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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Sunday, December 25, 2016

This Christmas morning we hear once again from Ecologist Cristina Eisenberg...........Like many in her field, she is concerned about how the Trump Presidency will treat out natural world.........She sums up her Huffington Post editorial(below) by saying----- "Science provides our best hope for the future of life on Earth".............. "Indeed, since Aristotle’s time, leaders have seen science as the sharpest weapon any civilization can wield to improve their survival"................... "But today, only science based on rigorous, peer-reviewed research designed with full freedom of inquiry will work"............... "Linked to our constitutionally mandated freedom of speech, our freedom to do science is part of what truly makes America great"

The Role Of Science In The Trump Era

Only science based on rigorous, peer-reviewed research designed with full freedom of inquiry will work.


This week the Electoral College confirmed Donald 
Trump as our next president. The election of a
 demagogue profoundly threatens our nation’s
 ability to produce sound science. And it creates
 a particularly pressing problem because of the
 many things Trump’s election isn’t changing—
such as how nature works, and our human
 fundamental needs for survival.
Humans depend on nature for food, clean water,
 and clean air. We rely on the environment to help
 us regulate climate and disease, and to support
 nutrient cycles and crop pollination. Trump and
 his new cabinet will endanger all of these
 ecological functions, by suppressing the use 
of science to inform decision-making about them.
Since the 1920s, ecologists have been pointing
 out that nature is at risk due to unfettered human
 population growth, rapacious exploitation of 
natural resources, and related environmental 
pollution. In the 1960s, in response to air and
 water quality crises that caused human deaths
 and species extinctions, we used best science 
to create the Environmental Protection Agency
 and passed a formidable suite of environmental
 laws such as the National Environmental Policy
 Act (NEPA), the Clean Water and Clean Air
 Acts, and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
Within one decade we began to see the fruits
 of these laws and their bedrock science.
Species such as the bald eagle returned 
from extinction’s edge; air in cities became
 safer to breathe. Yet, because of our 
increasing demands on nature, these 
powerful laws have been unable to 
measurably slow climate change

Science is our most powerful tool to build
 on the legacy of these laws and craft public
 policy to slow and mitigate climate change.
 A warming global climate is leading to
 unprecedented human health and
environmental threats, such as extinction
over the next 100 years of up to 50 percent
 of species currently living on our planet.
The only way to fully address these threats
 is by allowing scientists to conduct research
 effectively and transparently.
Throughout his campaign, Trump sought
 support by appealing to popular desires
 and prejudices rather than by using rational
 argument. Trump’s agenda to “make
America great” includes slashing funding
 for science and universities, adopting a
 formal platform of climate-change denial,
intensifying natural resources exploitation,
 weakening environmental laws, and
reducing all kinds of diversity. Pundits
 point out that Trump’s atavistic
demagoguery in assembling his cabinet
 creates a strategic assault on science.
To that end, some of his nominees’
regressionary personal philosophies
 push the boundaries of legitimacy
and directly counter the missions of
the agencies they will be leading.
A tour of Trump’s challenges to science
 begins with his selection of Oklahoma
Attorney General Scott Pruitt as the head
of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
 A party to at least 13 lawsuits attacking the
 Clean Air and Clean Water Acts who refers
 to himself on his website as the “leading
advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda,”
Pruitt is hardly supportive of natural resources
policy checks and balance.
Trump’s top nominee for Secretary of Energy, former 
Texas governor Rick Perry, lacks the academic background
 to enable him to understand the essential role of science 
in maintaining US nuclear security. In sharp contrast to his
 predecessors, who were PhD physicists, he holds a 
bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. Yet he will take 
the lead in deciding how we manage our nuclear arsenal.
 Additionally, the Trump Transition Team’s intrusive 
questioning of Department of Energy scientists and
 contractors creates an ominous environment where
 it’s unsafe for scientists to use the term “climate change.”
Secretary of State nominee Exxon chief executive Rex
W. Tillerson has a background in engineering and close
ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin. The billion-
dollar Russian energy contracts brokered by Tillerson
 engender a huge conflict of interest. He’s persistently
dismissed the severity of climate change, yet will be
 our top government official negotiating our
engagement in international climate-change policies,
 such as the Paris Agreement.
In a field populated by serious contenders like Sarah
 Palin, Trump’s selection of Representative Ryan
 Zinke (R-MT) as Secretary of the Interior offers
some hope in an otherwise bleak landscape. While
supporting US energy independence, Zinke
 acknowledges that climate change must be addressed.
 He brings to the presidential cabinet a centrist,
Roosevelt-inspired conservation philosophy.
A pragmatist who favors sustainable natural
resources extraction, he also supports Native
American water rights and keeping federal lands intact.
Why does science matter so much in the Trump
era? What is at stake? Put simply, according to
ecologist Paul Ehrlich, our survival as a species
 is on the line. He calls out escalating indicators
of global collapse such as climate disruption,
environmental toxicity, the extinction crisis,
soil destruction, famine, and pandemic outbreaks.
 Ignoring these signals is tantamount to driving
 civilization toward collapse. Supporting sound
 science will help us find solutions.
Science provides our best hope for the future of
 life on Earth. Indeed, since Aristotle’s time,
 leaders have seen science as the sharpest weapon
any civilization can wield to improve their
survival. But today, only science based on
 rigorous, peer-reviewed research designed
with full freedom of inquiry will work.
Linked to our constitutionally mandated
 freedom of speech, our freedom to do
science is part of what truly makes America great.
Even the most conservative global science
 organizations are so troubled by the many
 challenges Trump brings to scientific integrity
 that they’ve been speaking out. Some have
been urging the scientific community to be
more vocal and frank about scientific issues.
For example, recently more than 2,300 scientists
 (including 22 Nobel Peace Prize laureates)
 wrote and signed an open letter to
president-elect Trump.

Beyond the scientific community, non-scientists
 can do even more to help defend science. As
 members of a democratic society, we can ask
 Congress to maintain freedom of scientific
 inquiry and diversity in science. Specifically,
we can comment publicly on and vote to
support environmental laws. We can urge
the president to hire a national science
advisor as well as other scientists with
 appropriate credentials in ecology,
physics, and engineering to fill key
 posts in his administration.
We can become more directly involved
by actually participating in science. A
variety of organizations enable scientific
 public engagement (called citizen science)
 such as the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,
 the National Audubon Society, and
Earthwatch Institute.
Whether you are a scientist or a non-
scientist, all of these strategies are about
 defending science and putting it into action.
Now more than ever, science is our best
 hope for the future. And now more than
ever, science needs you.
* * *
Learn more about carnivore conservation
 by reading The Carnivore Way: 
Coexisting with and Conserving 
North America’s Predators, and The Wolf’s
 Tooth: Keystone Predators, Trophic Cascades,
 and Biodiversity by Dr. Cristina Eisenberg.
Learn more about large carnivore ecology
by joining Cristina afield on her Earthwatch
 research expedition, Restoring Fire, Wolves,
 and Bison to the Canadian Rockies.

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