Nature is never the enemy

  Dear HCN,

I read with interest and growing dismay your recent article by Ed Marston, "Restoring the West, goat by goat" (HCN, 6/24/02: Restoring the West, goat by goat). The foreign invader that is actually sucking our landscape dry is Western civilization.

Tamarisk is a rugged survivor, living on land where the native species have already been killed or destroyed. It has been scapegoated for problems that actually stem from the most destructive exotic of all, our culture.

I read the same day that Intel, centered in Albuquerque, is drawing 4 million gallons of water a day from the Rio Grande aquifer. The amount of water one tamarisk "sucks" from the ground (thereby robbing our hot tubs, toilets, swimming pools, golf courses and manufacturing processes) is debatable, but the figure of 200 to 300 gallons per day is ridiculous.

The reason that cottonwoods and willows do not line our streams at present is not because they were shouldered out by the evil Asian tamarisk, but often because they were bulldozed or axed as "water thieves."

I have nothing against goats, and I applaud Ms. Barclay for refusing the generous bulldozing offer of the New Mexico Game and Fish agency. People of good will focus on an enemy they can fight, thereby giving them the satisfaction of activity and the illusion of effectiveness. However, nature is never the enemy. We are nature, and the sooner we accept that fact, the better our chances for survival as a species will become.

Laura Weisberg
Cedar Crest, New Mexico
High Country News Classifieds