The June issue of Scientific American is running an article advocating Pleistocene rewilding for North America. This would involve reintroducing to the continent the wild megafauna (or their closest living relatives) that disappeared after the arrival of humans, hopefully restoring the ecological balance of the region. (For more on these theories, see The Rewilding Institute.)
While I, for one, fully support releasing wild lions throughout the Mid West, I noticed something disturbing in the depiction of their vision for a rewilded America that makes me question the competency (or motives) of those behind this movement:
That's right: they want to build monorails through their rewilded America!
Now, I'm no paleoecologist, but I'm fairly certain that monorails were not part of the natural habitat of North America 13,000 years ago. Have they considered the negative impact that introducing such a dangerous and out of place technology would have of the sustainability of this ersatz ecology?
For example, they blithely plan to mix monorails with elephants -- something that has been tried before with disastrous consequences. What happens when a large herd of elephants is existentially disturbed by the sight of anachronistic monorails and, in a deranged rush to get as far away from the menace as possible, stampedes right through the "high-tech electrified fence" supposedly keeping in check the pseudo-Pleistocene? Are Americans willing to risk the loss of, say, Topeka to total tramplement? Has any thought gone into these dangers?
But maybe there's something more sinister afoot than simple disregard for monorail dangers. Monorailists would have us believe that monorails are not only futuristic, but an integral part of our planet's history; see the robotic Jurassic Park in Dubai that will feature a historically inaccurate monorail-chasing T-rex, and the unlikely theory of our own resident monomaniac, the Monorailist, that ancient India was home to the world's first monorail (built by monkeys, no less). This tendency to revisionist history is as common among Monorailsts as their tendency to unrealistic futurism, so it would not be surprising for them to misrepresent the Pleistocene Epoch as the Age of the Woolly Monorail.
If, as I fear, the field of ecological engineering has been infiltrated by monorailistic forces bent on using Pleistocene rewilding as a cover to further brainwash the public into accepting monorails as a natural part of the environment, then I must dissuade people from supporting those pro-rewilding organizations that have not yet officially rebuked the use of monorails. (Fortunately, all Sasquatch groups involved in the reoctopusing of Cascadia's forests are staunchly anti-monorail.)