Gumming Up The Wolf Hunt Pipeline
This weekend saw the biggest anti-pipeline protest in Minnesota history, organized by Tar Sands Resistance. It’s not just about the Keystone XL pipeline. Many other pipelines are being planned to bring crude oil from the Alberta tar sands into the United States to be processed and then sold for burning, creating the risk of massive pollution of our earth and water, and the certainty of the release of huge amounts of toxins and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The new expanse of pipelines is being created with the same old level of liability funding for the oil spills that will inevitably result.
There were a variety of predictably themed signs at the protest: Honor the Earth, Climate Action Now, and Great Lakes & Tar Sands Don’t Mix.
The signs that struck me the most, however, seemed off topic at first: No Wolf Hunt, and What Happens To The Water And The Wolves Happens To People.
What does wolf hunting have to do with crude oil pipelines? An industrial perspective will see no connection, but an ecological perspective will.
Ecologically, all living things within an ecosystem are connected through a series of complex interactions. We humans are not exempted from these connections. When human beings put a pipeline through a wilderness, and the pipeline corrodes and leaks crude oil into streams and rivers, the diversity of life that ecosystem is degraded. When human beings kill all the top predators in an area, and herbivores begin to reproduce with greatly reduced restraint, the diversity of life in that ecosystem is degraded.
Pipelines and wolf hunts are symptoms of a larger problem – the dominance of industrial thinking over ecological thinking in our culture. This isn’t just a problem for wildlife. Humans suffer as well. Thus, Howling For Wolves points out that “A healthy wolf population supports healthy habitat for wildlife and humans.
The saddest thing of all is that so many humans have built lives so separated from the ecology of their surroundings that they don’t even recognize the difference between a healthy habitat and what they see outside their windows.