Northwest NEWS

March 5, 2001


Extinction of any species affects all

I feel compelled to clarify some of the "facts" in a letter to the editor on Feb 19.
   I wonder if the writer realizes the unawareness implied in his statement "The earth will continue to turn ... our lives will go on ..." with or without the salmon.Yes, the earth will continue to turn, but our lives will be impacted. The extinction of one species affects the entire web of life.
   An important food source will be lost - not only for those nasty orcas eating up all of "our" salmon, but sea lions, osprey, bears, bald eagles and many other species dependent upon the salmon for survival.
   The more species we lose, the more others are affected - including humans. All of life is interconnected. To assume the salmon are only for us is foolish.
   I agree that the fishing industry is guilty of allowing overfishing. And yes, landowners and developers are not the only ones to blame. There are many contributors to this situation (dams, clear cut logging, etc.).
   Landowners can, however, make choices that will help or hurt the salmon. When developers clear cut a lot to build on, they destroy native trees and plants and erode the living biomass underneath.
   Then a lawn is planted to which homeowners feel compelled to apply fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides on a regular basis. This in turn washes into the streams which is detrimental to the water supply and wildlife. And us! We drink the water too.
   Choosing to landscape with native plants and minimizing the chemicals you dump on your lawn is a step in the right direction.
   If you want to wash your car on the driveway, just use a safer soap.
   Detergent soaps with high phosphate content have been scientifically proven to be harmful to the environment. Just because Little Bear Creek's salmon runs have increased in the short amount of time the writer has lived here, doesn't mean runs in other rivers and streams are faring as well. There is a reason they are listed as endangered or threatened.
   Just because a person cares about the environment doesn't mean they are an extremist. Go ahead and call me a "whacko," but I will continue to care about what happens to the earth.
   I hope that in 50 years, I will be able to take my great-grandchildren to see the salmon return and tell them of the time they almost disappeared.
   Meredith Mitchell, Duvall