A Wild-Less California in 2050?

That’s what a New York Times op-ed sees coming — in just 43 years. Verlyn Klinkenborg writes:

In 2007, we remain blindly impervious to the life-claims of almost
all other forms of life — to the moral stipulation that their right to
life is equivalent to ours. How it will be then I do not know, but if
there are indeed 60 million people living in California in 2050, there
will be nothing meaningful to be said on the matter, except as a
subject of nostalgia.

We like to take it for granted that we’re
moving ahead in environmental consciousness. We like to hope that the
curve of our environmental awareness will catch up to the curve of our
economic growth and things will somehow come into balance. But faith in
our progressive enlightenment seems a little misplaced to me,
especially when I remember a speech that James Madison gave to his
local agricultural society nearly 190 years ago.

Madison said,
simply, that we have no reason to suppose that all of Earth’s
resources, which support so much living diversity, can rightfully be
commandeered to support mankind alone. It seems incredible to me, in
2007, that a former president could articulate such an environmentally
sound principle of conscience. But it’s a principle that should move to
the very center of our thinking. It should cause us to re-examine not
just how we shop and what we drive and who we elect but also how our
species reproduces. It should cause us to re-imagine that once and
future California, which lies only 43 years away, and make sure that it
isn’t barren of all but us humans.

I confess, part of me simply cannot face this. When I first read the piece, I mistook Klinkenborg’s reference to a mid-21st century to 2150, and thought, well, that’s a way’s off…but 2050! It’s conceivable I could be alive to see this wildless California…

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

One thought on “A Wild-Less California in 2050?

  1. Verlyn Klinkenborg, who writes nature pieces for the NY Times editorial department, is one of the best nature writers in the world. Yes, this piece is a real cri de coeur….


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