We’re all guilty of progress

When environmentalists talk about the damage we’ve done to our planet, I want to cry, but not for humans because we know what we’re doing. I want to cry for the animals, the innocent creatures who suffer for what we humans call progress.

They once roamed freely over the land, in the forests and fields, their population grew in numbers but there was always a balance maintained; the balance was called nature.

We’ve depleted our forests and fields to the point of no return for these creatures and they have little voice.

We can’t cast stones on this one, we’re all guilty. We all live in a house of some kind, somewhere. That house was built on what was once raw land, the way nature made it but we “improved” nature.

The ground was prepared soil removed, septic, sewer or plumbing installed as well as electrical. The one, two or three thousand square feet of living space and driveway, yard and road was plopped down on what was once a home to trees, plants, bugs and animals.

What God and nature intended is long gone and in its place, are man-made, artificial structures. We may plant some landscaping material but will it bring that once raw earth back to normal? No, not now, not ever.

The animals that once found a home on that plot of land are long gone. The plants that naturally beautified the landscape are replaced by concrete, brick and mortar. Many plants that are artificially placed to “beautify” the landscape are probably toxic to the creatures that do still exist and we’ve dumped enough chemicals into the soil to stunt or completely diminish any future growth.

The Earth was once a lush green home to many species of animals and human beings that happily co-existed; there was a good balance, everybody had their fair share and it was more than enough for everyone.

Our country has gone from a population of a little over 76 million in 1900 to over 272 million in 1999; nearly 200 million in population growth in just 100 years while over 200 other species of plants, fish and animals have diminished or disappeared entirely. Who’s over populating?

I will forever look upon the Twentieth Century as “the century that destroyed the earth.”

The hundreds of thousands of acres they once had has been reduced to just a few hundred. They continue to breed as nature intended, they haven’t changed their ways, we have.

Two hundred million more homes, unfathomable tons more concrete, artificial structures, roads, businesses and chemicals. We have taken away nearly everything that was already perfect and replaced it with imperfection personified; all in the name of progress.

Now we call God’s creatures nuisances, claim they over-graze, trample the ground and drive away other native species. We blame them for wiping out other plants and animals. We transplant animal, vegetable and mineral and then cast blame on them for their infringement and destruction of territories that once belonged to only the indigenous species; the very ones they once lived in harmony with, until we took over. We are killing them with our vehicles, concrete mortar, steel and our progress.

We’ve ripped most of theirs and our own natural food sources out of the earth and replaced them with cement or transplanted ones that are toxic to the animals or not in their diets. The animals, quite UNnaturally, begin to starve then we round them up and send them to slaughter all for “their own good.”

Well, I guess it’s no surprise that we mistreat the animals; the so-called sub species…we do it to each other too and it’s right up there in the top two most pathetic things humans do.

From sea to pollution-filled sea, we’re poisoning water, land and air, eventually they may all become extinct as will we.

Think about the cycle of life and gasses relevant to sustaining it. We breath in oxygen and breath out carbon dioxide which the plants breath in then breath out oxygen. It was a perfect plan at the start, we’re the ones who thought we knew better and irreversibly screwed things up. Why should the plants and animals be the ones to suffer?

Once something is gone and there is no healthy earth for regrowth, it’s gone forever and we can’t get it back. Unless science has really researched and discovered the ‘Jurassic Park’ type of biotechnology we’re eventually and absolutely screwed.

I fear for them and us because I know that we will go even further beyond the present path of destruction of our earth and our animals; all in the name of progress. I cry for the animals because they are innocently being destroyed as we continue to diminish their quality of life. We fight for our freedom but think nothing of stifling theirs.

Humans continue to destroy the planet to our own detriment as well and we know better, we can stop but we don’t.

We’ll keep inviting more people, buildings and progress while depleting the so-called nuisances, the animals, vegetables and minerals that stand in the way of our progress. What happens when we run out of land?

A wise friend once said, “We long ago should have realized what this land is for and left it as we found it, God isn’t making anymore.” The earth is so much better when filled with nature’s life.


  1. Martin Locke says:

    So let me understand-you are crying for the animals but don’t mention what your government is doing to the Syrian people, the Palestinian people, the Africans, the Afghans, the Iraqis, etc, etc. Is that in Gods big plan, too?
    You have an excellent point about animals but very sadly misplaced. I suggest you step up and do something about it.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      Mr. Locke, you presume I don’t care but that presumption would be extremely untrue or didn’t you read the whole article? I think I’ve covered the answer to that question already. And I don’t know for certain if it’s God’s big plan or not, I’m not God, but when I look around, I sense the answer is no.
      “Well, I guess it’s no surprise that we mistreat the animals; the so-called sub species…we do it to each other too and it’s right up there in the top two most pathetic things humans do.”

      It may be your opinion that my point about the animals is misplaced, I’m sure the animals and other animal lovers probably feel differently. What I said is certainly happening…how misplaced can it be.

      Since you don’t personally know me, I would suggest that you not try to give me advice, you’ve no idea what I do to help animals but I’ll give you a bit of a clue. I personally and daily feed 13 animals. I foster a rescued donkey out at Peacefully Valley, I have worked for several years with WCFA to help control the population growth of feral cats in Beaver Dam and over the past 5 years have adopted and worked with two of them who were willing to let me. I am the graphic artist for Renegade’s Run, an animal rescue group in Ohio, where I’m originally from, they do everything including picketing courthouses to gain stronger punishments for animal abusers. They actually succeeded in helping to Pass “Goddard’s Law” in Ohio, look it up. I am happy to work after hours when the animal shelter has adopted one of the feature pets and they need to get another one in the public’s eye, I have my job to thank for that….I could go on but it would take forever….I practice what I preach.

      Tell me Mr. Locke, what do YOU personally for the Syrian people, the Palestinian people, the Africans, the Afghans, the Iraqis, etc, etc.?

  2. Terry Donnelly says:

    Nice piece, Teri. But, be careful, you’re going to get tagged a bleeding heart liberal. You are welcome on my side any time.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      lol, don’t tell anyone but when it comes to animals and what’s left of our planet, I may be…

  3. David L. Pahlka says:

    Dear Teri:
    It’s great what you are doing. My sister, Noreen Ayres, has adopted 7 to 9 feral cats
    in Penn. One of my all time favorite songs is Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi”. Yet, you are
    falling into the pseudo-scientific trap of Rachael Carson, Carl Sagan and others. You wrote
    a great emotional appeal and moderation is needed when it comes to development but your
    thinking is flawed. I was their in S.F. during the ’60’s and to be one with nature was good.
    The problem is Nature’s God can be cruel. Because of Carson, thousands died became of
    extreme bans on DDT (which Carson herself didn’t advocate). What about the species who
    thrive because of our encroachment into nature,. wallows, coyotes, and others. There never
    was a “Garden of Eden” for man or animal. Please get your natural history right before
    you speak.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      David, I don’t even know, without looking them up, (Well, I’ve heard of Carl Sagan) who those people you mentioned are and really don’t care. I see Carson wrote a book. Well, what she wrote caused a ban on an extremely toxic agent that stopped working for what it was intended meanwhile… the lasting results of the DDT are:
      DDT’s broad use in the United States and other countries led to the development of resistance by many insect pest species. This was NOT a good thing.
      Even though there is no conclusive evidence, DDT is still widely listed as a possible carcinogen.
      DDT has been linked to triggering different hormonal responses in animals, mostly acting as an estrogen mimic. This estrogen mimic can alter the hormonal balance in women and is linked to an increased chance of breast cancer. DDT, since it is soluble in fats, is also able to embed itself into the plasma membrane of cells in animals. When embedding itself into these membranes, it causes the cell to leak both potassium and sodium ions. The leaking of sodium and potassium ions from neurons cause nerve impulses to fire when they aren’t supposed to, allowing the poisoned individual to die from either convulsions or paralysis.
      It is highly toxic to different marine life.
      When DDT is taken in by certain types of birds, it interferes with certain reproductive enzymes. These certain reproductive enzymes lead to how much calcium are deposited in egg shells, and with less calcium in their shells made them more prone to cracking. These weaker eggshells crack when the mother bird tries to incubate them herself, thus leading to less offspring being born of that type of bird.
      DDT is one of the many things that were blamed for the massive decrease of bald eagles in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

      They have found ways to control a multitude of diseases through inoculations to avoid or medications to treat. They could have found another way, we have the technology, but it is really too late, DDT has done it’s damage and it can’t be undone.

      What creature has ever thrived because of our encroachment? Those who were first endangered because of our encroachment?
      We kill coyotes if they encroach upon our neighborhoods, are you kidding me? We’ve done nothing to ensure their safety and we mostly refer to them as nuisances.

      What is a Wallow? If you’re talking about one of the 81 different species of Swallows, then the The Bahama Swallow is actually listed as an endangered species. Yes, we’ve transplanted them and now they don’t nest in their natural nesting places and while they’ve been able to adapt, many animal species in the past 100 years, 209 to the best of my knowledge have been wiped out. That’s a horrible trade off. They actually eat the bugs that ingest the insecticides which end up poisoning the Swallows and you’ve already read how they die. How exactly is that better than what nature intended?

      Yes, science has played a huge part in presenting the solution to many things but it’s also a big part of the problem. Scientists think they’re better than God, they can improve nature. They’ve improved it so much that we are now living twice as long, poisoning and overcrowding the land, building artificial structures that don’t convert Carbon Dioxide to Oxygen… and it screwed up the balance.

      Look around you at some of the people medicine is keeping alive beyond what nature intended, kept alive on life support or stuck in nursing facilities for others to take care of…their quality of life…it sucks for a lot of them but hey, it’s progress right? It’s also led to the population explosion that is slowly and painfully overcrowding our earth. They had to create a law in China, you could only have one child, more would result in healthy fines and other punishment. They’ve changed their ways but this lasted for a couple of decades.
      The earth, God, Mother Nature…whoever or whatever you want to call it, yes they or it is cruel but it was balanced. It took nature 175 million years to deplete the dinosaur population to nothing. We’ve been around for just 100,000 years (homo sapiens) other human-like species have existed for 4-5 million years but WE have been around only a fraction of that time and look how quickly we’ve overgrown. What happens in the next 100 years? 200 more species of animal long gone…maybe even us? At the present rate, that’s almost a guarantee unless we suddenly learn to live underwater or discover another planet, we’re running out of room, we’ve got Genetically modified food that won’t reproduce with it’s own seed. And what is grown is full of arsenic and other chemicals because it’s in the soil and the water that feed them. Oh, yeah, science has been a double edged sword. It’s not science that I have the problem with, it’s man’s application of it.

      What’s the point of increasing one’s lifespan if the quality of life is nothing? I can’t tell you how many cases where it’s worse than ‘sucks’ for the older people who are kept alive and have to rely on other people to care for them. Yes, I know exactly what I’m talking about, I worked in it all for 17 years. It’s pathetic!

      I don’t believe I ever used the term Garden of Eden, Paradise or anything of the sort. I said it was balanced and natural period. Please don’t put words in my mouth or make assumptions about who I am or whom I follow.

  4. Abigail Trent says:

    Ms Nehrenz

    Your thinking is preposterous and completely implausible. You cannot weep for the animal kingdom without first caring for the future of the human kingdom that will determine animal fates. It makes no sense whatsoever to concern yourself with the fate of animals when humanity is being destroyed all around you.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      “Well, I guess it’s no surprise that we mistreat the animals; the so-called sub species…we do it to each other too and it’s right up there in the top two most pathetic things humans do.” Did you miss that part? I can and do weep for the animals, who are you to tell me or anyone else, I can’t? You don’t even know me and that’s a pretty bold statement. I do care about the future of the Human kingdom, I care that they have become anything but humane and your answer is further proof of my opinion. I suppose the thousands of other animal activists are preposterous and implausible as well? Just because you think something is implausible doesn’t make it so, I don’t think it’s implausible, I’ve made a little progress with my working with the animals as have others. What do you do about the fate of the world except to tell us that we shouldn’t bother ourselves and that we make no sense? You appear to crunch numbers by the looks of your email address, crunch some numbers and tell me how long do you see HUMANITY lasting at this rate? May I remind you, it’s HUMANs that are screwing things up in the first place.

  5. Pattie Gallo says:

    Thank you for this article. I think of this kind of thing often. It seems that some people reading your article do not understand where you are coming from. I have found that people that think of Gods creations like animals, plants etc are much more compassionate for our fellow man as well. I can tell you have a beautiful and loving heart. Your kindness and thoughtfulness comes through in your writing. Try not to let peoples comments sour you or your heart. You are more evolved than the average person.

  6. Mary Ann Erickson says:


    I assume you will be at the next city council meeting advocating LOUDLY for protection of Gold Butte and its benefits to animals living there as well as to us who enjoy outdoors. Councilman David Ballweg has taken it upon himself to promotes Trumps agenda so I hope we will see you there defending your position in public.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      You would be assuming incorrectly. I am having surgery and won’t be in any condition to attend. I have however invited one of yours to read my article at the council meeting, with my blessing, if you think it will do any good. I’m fairly sure that my article will hold no clout to sway David’s or any other council members decision but you are certainly welcome to try. He’s a man of unwavering standards, albeit, they may not be the same as ours. I do wish that I could be there, there is another issue that I would love to publicly comment on as well but the timing is terrible.

  7. Abby Trent says:


    I assume you will be at the next city council meeting advocating LOUDLY for protection of Gold Butte and its benefits to animals living there as well as to us who enjoy outdoors. Councilman David Ballweg has taken it upon himself to promotes Trumps agenda so I hope we will see you there defending your position in public.

    • Teri Nehrenz says:

      Since you and Mary Ann share the same note to me, you can read my response to her. Sorry, lousy timing.

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