gardening ethics

dr at ducvax.auburn.edu dr at ducvax.auburn.edu
Wed Nov 18 17:49:05 EST 1992


In article <92319.175714MEK104 at psuvm.psu.edu>, <MEK104 at psuvm.psu.edu> writes:
>  ...<deletions>...
> By using the phrase 'devil's advocate', do you mean that you expect most
> people would disagree with high-yield agriculture or the importation of
> exotic plants and animals for food?  I know that some people disagree with
> it, but I've always considered them to be a radical fringe.
 
At the risk of being considered in the radical fringe, I will admit to
disagreeing with aspects of high-yield agriculture, and the importation
of many exotic plants and animals for food.  I should give some examples.
I think the following were mistakes:

1) The clearing of the great southeastern forests for the mega-cultivation 
   of cotton, resulting in a number of eco-disasters (Charasmatic example: 
   the extinction of the carolina parakeet.  Related disaster: The massive 
   soil erosion in the 20s-30s, caused in large part by the continued 
   clearing of woodlands from marginal areas.
2) The over-grazing of the american west with cattle.
3) The introduction of the european rabbit into Australia.
4) The introduction of kudzu. (as a high-yield crop)

Note that these decisions were largely social/economic/political decisons,
although they were sometimes partially informed by science, and thought to
be a Good Idea at the time (altho there were some radical fringe farmers 
who opposed the introduction of Kudzu ;^)).  I used to carry in my head 
dozens of such examples, in considerably more detail than I now can recall.  

I take it as a given that all subscribers are familiar with the above 
examples; my main point is that these matters are sufficiently complicated
that simply dismissing the opposing view as "radical fringe" is, at the
very least, intellectually imprudent.  On more than one occasion, after 
carefully considering a view I disagreed with, I've had to modified my
view to accommodate the new insight.  This is generally a delight...

	D.R.
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