Letter: To Cull or Not to Cull?

from Margo Gardiner, East Dennis

Letter to the Editor:

To Cull or Not to Cull...?

I've been coming to the Cape for over 50 years but this Fall everyone's talking about the Shark Problem.

"Something needs to be done."  "Drones."  "Shark barriers". "Helicopters". "Kill the sharks". "Cull the seals".  

I'm no scientist or marine biologist. I'm not an expert in anything except my love of the Cape.

And I'm not trying to downplay the horrific incidents that happened to the two people who were attacked this year. And everyone who had to witness it or deal with it. Terrifying and sad.  Especially the kid who was killed.  It sucks. But in the grand scheme of things it doesn't seem to me like an epidemic. A hazard and an inconvenience for sure but certainly not an epidemic. Two attacks is terrible but how many humans died during the summer by gunshot, opioid overdose, car accidents, suicide, cancer Etc.  

Sharks are out there. It's scary. And more of them are showing up. it's something to worry about that we've just been taking for granted.  You take your chances now when you go swimming at the Cape during the summer. A shark could eat your children. A horrible thought and a reality.

It's a problem. But really only a problem for humans who are inconvenienced and threatened by the power of nature. The truth is that the sharks are culling the seals. That the temperature in the sea water has risen because of global warming exacerbated by humans. Bringing more seals which bring more sharks. 

We love to have our beautiful locales and getaways but we should not be building on coast lines, in flood zones, on wetlands, in fire and earthquake zones or lava fields. 

The indigenous people who settled this land did not do that. They had more sense. They built Inland where the three hundred year flood could not reach them. They probably had summer camps but did not permanently live perched upon inevitable destruction. 

The Native Americans did not try to control nature as we seem to be trying to do. They didn't build giant sea walls and fill in wetlands and alter the shape of coastlines with jetties Etc. They did not spend millions of dollars and do irreversible damage to sensitive areas to replenish their beach every year because they did not like the way it looks. It seemed to me that they  worked with nature and planned for all that nature brings and tried to protect themselves from that; but did not try to stop it or change it.

We are mere humans.  We cannot control nature. We need to learn to live with the environment, to work with it, to try to help it along, to try to undo the damage we've already caused. Before it is too late.

Seven generations? I don't think so. 

Margo Gardiner, East Dennis


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