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Excerpt from Endgame

Fish Don't Need Water (p. 126)

From chapter "The Needs of the Natural World"

Two weeks ago, the Klamath River, just south of here, was full of the biggest runs of salmon and steelhead (ocean-going rainbow trout) in years. “You could have walked across on their backs,” someone said to me. I talked to a Yurok Indian, whose culture is based on the salmon, who said the runs made him imagine what it must have been like to see the real runs before the white men arrived. It made me happy. I was going to go see them.

But I got another call. The fish were dying, piling up in mounds on the shore or floating bloated and bleeding from their vents. “Don’t come,” the caller said. “You don’t want to see this.”

Walt Lara, the Requa representative to the Yurok Tribal Council, said in a local newspaper interview, “The whole chinook run will be impacted, probably by 85 to 95 percent. And the fish are dying as we speak. They’re swimming around in circles. They bump up against your legs when you’re standing in the water. These are beautiful, chrome-bright fish that are dying, not fish that are already spawned out.” There are probably, he said, a thousand dead fish per mile of river.

Last summer the federal government decided there was no evidence that fish need water, and instead redirected the water to (a few heavily subsidized) farmers in the Klamath Basin in southern Oregon. The water in the Klamath is now too warm for the salmon.

This is the story of civilization. This culture is killing the planet.