Thursday, May 23, 2013

The American Prairie Reserve

I used to fantasize, in my eco-fanatic youth, about wiping away the farms from a Nebraska-sized swath of the American west and letting the prairie grow back. Since at the time our government was paying farmers billions of dollars a year not to plant crops, it seemed to me that if we just let a few hundred thousand square miles revert to nature we would help the buffalo, the farmers, and the taxpayers all at once.

Now an organization called the American Prairie Reserve has set out to do just that -- although on a somewhat smaller scale. Their goal is to acquire a million acres of prairie land (400,000 ha) in Montana that would connect 2 million acres of existing Federal reserves into a giant prairie ecosystem.

They have already acquired 274,000 acres. They are working to restore these lands to their natural state, undoing the damage caused by a century of cattle ranching. Most of the money comes from billionaires who just think this is a cool thing to do.

I think this is a terrific way for billionaires to spend their money.

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