NANFA-L-- what to do

Christopher Scharpf (ichthos at
Thu, 22 Sep 2005 06:54:42 -0400

> From: "Brian J. Torreano" <headdarter at>
> Reply-To: nanfa-l at
> Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2005 00:16:17 -0500 (CDT)
> To: nanfa-l at
> Subject: NANFA-L-- Endangered Species Act
> Dear Christopher,
> Is there anything that concerned citizens like myself can do to
> insure that Rep. Pombo's bill do not get passed?


Write your Congressperson. Write it from your heart. Don't send a "form"
email supplied by various interest groups; those are ignored.

Ultimately, and unfortunately, it will come down to a partisan vote with
very little analysis or questioning from either side, and very little public
input. Republicans will automatically vote yes. Democrats will automatically
vote no. A few curmudgeons not seeking re-election will cross party lines.
The Republicans will win my a dozen or so votes and call it a "mandate from
the people."

Here's something I wrote, from the heart:

Imagine a world in which the greatest works of art masterpieces by
DaVinci, Goya, Van Gogh, Picasso, Pollock, and others are fading and
crumbling into oblivion and few people are alarmed or worried about it.

Imagine too that the museums housing these great works of art are themselves
falling to ruin, or being torn down to make way for more office buildings,
parking lots and shopping centers.

Every time a museum is destroyed, countless paintings, statues and
sculptures are destroyed with it.

A handful of art scholars are scrambling to prevent further destruction and
save what remains. One scholar went so far as to chain himself to a museum
column to stop the wrecking ball.

Such protests, however, are routinely dismissed as extremist if not
downright whacko. Public and political outcry about the irreplaceable loss
of our artistic heritage is virtually nil.

Hey, it9s just art, most people think (if they9re giving the issue any
thought at all. Let9s face it, art is not a priority for the average working
Joe). Why save a useless old painting by some dead guy when we got plenty of
living artists in the world, most of them starving? Who9s saving them, huh?

Eventually all of the art in the world is gone (except for Elvis-on-velvet
paintings, which continue to proliferate).

If a child wants to see what DaVinci9s "Last Supper" looked like, or Van
Gogh9s "Sunflowers," he or she can always look up a photo in an
encyclopedia. (Assuming, of course, that books and libraries haven9t
befallen the same fate.)

You don9t have to be an art lover to realize that such a nightmare scenario
will never take place. Simply because great works of art are highly valued
by most human cultures.

Wealthy art connoisseurs routinely spend millions to acquire a single
painting for their collection, while not-so-wealthy connoisseurs easily
spend a hundred bucks to get a reproduction of that painting framed to hang
over their sofas.

And should a famous work of art begin to crumble, a cry goes out to save
this priceless treasure for future generations to enjoy. We rally around the
cause with the force of a moral imperative.

Socialites attend thousand-dollar-a-plate fundraisers to benefit art

Development directors solicit corporations and philanthropists to see whose
name gets to officially sponsor the new exhibit, or the new
climate-controlled wing where it9s on display.

Museum staffers crank up their membership drive: Join now to help save our
artistic and cultural heritage before it9s too late.

And get this free tote bag when you do.

Yet while we build museums and libraries and archives to house and protect
the collected works of humanity, we are allowing the collected works of a
far greater creative force nature to disappear.

Earth is losing its biodiversity at an unprecedented rate.

But I ask you, Which is the greater masterpiece:

A painting that took a person a week or so to paint? Or a species that took
a Divine Creator, an Intelligent Designer, or millions of years of
evolution, to bring forth?

I often wonder what a different world this would be if but one tenth of the
money, energy, and passion that goes into preserving and displaying great
works of art went to conserving the great works of nature instead.

Chris Scharpf
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