So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish

Our dear friend Paul Jamiol has officially hung up his ‘editorial cartoonist’ hat for the election season, and will be focusing more on his photography, his wife, and his dogs. To keep up with his future endeavors, you can visit Jamiolsworld.com.

Paul’s ‘toons have graced TheZoo’s pages for most of our 16 years, and his custom header artwork depicting the original Critters was a wonderful and thoughtful gift to us.

Here are the last few ‘toons from Paul’s mind and hand. Note, the Kanye one is actually from August, but I forgot to post it – it still fits in with the current events.

No, Paul, “Thank YOU!”

Open Thread, say whatever you want.

Mid-Week Gnuzishness

Welcome to Wednesday, Middle of the Weekish Gnuz be forthwith
Sorry if you’re being held on Trumped up charges, but here’s more about the Prezidunce.

Watergate prosecutor reveals bombshell results of Manafort’s lies: ‘Mueller’s got the evidence of conspiracy’
H/T Raw Story
Smoking Gun? Speeding Bullet? Ole Twumpy’s in a world o’ scheiss!

And,
Here are 7 of the most ridiculous and embarrassing moments from Trump’s latest interview revealing he has no idea how to be president
H/T Alternet
Even for TemperTantrumTrump, this is a doozy!

Finally,
Trump rejects ‘man-made’ climate change
H/T The Hill
We’re gonna have a lot of catching up to do once we rid the White House of this vermin.

Open Thread, snitch it up and run with it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Weekend Gnuz

All the Gnuz that’s fit to display via electrons and stuff.

3 big takeaways from the major new US climate report
Climate change is here, it’s expensive, and it’s deadly, according to a dire new report.

H/T Vox
Republicans and Trumpistas would sacrifice a livable world to make a buck and put it in the piggy bank.
They can’t be trusted with the reins of government.

And,
Warning signs mount for Trump reelection bid
‘They haven’t gotten his job approval over 50 percent, like Reagan,’ says one GOP pollster.

H/T Politico
No more Mr or Ms Nice Person. There’s too much at stake to allow these fascists to continue in power. We need to ensure that sanity prevails in the next election cycle.

Finally,
Pulitzer Prize-winner describes why Trump gets easily played by Putin and Saudi prince: ‘His gullibility is extraordinary’
H/T Alternet
Trump is a devout Mammonist. Money and Greed, Greed and more money, gained illegally or not.

Open Thread, pick it up and throw it over Trump’s imaginary wall!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Pre-Election Gnuz

It’s a week away from one of the biggest turning points in our history and here’s what’s at stake:

Planet has only until 2030 to stem catastrophic climate change, experts warn
H/T CNN
We have from now until a newborn goes to middle school to turn this around.
We need leadership that vows to put solar shingles on every roof in America, ban fossil fuel burning cars within five years, put wind powered turbines every place the wind blows.
For starters.
Consumption needs to come down to sustainable levels. Capitalism isn’t going to get that done.
Your thoughts?

And,
Trump isn’t to blame. His entire party is.
H/T WaPo
Sheep to the slaughter. Lemmings first class.

Finally,
WATCH: Russia expert explains how Trump’s anti-Semitic rhetoric is ‘straight out of Putin’s playbook’
H/T Raw story
It’s a damn shame this president’s tax reuturns are available to show he’s in Putin’s pocket.

Open Thread, pick it up and run with it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

Mundane Monday, and here’s der Gnuz

Trump starting workday later to spend more time watching TV and tweeeting: report
H/T The Hill via Axios
Probably not a bad thing, except that Faux Snooze is his primary source of information. That’s not only sad, but dangerous. He’s burning out on the job, turning into a morning slacker.

And,
Here are 21 facts that explain exactly who Stephen Miller is
H/T Raw Story
NRA, NeoNazi, Bigoted, and apparently got kicked off a CNN interveiw for verbally fellating Trump today.

Finally,
Temperatures In Australia Hit 117 Degrees As Sydney Sees Hottest Day In 78 Years
H/T HuffPo
Perhaps Trump, being bored out of his tiny skull could take a month long vacation in the Outback. With a can of coke.

Open Thread, grin and bare it!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

For Tuesday, the second day of the New Year. And too much of the same old crapola, as evidenced below:

Chocolate may go extinct in the next 40 years
H/T Raw Story
Perhaps this will get some attention from an overweight and under informed prezidunce. No more effing chocolate, due to (gasp) Global Climate Change, you effing idiot!

And,
U.S. Police Killed Over 1,000 Civilians in 2017 While the News Was Watching Trump
H/T Alternet
One of the dangers of having the prezidunce creating all the ‘news’, the real headlines get lost in the twitterblabber.

Finally,
White House aides already anxious about 2018
H/T Politico
As well they should be. This prezidunce sits with an approval rating in the mid 30%. Waiting for Mueller to drop the next bomb.

Open Thread, Go get ’em!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Happy GNU YEAR – It Be 2018!

And, on this inaugural day of the year, here’s the GNUZ!

Eastern U.S. braces for the most frigid start to new year in decades: Here’s how cold
H/T WaPo
Now, That’s Cold, frigid, biting, bitter, freezing effing COLD. Stay safe all you’ze out there!

And,
New image from NASA shows massive iceberg in Antarctica melting
H/T Raw Story
Climate Change…not just global warming, extremes in Cold and Hot, read all about it. Understand it. But that’s apparently too much to ask of the sitting on his Mar-a-GoGo Butt, prezidunce.

Finally, I vowed to not put up yet another article about hewhoshouldnotbenamed… so…
Does the White Working Class Really Vote Against Its Own Interests?
H/T TPM
Screw to be, or not to be…
Are working-class white voters shooting themselves in the foot by making common cause with a political movement that is fundamentally inimical to their economic self-interest?
THAT is the question.

Open Thread, Start off the New Year with a song in your heart and a beer in your hand!

RUCerious @TPZoo

Daily Gnuz

Here’s a sampling of the fecal-storms that buffet us today:

It’s 6 months into Trump’s presidency. He’s already asking about pardons for his aides. …And his family members and … himself, according to a new report.
h/t Vox
Circling the wagons, …and the drain.

And

Protecting our children from climate change might take more than just cutting emissions
h/t Raw Story
The longer we wait, the bigger the bullet we must bite in the quest to bequeath a livable planet to our progeny.

Finally, this just about sums up the last six effing months of stupidity and cowardliness

Donald Trump’s six-month report card: A paralyzed, scandal-plagued presidency — and it could get worse
h/t Salon
Worse doesn’t begin to describe the plunge we are about to take. Into the shit canister we go.

Open Thread, enjoy one byte at a thyme
RUCerious @ TPZo

The Watering Hole, Tuesday July 5, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics.

Murray Energy Lays Off More Than 1,800 Workers

A coal company wants to blame Obama for a 21% cut in workforce, when in reality it is fracked natural gas that power companies are shifting to.

Obama’s Fault

My grandfather who I never met died when my mother was a child of black lung disease. It is an occupation that I would not wish on anyone. Pollutes the hell out of water when mined and air when burned, and surface mining can obliterate landscapes. Sierra Club has been fighting coal for years. Beyond coal.

Open thread.

The Watering Hole, Tuesday May 24, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics

 

A history of snowfall on Greenland, hidden in ancient leaf waxes

An early study in this field finds that snowfall at one key location in western Greenland may have intensified from 6,000 to 4,000 years ago, a period when the planet’s Northern Hemisphere was warmer than it is today.

Read more here…

The Watering Hole, Monday, May 16th, 2016: Wrong, As Always

Recent opinion pieces at The Christian Post website demonstrate that the “Christian” right – and these aren’t all what I would consider to be real RWNJs – continues to steadfastly ignore reality.

On Earth Day, Dr. Richard D. Land posted “Earth Day: How Environmentalists Hurt the Environment”. Some excerpts:

Many advocates for drastic measures to combat climate change (i.e., global warming) assert that human caused global warming is now “settled science.”

And yet, recently published data from the Department of Energy reveals that the U.S. has reduced carbon emissions for the past fifteen years by more than 10%, more than almost the entire rest of the world combined. How did America accomplish such a feat? The answer is hydraulic fracturing or fracking, which involves releasing fossil fuel (oil and natural gas) trapped in rock formations by injecting millions of gallons of water and chemicals into the formations.

As a result of widespread usage of this controversial technology, the U.S. has become the world’s No. 1 oil and natural gas producer. As a direct consequence of fracking, the price of natural gas is one-fourth what it was a decade ago, and since America has a virtually inexhaustible natural gas supplies, people keep using more and more of this environmentally clean and very inexpensive fossil fuel. [Will someone please explain to me why anyone would want to literally undermine the land to access what is, by definition, a limited energy source?]

EPA studies declaring fracking can be done safely and cleanly moved U.S.A. Today to declare that “to help the environment and economy, keep on fracking” (4/19/16). U.S.A. Today also observed in the same article that fracking “has spurred a remarkable U.S. energy boom and . . . this boom has created jobs, boosted manufacturing and brought the USA closer to energy independence.”

Still, environmental activists on the left continue to oppose fracking, as well as the only clean energy “technology with an established track record of generating electricity at scale while emitting virtually no greenhouse gases: nuclear power.” In fact, in a “Pew poll of members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, 65 percent of scientists want more nuclear power” (Eduardo Porter, NY Times 4/19/16).

Apparently Dr. Land is completely ignorant of WHY environmentalists – and any humans with a fairly basic knowledge of science and some critical-thinking skills – are against fracking and nuclear energy. Has he not heard about the earthquakes being caused by fracking? Is he somehow privy to exactly which chemicals are being used in fracking? The “EPA studies” that declared “fracking can be done safely and cleanly” did not say that fracking IS BEING DONE “safely and cleanly”, more simply that it “can” be done. (Here’s the Christian Science Monitor’s take on this.)

And “nuclear”?! Does “Fukushima” ring a bell? Sorry, but Indian Point is way too close for me to want any part of nuclear power. Not to mention disposal of nuclear waste, which has already been an environmental problem for decades. Or that nuclear facilities make lovely targets for terrorism. Where the hell has Dr. Land been?

Then there’s Ken Blackwell’s ridiculous drivel, “Trump is Bad But Not Worse Than Hillary”

[The blurb says “Ken Blackwell is the Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the Family Research Council. He serves on the board of directors of the Club for Growth and the National Taxpayers Union. He is also a member of the public affairs committee of the NRA. Mr. Blackwell is also the former Mayor of Cincinnati and a former Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission.” As Blackwell says in a different context below, “What more needs to be said?”]

“…no one should doubt Hillary Clinton’s determination to expand the state at every turn.
Trump the businessman has experience in confronting bureaucracy, and the Democrats are prolific regulators. President Barack Obama has imposed costly new rules at a rapid pace. Clinton likely would set new records.

Then there’s the judiciary. Antonin Scalia’s death has upset the delicate balance on the Supreme Court. Turning those appointments over to a liberal Democrat would lose the court for a generation, undermining any future conservative political victories.

America’s international security and standing also are at stake. Clinton had a disastrous hand in her husband’s presidency, noteworthy for the debacle in Somalia, unnecessary war in the Balkans, and broken agreement with North Korea. Then she was the first term Secretary of State for President Obama. What more needs to be said?”

1) What exactly has Hillary Clinton said or done to indicate a “determination to expand the state at every turn”? What is your definition of “expand”, and the vague phrase “at every turn”?
2) Trump the con-man has minions, er, “people” – the “BEST” people – to “confront bureaucracy” for him. And those minions don’t always win, either: it’s probably not a good idea to mention “Scotland”, “golf course” or “windmills” in front of The Donald.
3) Hillary Clinton is not a “liberal” Democrat.
4) WTF did First Lady Hillary have to do with Somalia, the Balkans, and North Korea? How does being “the first term Secretary of State for President Obama” disqualify her? And finally,
5) “What more needs to be said?” A whole hell of a lot more!

Donald Trump’s expected nomination comes as a disappointment for many Republicans. However, by every standard Clinton is worse. Conservatives might reluctantly vote for Trump. But, they should consider a vote
for him nevertheless, if he becomes a standard bearer of our platform. A platform that has made us the majority party in the United States.

Is Trump smart enough to do the right thing and are we smart enough to beat Hillary?

Politics is the art of the possible. That doesn’t mean abandoning principle. But if the good is unavailable, it means preferring the politically unattractive to the politically ugly. Too much is at stake for conservatives to treat the presidential election like a kamikaze mission or for Trump to be dumb.”

Two pieces about “Christian” megachurch pastor and devout Trump supporter Robert Jeffress demonstrate the extremely hypocritical and morally reprehensible “values” of religious conservatives. In one piece, Jeffress defends Trump’s childish tweet in response to criticism of Trump by another Evangelical, Russell Moore, with the equally childish (and un-Christ-like) argument that “Moore had it coming because he provoked Trump.” In the second piece, Jeffress calls Christians who won’t vote for Trump “fools”:

“Pastor Robert Jeffress, leader of the influential 12,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, declared Wednesday that Republicans who have vowed never to support Donald Trump if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee are “fools.”
“It is absolutely foolish to do anything that would allow Hillary Clinton to become the next President of the United States … at least Donald Trump has voiced a belief in a pro-life movement, he has at least talked about religious liberty as he did last Friday, you don’t hear either things coming from the lips of Hillary Clinton,” he continued.
“I believe any Christian who would sit at home and not vote for the Republican nominee … that person is being motivated by pride rather than principle and I think it would be a shame for people to allow Hillary Clinton four or eight years in the White House,” he said.

So much for ‘separation of Church and State’ – I’d like to see the IRS have a little talk with ‘Pastor’ Jeffress.

This is our daily Open Thread–talk about whatever you want.

The Watering Hole; Friday April 15 2016; Climate Change: Is It Visible?

“Nature is always presenting us with surprises.
And perhaps we are surprised only because we are ignorant.”
(John C. Van Dyke)

I’ve been wondering if/when some signs of climate change and global warming are going to become visible via a quick glance out of my (or most anyone’s) window. In that regard, in fact, I have to wonder if maybe I might have spotted one of those local indicators, and maybe even managed to record it digitally for posterity — last month, March 2016, globally the warmest March since records have been kept.

Below is a series of five photos of the same basic scene (Rocky Mountain Front Range, the series of peaks called the Sierra Mojada, or the Wet Mountains) taken from the same spot (my tee-tiny office’s window). The dates begin in September 2009 and end just last month in March 2016, and each one shows the mountains on the morning after a heavy snowfall. I should note that the four main snow-clad peaks are, l. to r., Greenhorn, North Peak, Mt. St. Charles, and Round Top (clipped, not fully shown). Each peak stands above the timberline and ranges in elevation from 11,750 ft. to 12,350 ft., and all are typically white with snow from late September thru mid-May. Till this year, that is.

The first photo is the ‘oldest’ and shows three of the four peaks noted above, and each of the mountains are snow-clad from summit to base (approx. 7000 ft.). The pair of pines in the foreground stand a block from my window at roughly 6000 ft. and about 7 miles from the base of the mountains. The Mojada are about 5000 ft. tall, i.o.w.

0922-2009 Wet Mtns, 2 frames

▲1. September 2009▲

The second photo mainly focuses on North Peak and Mt. St. Charles (with portions of Greenhorn and Round Top, l. and r., resp.). Note that the pines in the foreground are free of snow but the peaks and the heavily timbered mountain slopes are covered with the white stuff.

Wet Mountains, high noon, 4-19-09

▲2. April 2010▲

Photo number 3 shows the result of a heavy snow from the summits to below 6000 ft, foreground pines included.

▲3. October 2011▲

Photo 4 shows Mt. St. Charles the morning after a heavy snowfall that once again coated the pines at 6000 ft. Note the date.

2015 Feb 26 Mt St Charles 952

▲4. February 2015▲

Finally, the fifth photo shows one of the strangest snowfalls I’ve ever seen. Note that the summits of both North Peak and Mt. St. Charles are far less snow-clad than is typical — lots of bare spots — and the 6000 ft. foreground pines are also clear of snow. The only fresh snow is in the band from the mtn’s base (around 7000 ft) to the cutoff point about halfway up the slope, or around 9500 ft. The date is 13 months beyond number 4 above — March 2016, the “hottest” March since records have been kept.

Mar 19 2016 North peak-St Charles low snowfall 2206r

▲5. March 2016▲

Is that weird snowfall pattern a ‘symptom’ of climate change as seen through my window? I have to wonder how often, historically, mountain snows have made it a point to avoid the summits and instead go for the mid-range elevations elevations only. First time for everything, I suppose, especially on a world in which the most intelligent species consistently performs (and then ignores the consequences thereof) the role of what could easily be viewed as LEAST! intelligent.

I should check with James Inhofe, maybe? Or Trump? Is what I’m seeing happening because of something the Chinese are doing in their effort to sabotage the world economy? Something like that?

If I do hear back from them, I’ll make sure to spread the word. Meanwhile —

“If we but knew our facts, they would point their own conclusions,
and neither theory nor argument would be needed.”
(John C.Van Dyke)

Yeehaw.

******

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole, Tuesday March 29, 2016 – Environmental News and Food Politics

THE BIG U.S.OIL BUST

“Back in 2010, the price of a barrel of Brent crude (the international oil price benchmark) topped $80. That made it profitable to extract oil from tight shale formations, which is especially costly. A drilling frenzy ensued, domestic oil production skyrocketed, oil companies raked in profits and oil patch communities prospered.

But all that new oil on the market, plus China’s slowing economic growth, began to dampen oil prices in the summer of 2014. Instead of curtailing production to keep prices afloat, OPEC’s leaders launched a thinly veiled price war, clearly aimed at putting U.S. producers out of business. Here are some indicators that OPEC won the war.”

Oil bust – A red state phenomenon. Will this affect 2016 elections?

The Watering Hole, Tuesday December 8, 2015 – Environmental News and Food Politics

Maybe it is just me, but these climate summits have been happening for a while yet very little seems to be accomplished. Mr. Peadbody’s coal trains still chugging past former West Virginia mountaintops. Climate summits seem a lot like Earth Day. Feel good for a little while, but there will be no sense of urgency until the officials at the meetings sit around the tables knee deep in water. Climate deniers, while in a vast minority in the scientific community, rule the roost in political circles, where money sets the agenda. A part of me thinks that Republican/Libertarian support of marijuana law changes in the various states is a cultural shift away from ‘religion is the opiate of the people’ to ‘cannabis is the opiate of the people’.

Read on, if you dare.  

 

The Watering Hole; Thursday November 5 2015; Protect America’s Public Lands

Mt. Wilson, 14246 ft, in the Uncompahgre National Forest near Telluride, Colorado; July 2007

Mt. Wilson, 14246 ft, in the Uncompahgre National Forest near Telluride, Colorado; July 2007

“Nature makes only dumb animals. We owe the fools to society.”
(Honore de Balzac)

In the United States, Public Lands are, simply stated, all lands which are not privately held or owned. They consist of designated Wilderness and Primitive areas, National Parks, National Monuments, Bureau of Land Management acreages, National Forests, also state parks, state forests, county parks, city parks . . . the list of options is as varied as it is lengthy.

Today’s corporate monsters — those who believe that the most direct way to gain their power and wealth ‘fortunes’ is to extract the Earth’s resources — remain secure in their faux premise that all is well, knowing that even if the Earth should one day decide to fight back, it won’t matter . . . because by that time (in the immortal words of George W. Bush), “We’ll all be dead.”  Meanwhile, the planet warms steadily because of the CO2 released when fossil fuels are burned. As a result, hurricanes and typhoons increase in number and power. The polar caps melt. The ocean levels slowly rise and coastal areas submerge even as severe droughts and wildfires devastate once vibrant landscapes nearby.

And the demand to develop more and more fossil fuel resources constantly and continuously increases.

Humans have been here for but an eye’s wink of geologic time, yet ‘we’ consider our tenure more significant than all else combined, even as we fail to realize that Nature will one day soon teach us that she cares not whether we persist and survive. Or perish. One might conclude it would be useful, then, for us to at least TRY to comprehend appropriate details, then act to correct the ‘error(s) of our ways,’ to learn, to understand Nature in her very REAL sense, as opposed to, for example, the Biblical-Genesis non-sense. Such does not yet seem to be the case, however.

Sunrise over the Four Peaks Wilderness, Mazatzal Mountains, Arizona, ca 2005

Sunrise over the Four Peaks Wilderness, Mazatzal Mountains, Arizona, ca 2005

Regarding our Public Lands, disdain for them as a public resource is not new. It may seem more accelerated today, given the “urge” on the part of the fossil fuel industries to extract ever more carbon from the ground and make ever more profit in the process — a bad thing for sure — but beyond even that lies the Libertarian disparagement of anything other than private ownership, most especially of “Socialist” (read: public [government]) ownership and management. Almost ten years ago, for example, Canadian Libertarian Professor Ronald Homowy wrote, in April 2006, an essay that was highly critical of the environmental movement’s association with (and its support for the concept of) Public Lands. Homowy noted that

“. . . most environmentalists have extended [the] notion of public ownership to the whole of the natural world. They write of the ‘common heritage of all humanity’ and of ‘sharing the world’s resources equitably.’ It is as if each of us, when born, inherits our pro rata share of all the wealth of the world, the land and the oceans of the earth, and all that is on, above, or below it, without regard to the prevailing ownership of these resources. . . .”

Homowy continues his tirade, this time to the disparagement of any form of life that doesn’t contribute its ‘all’ to human PROFIT.

“If we were to accept the claims put forward by . . . ‘the deep ecologists,’ that rights extend to all forms of life and, in some instances, to inanimate objects as well, humanity would be frozen into inaction lest it trespass on the prerogatives of nature. What is particularly alarming is that this senseless conclusion, a clear reductio ad absurdum to most, is actually espoused by many prominent environmental spokesmen, whose antipathy for all human endeavor is one of the more repugnant aspects of their creed. For these writers humanism is a term of derision, which asserts the superiority of human life over animal and plant life and denies to non-human entities the rights that a properly construed morality dictates they possess. . . .”

So environmentalists don’t believe in human “superiority” over everything else? Environmentalists don’t or can’t understand that humans rule, period? And worse, they view “humanism” derisively? They believe that certain ‘rights’ extend to ‘all forms of life’? Gee. Whatever gave them such silly ideas?

Young deer, Apache National Forest near Bear Wallow Wilderness, Arizona

Young deer, Apache National Forest near Bear Wallow Wilderness, Arizona; ca 2002

About a year after Homowy wrote the above-noted screed, another Libertarian — Manuel Lora — added his two-bits worth and in the process brought forth the travesty of Public (not PRIVATE, i.o.w.) Land to the discussion. The following excerpts pretty much summarize Lora’s views and attitudes.

“I am not against nature or the preservation thereof. What I am against is the use of the state — the agent of institutionalized aggression — to advance the agenda of the conservation movement. It is imperative that the distinction be made between freedom and statism. While freedom involves property, prosperity, and free exchange, statism involves theft, plunder, and poverty. . . .”

“National parks are socialist parks. The same economic analysis used to determine the consequences of socialism can be applied to national parks, namely, that without a market there is simply no way to determine if the resources dedicated to the park system are being allocated efficiently. . . .”

“A natural park is a higher order good that could have alternate uses such as a residential development. And this is determined by the price that people would be willing to pay for that park or for similarly priced parks . . .”

“Lack of property rights is the problem; the value of endangered species is effectively zero. The state has claimed ownership rights over certain animals and bans their trade. There is no market for the polar bear or the bald eagle. And even though people value them because of their relative scarcity, there is no legal way to show demand for those animals in the market. . . .”

“The case that I have presented is a fairly simple one: the abolition of government parks and nature preserves. Only by having a market can there be a sane profit-loss policy. If we love nature and want to preserve it, true property rights are needed.”

Public Lands are “socialism.” “Residential development” in “a natural park” implies “a higher order good.” Also, private ownership of public lands would allow “endangered species” the chance of obtaining “market value” and hence, possibly even a viable reason to try and save them from presumed extinction. That to “preserve” the “nature” we all “love” there can be no public ownership of lands. Fascinating.

I’m guessing that the undercurrent in both Homowy’s and Lora’s theses is that MONEY is all there is, period, that defines the value of anything that exists anywhere on the planet. Period. No monetary value? Useless.

Dibe'Ntsaa -- Navajo Sacred Mountain of the North, San Juan National Forest, Colorado

Dibe’Ntsaa — Navajo Sacred Mountain of the North, San Juan National Forest, Colorado; 2003

The bottom line is that if left to the money-interests and to the far right political movement(s), land preservation — first initiated in the U.S. by that famous Republican President, Theodore Roosevelt — is doomed. As I write this, for example, I’m aware of the effort to officially grant a (foreign – Chilean) corporation the right to jeopardize the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota via Sulfide Iron Mining. It’s the money. Meanwhile, in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest, there is an effort currently underway to disallow the formal handing over of access to a parcel of land that is sacred to the Apache people — Oak Flat — to an Australian-British mining company (Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of the largest mining company in the world, Rio Tinto). There is apparently a vast underground copper reserve under Oak Flat, and that clearly means more to the world than do the sacred rights of a defeated tribe of aboriginal savages. It’s the money.

Greenhorn Peak Wilderness area in San Isabel National Forest, Colorado; 2008

Greenhorn Peak Wilderness area in San Isabel National Forest, Colorado; 2008

There is some potentially good news, however, in re the fight to protect Public Lands from destruction by the corporate money and political power interests. A “Keep It In The Ground” bill has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Jeff Merkley – OR (Lead Sponsor), with co-sponsors Sen. Barbra Boxer – CA, Sen. Ben Cardin – MD, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand – NY, Sen. Patrick Leahy – VT, Sen. Bernie Sanders – VT, and Sen Elizabeth Warren – MA. The bill clearly states the scientific reality that we must keep a significant percentages of earth’s remaining fossil fuel reserves underground to avoid climate disaster, and that if we have any hope of avoiding the worst effects of climate change, we must act to keep publicly-owned fossil fuel reserves completely off-limits.

Can such a bill — one that acknowledges Public Lands are NOT resources to be used by corporate and other private interests, that they are instead the people’s equity — actually pass through all congressional hurdles and make it to the President’s desk for signature? Doubtful, but it’s at least a start, a mega leap over a long history of inaction. Time will tell; we can hope.

“Could we, by some act of common will, change our natures and
become proper stewards, gentle gardeners taking care of all of the
natural life of our planet? I would sooner expect a goat to succeed
as a gardener than expect humans to become
responsible stewards of the Earth.”
(Dr. James Lovelock, author, “The Gaia Hypothesis”)

Sunset over the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arivaca Arizona; 2003

Sunset over the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, Arivaca Arizona; 2003

Join the fight to save ALL of our Public Lands.

OPEN THREAD