Comparative Eco-Damage

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Desertrat, Sep 18, 2003.

  1. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #1
    From this morning's World Net Daily:

    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2003/09/17/1063625088850.html

    It concerns clear-cutting of rain forest in the Mato Grosso. Then, planting soybeans.

    Now, soybeans are a good cash-crop. Nutritious and all that, too. But Brazil also has a manufacturing operation to make plastics from "seeds and stems". One of their exports is electric wire, including wiring harnesses for automobiles. (Mice love the taste of the insuation.) And I wouldn't be surprised to see computer cables with "Made in Brazil" on them.

    The politics are interesting, including (paraphrase) "It was expected the leftist president would protect..."

    Now, forestry in this country includes replanting. Other than steeply sloped mountainsides, regrowth provides a relatively fast new "crop" of trees.

    But in Brazil, they're not replanting. They're mostly burning the trees after cutting, and then farming. (One question is the issue of lateritic soils, where after a few years the land is not longer useful for cultivation.)

    So, where's ELF?

    'Rat
     
  2. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #2
    You ready to go down there to organize a cell yourself, or are you suggesting that because ELF isn't at every scene of environmental degradation that they aren't sincere?
     
  3. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Yeah, what's the point here exactly, 'rat? Would you take the ELF seriously if they were doing something about Brazilian deforestation?
     
  4. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #4
    I guess my best offering of a couple of examples of what I consider good ways to "save the environment" would be the Nature Conservancy and Ducks Unlimited.

    They raise money and buy land and protect it from development. They work with local landowners for conservation easements if outright purchase is not possible, and they work with state and federal government in cooperative fashion.

    I've always preferred "working together" above "I know what's best."

    Part of what attracted my attention to the article is the memory of the uproar over the ecological disaster predicted back some years ago, when the clear-cutting of the tropical rain forest was to be the end of Life As We Know It. It strikes me as ironic that the U.S., where the net number of trees increases annually, is attacked by such as ELF, while countries wherein little reforestation occurs see no positive action...

    'Rat
     
  5. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    The ELF is a bunch of kooks. You can hold them up as examples of kooks, but not as examples of mainstream environmentalism.

    I don't know where you've heard predictions of imminent disaster due to deforestation. Serious people don't talk in those terms because they understand that environmental disasters move in slow-motion, often nearly imperceptibly so. This makes them easy to ignore and politically unpopular to rectify. As you've pointed out, deforested rain-forests make for only marginal agricultural production. The soils are thin and rapidly depleted. Once they are gone, they don't come back. If the governments allow it, the farmers simply move on, slashing the next rain-forest, and then the next. Whether you consider yourself to be an "environmentalist" or not, this is obviously poor resource management. It's a wasteful and unsustainable system.

    I'm all in favor of land trusts. I've seen them do some magnificent work, when adequately funded. That, of course, is the catch -- most of them aren't adequately funded.
     
  6. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #6
    I fully agree that mainstream environmentalists can indeed be Good Folks.

    If you analyze the budget of the Sierra Club, take a look at how much money they spend in raising more money. I saw a breakdown of the SC, compared to other groups (Greenpeace, e.g.) It's (IMO) too high a percentage, although not as bad as ripoff pseudo-charities. Most of the remainder of the money they raise goes into lobbying. (And I've met and listened to Ned Fritz and Stuart Henry, two of the SC gurus in Texas. Nice folks, but not what I'd want as "Official Persons" in any environmental organization I'd care to join.)

    Now, I'm in favor of lobbying. It allows the various interest groups to explain their views to Elected Persons. Fine. However, when the Lone Star Chapter of SC tries to lobby the Texas Lege to pass a law protecting the mountain lion as a threatened or an endangered species, you've gone from Mainstreamburg to Kookville. In Texas, the lion is expanding in both territory and numbers.

    Audubon is a helluva lot more mature and grown up in their money-spending activities...

    'Rat
     
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    Why limit your fund raising criticism to environmental advocacy organizations like the Sierra Club? How about the NRA?
     
  8. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #8
    I don't know the percentage of NRA income which goes to fundraising. Were I to learn it's much above 15% or 20%, I'd surely gripe.

    A difficulty in assessing the activities of the NRA is that it's multi-faceted. Aside from the lobbying efforts on behalf of RKBA, for which it gets the most publicity, there is the mainstream technical firearms testing and reporting. There is the schooling provided for law enforcement. The Whittington Center is a separate effort insofar as fundraising. There are a lot of competitive events put on. In the last ten years, the distaff side of the organization has moved it into providing more women's programs.

    The other two main organizations of sizable membership are almost strictly lobbying efforts. (Gunowners of America and the Citizens' Committee to Keep and Bear Arms.) I suspect they're rather a high percentage of expenditures on further fundraising.

    I've often regretted the anti-hunting stance of the Sierra Club. The lobbying power were it allied with the NRA would be incredible.

    Remember that a birder can be overjoyed at seeing just one of a rare species. A hunter needs a surplus of a game species in order that he may hunt. Hunters (and fishermen) thus have a stronger vested interest in wildlife than do other "non-consumptive" users of the outdoors. The result is a stronger real need to protect the waters and land from pollution and development. No other group spends nearly so much money directly for the benefit of wildlife, and that includes non-game species.

    'Rat
     
  9. tazo macrumors 68040

    tazo

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    #9
    How can the ELF be expected to burn down *every* SUV dealership *and* work with the brazilian environment?

    Ya gotta have priorities....:)
     
  10. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    It depends on what you call "lobbying." The NRA is an advocacy organization -- not only do they lobby, they also run issue ads and the like. I'd be surprised if less then a quarter of their budget goes towards these activities, combined.
     
  11. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #11
    Aren't second- and third-growth forests that are replanted after clear-cutting putting out lower quality wood than the first-growth?

    Anyway, I don't really care what ELF does.

    I know other, legitimate environmentalist groups have put the deforestation of South America at the top of their agenda and are pursuing means other than petty vandalism to acheive their goals.

    But you've just cheapened their efforts by comparing them to those of a pack of pyromaniacs.
     
  12. Desertrat thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    pseudobrit, I made no comparison of ELF with legitimate environmental groups.

    I just found it intriguing that various groups have been vary vocal in the past, and now that there is an apparent acceleration in deforestation in an area of concern I'm not seeing any commentary.

    Now, it's possible that with the war in Iraq, the media's attention is not attracted to such environmental problems.

    The quality of any wood, insofar as strength, anyway, is a function of the rate of growth. Hardwoods grow much more slowly than softwoods.

    The southern forests of the U.S. illustrate my main gripe with the timber industry down here: They'll go in and clearcut, taking out oak and yellow pine and gum. They replant with paper-pulp pine. That's great, insofar as CO2 absorption, but the land then becomes a pine monoculture. Far fewer species of wildlife, and no more acorns as winter protein for deer and turkeys.

    Ever see the Weyerheuser TV ad showing the deer nibbling on some pine needles? They must have sugared the pine, 'cause no deer ever ate no pine. :( Biiiiiigggg lie.

    Temple Industries started clear-cutting in east Texas, back some 40 years ago. They got a letter at corporate headquarters: "You got the money; we got the time. You cut the hardwood, we burn the pine." T.I. started leaving hardwood islands in their timberlands. You can be gentle with folks, once you get their attention...

    'Rat
     
  13. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

    pseudobrit

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    #13
    Yeah, maybe, but nowadays that would be classified as Terrorism (capital "t") and the FBI and Dept. of Fatherland Security would be brought in to make sure their raping of nature was safe from such evildoers and thugs.
     

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