Recently I came across the story of the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park . Simply put there was a problem with elk over grazing so, as part of the solution, wolves were reintroduced to address the imbalance that had grown in their 70 years absence. What captured my attention were the unexpected effects of this decision which appear to have been considerable.
With the elk overgrazing halted, willow saplings were able to grow and this enabled the return of beavers. It is the beavers – in their natural harvesting of willow, building of dams and creation of marshland – who have themselves altered and restored the landscape. It’s a cascade effect which has been debated for many years, among environmentalists and ecologists, some agreeing that it is apex predators who have made the difference to an eco-system while others look for broader activity.
It got me thinking, though. In our global society it seems fairly clear that there is an imbalance. Food is thrown away in unbelievable quantities while people, just a few hours travel away, starve. The wealthiest parts of a population can’t spend their money fast enough to put a dent in their fortunes, while those at the other end of the scale have nothing – literally nothing left. The shouted opinions of uninformed celebrities hold sway while the reasonable murmurings of the wise are scorned. And that’s only scratching the surface of inequality, injustice and destruction.
I feel society’s been waiting a long time for some kind of change. Perhaps it’s time to prayerfully seek some wolves. Or perhaps what we really need are beavers…