Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Musings: So Weird

Out with the dogs, walking in the welcome fresh coolness of pre-dawn, moon on the fat side of half, but waning, Waialeale bare-topped, angel wing clouds spanning the southwest, stars glimmering gold and red. So peaceful, so perfect.

So weird, how Hawaii researchers go to great trouble and expense to again confirm what has been known for decades — feral cats and rats prey heavily on ground-nesting birds — yet so little is being done to address it.

So weird, how Terry Lilley continues to make totally bogus claims, yet is still treated as a credible source on coral disease by our local newspaper. Most recently, Lilley boldly — and falsely — stated that Waipa Foundation had released “tons of toxic mud” into Waipa Stream and “illegal digging at Waipa is killing the corals” on Waikoko reef. In fact, Waipa has all its permits for the new building under construction there, and a recent check by the state Department of Health found no violations. What's more, 10 years of water monitoring show Waipa estuary is significantly cleaner today than it was a decade ago, due at least in part to better land management activities implemented by Waipa Foundation.

So weird how Kauai County has a revered governing document known as the charter, but like our planning department, it functions only on a complaint basis. In other words, if you're upset that former Planning Director Ian Costa executed a landowner-friendly agreement without the mayor's signature, or that former first deputy prosecutor Jake Delaplane got his job even though he didn't have the required experience, you have to make a complaint to the Board of Ethics and wait months for a decision that most likely will amount to nothing, or perhaps a slap on the wrist. So what, really, is the point of having a charter when it can be violated pretty much with impunity?

So weird, how biotech scientists are mutating animals in a supposed search for the cause of Alzheimers, Parkinson's, cancer, when those diseases may well be caused by the chemicals, particularly those found in RoundUp, that are used so heavily on the biotech crops that were supposedly developed to solve the world's food woes, as this research paper convincingly argues.

So weird, how we're playing God, when we don't even fully understand this beautiful, complex planet and remain largely in denial about the havoc we're wreaking upon it with so many of our clever inventions. Speaking of which, the European Union has approved a two-year restriction on using three neonicotinoids — pesticides made by Bayer and Syngenta, and implicated in the decline of honeybees — on flowering crops. As the Independent reports:

The issue has fiercely divided the scientific community.
Professor Lin Field, head of biological chemistry and crop protection at Rothamsted Research, said he feared the decision was based on "political lobbying" and could cause governments to overlook other factors contributing to declining bee numbers, such as climate change and viruses spread by mites.
But Dr Lynn Dicks, a research associate at the University of Cambridge, said that despite the contradictory studies, the EU was right to err on the side of caution. "This is a victory for the precautionary principle, which is supposed to underlie environmental regulation," she said.

So weird how we get all cautious about liquids on airplanes and bike helmets and second-hand smoke while ignoring or downplaying all the social degradation and environmental contamination generated by what we now deem “progress.”

So weird how dandelions, once cherished as a nutrient-dense springtime green, are now considered a scourge to be poisoned by those who instead purchase pre-chopped iceberg lettuce bagged in plastic and multivitamin pills.

So weird how the state “improves” the Kalalau Trail, which encourages more clueless hikers to use it, and then completely fails to manage it, but freaks out when people who should never be there do use it and get hurt. Kauai firefighters are now getting up to three rescue calls per week from the trail, which puts their lives unnecessarily at risk. As KITV reports,  the state is looking to adopt more controls, like perhaps limiting the number of visitors in the park and on the trail — hello! — and stationing a ranger at the trailhead to dissuade dummies. Kauai Fire Capt. Sam Lee Jr. is quoted as saying:

All it really takes sometimes is somebody to warn somebody, hey, just be careful and maybe we can save somebody.”

If only. I don't know about you, but I've warned countless tourists about the dangers of waves, reefs, trails, sun, dogs, what have you. And invariably the response is some version of piss off, beat it, mind your own business, I know what I'm doing.

So weird, that human propensity to ignore clear warnings, engage in foolish behavior, and then cry, "save me!"


Anonymous said...

our politicians (i.e. the 'merrie mayor') only care about themselves and getting re-elected to serves themselves and their friends.

we, as citizens, are screwed.

Anonymous said...

3 calls a week to save tourists?! I hope these tourists get charged each time and not the Kauai taxpayer.

Anonymous said...

So weird?
No mystery!


No mystery what so ever. Pretty plain and simple.

Let's clean it up. All we have to do is keep track of this column. I'm sure the bibliography contains all the ugly dirt.

Anonymous said...

Weirdly, Syngenta is coming your way... Syngenta moving Oahu research operations to Kauai http://www.bizjournals.com/pacific/blog/morning_call/2013/04/syngenta-moving-oahu-research.html?ana=RSS&s=article_search&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bizj_pacific+%28Pacific+Business+News+of+Honolulu%29

Anonymous said...


So what can we do when the Ethics Commission makes a decision based on legal advice they sought but none was ever given? Basically lied in commission decision letter?

Public document proves this.

Anonymous said...

there really is nothing more amusing that reading the minutes to the ethics commission because it continues to contain a seemingly unending supply of violations of ethics and yet there are never any employee dismissals (firings) of the violators...EVER.

Anonymous said...

You don't think you can have a permit (and an inspection) and still cause damage? Digging a little deeper here would be appropriate, Joan. The reefs are dying and Lilley deserves thanks for outing this disease. Trashing him when the real issue is the reefs is not productive.

Joan Conrow said...

Yes, you can have a permit and inspection and still cause damage, but that was not the case here.

I did dig into this, much deeper than Terry did, and I found his accusations were wrong.

Just because Terry "outed" the reef disease doesn't give him license to make wildly false claims. And unfortunately, this isn't the first time.

Anonymous said...

OMG!!! Don't they hear us?!


What do we do next?!

Anonymous said...

Its really sad that the state DNLR officers do nothing but sit there steroid bodies in there shiny trucks and do nothing time and time again, while KFD does all there work on the trail!They should be out on the trail it is there job!

Anonymous said...

It's also very sad that the DOH is slowly eliminating its vector control branch in favor of a hire-as-needed operation with private companies to control rats. Right now, vector control on Kauai works only on mosquitoes.

Anonymous said...

Dandelions are essential in the treatment of liver diseases and many others.

My mother used to pick dandelion ╩╗weeds╩╗ from our front yard in Maryland and steam them and serve them. Her mother, my grandmother, was a Swedish doctor.