Fishkill Ridge
Community Heritage

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Photograph of Fishkill Ridge With the privilege of citizenship comes the responsibility of participation. We fulfill that responsibility by educating ourselves.

Towards that end, FRCH hopes to begin a dialogue using this forum. Participation is easy. Read our current topic and respond. We will post responses to continue the dialogue.

Topics will change so come back often. To read past topics, visit our Archives page.

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View of Fishkill Creek from Bridge St.

Our site map is divided into two pages. Please visit our Links Page for more information on organizations and community activities in the Hudson Valley, and our Archives page for information regarding issues and activities previously highlighted on the FRCH website.

 

Strengthening the Endangered Species Act

“ And who has said you alone should have hearing and sight
To hear the waves roar and still be strong to sing?
And who has said you alone should have some greater right
Than the bird on the high wave crest riding?”
(From “As Long As This Sloop Can Go” by Evert Taube;
English version from the Swedish by A. H. Smith)

In the above verse, Taube invites us to contemplate our relationship to a natural world we often regard as inferior to ourselves. The person, the bird, and the waves are kindred forces, sharing an immense and dynamic system where everything follows the dictates of reason and logic… except when it doesn’t!

An ecosystem is a set of highly complex relationships of living things to each other and to their surroundings. Although the parts of an ecosystem interact as a functional unit, ecosystems are not always orderly or reasonable. They can be chaotic, illogical, and far beyond anything we can ever hope to understand or control. We shall never know it all.

Taube raises a significant issue: “Who has said you alone should have some greater right…” than the other life forms within the ecosystem you inhabit? In fact, you “alone” couldn’t survive for a minute outside the set of essential relationships that sustain you.

Of this much we can be certain: we are, at very least, obliged to past and future generations as well as to earth’s other living inhabitants to maintain earth’s systems to the best of our ability.

Mining is only one immediate threat to the Eastern Timber Rattlesnake. The snake’s major problem is humanity, a competing species within the rattlesnake’s ecosystem. Because of human activity, the snake is losing air and receives less sunlight . Water supplies are being degraded. The snake’s already degraded habitat is being completely destroyed by mining activities.

Homo sapiens is rapidly losing its own viable habitat, largely because of its own destructive habits. Human health is declining in significant areas. Human infant mortality rate is too high, especially in the United States. Humanity is rapidly depleting non renewable “resources“.

The issue is not the snakes and never has been. Total focus on a single threatened species to the exclusion of its ecosystem trivializes every other important issue.

Humanity’s significant issue is the right to a safe and healthy environment versus anyone’s freedom to compromise the health and safety of that environment through any activity.


David W. Orr puts it like this:
“… the concepts of diversity and sustainability have the drawback that they limit freedom, as presently understood. … freedom was never intended as license; rather it was known to entail personal restraint and the exercise of duties to a larger community. There can be no freedom amidst social chaos, nor can there be freedom in a state of ecological ruin. This level of sophistication requires that people understand the linkages between human behavior and ecological health, which is to say a comprehension of how the world works as a system.” (“The Last Refuge” Island Press, 2004, pg 87; ISBN: 1-555963-528-2)

It’s time to revisit the Constitution. An amendment yet to be drafted must plainly state the following:

“The rights of the people to freedom come before the rights of others to destroy our quality of life essential to the enjoyment of freedom. Every citizen has a right to a healthy environment.“

No one should be free to destroy our nation’s ecosystems. Every citizen has a right to a healthy environment. It is a condition essential to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. All other freedoms depend on the preservation of healthy ecosystems and a healthy environment.

Let the call for a constitutional amendment begin in Dutchess County. It was in Poughkeepsie on July 26th, 1788 that the United States Constitution was born when New York State’s deciding vote ratified it for the new nation. Most important of all, the Constitution was ratified only when it was absolutely clear to New Yorkers that the issue of rights would be revisited and rights would be included later as the amendments we know as the Bill of Rights. Read about Alexander Hamilton, who played a vital role in early politics of the United States.

The New York State Constitution is a logical starting point. Given the enormity of our need, the movement to add such an amendment to our state constitution could begin within you at the moment you read this call to action.

It has been said the “good” is that which you would wish to do, if only you knew what you were doing. We must rededicate ourselves in all humility to doing the work necessary to enable us to know what we’re doing. A debate regarding our human right to a healthy environment can only help.

 

NYSDEC And Its Questionable Integrity

The threatened Timber Rattle Snake lives here on Fishkill Ridge. Let's embrace the opportunity to stop this reptile from advancing to the endangered list. Please note the NYSDEC has listed Dr. William Brown as the first two additional references. However, during the issues conference they ignored Dr. Brown's written testimony.

NYSDEC provides a list of endangered, threatened, and special concern wildlife species on their site. There are well over 100 currently listed. Read List

Of the many rare plant species that are native to New York State, six are listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Endangered or threatened plant life

 

Call To Action

Contact your local representatives and tell them “The rights of the people to freedom come before the rights of others to destroy our quality of life essential to the enjoyment of freedom. Every citizen has a right to a healthy environment.“ An amendment to the New York State Constitution shall begin here!