The Canary is a Frog


FrogsPhoto from Northwest Frog Fest.

Last week several concerned scientist went to Washington to complain about political suppression of scientific reports. Non-scientists have been re-writing reports to give a politically correct version that favors industry and development. The scientist lament “the systematic dismantling of the Endangered Species Act through the manipulation and suppression of science.” (See article in the Washington Post here).

In the political debate it has been fashionable to pit jobs against the environment. I remember the scorn back in the 80s when a dam project was delayed to save a tiny fish called the “snail darter.” As it turned out, it was not environmentalism but “free-market forces” that led to American industry being dismantled, downsized, and outsourced. One presidential candidate told the voters in Michigan, “the jobs aren’t coming back.” I don’t think many laid-off auto workers are blaming the snail darter for their plight.

Why should we care about tiny creatures like snail darters?

If you believe in creation the answer should be obvious. They were put here by the creator for reasons known to him, and we are given a responsibility to take care of them.

There is also a human reason.

We’ve all heard the old stories of how coal miners used to take a canary into the mine shaft. Maybe some of the miners developed a sentimental attachment to the little birds, maybe not. But the reason they would get alarmed if the canary died was the danger it meant for them. Canaries are more sensitive to oxygen loss. If they suffer, it is a warning that the miner’s environment had become unsafe. If the canary dies, the miners are next.

Canaries are not much needed anymore; neither are miners. The preferred method of getting coal out of the ground is now “mountain top blasting.” This method replaces 30,000 miners with 300 explosives engineers. It used to be illegal because of the way it damages the human habitat. By the creative imagination of politically correct bureaucrats in Washington, the toxic waste produced by mountain top blasting has been reclassified as “landfill.” (See the video “Is God Green?” here.)

Frogs are an index to the health of the environment above ground. Some of us may be concerned about frogs because we find them interesting; others because they believe they are God’s creatures. All of us should be concerned because they are a warning that we are next.

Tabitha enlightened me about the importance of frogs a couple of years ago in an article she wrote for Mother Earth News (here).