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.