Tag Archives: hell in a handbasket

break-break for anxiety

in the middle of a blogging break (for good reasons! welcome ada marie) i bring you this article from salon.com which is scary as fuck and makes me fear for little ada’s future:

Apocalypse Now by Mike Davis.

Davis does not buy any of the Gore-style cheerleading that we might avert a climatically disastrous future through alternative energy sources and sustainable economics. Instead, he predicts that in the new “Anthropocene” (the human-determined geological era just declared “open” by the Geological Society of London) the rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer, and we will become a “planet of slums”.

postcards from the handbasket

Our trip to hell in a handbasket has been mostly passing through environmental markers, with occasional — okay, frequent — forays into the economy and civil rights. Now we’ve got rising bread prices, a scary sign that I have personally never seen in my nearly 40 years of life.

So now, farmers want to take land out of conservation programs in order to grow high-priced commodity crops. NYT 4/9 Why are the commodity crops high-priced? Because of government mandates about biofuels: The Bush plan on global warming and the energy crisis is to burn more food crops. Wow, good idea. Of course, farmers are not just being greedy. Their costs on their current croplands — fuel and fertilizer — are also rising, which means they need the most bang for their buck out of croplands. Jeff Krehbiel, apparently a wheat farmer from Oklahoma, put it this way: “Let’s hurt the farmer in order to shut the bakers up, is that what we’re saying?”

Instead of tax dollars for truly clean and renewable technologies, and conservation, the Bush people are putting our money on “clean” coal, biofuels, nuclear, hydrogen fuel cells, and other less promising technologies. Of course there are roles for these, and all technologies, but I don’t get the math.

west coast salmon collapse

Federal officials have indicated that they are likely to close the Pacific salmon fishery from northern Oregon to the Mexican border because of the collapse of crucial stocks in California’s major watershed.That would be the most extensive closing on the West Coast since the federal government started regulating fisheries.

“The Central Valley fall Chinook salmon are in the worst condition since records began to be kept,” Robert Lohn, regional administrator for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Portland, Ore., said Wednesday in an interview. “This is the largest collapse of salmon stocks in 40 years.”

Counts of young salmon, whose numbers have dwindled sharply for two years, were the first major indication of the problem. The number of fish that survive more than a year in the ocean, or jacks, is a marker for the abundance of full-grown salmon the next year. The 2007 count of the fall Chinook jacks from the Sacramento River was less than 6 percent of the long-term average, Mr. Lohn said.

The Central Valley salmon runs are concentrated in the Sacramento River, the focus of a water struggle between farmers and irrigation districts on one hand and environmental groups and fishermen on the other.

NYT, 3/13

Washington & Alaska fisheries are still okay, but of course this will put major pressure on them.