Saturday, April 4, 2009

Metronatural is bunk!

The Ballard News-Tribune has an account of my reading at the Ballard Library last week and focusses on my comments about the contradictions between wanting to live in pristine nature and inhabit a "world class" metropolis in its midst. So far, especially if you're a salmon or an orca, that isn't working out too well. I try to describe why our civic glass is half-empty with some humor and perspective in Pugetopolis. But our conflicting desires and the contradictions of life here are, I think, a fascinating window on local culture and character and worth exploring. Needless to say, I share some of these contradictions even while pointing them out.

It is sensitive turf, however. In an article this week on Crosscut I raised a number of issues about he environmental impact of cats on Puget Sound. The response was strong: Mossback hates cats! Let's get rid of fat people, not pets! The fact remains that while we debate the damage plastic bottles and grocery bags do to the environment, the sheer number of pets we have also has a huge impact in the spread of disease from cats to otters, for example, or the consumption of wild fish runs, or in the depletion of our songbird populations. Our pets have a big impact on Puget Sound. It's something to think about; it's damage we might want to try and mitigate. Cats, dogs and other lovable creatures are not the only or even the major threat (neither are grocery bags or Evian bottles), but if we're going to get into the details of what's environmentally problematic and what's not about our lifestyles, let's talk about some of the stuff that's taboo. It's easy to criticize Hummer's, but are so many pets really green?

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