DEAR READERS: The borders dissecting private and public (federal) lands should be dismantled, beginning with segments that are ecologically disruptive. Erecting walls, fences and other barriers means that indigenous species are being deprived of access to their full-range habitats -- cut off at least partially from food and water sources. These areas include the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge (and the private National Butterfly Center: a 100-acre sanctuary dedicated to the conservation and study of monarchs and 200 other butterfly species) and the San Bernardino National Wildlife Refuge.
Imperiled species living in these regions include the mountain lion, bobcat, javelina, jaguar, ocelot, coati mundi, Sonoran pronghorn, Mexican gray wolf, Peninsular bighorn sheep, and several varieties of pygmy owl found nowhere else in the United States. This is a national disgrace and a crime against nature and indigenous species, as many scientific studies have now clearly documented.
As 17th-century English poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island.” This is an ecological and socioeconomic fact in our internationally connected and interdependent world.
DEAR DR. FOX: My wife and I no longer have animals, but when our children were young, we had a dog, hamsters and even a tarantula. We are still in tune with the environment, and feel quite strongly that all of us are integral parts of the whole planetary system.
Unfortunately, some individuals do not realize how critical an issue global warming is -- for so many species on our planet, including us humans. This should NOT be a political issue, but a living planet concern.
Unfortunately, when you have ignorant and blind leadership, and those who don’t recognize reality, this becomes political. It’s too bad there are so many who fit the description of the adage, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”
About those who call you an anti-Trumpist, it fits what my mother said to me many, many years ago: “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter.”
Keep up the good work. Even without pets currently, we still read your articles. -- T.N., South Bend, Indiana
DEAR DR. FOX: I agree we are in a culture war -- one I never saw coming! At stake is the truth. I commend you for your support of a more enlightened, science-based viewpoint! -- J.B., Tulsa, Oklahoma
DEAR T.N. AND J.B.: Thanks for your words of support. What I feared years ago (articulated in my book “Bringing Life to Ethics: Global Bioethics for a Humane Society”) seems to be coming to fruition. Namely, we are seeing the rise of a third political party in the U.S. and in other countries. These increasingly dysfunctional democracies are learning that they cannot serve two masters -- unbridled capitalism and the public good. Trying to do so ignores the good of the commons: the natural world and all its indigenous species and peoples.
I call this morally bankrupt, materialistically corrupted, technocratic third party “biofascist.” Combining prejudice, racism and speciesism, this group treats nature purely as a material resource and animals as objects/commodities while being seduced by self-serving ideologies and propaganda. It is anti-science and anti-democratic, and is both denying and exacerbating the climate, extinction and public health crises we face today.
People of good conscience must unite under the “green” politics of environmental protection, conservation and sustainable commerce and trade, respecting the fact that all lives matter: human and nonhuman. We have a long way to go, especially since environmental and animal protectionists are demonized by biofascists as being advocates of “eco-fascism.” The internet is rife with anarchistic diatribes against environmental protections, while the corporate ecoterrorism of the petrochemical and other harmful industries continues unabated.
This has been especially exacerbated under the Trump regime, which essentially dismantled the government agencies responsible for public and environmental health, animal welfare and protection of endangered species. His third party has no place in any democracy, or in a world as fragile -- but still as beautiful -- as ours, which we must respect, protect and cherish.
(Send all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Dr. Michael Fox in care of Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106. The volume of mail received prohibits personal replies, but questions and comments of general interest will be discussed in future columns.
Visit Dr. Fox’s website at DrFoxOneHealth.com.)