I think this about says it all…
Bryan Pijanowski wants to capture the sounds of the world on a single day, and he needs your help. On Earth Day, April 22, Pijanowski hopes to enlist thousands of people in recording a few minutes of their everyday surroundings with his Soundscape Recorder smartphone app. All those sonic snippets could create an unprecedented soundtrack to life on Earth — and as they accumulate, year after year, scientists could use them to measure patterns and changes in our sonic environments. Brandon Keim reports. (Wired)
So here we are, another Earth Day, another opportunity to get out and get dirty planting trees etc. If you expect me to say how special you are, forget it. The readers of this blog are not the average person who is tuned out to these issues. I’m talking to you, the folks who get this and come here to read this. While I’m all for doing something positive for the planet, the facts on the ground are not going in the right direction. There are positive things to report in specific locales where concerned local citizens have spent years working to solve problems. Chimacum Creek, Elwha, Dungeness, all improving. As to Puget Sound? Not according to the Puget Sound Partnership annual reporting. Orca numbers are down. There is a freak virus destroying all our sea stars. And ocean acidification isn’t waiting for another Blue Ribbon Panel in a few years. Political will? All in the talk, virtually none in the action, they throw us bones, barely enough to do much of anything, and that’s with another Democratic governor, a Democratic president and lots of Dems at all levels. Canada continues it’s spiraling down into the poster child of bad environmental policy, including Victoria’s ongoing reticence to spend money to stop spewing their untreated sewage into the Strait, and their Federal Government allowing oil drilling in National Parks. Places in Alberta resemble the northern version of the Niger Delta. All for oil. It shows what happens when you get a single political party and an electorate that is asleep. Don’t even get me started about China, India, and all the other places that are so far behind us that they make us look like saints. None of the current status quo there is going to turn things around. It has to stop. There has to be another way.
So what should you do? If you aren’t directly involved in something that is changing the planet for the better, then you need to do more. And I don’t mean turning off the lights when you leave a room or driving less. This is about getting out and telling your elected officials that the status quo won’t work. You expect more and now. If you like being part of politics then have at it, but be aware that the minute you do you will likely be marginalized. You won’t be able to criticize them because they are giving you the scraps. You might make minor shifts in direction of the government. Get a few small tasks done. If you are a Republican, you need to sit down with your legislators and find out what it will take to get them to support environmental legislation. If you are a Democrat, you need to tell your legisators that simply blaming the R’s for inaction is unacceptable. As Billie Frank Jr. so aptly said after returning from Washington D.C. a couple of years ago, “No one is in charge back there. You are in charge right here.”
We need more people to shake up the status quo. More people willing to get the message out, loud and clear. Climb towers and put banners on them. Educate people to the issues. Make political hay. Fund some law suits that have the right targets. Force change. The answer is not drilling more. Or building more pipelines. Or nuclear plants. Or coal trains. It’s about really changing the dynamic. I don’t know what it will look like, but it will emerge and become clearer as it happens, as all true major changes do. A program, perhaps like the Space program, geared at saving our air or water supplies. Maybe a challenge to put solar on all homes south of the Mason Dixon line by 2030. Do you have a few million to invest? Then put it to work at the grassroots of this movement. Don’t give it to politicians. They don’t produce anything but hot air. If you have nothing to invest then make a few phone calls and find out what you can do with a local organization to change things now. Get out from behind the computer and become part of something locally that is making it happen.
The politicians we have elected are not doing the job. I don’t care if they are Democrats or Republicans. After this last legislative session in Olympia, it seems clear that they take our votes for granted. In the lead up to Earthday the governor hires a coal lobbyist for policy. The head of DNR rails against “anti-logging” forces. You need to change this. Now. You need to tell them you won’t fund them anymore without seeing real change. Let them explain what they have accomplished. It’s time you stop putting up with their excuses.
You are the change. It won’t happen without you. And frankly, there are no sure things even if you do. Go plant a few trees if you want to, but don’t pretend that’s going to help the big picture. Earth Day is not today, it’s every day.
Time is of the essence.
See you in the front lines.
Happy Earth Day.
The Peninsula Daily News reports today that the Thorndyke Resources Project will take a legal challenge on the Shoreline Master Plan to the Growth Management Board. Given what the PDN reports, it seems unlikely to be successful, but hope springs eternal with these folks, and they apparently have the money to hire the lawyers to challenge it.
Read the whole story here:
Over the last week, I’ve read or listened to the most bizarre stories about our Democratic Governor Jay Inslee and Democratic Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark. After courting the environmental wing of the Democratic voters with their long standing support of environmental protection, we now find both of them throwing this base under the bus.
It wasn’t bad enough, that Inslee named former head of the Department of Ecology, Ted Sturdevant, to be his Policy chief. Sturdevant, who appeared clueless through the battles over the net pen controversy in Puget Sound in the last few years, and allowed DOE to fight Jefferson County for refusing to allow net pens, which DOE had allowed to be banned in another county previously.
Now, Inslee has hired a coal lobbyist, albeit a Democratic one, to direct his policy office. Matt Steuerwalt, is going to run the policy wing of the governor’s office. Steurwalt has recently been the lead advocate for coal fired power plants and coal ports in the State. To be clear, Mr. Steurwalt might be a perfectly wonderful Dem, but in politics perception trumps reality. Why would any Democrat or environmentalist put a coal lobbyist in charge of policy at a point when policy for coal trains is being debated?
Yesterday, Inslee announced that he also would likely trade away concerns of the Tribes and the environmental community, and support business demands, by raising the limit of possibly cancer causing fish a person can eat. This was in lieu of asking for stricter controls on pollution by the likes of Boeing, whom promptly announced that they were shipping 1000 high paying jobs out of state anyway. Interesting who was behind the decision, none other than Ted Sturdevant.
Also, in the last two weeks, we’ve had Department of Natural Resources head Peter Goldmark, first state, after the Oso landslide that his agency shouldn’t be blamed for allowing timber harvest on the top of the land that collapsed, instead blaming environmentalists for attacking DNR. There are a number of highly critical articles to his stand, including one in the New York Times, and one in the Stranger. I think that the lawsuits coming down the pike by the surviving homeowners and the estates of those who didn’t, will clearly establish who should be held responsible, and that is likely both Snohomish County land use staff (who might have changed zoning regs and given greater warning, no scratch that, any warning to the homeowners there) and the politicians who supported those decisions, along with the departments in Olympia that did the scientific research, then ignored it, which seems to clearly be DNR. But fear not, you and I, the taxpayers, will likely foot the liability.
Then yesterday, Goldmark announced that, contrary to what he told supporters when he ran for the position, that he would never take industry money, actively reverse that stance and take $90,000 from the very interests that he regulates. While he may argue no quid pro quo, we all know that those with the biggest donation get the loudest voice in the battle for access to the powerful. If I had to venture a guess here, that in order to find the school funding that has been forced on the legislature by the McCleary Decision, that the pols in Oly have decided to get the funding by clear cutting their way out, enviros be damned. This so they don’t have to raise the Tax word in an election year. This puts Goldmark squarely in the hot seat, and my other guess is that he will not run again in 2 years. This would allow him to turn on his original funders, and never pay a price. In the meantime, Peninsula pols like Tharinger and Van de Wege, will be able to show support for the logging industry, which helps their Clallam County base. Just look at the parcels being clear cut on steep slopes on both sides of Hwy 20 near Eaglemount in Jefferson County near 101. Shades of Beaver Valley Road cutting in the early part of the 2000s.
With the announcement that Inslee is not getting his way with the nomination of Jaxon Ravens to State Democratic Chairman instead of his choice of Dana Laurent, it certainly brings into question whether the base has turned on the elected officials in Olympia for failing to achieve anything of substance in the last session. It will be interesting to see, as Inslee and Goldmark get out to stump in the hinterlands this year, if they even do, whether they will face hostile party faithful in the areas that poured money into their campaigns and now find themselves wondering who these people actually represent.
Goldmark biting the hand that feeds…
Article questioning DNR decision to allow logging.
http://slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/03/27/is-there-a-connection-between-the-mudslide-and-our-states-historical-mishmash-of-logging-regulations that points to DNR ignoring scientific research on this very parcel.
Goldmark on campaign contributions:
Event(s): Public Showings of “Legacy of Our Ancestors: Treaty Resources of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe
I’ve worked on this for the last couple of years. Now’s your chance to see it and learn more about this very important neighbor of us here on the Peninsula. Various dates over the next two weeks. All showings are free, donations are welcome to help offset costs. Tonight at Hadlock at the Jefferson County Library. Tribal Elder and Co-Creator Marlin Holden will be present to share his thoughts and answer questions.
There are a lot of hypothesis’ that can be created out of this. The first one I thought of was, “is this related to sewage being dumped into the oceans?” Another one is, “If otters are being affected by human organisms, could the starfish wasting disease also be caused by something we are dumping into the ocean that we haven’t dumped before?” Ultimately, we have to prepare for a time when we must stop using our oceans as large scale septic tanks. It’s not just our poop and pee, it’s all the chemicals that get flushed down the drain, and the chemicals we put in our bodies.
Humans are particularly generous with the flu, otter-wrangling scientists have found. People shared the 2009 swine flu epidemic with ferrets, dogs, cats, raccoons and pigs, and new research shows even wild sea otters in Washington state got hit. “These otters, which we think were living in a relatively pristine environment off the Olympic Peninsula, were exposed to pathogens that are more commonly associated with people,” said Virologist Hon Ip with the U.S. Geological Survey, who co-authored the study published in the May 2014 issue of “Emerging Infectious Diseases.” Rae Ellen Bichell reports. (KPLU)