The Politics of Dancing With Wolves


I recently saw a short film called ‘How Wolves Change Rivers’.

It was fascinating. I watched a couple of times.

The premise was simple. Left to itself, Nature copes well. Very well without our help. She doesn’t need it. She doesn’t need us.

Deep down, I’ve always known this.

I scoff at the search for alien life on other planets. It’s here. We are the aliens thrown into the natural world, with nothing but our birthday suits.

Everything in nature is perfectly suited to its environment. Animals are born with everything they need to survive in a world hostile to the human race.

Perhaps this is why humans feel the need to control and contain and yes, even eliminate anything feared, misunderstood or deemed useless.

Anything that doesn’t bring in a profit.

That’s really what we are talking about.

We are talking about money.

The bottom line.

The root of all evil.

Wolves have long since been a target of man’s fear and hatred. How sad. They make the most beautiful, haunting sound on the planet. Way better than someone shooting them from a helicopter and  yelling “Hey Bubba, we done got us another varmint”.

One of the top predators, this is what they were born to do. Eliminate the sick and the weak from their herding prey. This keeps the herds strong and disease free.

Then ‘Man’ stepped in and saw the wolves were hunting what they think should exclusively belong to them. Man likes to think they are top predator. They are the most destructive ones. I doubt you will ever find a trophy head in den of a wolf.

Country folk love weighing in on this never-ending argument siting the damage wolves do to their farm animals, slamming city folk as being ignorant and unaware of the true nature of nature.

Oh, I beg to differ. We be aware but politics is ugly and it always gets in the way. And where there is politics, there is money. And those who don’t buy hunting licenses, or pay taxes, or fit in to what we think should really be the natural order of things are quickly eliminated. Sometimes in the most brutal way possible.

Wolves are easy targets. Despite their highly social organization, their ability to reproduce according to the available food supply and the fact that the Alpha male and female are the only ones in a wolf pack that are allowed to breed means nothing when up against man, red tape, politics, big guns and small minds. They don’t understand our laws, or religion, or lack of but they are born and die much the same way we do. In between, they struggle, with the only means available to them. It’s nothing personal. They don’t target farm animals, they are really just looking to feed their families, just like everyone else.

Small comfort when you can’t sue the government, or call 911, or bring charges against the two-legged ones. Or shoot back…

So how do wolves change rivers?

They keep the herds moving so they don’t over graze. They eliminate the sick and the weak, keeping disease at bay. This allows other species to flourish. Trees grow where they would otherwise be trampled. The grasslands flourish. Birds return. The land is more stable and rivers don’t overflow as much. Everything in nature is in perfect balance and harmony.

And then we come in and interfere, and eliminate, and manage something we really know nothing about.

There are those of course, who work on behalf of the environment, who seek to educate the ones who have no regard for anything but their six figure income, but they are merely voices in the wilderness.

And like the wolves, they are fighting a losing battle, their voices drowned out by big business, corporate greed and unmistakable sound of pockets being lined by those whose arrogance dictates that we are the most important thing on the planet.

The planet doesn’t need us to survive, but we need it and the sooner we understand that, the better…

I hope we can come to our senses before it’s too late.

I hope when it comes down to all things planetary, we finally realize we are just a part of something much bigger. Something that can be taken away from us in a heartbeat.

And most of all, when it comes to wolves, I hope we dance…

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By Mary L.

7 comments on “The Politics of Dancing With Wolves

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