Thursday, August 25, 2016

Musings: Grrrr

Those who know me often comment on my happy nature and ready smile. Still, I frequently find myself rankled, irritated, peeved, perturbed, by some of the things I read. 

Like this, from Marti Townsend, director of the Hawaii Sierra Club:

So I think about this all the time. I do agree that the climate crisis is a reproductive crisis. But why is the conclusion here that the only option is to not have babies? Or some scifi weather engineering? Why not jump to the conclusion that we should just stop burning fossil fuel. Stop. It. Right Now. Keep it in the ground!

We have an inherent, human right to bear healthy children and rear them in a healthy environment. The corporations - they have no right of any kind to make money.

I know Marti travels in different circles, but I haven't anyone propose no childbirth as the solution to climate change. And surely an avowed environmentalist like Marti sees the value of population control, even among Westerners, whose kids consume far more resources than those in developing nations.

And unless you yourself have actually stopped using all fossil fuel, or buying any products, quit making stupid statements like “stop burning it right now” and “corporations have no right to make money.” Especially when you run an organization that only recently stopped taking millions from oil and gas companies, and still accepts advertising and donations from corporations.

Then there's the letter to the editor from Lihue resident Will Davis:

People who have lived, studied, and taught school in foreign nations know that US fourth, eighth, and twelve graders have very low math/science PISA scores, compared to other nations like China, Finland, Switzerland, and Korea. Autism, hyperactivity disorders, and school violence is at record levels in US students and adults.

“Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity,” published by the Lancet Neurology, 2014, reviews 12 neuro-toxicants, including chlorpyrifos (as sprayed by Syngenta), and defines correlations to neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, and other cognitive impairments.

Davis, like so many others on the anti-GMO, anti-”industrial ag” bandwagon, revel in their romanticized view of agriculture elsewhere. But as TIME reports, here's what's actually happening in the real world:

Chinese farmers are generally poorly trained and work tiny, family plots, overusing fertilizers and pesticides to the point in which land is degraded and water supplies contaminated. In 2007, farmers in southern China’s Guangdong province spread 310 kg of fertilizer per acre, according to the World Bank — six times that was used in the U.S. Experts believe 60%-70% was wasted and ended up polluting water supplies. Despite education programs encouraging farmers to use fewer chemicals, today four out of five underground wells in China produce water unfit even for bathing.

But yeah, you just keep bitching and moaning about the vile American chemical farmers and the shitty regulatory system that allows them to poison people and the aina.

Then there's Kat Brady, complaining about how it's “horribly inhumane” to require Halawa prisoners to wear striped uniforms.

Really? That's your biggest concern about the prison system? Not the lack of drug rehab and job training programs? Not the overcrowding? Not the criminalization of addicts? Not sending locals off to Arizona, away from friends and family? Not kinky, creepy wardens, like the one at KCCC? Not the exploitation of prison labor by the private companies that run prisons? But the striped clothes?

People have some really weird priorities.

Which leads me to Pamela Burns of the Hawaiian Humane Society, arguing against the control of feral cats on this premise:

A value system in which animals are classified as native, introduced, injurious or invasive creates a hierarchy in which the protection of certain animals comes at the suffering of others.

First, how can anyone claim that a feral cat riddled with fleas and other parasites, scrounging for food, fighting with other cats and getting run over by cars isn't suffering? And is allowing it to lead such a life truly more humane than euthanasia?

As for railing against a "hierarchy" of animals, get real. Do we really want to give a cockroach the same consideration as a dog, or a horse? What about the fleas and heartworms that the Hawaiian Humane Society regularly purges from the critters in its care?

I'm sorry, but monk seals, Hawaiian petrels and Newell's shearwaters, which are rare, unique and endemic to the Islands, are inherently more valuable than cats and rats, which are widespread, abundant and easily reproduced. We have a responsibility to protect endangered animals.

And that goes for the entire pack of Washington wolves slated for death because they killed some cows. Come on. Wolves are scarce. Cows are common. Pay for the cows and leave the wolves alone. Plenty of folks, me included, would be happy to donate money to cover livestock deaths rather than see the wolf population diminished further. Especially when they're tracked by their radio collars and gunned down from helicopters. Ugh.
I'll close with the illiterate ramblings of a newbie, who bought the paradise myth and arrived starry-eyed on Maui, only to discover — gasp — that it's a real place, one she must now save, despite her ignorance of the issues:
Yeah, I'm also ready for the rise of a revolution. One based on common sense, and critical thinking, instead of the usual rhetorical blather.


Allan Parachini said...

Spot on, as usual, Joan. Re the wolves, while there are isolated instances where killing animals in a limited way can assist the natural process, especially when it's an invasive animal that is killing off native life, is justifiable, clearly slaughtering these wolves is not one of those situations. I mean, really, the wolves barely hang on to escape extinction and then a decade or two later we're gonna murder them again?
Here on Kauai, as much of a cat lover as I am (two current family members are cats and many have been in the past), the feral cat problem as it relates to endangered birds can't be resolved with trap-neuter-release, because the neutered and released cat then still has 10 to 20 years of predatory life into the future. Our feral cat population needs to be depleted--hopefully by relocation off the island. But the endangered birds have to win in this.

Anonymous said...

Only now we are studying Autism and the ADH's. We had this long ago but did not what to call it. People went to school to become doctor's to research and announce a new disorder. Students in other countries put more time and effort in their education compared to us. Remember Dr. Spock(spelling?). Research showed that he was

Anonymous said...

I admit I only read the first part of that facebook screenshot you posted. Don't some frogs naturally change sexes when there aren't enough males? I'm no scientist, but I swear I read about that back in high-school.

Anonymous said...

I think these anti-GMO people need to stop eating. Then we all will be happy.

John Kauai said...

It may not be obvious, but I have often said "there are too many people in the world". So, although I may not have explicitly connected it to Climate Change, it is. Of course, I'm not proposing "no babies" as the "only" solution.

But that isn't the only problem with overpopulation. There is a Great TED talk (2014) on how computers have been taught to learn much like people do.

Uber has already deployed self-driving cars in Pittsburg. (They still have drivers right now, but we should all know the goal is to get rid of the drivers. I've read 3-years. Won't that be interesting for Kauai?)

So maybe robots are a solution to Climate Change. They will be able to survive even if the rest of humanity doesn't. ;^> /s

On a more serious note, these learning algorithms are going to make it difficult for humans to compete for jobs, meaning even more pressure on the need for change in Hawaii schools.

Which brings us back to the feral cat problem. I support culling the cats (and perhaps the one pack of wolves considering they are 1 of 19 packs in Washington State and the only one, apparently, going after cattle -- but... I'll support Joan's campaign to pay for the dead cows to keep that pack alive. Where do I send the money Joan?)

Now, coming back full circle, the reason all those cows are on the 'public range' (being used by Cliven Bundy who refuses to pay grazing fees) is because there are so many people (who want to eat cows), so how do we reduce beef demand so the wolves can have that area to themselves? In other words how do we cull the human race? (It is a thought question, not a proposal.)

Yes, my forehead is bloody. I appreciate Joan's column because it gives me more reasons to keep masochistically banging away.

Anonymous said...

Most of us as kids got a smack on the head if we misbehaved or did not perform in shcool. "Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity" WTF Japan and Germany were bombed to all creation and the adults and kids that came out of these lead filled, phosphorus bombed, nuclear bombed countries created huge economies, educated masses and fine societies. Just the same with Vietnam, this country was drenched in Agent Orange and today Voila! a country that is on its way to prosperity.
There are many countries that have overcome complete obliteration, chemical saturation and poisoned water and ground.
These countries didn't cry and whine...they worked and obeyed laws and progressed.
We are turning into a nation of Namby-Pambies, blaming others for any misfortune. Shit Happens, deal with it. We will all get something someday and die anyway....Who ya gonna blame for the Wheel of Life? Namaste.
And the Hippy labor force is alive and well. Neal the Squeal was one of the first to tap into this day labor. Not bad, work a farm, get a few bucks, sleep in a tent, go surf, sh*t in a bucket.
The NS farmers leading the way, shucks, we gots more Hippies coming every day. An endless labor pool.

Anonymous said...

Today we live in a SUE world not Wayne's World. Make one fucking mistake and you get sued. Everybody is advertising that they are the best to get you a fair and equitable settlement. No need work after that. Class action lawsuit for contracting Hep A. Poor Genki Sushi. Kauai is getting with the trend. Scary world out there. Anybody want to buy red dirt dust............

Anonymous said...

First, how can anyone claim that a person riddled with fleas and other parasites, scrounging for food, fighting with other people and getting run over by cars isn't suffering? And is allowing a person to lead such a life truly more humane than euthanasia? Much of the world's population live like this so let's do the humane thing and kill them.

Anonymous said...

NS farms leading the way in sex slavery. Check the facts!!!!!!! Old men (gentleman farms) preying on young females and drug addicted criminals hiding as woofers. Yeah they get a tent and work the land but if you want to get into the house then you have to put out. It's a sick perverted fantasy island that they live in. EXPOSED

Anonymous said...

6:17 60 is the new 40. Not old. But 20 is still 20. Very young.
A warm shower and clean room is worth how much? But as they say "he is such a nice man".
But the point is they are growing organic and do not have GMO, so it is OK.

Anonymous said...

Crazy talk.

Anonymous said...

Not exposed until you name the perps

Anonymous said...

That's what they said about the Warden.

Anonymous said...

It's the same answer that the county uses to cover up the collusion over and over. They called KPinkerton Crazy for years and what? He BEAT the county and the dirty pigs like little sandbox children.

John Kauai said...

"Neal the Squeal"?
"Pinkerton Crazy"?

I wish you guys would be more explicit. Or that I knew the code.

Unknown said...

right on target, per usual. the ignorance literally makes me sick to my stomach. can't wait for the pot clubs to open up ;) you're not alone Joan!

Joan Conrow said...

I said those who know me comment on my happy nature and ready smile. The nasty comments are from those who don't actually know me.

J. said...

Hi Joan, in case you aren't familiar with her work, Kat Brady is the director of the Community Alliance on Prisons and an indefatigable advocate for people in contact with the criminal justice system. She's a constant presence at the Capitol working to reform the criminal justice system, as well as a wide range of issues related to social and economic justice. She regularly testifies on bills and publishes near-daily newsletters with substantive news and information about these issues. Her Civil Beat essay analyzes one facet of the prison system that diminishes the dignity of incarcerated persons and fails to prepare them to reenter society--which is one part of the mindset that leads to the very problems you listed. You may not agree with her analysis, or think this particular issue was worthy of a column, but I did want to say that Kat has worked actively for years on the issues you mentioned, with deep compassion and dedication. You can learn more about CAP here if you're interested:

Joan Conrow said...

Thanks. I am quite familiar with Kat Brady's work, which is why I was surprised to see her focusing on this relatively trivial issue. Surely she can't think it's even near the top of the list of priorities.