Yahoomans in Paradise – This is L.A. to Me

Earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, drought, the longest commutes and greatest traffic jams, unimaginable criminal wealth and sprawling tent cities, addiction normalized en masse, bubbles in land, art, butts and busts, botoxed sisters from another planet, ever-increasing outrageous rents and 800-square-foot fixer-uppers that cost a million bucks — why would anybody want to live in Los Angeles? Simple:

A Saturday morning might start with a very affordable boat ride to the Channel Islands National Park where we could be in the midst of a “megapod” of 3,000 dolphins, followed up by a blue whale sighting.

Once on Santa Cruz Island we can hike, kayak and camp. Birders come from all over the world to see the island scrub jay who only dwells here.

The island foxes are products of insular dwarfism and, because they have no natural predators, are not afraid of humans.

On a guided hike, the young female naturalist can’t come out and say, “We’re now walking on the ground of various genocides” or “Human beings are motherfucking evil.” But she drops little bread crumbs along the trail:

Ranchers “displaced” the Chumash and Tongva people, who were here for 13,000 years, to make room for cows, pigs and sheep who went on to devastate many of the native species. The “invasive” species themselves have been victims of mass extermination campaigns by the Nature Conservancy and the National Park Service including the slaughter of 20,000 feral pigs in the early 1990s. Rapacious hunting by white devil’s led to the local extermination of sea otters.

DDT eradicated the bald eagles who primarily fed on fish, opening a vacuum for golden eagles who primarily fed on the feral pigs and, when the pigs were exterminated, the golden eagles turned their attention to the island fox, nearly leading to the foxes extinction… I can’t even remember all the invasive pathogens, plants and even insects that she said humans had introduced, sometimes in order to mitigate against other previous human-caused problems. It’s been one long chain of folly and revolving genocides, most often set in motion by animal agriculture. I was reminded of Socrates being quoted in Plato’s Dialogues concerning where nomadic herding always led: war.

When we get back to the mainland there are sea anemones and sea slugs in tide pools and the sunset.

This is LA to me. Think of that first paragraph as Ticketbastard, the price of admission. Next week, I take you heathens to church — in Joshua Tree National Park.

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Randy Shields can be reached at music2hi4thehumanear@gmail.com. His writings and art are collected at RandyShields.com.

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