Image from Gold Seal Foods
More from Carl Safina.
To put this in context, he is talking about how over-logging is damaging the salmon population in the Pacific Northwest. In essence, trees keep the soil rooted. Dirty, muddy water clogs riverbeds and inlets, where salmon lay their eggs. If the water is dirty it cuts of much needed air and nutrients from the growing eggs and salmon.:
"The globalization of markets is one of the biggest prolbems I see," he says. He explains that in the Indians' original, very local economy, the feedback between the resource and the user was felt very directly as food or starvation. As we have moved to a more regional economy, then to a national, now to a global economy, those feedback loops have first lengthened, then disappeared. "The companies are no longer tied to regional areas or local communities. The markets creating demand certainly are not. Local loggers and fishers still have direct and personal ties to regional resources, but when the corporation cuts all the trees around those people and moves its logging operations elsewhere--perhaps Borneo or the Philippines--it continues to feed the same market at a profit." In a sense, it uses people as fuel.
Jim continues, "It's always seemed a real irony for me that the political party that most touted families also touted the global economy that has devastated families in our local communities. The two are totally incompatible. When communities no longer control their resources they no longer control their destinies, and they become caught in these boom-and-bust cycles that demolish families. Throughout the history of logging, the owners have treated the loggers like crap. Yet when it came down to it, the loggers supported the owners."
Jim says that around the now depressed town of Forks, the owners could have logged on a sustained rotation forever, but they boomed and busted. Coos Bay could have supplied the local mill for eighty years--two working lifetimes--and then be ready for the next rotation, but the owners logged it all off in twenty years for export. The companies have the money earning interest, but the loggers are out of work. (pp. 184-185)