“Chainsaw medicine” is Not the Answer

How Truth Metastasized Into A Lie – The Fire Suppression Fallacy (Part II)

As the Cal Fire and the US Forest Service continue to brainwash most journalists and the public into believing Nature is sick and needs immediate “treatment” by logging and clearing habitat, George Wuerthner, renowned ecologist and author of dozens of books on the environment, has been a needed voice of reason.

George and I spent a couple days talking about the fire suppression myth, how many in the scientific, environmental, and land management communities have chosen to ignore science in favor of folklore to promote prescribed burning, and the beauty of intact chaparral habitat (or as many foresters view it, the “demon brush”). The contribution below is George’s analysis of the current paradigm concerning forests which is based on the premise that Nature can not survive without human interference (i.e. management).

Photo: George Wuerthner in the chaparral with ceanothus (C. tomentosus) blooming in the background during one of the best times to explore Nature – in the rain.

“Chainsaw Medicine” is Not the Answer
By George Wuerthner

Foresters and other proponents of logging assert that our forests are “unhealthy” and require active management to fix them.

However, it is a self-serving perspective. In reality, our forests ecosystems are exceptionally healthy. They are adjusting to the ongoing drought and higher temperatures that are stressing trees and causing mortality in some not adapted to current climatic conditions.

The ongoing drought across the West is the most severe in 1,200 years. Extreme drought drives all other mortality factors. Climate factors make some trees more vulnerable to insects or disease and contribute to large wildfires.

I can absolutely assert that if the climate were to suddenly turn cold and moist, we would see large wildfire ending.

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Foxhole Friends

It has been a tumultuous decade. But the tumultuous part all disappeared for me over a spaghetti dinner two weeks ago.

As the noodles wound their way around forks, bread irreverently tossed across the table, and wine spilled onto the floor, one of my pals proclaimed, while raising his glass, “It’s been 50 years!”

It never dawned on me, our tenure. There were nine of us, all friends from college, gathered around the table that night. We hadn’t changed much over the past five decades, at least from my perspective. Sure, our body forms had leaned into enjoyment, one of us had a stent, a couple tennis elbows squeaked, and hair was thinning, but we were all still very much alive, laughing, telling stories, and dreaming about the future as we always had. We certainly were of differing opinions about the outer maelstrom, the outside world that really doesn’t have much impact on our daily happiness. But it wasn’t worth mentioning. So, when it came up, it was quickly disposed of. That’s what people do when they care for each other, know each other, have the perspective only older folks like us can truly understand – nothing matters more than legacy friendships, friendships that have survived and thrived despite the passing decades. Foxhole friendships. Friends who would take a bullet for you.

The morning after we did what lots of people have discovered as especially enjoyable over the past few years – we took a walk in the park. It wasn’t just any park. It was a park filled with wild things – sprawling oaks, dense sage scrub, a flowing stream, dirt trails, boulders of tonalite, and a lone mission manzanita. Sure, the conversations and laughter flowed indoors the night before, around the long table I had built years ago to accommodate such gatherings (I’ve never quite gotten over how us kids were often delegated to a separate table from the adults during family events). But walking outdoors, breathing in fragrant terpenes, hearing water flow, seeing green, branching fractals everywhere, the conversations became more curious, free, filled with speculations about what was and what may come. In retrospect, the experience provided a kind of glue for me, pasting renewed memories of friendship onto a scaffold that had been standing alone, unattended, for quite some time. COVID had something to do with the lack of maintenance, but truth-be-told, I’d allowed my life-since-college focus pull me away from renewing our 3rd East’s vows on a regular basis. That’s what we call ourselves, the Third East Gang – third floor, eastern bank of the dorms, at Long Beach State.

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New Video – California Chaparral: The Most Underrated Biome

How did Nature ever survive without us?

This is a question those who eagerly manipulate wildlands need to ask themselves, be they from environmental management organizations like California State Parks and the Nature Conservancy, or fire agencies like Cal Fire and the US Forest Service, all of which encourage the clearance of habitat under the guise of “ecological restoration” supported by a plethora of misconceptions, especially concerning fire.
The new video below is being shared by us to encourage those who are willing to rally their courage and challenge their organization’s human-centric view of Nature and to help fight for the right of native plants and animals to be left alone.

The video focuses on chaparral, a particular target of those who fail to understand the role dense shrubbery plays, including dense forest understories, in supporting California’s rich biodiversity. It was created by an inspiring young man who has been tirelessly championing Nature for the past few years through his fabulous YouTube channel, Jack 4 the Planet.

Enjoy Jack’s new video, California Chaparral – Underappreciated Yet Incredibly Important, by clicking on the image below.