A drive to the coast from Solano County to Mendocino County provides a sobering look at land use in northern California, right up until you hit the ocean. For almost four straight hours I was bordered by grazing land.
When urban dwellers witness the open, undeveloped space of ranch land, we often naively consider it a good thing due to the refreshing change from concrete and high rises. Or in my case, having been raised in a desolate part of the country, seeing cows and the ocean together initially struck me as "being cool" because it was so different from what I was accustomed to. The reality is that we are witnessing a great land grab by organizations such as MALT and ranching associations. The use of this land is just a different form of destruction, a different form of land exploitation by humans for a different looking industry. The land was not left in its natural state nor does it provide desirable living conditions for native animals. This is not habitat, or wilderness, or nature. It's monocultured, over-grazed, abused land filled with invasive plants, cows, and a handful of surviving trees. You may not see the steel and concrete of a business center, but it is a business all the same.
As humans we need to wrap our heads around the concept that land still has value even if we aren't converting it into a money generator. Development and agriculture aren't the only choices. The creatures we share the earth with and that lived on that land prior to us claiming it would like us to consider a third option.
If you still need convincing watch the supplemental video below which consists of 44 straight minutes of footage demonstrating that for as far as the eye can see habitat has been converted to agriculture.
Filmed on highway 80, 37, 1, Point Reyes Petaluma Road, Nicasio Valley Road, Sir Francis Drake Blvd., etc. starting in Solano County and moving through Marin and Mendocino until hitting the ocean.
#nature #habitat #life #ranching #marin #destruction #protected