It is the monster in the room but we're very, very afraid to talk about it, including all the traditional, well known and well established environmental organizations: Animal agriculture is the primary cause of environmental devastation on this planet and leading us to extinction--period!
Everything else is largely an exercise in denial.
The result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 in the old Soviet Union was that humans could not live in the region. This is a story of nature without the influence of Homo-sapiens. This film first appeared in 2014.
It is horrifying that we
have to fight our own government to save the environment.
We cannot win this battle
to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond
between ourselves and nature as well—for we will not fight to save
what we do not love.
(Jay Gould, evolutionary
Being that change
I read a recent National
Geographic article (Feb. 2016) about the Denali National Park and
Preserve in Alaska, a preserve of some 6 million acres, a
breathtaking area that is visited by 500,000 people a year. In
additional to the astonishing pictures that the magazine has always
been noted for, the article itself, in my opinion, provides a glimpse
of the land use conflicts, the views of wildlife and the natural
world in general that is occurring throughout the country today.
They come here to snap a
few pictures and get some bragging rights about being 50 feet from a
grizzly. In the course of experiencing this natural drama, something
clicks. They go away wanting to protect places like this.
(Park Superintendent Don
Regarding wolf culls and
removal of Denali's buffer zones:It's the state standing up to an
overreaching federal government and libtard environmentalists.
(Coke Wallace, trapper and
Don't feel like it, not in
The Washington Post
conducted a survey that attempted to find out why Americans do not
vote. It turned out that the primary reason was because they were “to
busy” or they “lacked” interest. Yeah, they weren't motivated
The U.S. Census Bureau
reported that only 41.9 percent of eligible voters voted in the 2014
congressional election, a record low. The percentage of voters
increase during presidential years but is still only about 62
percent. Overall, Americans don't vote. Well, not exactly true. Those
making over $150,000 manage to make the effort and do a little
better. They want their benefits.
It's so hard
Agriculture is probably the
one most environmentally destructive human activity we have
Instead of forcing nature
to give us what we think we want, we ask nature what it is producing
and then turn it in to something valuable and delicious to eat.
(Fred Kirschenmann, farmer
The following is a video
worth watching. Even if you live in the middle of a city and have
never seen a real farm, learn about your role in changing our food
system in any way you can.
Not to worry, the climate
Hm-m. Perhaps not. Even the
climatologists were surprised. We just had, globally, the hottest
winter ever. The month of February was really warm and, yes, the
conclusion was that is was primarily caused by humans. But the good
news, sort of, is that the latest Gallup poll determined that 41
percent of Americans now believe global warming will be a “serious
threat” in their lifetimes.
Yes, climate change, it
could mean more rain or less rain for different parts of the planet.
Food supplies could be in jeopardy and don't count on industrial
agriculture to keep your stomachs full. Of course, mosquito-borne
diseases will likely increase, millions of people might attempt to
migrate to other locations in search of food and jobs, and political
instability … beware of political “guarantees.” The
Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization said
recently that, “The future is happening now.”
Improving the numbers
Interview with activist
Both facts and passion
While these seven articles
have been primarily focused on public lands, their history and
wildlife in America, we could have created a laundry list of issues
the United States will have to face one way or the other, likely
sooner than many of us would like to think about.
The national park idea goes
back to the early decades of the 19th century and some of
its supporters included George Catlin, James Fenimore Cooper, Henry
David Thoreau, Abraham Lincoln, Senator John Conners of California
and many others. Areas were set aside as public lands and to protect
the wildlife in the 19th century, but it was President
Theodore Roosevelt, a man of supreme contradiction regarding the
environment, at the turn of the 20th century, who got
legislation passed to establish a national park system. It is
arguably one of the finest examples of public policy that this
country ever established.
There is a great deal we can
all do; it is not obscure or requires years of specialized training.
The first thing is knowing the basic actual facts and the basic
actual history of public lands in the United States. Then we can
begin to separate the truth from the myths regarding wildlife, along
with all the “freedom” and “liberty” buffoonery that is
uttered. We're now ready to make more and more people understand the
importance of public space and public lands, their value and their
legacy at both the state and national level.
Some people may be able to
demonstrate why a person in Brooklyn, New York ought to care about a
national sanctuary in an isolated corner of Oregon. Or, for that
matter, a hiker in the American Southwest being able to grasp the
importance of clean air in Detroit, Michigan. It's the connections
that have to be established across the entire country to diverse
groups of people.
Now we can talk about
political corruption, the ignorance regarding wildlife, and the
outdated mentality that sees nature as a mere commodity, to be bought
and sold and with little regard for the consequences. The last basic
step is that we must find, encourage and support individuals who will
represent us and stand firm in defending public lands and wildlife.
Then we go out and vote at every level all the time.
In 2016 we have an actual
chance to be part of the change, a change that does not exclude nor
destroy nor take a future away. The change is all of us, not some
shining knight appearing over the horizon to make things better.
Knowing your opponents is
important. Ultimately we have to know who they are at the national,
state and local level. The following are some of the key players in
the U.S. House of Representatives. Their goal is to starve public
lands by taking away the funds to maintain them. Their real objective
is to privatize all public lands and turn them over to corporate
interests. Help end the political careers of the following members of
Congress: Rep. Greg Walden, R-OR; Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-UT; Rep.
Scott Tipton, R-CO; Rep. Steve Pearce, R-NM; Rep. Mark Amodei, R-NV;
Rep. Cynthis Lummis, R-WY, Rep. Raul Labrador, R-ID
After the last tree is
felled, Christ will come back.
(James G. Watt, Interior
Secretary under President Ronald Reagan)
The white men were roused
by a mere instinct of self-preservation—until at last there had
sprung into existence a great Ku Klux Klan, a veritable empire of the
South, to protect the Southern country.
(President Woodrow Wilson, 1913-1921)
A bunch of cowboys camping
(Michele Fiore, Nevada
Assemblywoman, and self-appointed defender of white terrorists who
occupied Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon)
The short explanation
D. It's called the Wise Use
doctrine (mentioned in “The problem with America is...”) and has
been around for some 30 years. It's anything but “wise.” It is
part and parcel of Libertarian philosophy. The central tenant is that
private ownership is always better than public ownership.
The white terrorists who
occupied the Malheur Refuge claimed that they believed in the Wise
Use doctrine. The livestock industry, oil and gas and various
developers will often profess to be supporters of Wise Use, but it
would not be overly cynical to think that philosophical doctrine is
not what guides many of these bottom feeders.
For the Wise Use true
believer, land is worth only what people will pay for it. If you
can't make a buck in some way it has no value. The private market by
its very nature exists to commodify natural resources and turn them
into consumer goods. Most important, it attempts to externalize
By some estimates, if the
world's largest corporations were actually responsible for their
costs of pollution and other damages to the environment, something
like one-third of their profits would disappear. Another study
estimated that the combined world damage to the environment in 2008
was something like $22 trillion!
Land management in the U.S.
is important and in need of intelligent changes and modifications
that reflects a 21st century reality, but the Wise Use
movement is largely another dreary American hustle that has the
stench of the 19th century and the Gilded Age. A number of
years ago I wrote a series of articles about one of America's best
scams, entitled America's Turf Terror (I). Time to put a stake in the
heart of the Wise Use scam.
E. Even though meat
consumption in the United States has decreased, it is increasing in
the developing world because of rising standards of living. It has
been devastating to the planet's rainforests and wildlife.
If one were to take the
agricultural business in general in the U.S., billions of dollars is
subsidies go exclusively to corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, much of
which ends up feeding animals. Western ranchers are one of the
largest recipients of federal welfare programs. Something like $500
million in taxpayer money in 2014 went to ranchers getting
below-market value leases to graze their cattle on public lands.
F. The Ammon Bundy gang that
occupied the Oregon wildlife sanctuary this past January could end up
costing the taxpayers several millions of dollars. These ignorant
thugs, as we've learned, desecrated sacred Native American sites at
Malheur, built roads through Paiute Indian grounds, and trenches dug
adjacent to sacred ground contained human feces. So much for the
Cliven Bundy, the patriarch
of this family, whose ranch in Nevada adjoins thousands of acres of
public lands, allows his cattle to graze wherever they wish. He lets
them run wild until he decides to trap and kill one. He apparently
does not vaccinate or treat his cattle for disease and seemingly does
not manage or control breeding. Yup, we'll let Cliven Bundy be the
poster child for privatization and welfare capitalism.
Oh yes, not discussed is the
progress that could be lost between ranchers and environmentalists
because of the occupation, possible revenue and job losses to the
county and, last, the wildlife itself. The many birds arrive in the
spring to breed. Much work still remains to be done in preparation
for their arrival.
Which way to the Emerald
Prohibition in the 1920s was
probably one of the worst examples of public policy that the country
ever implemented. But, like today, America was undergoing huge
The W.A.S.P. establishment
was losing political power, people were moving to urban areas,
immigrants were becoming citizens, African-Americans were going north
looking for a better life, women had the vote, and a great many
Americans were simply frightened and angry at the speed of these
A backlash occurred. The
membership of the Ku Klux Klan grew enormously, especially in the
north, religious fundamentalism attempted to push back against
science and evolution and politicians railed against the “other.”
“I want my country back,” and “it's the government's fault”
were heard in the 1920s as well.
Yes, we Americans are mad at the present time,
even if in some cases we can't actually explain who or what we're mad
at. For many Americans, especially a large segment of white America,
there is a sense that they've been duped and manipulated for
generations. Well, they have. So what's the strategy?
Sell a country! Why not
sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth?
Climate change is real. It
is the most urgent threat affecting our species. We need to work
together and stop procrastinating.
(Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar
winner for best actor, The Revenant, 2016)
Indians and wolves are
both beasts of prey, though they differ in shape.
To the Great Plains
Indians, nature was the center of our way of life. To whites, nature
was the enemy to be conquered.
(Dr. Leo Killsback,
citizen of the Northern Cheyenne Nation)
It ultimately matters a hell of a lot,
regardless of whether or not you live in Ferguson, Missouri, rural
Idaho or along the Connecticut “gold coast.” They're all
connected even if for some it's difficult to grasp that connection.
Of course, you don't have to frame it in terms of morality,
stewardship of the Earth or the sacredness of all life on the planet,
if you're uncomfortable or contemptuous with those terms.
One of the really good post-apocalyptic
nightmares is The Road, a novel by Cormac McCarthy. We never really
learn how it happened, how it all became the planet of the damned. If
you are now of a certain age you will likely pass away remembering
blue skies, chirping birds and the possibility of a living future.
Your children, on the other hand, could start seeing both small and
large occurrences. Now your grandchildren, well, do we really care
about them? After all, we're dead.
The short explanation
A. A large number of countries in the
world today have “protected areas.” The number of reserves on
land amount to approximately 161,000. The number over marine waters
globally is around 6,500. In 2015 this represented 15% of the Earth's
land area and 2.8% of the planet's ocean area. Is this enough?
Edward O. Wilson, the renown biologist,
believes it doesn't come close to being enough. In fact, he thinks
one-half of the Earth's surface must be devoted to nature in order to
save the life forms that compose it. One of the life forms is us. No
it doesn't mean that one-half of Earth is to become a global
sanctuary devoid of humans but it does mean that we must learn how to
reduce our ecological footprint. Wilson thinks it is possible and
believes it is through biology, nanotechnology and robotics that we
can learn how.
Large plots of land connected to
smaller plots contain more eco-systems and maintain them at
sustainable levels. Smaller reserves reduce our diversity and thus
our existence. Edward Wilson thinks there are still choices that we
can make, but the crucial factor in the life and death of all species
is the amount of habitable land we can maintain.
B. Although many still refuse to admit
it, more and more of us now understand that we cannot take more out
of the eco-system than we put in. The good news is that we're now
beginning to be able to put a direct cash value on what has been
called “natural capital,” that is what humans do not have to
spend on services that nature supplies for free, such as water
purification, crop pollination, coastal protection by wetlands, sand
banks and reefs and groundwater.
We've heard, for example, about the
importance of the honeybee, which in fact generates some $57 billion
dollars annually in revenue. But few people probably know that the
dung beetle generates some $380 million annually by getting rid of
manure that would attract parasites.
The Ogallala Aquifer located in the
Great Plains, covering some 8 states, is one of the largest aquifers
in the world. Suffice it to say that groundwater depletion is
occurring at faster rates and replenishment rates are relatively
slow. In fact, the Ogallala provides freshwater for about one-fifth
of the wheat, corn, cattle and cotton in the U.S. as well as across
Scientists can demonstrate that this
aquifer could run dry as soon as 2040 if we don't make necessary
changes … and we do know right now how to make a lot of these
changes. If we wanted to keep the aquifer from going dry beyond 2070,
we would have to initiate drastic changes, like a steep reduction in
corn and cattle production—heavy users of water. Oh yes, the
political decisions can be put off only so long.
C. What has been referred to as “Big
Data” has helped us to measure Natural Capital. Computers have
accelerated our ability to take action. We are able to measure and
quantify huge amounts of data, discover patterns and understand how
we humans are participants in a larger system. Yes, marketing people
can learn what color boxes toothpaste users like best, but we are now
able to decipher really important things that could help our planet