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Observations from the Edge
Robert T. Nanninga
North County Times
October 19, 1998


I have been thinking about balance lately. Not the two party system kind of balance, although that is a part of it. I'm thinking about this whole "us against them" sort of mentality. It's a political season, everyone is taking sides, Republicans against Democrats, Greens against the Developers, and Civilization against the Wilderness. I just don't see the balance.

The importance of Prop B was brought home to me not long ago when I was confronted with the news that four Mountain Lions had been shot dead in the Cuyamaca Mountain State Wilderness Area. This is East county. This is what encroachment looks like. Four native predators, most likely a family, forced to hunt for house pets. It's kind of tragic when you think about it. This is a glaring example what will continue to happen if sprawl development is allowed to continued unchecked.

Henry David Thoreau once said, "In wilderness is the preservation of the world." For us here in Southern California nothing can get more wild the. My question is are we afraid of the Felis Concolor or what they represent? Why are we, as a culture, so intent on owning everything, controlling everything, making everything safe for more of the same?

These lions were victims of imbalance, and as the system stands there is nothing I, or anyone else, can do to stop these beautiful creatures from disappearing from Southern California, and perhaps the planet. We are not leaving enough room. For years we have been talking about Gnatcatchers and Spotted Owls, and now we are faced with Mountain Lions who no longer have the luxury of keeping to themselves. Are you sensing a trend here.

Everyone keeps saying we must have a healthy economy, well what about a healthy environment. Not only are we shooting lions in the mountains we are also playing politics with how much wetlands are enough. The Rural Heritage and Watershed Initiative is the perfect example of this. Saving tiny pockets of undeveloped land is not going to help to insure diverse and healthy populations of native species. For habitat to be viable there must be room for biotic communities to survive.

The property rights people want you to think that this is a constitutional issue, it's not. I'm sure the founding fathers had no concept of Stripmalls and Subdivisions. As far as they were concerned they lived in a time of abundance. They did. We don't.

The fact we have an Endangered Species list should be warning enough, it isn't. The fact that we are replacing native species with domestic ones, that are more to our liking, should make us question our ethics, it doesn't. And still the people clamor for their property rights.

I agree with the pro-development interests is so far as we need to take care of our communities, where I disagree with them is that I see that being done with a healthy environment allowing us to enjoy a healthy economy. Because what happens when the money runs out and the is no nature left to fall back on.

Will there be Mountain Lions left to harass people on horseback in 200 years? I doubt it. The concept of Seventh Generation politics should be considered by us all. What are the repercussions of our daily actions on the next seven generations? By looking beyond the American myth of property rights, perhaps we can leave something for future generations, regardless of their species.

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