Tuesday, June 5, 2012

USDA, EIS -- The Seeming OCD of "Never Enough"

Yesterday, I attempted once more to wade through the USDA Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) as comment is due next week.
One should ideally comment to documents like these in the same cut and dried, dispassionate way they are written.  But, I am tempted to send in a curt and snarky remark that this is, "the biggest gobbledygook ever read."
It is absolutely amazing the time, money, resources and brain power that is directed and expended towards seemingly intellectual "reason" for our systematic war on wildlife -- especially Canada geese. 
I would personally be willing to bet my bottom that of the 36,000 birds shot, gassed or slaughtered over the past five years for so-called, "airline safety" in New York City that not one (nor even a flock) had written on their destiny's "colliding with and taking down a plane."
But, the fear of possibility no matter how remote and statistically unlikely justifies the mass slaughter and what slowly appears to be the certain decimation and eradication particularly of Canada geese in our city.
I am no psychiatrist, but this truly reminds one of those suffering from Obsessive/Compulsive Disorders and phobias, particularly those based in exaggerated fears of possibility. 
It is not after all, statistically impossible that one might get sick from germs, die on an elevator, fall off a tall building or get hit by a bus if going outdoors. But the odds of these events occurring are infinitely small and do not warrant normal people to wash hands a thousand times a day, never ride an elevator or venture outdoors.
One of course realizes that the unlikely possibility of one person getting hit by a bus does not represent the same catastrophe and millions of dollars in lawsuits that a potential plane disaster as result of a bird strike would signify.  Nor, is it suggested that we should just "take our chances" when boarding a plane and do nothing to address the possibility of bird/plane disaster no matter how remote and unlikely.
But, it seems reasonable to conclude that had we put the same brain power, money, resources and focus towards developing modern technology that would better alert pilots to birds and warn birds of oncoming danger, we would not be in the same downward, obsessive/compulsive spiral of mass killings that we are now:
Killing one bird is too many and killing a million is never enough.
Just as it is impossible for a person to wash away every germ on their body to eliminate all possibility of disease, it is equally impossible to kill enough birds to guarantee a bird/collision will never happen.  We would have to kill ALL the birds.
Last month there were bird strikes in New York City resulting in two planes having to emergency land. Obviously killing 36,000 birds over the past five years wasn't "enough."
A psychiatrist might ask, "How is that (killing) working for you?"
The obsessive/compulsive sufferer answers, "Not good enough."  And so they keep on trying. 
Doing the same things over and over again, knowing full well, it will never be "enough."  
("The more you control, the more you HAVE to control.")
That is part of the definition of insanity.
And yet, that is exactly what the USDA SEIS reminds me of.
One might be tempted to ask in response to the last statement, "Where is the proof of what you assert?"
Well, somewhere in that mass of pages and rationalizations yesterday is this interesting passage:
"During this time period, the number of resident Canada Geese living in New York state
increased from 80,270 in 1995 to 257,390 birds in 2010 which is a 3-fold increase over
15 years (USFWS 2010). An estimated 25,000 resident Canada Geese lived in
metropolitan NYC in 2009 (B. Swift, NYS DEC, pers. comm.).
The number of Canada
Goose strikes with aircraft at JFK has remained stable for about 30 years
while the
number of geese shot on the airport has increased significantly from 1 in 2000 to 163 in
2008 (Fig. 1-7). Some of this increase is likely related to the expansion of the
supplemental on-airport shooting program to include species other than gulls (i.e., gulls,
Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Rock Doves, and Double-crested Cormorants; Section 6.2.3) and the extension of the duration of the supplemental on-airport shooting program in 2008. These actions would not continue if Alternative 1 is selected."
(Emphasis supplied.)
Thus, we have a situation (according to this report) where the goose population in New York State increased 3-fold in 15 years, but the number of goose/ aircraft strikes at JFK airport remained stable for 30 years (despite millions more planes in sky).
Admittedly, I was not a math wiz when in school.  But, it seems reasonable to ask that if a rising population of Canada Geese (three-fold) in the state did not result in an increase of birds strikes with the geese, then why would a decrease in population necessarily result in a reduction of planes strikes with them?
Putting aside the information that more Canada geese were shot at the airports following the jump in population, this suggests that Canada geese are not the major source  for bird strikes.
So why the campaign to virtually wipe out Canada geese throughout the five boroughs of New York City?
It makes no sense, unless...........
Caught up in a downward spiral of obsessive/compulsive ritual that will never be enough to solve the real or perceived problem, we nevertheless, keep on doing -- and expanding --what we have been doing even though it fails to "work" and satisfy.
Common sense and sanity would suggest doing something different that if achieved would actually guarantee catastrophic bird strikes would virtually never happen.
And like nearly everything else these days, those answers tend to lie in the development of modern technology.  Certainly, there is no need in this venue to describe the wondrous technologies developed over just the past few years that allow us to do nearly everything from just the click of a mouse or tap on a cell phone.
Does the ability to detect birds in the air or sufficiently warn birds to move out of the way of an oncoming jet seem beyond the realm of human imagination?  Compared to everything else these days, seemingly no.
But, these things are beyond the imagination if the mind is set in rigid obsessive/compulsive patterns, that like the cave man simply say repeatedly, Kill, kill, kill.
There may have been excuse for the cave man because such technologies and possibilities did not exist in ancient times such as we have today.
But, what is the excuse now?
There is an old saying that if you give a person a hammer then everything looks like a nail.
We have given USDA Wildlife Services gas chambers and "processing plants."  Everything looks like a goose to them.
Caught up in a downward spiral of obsessive/compulsive ritual that will never be enough to solve the real or perceived problem, we nevertheless, keep on doing -- and expanding --what we have been doing even though it fails to "work" and satisfy.
And so yes, I will probably comment to the USDA SEIS that it is the "biggest gobbledygook ever read."
And that is to be kind from saying what I really think about it. -- "OCD, OCD."  -- PCA

No comments: