Stop The Destruction Of The Environment In California

1494 words - 6 pages

California, once a land of legendary beauty, is now easier to see as a concrete paved state, overrun with cars and absent of the old growth redwoods that once defined the coasts. As a state that leads the nation in environmental and political reform, California is failing to protect the natural environment from the hazards of clear cutting, diverted waterways, and toxic dumping. Each of the aforementioned issues are examples of how corporations, governments, and residents are trashing California. Through analysis of the ways that Native Americans once tended to the land, a solution might be found that can allow California's natural treasures to be conserved and enjoyed for generations.
The dwindling Coastal Redwoods serve as a prime example of how environmental degradation can occur even after public outcry. During the Gold Rush, profit driven timber companies from around the nation purchased land in California with the intention of harvesting lumber. The preferred sources of lumber were thousand-year-old redwoods, which made up the spectacular forests that lined California's coast. As shown in the film, “Redwoods,” private companies who own the majority of Coastal Redwood land have harvested 95% of the original old growth redwoods, even as protesters and public committees cried foul. The clear cutting practices that enable extensive profits for timber companies have horrible impacts on the land around them, including loss of wild habitats, extinction of species, and erosion of the land. However, these negative effects are not always experienced by the consumers of old growth redwood products. Local governments and populations, even if they are concerned by these problems, do not have mechanisms available to compel these companies to respect the environment, because the companies have legal ownership of the land, pay for lavish logging support campaigns and hire powerful lawyers and lobbyists. Without a way to change the clear cutting policies, nearby communities will continue to suffer the consequences of trashing local clean water, wildlife habitat and beautiful scenery. The way California handles the timber industry can lead the rest of the United States in regulating extraction-based industries (eg. mining and oil) that operate under the belief that if they own the land, they can do whatever they please with the resources contained within. One solution to this problem of needing lumber supplies without destroying natural resources could be sustainable lumber harvesting, such as the company Old Growth Again, whose policy incorporates leaving five trees, of each tree species, untouched per acre. Unfortunately, these sustainable companies are few and far between, and the policies they self-impose are seen as a hindrance to profits by larger corporations. Private ownership plays a large role in environmental degradation, especially when sensitive ecosystems are preyed upon by real estate developers.
The allure of the California dream has...

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