Monday, February 25, 2013

Long, Hot, Indulgent Showers Can Save the World


Oh. Wait. That's not what Derrick Jensen meant in his essay, "Forget Shorter Showers?"
Part of the problem is that we’ve been victims of a campaign of systematic misdirection. Consumer culture and the capitalist mindset have taught us to substitute acts of personal consumption (or enlightenment) for organized political resistance.
So, we can take long, hot showers as long as we don't buy stuff?

We so often hear that the world is running out of water. People are dying from lack of water. Rivers are dewatered from lack of water. Because of this we need to take shorter showers. See the disconnect? Because I take showers, I’m responsible for drawing down aquifers? Well, no. More than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry. The remaining 10 percent is split between municipalities and actual living breathing individual humans. Collectively, municipal golf courses use as much water as municipal human beings. People (both human people and fish people) aren’t dying because the world is running out of water. They’re dying because the water is being stolen. 
Aren't we the beneficiaries of agriculture and industry? Municipalities? Golf courses? If it doesn't matter how long our showers are, how can it matter if we golf on weekends? Eat burgers? Have three kids

Come on, Derrick, someone, anyone. Please come up with a solution that allows us to maintain our capitalist/consumer/green "lifestyle" and feel better about ourselves. Feel like the world isn't going to shit.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trap Free New Mexico? Hell yeah!

A bill introduced last week would limit the cruel and unusual treatment of animals, vis–à–vis trapping and poisoning. The New Mexico WildlifeProtection & Public Safety Act, House Bill 579 make it illegal to for:
  1. a person to set or use, or attempt to set or use, a trap to kill or capture wildlife;
  2. a person to set or use, or attempt to set or use, a body-gripping trap to kill or capture any feral or domestic animal;
  3. a person to apply or use, or attempt to apply or use, any poison to kill or injure wildlife or a feral......
And lots of other good stuff preventing the sale of animal fur and pelts that have been so caught. It's a really great bill: THANK YOU REP. GONZALES. It's wonderful when politicians get it so right. Even the hard-to-please enviros are happy. [We're looking at you, WKR. ;)]

UNFORTUNATELY, it doesn't prevent the use of traps or poisons by the federal government, and we all know who the most prolific wildlife killers are, don't we? Let's say it together: the federal government.  [We're looking at you, USDA]

UPDATED 2/21: Thanks to a commenter, we've realized that our interpretation of the proposed law as it pertains to Wildlife [Dis]Services was perhaps too cynical. [Us? Cynical?] Here's the relevant exception: 
The provisions of subsection A of this section shall not prohibit: (1) the taking of wildlife or feral or domestic animals by federal, state, county, or municipal government employees or their duly authorized agents when prohibited devices or methods are the only feasible method available to protect human health and safety. 
We here at DL just instantly rolled our eyes at that exception, knowing that the more-than-a-few bad apples are likely to invoke it at every opportunity. But perhaps not. Perhaps "feasible" will convince them to try other tactics before the old standbys. What do you think, Gentle Reader? 
P.S. That link to Rep. Gonzales' webpage ain't for nothing. Here's a hint: Emily Post
P.P.S. Google "conibear trap image." If that doesn't convince you of the significance of this bill, check for a pulse.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

When the best you can say is, "At least she's not a rancher..."

In today's installment of "Obama Doesn't Give a Shit About Public Lands," his nomination of Sally Jewell to run the Department of Interior is at least interesting fodder with which to sling some mud at Gang Green and their conciliatory approach to having the interests they are supposed to represent get completely derailed.  

Like this:
Molly McUsic, president of land conservation-focused Wyss Foundation, told the Post in an email Jewell "understands the full economic potential of America's resources."

"She knows the oil-and-gas business from having worked at Mobil and in the banking industry, but also understands the growing economic potential of America's $646 billion outdoor recreation industry," McUsic said. "She knows that to grow the economy, development of energy resources must be on equal ground with the protection of places that drive tourism, travel and recreation."
Or this
Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune called Jewell a champion in the effort to connect children with nature and said she has “a demonstrated commitment to preserving the higher purposes public lands hold for all Americans — recreation, adventure, and enjoyment.


Aldo Leopold warned us about monetizing the environment, the risk of viewing the land as a commodity:

One basic weakness in a conservation system based wholly on economic motives is that most members of the land community have no economic value. Wildflowers and songbird are examples. Of the 22,000 higher plants and animals native to Wisconsin, it is doubtful whether more than 5 per cent can be sold, fed, eaten, or otherwise put to economic use Yet these creatures are members of the biotic community, and if (as I believe) its stability depends on its integrity they are entitled to continuance.

When one of these non-economic categories is threatened and if we happen to love it, we invent subterfuges to give it economic importance. At the beginning of the century song birds were supposed to be disappearing. Ornithologists jumped to the rescue with some distinctly shaky evidence the effect that insects would eat us up if birds failed to control them. The evidence had to be economic in order to b valid.

It is painful to read these circumlocutions today. We have no land ethic yet, but we have at least drawn nearer the point of admitting that birds should continue as a matter of biotic right, regardless of the presence or absence of economic advantage to us.

WildEarth Guardians at least went to bat swinging on this one, discussing Ms. Jewell's poor responses on questions about global climate change:
And what does the President do?  He nominates an outdoor enthusiast who refused to take a stand on climate change for fear of upsetting customers with a “broad array of political views.” 
Yeah, not exactly optimistic. So thanks, Guardians, for still being willing to call a spade a spade.

Congressman Grijalva had a lot of support from the environmental community, but he seemed a little cool on it himself, lately seeming to want to stay in the House and take a plum position on the Subcommittee on Natural Resources. And that's good, as he probably can do more good there and in Arizona for the long-term than the BS he was likely to encounter at DOI. But, goddamn it would have been sweet to have someone who wants to save public lands for their own sake, not for the sake of camping trips and photo ops.

If anyone has a picture of Ms. Jewell in a cowboy hat or boots, please send it along.

No, don't.

Yes, do.

No, don't. It might just be the final straw.