[Tweeters] Hire a Volcano

jeff gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Fri Jul 26 19:17:16 PDT 2013

Tired of worrying about out of control wildlife? Can't decide what invasive species to do in next? Sure, it's hard, since We The People have made such a mess of things. Feel a bit guilty about ideas of popping an overambitious Bald Eagle hassling other birds? Or how about feeding excess Sea Lions to the Condors, or spraying herbicide on Japanese Knotweed? There is a guilt-free solution; hire a volcano.

Yup. Wash your hands and get a volcano to do the dirty work. Volcanoes aren't too worried about little things like trees , birds, or people for that matter.

I'm sure you've all heard the story about Mt. Saint Helens who is of course famous for for ecological restoration work she did back in May of 1980.

It sort of happened like this: St. Helens was a real looker of a Volcano at one time. "What a great cone!" everyone said. She was a real beauty all right, a bit insecure though, mainly because she was short.

Yes, St. Helens was the shortest of Washington's volcanoes. It didn't help that her nearest neighbors were the tallest volcanoes around, Mt. Adams, and 'Big Mama' Rainier (or Tahoma if you prefer). She always felt like she was being looked down upon, which I guess she was. It was just a fact , nothing personal. But, while they don't care too much about little bitty things like us, those volcanoes are pretty sensitive to each other. I mean, who else are you going to talk to if you're around for thousands of years?

Anyway, aside from being short and good-looking St. Helens was fairly young. Like youth everywhere she felt like she should be appreciated for more than her good-looks! And then there was that short thing going on. On top of that she was a smoker. Poet Gary Snyder points out in his excellent book "Danger on Peaks", that a native name for St, Helens, was Loowit, meaning "smoky, or smoker". Smokers can be kind of irritable I've noticed .

So little ol' Loowit had just about had it with her self-image problems, and after months of grumbling, moaning and groaning finally had her world famous tantrum, and totally blew her stack in May of 1980.

The other volcanoes were mainly unconcerned. "Oh, she'll get over it." Tahoma said (she was sort of the leader of the clan).

Mt. Baker, a bit snarky I think, said " Hey girl, grow a new one!", meaning head. And sure enough Loowit started on it right away, with a new lava dome. Some now thought Baker was the new best-looking volcano on the block, now that Loowit was a smoking stump.

A lot of snickering followed till Big Tahoma reminded everyone "now girls, we've all been there!", which was true - Cascade strato-volcanoes do have explosive personalities.

Back to wildlife control; Loowit did a great job of sorting things out. Along with leveling a lot of old-growth forest, she also snuffed out quite a few elk, deer, bears, cougars, and also a number of Spotted Owls. Unfortunately, 1980 was a bit early in the NW diaspora of Barred Owls so I guess she didn't get too many of them. I hope that doesn't disappoint anybody too much.

Anyway, the whole thing was a guilt -free natural act. I guess life is all sorting itself out down there on the mountain. I'd like to go see it sometime. I hear the healing process is pretty interesting.

So hire a volcano for your next population biology experiment! Patience required, and remember they are volatile! Some sort of results guarenteed!

Jeff Gibson

environmental consultant (not really)

Everett Wa

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