What’s not to like about Edward Osborne Wilson?
What’s not to like about E.O. Wilson? To think of Earth Day and Earth Week in the same breath as E.O. Wilson is, I think, synonymous, Edward Osborne Wilson. To wonder if the Republican party, as desperate as they are for a candidate of bona fide credentials as a conservative, capital “C” Conservative, might nominate E.O. to the presidency when their convention in Cleveland is up for grabs.
I do wonder if our political mechanism is missing some vitality when we so routinely pick our Presidential candidates out of the political pool rather than descend into business, science, academe, entertainment or for that matter … conservation.
Donald Trump counts as several of those, Carly Fiorina, Ronald Reagan, A. Lincoln, U.S. Grant, Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter the peanut farmer. To think E.O. Wilson at the 2016 Republican Convention might revitalize the Grand Old Party, never mind E.O. at 87 would be the oldest nominated candidate for the presidency, besides a true Conservative and author of some 12 books, including sociobiology that neatly shook the scientific world.
Theologians tend to distrust a biologist that writes a book with the title “The Meaning of Human Existence,” this when Monty Python is troubling enough.
E.O. is back with a new book, “Half-Earth, Our Planet’s Fight for Life,” a book that should surely cheer the heart of every “true Conservative.” In it, E.O. compares the trendline of human civilization against the continual erosion of species. Never mind a more sinister description is available: the biological apocalypse.
To add here we are running out of a long list of base natural resources: copper, potash, cadmium, cobalt and zinc. Not that copper is really in short supply on this planet as it is highly recyclable, and only 13 percent of total reserves have been mined but as the U.P. knows, the easy copper is exhausted.
Future copper mining will require intrusive methods, expensive deep-sea mining techniques with only percentile returns. None of this is E.O.’s message, if the mineral message may be the same as the biological one. We are running out of Earth. Be it hydro power, atmospheric gas ratios, oceanic species and coral reefs, to mention dry land itself, as the oceans rise.
The photosynthetic balance of this planet is regularly debated; the role green plants play in maintaining the CO2 to O2 balance in the atmosphere. For all its simple components, the balance is a trifle delicate considering relatively small mass changes have profound effects on evaporation, plant growth, acidification of the oceans, rainfall, terrestrial temperatures. Translated, what modern civilization needs is an air conditioner.
What I like about E.O. Wilson’s conservative credentials is he doesn’t mess around. A bit like “the Donald” who would build a wall, bomb ISIS, cut off foreign aid, deport all illegals immigrants and/or concentration camps, smash-mouth talk that apparently a lot of people find refreshing coming from a politico who isn’t afraid to vent.
E. O. Wilson is like this in his new book “Half Earth.” His planetary solution, as advertised by the title, is to give half the planet back, half the planet to the other species. Half of Central America, half Poland, half Nebraska, half of every continent back to the wild format.
As conservative proposals go, pretty audacious if still short of concentration camps for immigrants. Wilson’s idea for saving the planet and its species is only a little different from Ted Cruz saying he’d ban all abortions and birth control pills, if still some people want this guy for president. As puts E.O.’s notion of giving back half the planet to nature as not nearly so weird.
To suspect E.O. wouldn’t quibble if it was only 25 percent. The reason I pick on 25 percent is because most of you know center-pivots exist in central Wisconsin, 350,000 irrigated acres, same center pivots as exist in Kansas at 3 million acres, Nebraska 8.2 million acres, Idaho 3.2 million acres, California 8.5 million acres.
In round terms 20 to 25 percent of every standard pivot isn’t irrigated and if pressed into service of recharge and habitat could do some good to a region and a place to start E.O.’s “give it back” solution.
Aerial photos of Kansas and Nebraska pivots looks like a bag of orderly marbles. If 25 percent of that land was habitat, to think this would be a good place to start being true conservatives.
It has long been my sense, the reason the modern consumer suffers anti-agrarian shock at the image of the modern farm, including our CAFO image, the corporate, chemicalized farm, is because the modern farm no longer connects with E.O. Wilson’s 50-percent solution. Or of being true conservatives.
An agriculture that has “lost its way” if not its historical context and identity. That what agriculture is about is only field production, only yield, gross tons, and not the conservative farm, as the mainframe of species life in North America.
Were every American farm 25 percent wild – to include reserve, recharge, habitat – agriculture might shed itself of its most nagging dilemma, of gaining a consistent fair value for the stuff we call food. It’s a well-known equation; cut crop production 10 percent, gain 40 percent in crop value, every crop, every sector. This the Conservative E.O. Wilson solution.
As the Republican delegates head to Cleveland for the most exciting political convention since McCarthy in Chicago … I will advance Wilson’s name to the Republican National Committee as a candidate. And let’s talk … true Conservative.