WARNING:  This is a rant, and one for which I make no apologies.

Humans comprise only 1 of 2.12 million species on the Earth today that we know of.  Some scientists believe there are actually somewhere between 5 million and 10 million species on the planet.  Think about that one for a minute … we are not the ‘be all and end all’ of the planet, although it seems we are trying very hard to end life on this planet for most all species including ourselves.  The one thing that humans take the #1 place for, though, is arrogance.  Humans evolved and at some point, decided that they are the most valuable, superior species on Planet Earth.  To that end, mankind has somehow concluded that it is his “god-given right” to kill members of every other species either for food or for sport.

Do you remember a man named Greg Gianforte?  He was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 2017-2021 and is now the governor of Montana.  But what Gianforte is most famous for is beating up a member of the press, Ben Jacobs of The Guardian, simply because he didn’t like the question Mr. Jacobs asked him regarding his view on health care policy during his 2016 campaign.  Gianforte tried to claim that Mr. Jacobs had grabbed his wrist, but that was proven to be a bald-faced lie by witness testimony and recordings of the event.  In the 2016 election, Gianforte was elected despite (or perhaps because of?) his assault on the reporter … says something about the state of Montana and its people.

Gianforte lasted only four years in Congress but is now the governor of Montana and never has there been a more despicable example of the human species.  What has he done now, you ask?

It happened last December 28th when Gianforte decided to commit murder.  The 5-year-old mountain lion was wearing a GPS-tracking collar that Yellowstone biologists use to monitor the rare and elusive predators. Park staff knew the animal by its research number: M220. I have no idea what gave Gianforte the notion that what he was about to do was in any way fair or honourable, but what he did was chased the mountain lion with hounds until it ran up a tree for safety, at which time Gianforte and his friends shot and killed the lion.

Look at this face … isn’t it far more beautiful than that if its murderer, Greg Gianforte?

There was no ‘fair fight’ … Gianforte and his group had 4 bloodhounds and hi-powered guns that could cover a distance far greater than the lion could, while the lion had only his claws and teeth and he could not possibly have gotten close enough to cause so much as a scratch on any of those so-called ‘men’.

This was far from the first murder Gianforte has committed upon other species. Less than a year earlier, Gianforte killed a Yellowstone wolf in a similar area that was also wearing a tracking collar, prompting an outcry among environmentalists.  On October 28, 2000, he was fined a measly $70 for violating state Fish and Wildlife Commission rules by killing an elk. In February 2021 while governor, he violated state hunting regulations when he trapped and shot an adult black wolf known as “1155”.  This sorry excuse for a ‘man’ believes he has a ‘right’ to murder innocent animals for trophies!

Gianforte grins as he shows off his “trophies”

Gianforte has four children … this ‘man’ should NEVER have been allowed to reproduce!  Why isn’t this ‘man’ in prison???  He committed a crime … a crime against this entire nation, against all inhabitants of this planet!

While I believe that Gianforte is among the very worst examples of the human species, there are others vying for that title.  In a period of just under six months last year, hunters shot and trapped 25 of Yellowstone’s wolves — a record for one season — the majority killed in Montana just over the park border. The hunting has eliminated about one-fifth of the park’s wolves, the most serious threat yet to a population that has been observed by tourists and studied by scientists more intensively than any in the world.  The Republican-controlled legislature in Montana passed laws mandating a decrease in the state’s wolf numbers and allowing hunters to catch wolves in neck snares, hunt them at night and lure them with bait, sometimes chopping off the animals’ feet and heads, among other atrocities.

A wolf’s carcass left to rot by murderous hunters

I’ve long said, only half-jokingly, that if I get the chance to come back to Earth again, I’m coming back as a wolf.  I still hold that hope, for I’ve always felt that the wolf is my ‘spirit animal’ if such a thing exists, but today I hope that if I do return to Earth as a wolf, it is almost anyplace other than the United States!  People here love their guns and are so damned arrogant that they believe they are superior to every other species and that it gives them the right to murder members of other species.  Heck, I won’t even kill an ant or cricket I find in my house if there’s any way to rescue them and return them to nature!  Apparently I am an anomaly among the human species, at least in this backward nation!

Meanwhile … no, humans, you are quite possibly the most flawed species that exists today.  You fight against doing those things that might ensure the survival of yours and others’ futures here on Earth, but would rather keep driving your big cars, keeping your house the perfect temperature, and buying more and more ‘boys toys’ — guns to kill, to murder.  To murder … helpless wolves, mountain lions and other beautiful animals who have never harmed you in any way.

Good People Doing Good Things — National Park Volunteers

As a result of the Trump government shutdown, some 800,000+ federal employees are either furloughed from their jobs, else are asked to continue working without immediate compensation and with only the hope of back pay at some elusive date in the future.  Among those who are on furlough are the employees of the national parks around the nation.Trash-overflowing.jpgWith nobody to empty trash, clean restrooms, move debris from public areas, the parks were, after nearly three weeks untended, falling into a state of disrepair.  But last week, some good people took notice.  Let me introduce you to just a few …

Mike Skelton is the owner of Yellowstone Wonders, a company that offers tours of Yellowstone National Park.  Last week, with the holidays in the rearview mirror, Mike noticed a serious buildup of trash in the park.yellowstone-4

“We all live here. When it gets down to it, it is our park and it belongs to all of us in this country.”

Yellowstone-3.jpgAnd with that, he gathered a few other local residents and got to work.  They brushed snow off entrances, cleaned toilets, replaced toilet paper and switched out garbage bags, and they’ll likely do it again most weekends, if the shutdown continues.  The first day, Saturday, Mr. Skelton was joined by about 15 volunteers, but the next day, Sunday, there were 40!  Some volunteers brought supplies from home or bought them along the way.yellowstone-2In addition to individuals lending a hand, dozens of small businesses located in proximity to Yellowstone National Park have all chipped in thousands of dollars to keep the park open and tidy during the winter tourist season … they even offer free pizza to the volunteers!

gsm-signIn Tennessee, Marc Newland and his 10-year-old daughter Erica have spent their days in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, hiking the mountain trails with trash bags in hand so they can pick up litter along the way. gsm-3The Newlands have always been avid hikers, but when Marc told his daughter about how the shutdown would affect the mountain park, she suggested that they take it upon themselves to keep the trails tidy.

“Erica says that she would like to challenge other hikers to take one day off from getting in miles and impressive vista pics and instead, give back by grabbing a trash bag, heading to the park and collecting some litter!! These mountains give so much to so many people. Imagine if only a fraction of those people decided to give back to the mountains.”


Ever hear of Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA)?  It is a Maryland-based organization that regularly organizes community service cleaning efforts across the country, and presently they are mobilizing to clean up in Joshua Tree National Park, Everglades National Park, the National Mall, and Independence Hall in Philadelphia and Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio.


Joshua Tree National Park – California

At least 70 members of the group emptied overflowing trash cans, picked up piles of litter and swept the streets over the weekend.  Young.  Muslim.  Men.  The ones who so many call terrorists … are picking up trash in order to keep our national parks clean.  Think about that one for a minute, if you will.

These are but a few of the groups and individuals who are stepping up to the plate during the Trump shutdown to help keep things running smoothly.  Unfortunately, due to a weekend incident where park visitors damaged trees while driving off-road, Joshua Tree National Park is now closed to visitors.  Had park rangers been on the job, the incident likely would not have happened.

Nonetheless, there are thousands of people out there volunteering to pick up the slack left by the Trump shutdown, and I, for one, am grateful to them.  The parks belong to us all, and we should offer kudos to these fine volunteers for helping to take care of the parks so that we can continue to enjoy them.  Thank you ALL!!!

Thoughts on Preserving Federal Lands

yellowstone-4On March 1, 1872, Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the U.S., signed the bill creating Yellowstone National Park, America’s first and the world’s first such place, “set apart as a public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” This move was intended to protect Yellowstone with its natural geysers, river canyons and waterfalls, from becoming commercialized by private profiteers as Niagara Falls had been turned into a “circus of amusements”.  In addition to providing benefit and enjoyment for the people, public lands shelter wildlife and provide watersheds that provide clean water to millions of people.

As the world becomes ever more over-populated, and large corporations seek even higher profits, there comes a call to remove large portions of land from federal protection.  There are a number of federal agencies that are tasked with protecting the approximately 640 million acres of federal, or public land in the United States, including:

  • National Park Service.
  • Fish and Wildlife Service.
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs.
  • Bureau of Land Management.
  • Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.
  • Bureau of Reclamation.
  • Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement.
  • Geological Survey.

Amid calls for selling public lands, or turning them over to the states to decide their fate, environmentalists are horrified at the thought of these lands being opened for mining, timbering, ranching and commercialization.  In January, in one of his more lucid moments, Donald Trump told Field & Stream magazine that he opposed divesting such holdings because “I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do.” If he were to stand by that, it would be one of his better positions.

yellowstone-2.jpegHowever, this week the news from Trump Tower is that he plans to nominate Cathy McMorris Rodgers as Secretary of the Interior, a move at odds with his earlier assertion. Rodgers is strongly in favor of developing the United States’ fossil fuel resources. She has also opposed federal ownership of public lands and voted to make it more difficult for the president to create national monuments. Rodgers, a U.S. Representative of the state of Washington, is the author of a bill that would have directed the Department of the Interior to sell off federal lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming. Rodgers has repeatedly voted to limit or repeal key Obama administration climate and environmental regulations. She has also voted to expand offshore drilling and to stop the Interior Department from regulating hydraulic fracturing in states that already have their own fracking rules. On climate change, Ms. Rodgers is on record as saying, “scientific reports are inconclusive at best on human culpability for global warming.”

yellowstoneWhat exactly are federal, or public lands?  They are lands owned by you, me, and the other 319 million people in the U.S. They are there to be enjoyed by all, certainly, but also the protection they are afforded is crucial to the preservation of wildlife and the environment.  I don’t know about you, but I rather like knowing there are places left in this nation where we can go to “get away from it all” and enjoy nature.  We do not need more corporate structures, office buildings, factories, amusement parks and the like.  And we certainly do not need more mining and drilling operations decimating the landscape, destroying water resources and adding to the pollutants in the air.

The nomination of Cathy McMorris Rodgers is yet another of the “worst possible choices” Trump has made for his expanding list of advisors and cabinet members.  Once again, we must hope that Congress as a legislative body will make at least a few wise choices and deny Trump the right to destroy our nation by surrounding himself with those who intend more harm than good.

mined land.jpg

Once a beautiful mountain where trees grew tall and wildlife roamed free, this is how it looks after strip mining