL Water of the US” instead of the Constitutional “Navigable Waters of the US” is seen as necessary if full land use and land management authority is to be taken from private property owners and State governments are ever to be placed under federal hegemony.

    – Guns, whether for hunting or self-defense, are viewed by the “predator lovers” as dangerous to their agenda, dangerous to the predators, and dangerous to enforcers.

    – Government land use and management that is anything other than contributory to government plans are problems to be dealt with and eliminated.

    – Hunting, fishing, trapping, livestock, recreation, etc. advocacy groups must be shredded as grazing is shut down here, as timber management is shut down there, and as hunting et al disappear like stars one at a time as when the sun casts its first light on a night sky.

    We are all starting to realize how these agendas are all one. The protection, spread, and introduction of these deadly and destructive predators is a major part of this movement. The disinformation about these predators is not only lies intended to attain evil objectives, the myths masquerading as “science” concerning predators is a deeply imbedded tenet of a belief system inimical to the rest of us that see and know the truth. Such beliefs are as hard to root out as some carbuncle on the national derriere.

    The irony of all this is beyond current comprehension. If wolves, grizzly bears, coyotes, and cougars are ever to be tolerated in and persist in the rural Lower 48 States, four things are absolutely necessary:

    1. Local (where the predators exist) support and tolerance.

    2. Efficient, swift, continual, and lethal control measures.

    3. Affordable controls by citizens as opposed politically vulnerable and expensive government programs.

    4. State governments with ultimate predator jurisdiction that protect the interests of rural residents from both national and urban majorities’ whimsies.

    Consider that these are precisely the things being destroyed as I write. One needn’t be a swami to see that if the predator pendulum is not reversed, either rural America will eventually be akin to some central Asian dictatorship where the pernicious effect of these animals are everywhere or rural America as we knew it during the height of American prosperity will begin to be slowly rebuilt for our children and their children.

    The choice is ours.

    Jim Beers
    5 November 2011

    Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

    Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting at

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  4. rambunctious, novel ecosystems across the globe that often

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