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Monday, December 20, 2010
Cost Benefit Analysis of Saving Whooping Cranes?
Living in FL now with crackpot tea party toff Rick Scott as governor pledging to "run government like a business"--presumably without massive fraud committed in his previous endeavours--the question in the post title poses more than theoretical, political problem.
Can one prove with math the worth of nurturing a near extinct species of magnificent birds--whooping cranes --back to viability?
Can one envision young ladies like my nieces looking up in the sky to see a whooping crane flying free and getting inspired to choose science as an avocation and way to improve their little corners of the world?
Can anyone prove mathematically the worth of a single manatee to civilized society? No, but the things look so damn cute as mammals go.
Government exists for humans to organize and accomplish goals unobtainable to individuals, or tribes, or even of individual states in our union. Saving endangered species, preserving clean rivers and streams, and breathable air, these stand among what we might call the commonweal and general welfare of our nation.
"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
[This is the season of bird migration, and the ultralight-led Operation Migration is in the sky again, as well. The "class of 2010" includes 11 young whooping crane chicks following a couple of ultralight aircraft "trikes" from their home base in Wisconsin to Florida. This is the 10th year that a human-assisted migration effort has been employed to teach endangered whooping cranes the migratioin route they must learn if the species is to survive. The daily online reports from Operation Migration include plenty of bird drama, and some humor too, as the young cranes make their first foray away from everything that is familiar.
Once safely in Florida, they will join a growing flock of migratory whooping cranes, that wildlife management professionals in Canada and the United States have worked years to establish. This flock had only 5 cranes in May, 2002 – the spring following the first ultralight migration of whooping cranes. Today it numbers nearly 100 adult birds.]