For as long as anyone can remember, and even longer before that, humans have been at war with Earth’s environment. It hasn’t been a “garden of Eden” since it was a garden of Eden, and we weren’t there. So nobody knows if it was ever a garden without plenty of snakes and bugs. Bugs.

What does the word “bug” imply? Poison.

The Western mind looks at symptoms instead of cause and says we must eradicate the symptoms: beetles. They think the beetles are killing the trees. Wrong.

The San Jacinto mountains have been a pine and fir forest for hundreds of years. The transition to oak forest is now occurring, so pines are naturally dying off and oaks are supposed to be making their bid.

The pine beetle and the oak-boring beetle are opportunistic. They like to chew on weakened trees.

How did the trees get weak? Climate change over the last 70 years: no water for pines so the trees couldn’t push sap into the pine beetle hole and prevent infestation.

Smog-filled air, MTBE additives in gasoline, vital elements and minerals eroded and drained down to where the roots of the trees can’t reach them.

In short, a natural process is taking place — the trees are dying off.

The downed trees and the ones cut down become quite a boon to woodcutters on the government dole. They all bought new equipment, trucks, and the sound of chain saws was all this little bedroom community heard for several years.

Well, Uncle Sam and the government are out of money now, so humans in their infinite wisdom resort to poison, thinking that might work. Wrong.

It might not work, but won’t hurt to try. Wrong. The release of more poison into our environment is stupid, to say the least.

There is no reason to act like malicious Monsanto by putting a little cancer-causing poison in every kernel of corn, then feeding the corn to steers at the feedlot so the poison ends up in your steak dinner. No, thanks.

Floundering without a chamber of commerce to guide our thoughts about poison, I would suggest a billboard down on Interstate 10, saying, “Come to Idyllwild. Cool, comfortable new poison-free home for the Goldspotted oak-boring beetle.”

Hey, folks, things are constantly changing. Good or bad, get used to it

T.S. Bennett
Mountain Center