Anti-environmentalists often deride efforts to preserve endangered species with the claim that environmentalists care more about animals than we do about people. They’ll point to efforts to save animals like the Siskiyou Mountain salamander. Special regulations designed to protect the Siskiyou Mountain salamander seem ridiculous to them. After all, it’s just a little salamander, they say. Why should humans accept restrictions on their activities just for the sake of a salamander?
The answer that the anti-environmentalists don’t want to hear is that protecting the Siskiyou Mountain salamander isn’t just about the salamander. It’s about the whole system of the Siskiyou Mountains. You see, the Siskiyou Mountain salamander wouldn’t be in trouble if the natural ecoystesm of the Siskiyou Mountains were not under threat.
When we’re dealing with threats that endanger entire ecosystems, it isn’t just nature that’s endangered. The same way of life also threatens human beings. The Siskiyou Mountains contain old-growth forests that we people are cutting down with alarming rapidity. We’re being so wasteful in our use of timber-derived products that the trees we harvest from younger forests just aren’t enough. The trouble is that old growth forests are only renewable in a very long-term sense. It takes an extremely long time for the great big trees in those forests to be replaced, and we’re harvesting them at a rate that cannot be sustained. At the rate of old growth harvest we’re engaged in now, America will run out of old growth forests. When that happens, we’ll suffer a poverty of timber-derived products whether we like it or not.
Protecting the Siskiyou Mountain salamander protects people from the harm that will come from sudden resource poverty. Saving the salamander will put the breaks on our unsustainable practices, forcing our society to adopt practices that are healthier for us in the long term.
I’m asking you to help out in the efforts to protect the Siskiyou Mountain salamander, not just for the sake of the salamander, but for the sake of the entire Siskiyou Mountain ecosystem, and for the American people as well. Visit the Center for Biological Diversity to find out more about what you can do.