Friday, May 29, 2009

Eco post of the day 

You can do devastating things with Flash video on the web. Here is a moving picture of nine years of deforestation in particularly hard hit corner of the Amazon. It is enough to turn anybody into a conservationist, if not an environmentalist.

CWCID: Paul Kedrosky.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri May 29, 08:26:00 PM:

That's one more reason why real conservationists and environmentalists support responsible oil drilling here in the U.S. rather than the ethanol hoax and its unintended consequences.  

By Anonymous feeblemind, at Fri May 29, 09:03:00 PM:

What about the sanctity of private property? What about using your property to respond to market signals and create wealth? It really annoys me when people from far away think they know better than the locals about the best use of the land. Years ago there were some pompous a$$es from the East, Rutgers or Princeton perhaps? Anyway, they wanted all the kulaks and peasants moved off the Great Plains so it could be turned into the Buffalo Commons. I can empathize with the Brazilians.  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri May 29, 09:34:00 PM:

This comment has been removed by the author.  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri May 29, 09:39:00 PM:

This isn't about Laura Ingalls Wilder and a little house on the prairie, Feeblemind. This is about crime syndicates, illegal logging companies, illegal cattle ranches for exports, and sugar-cane plantations to feed the ethanol boom. Even worse, Brazil's government was named as the worst illegal logger of Amazon forests by one of its own departments last September.

Why should it matter to you? About 20 percent of earth's oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest.  

By Blogger Kinuachdrach, at Fri May 29, 10:45:00 PM:

"Why should it matter to you? About 20 percent of earth's oxygen is produced by the Amazon rainforest."

But in order to produce oxygen (good), the rainforest needs a large supply of carbon dioxide (so that must be good too!)

Maybe we could ask for a government program. Demand that people pay more taxes so that government could produce more CO2. Our government could give our tax money to African countries that promised to produce more CO2. Of course, we are going to need to have some big international conferences -- but that's OK, since they will produce CO2 also.

Come on, everybody. The planet is at stake. We need more CO2 now!  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri May 29, 11:38:00 PM:

According to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN, "deforestation accounts for 25 percent of all man-made emissions of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2)." You don't hear a lot about that every day, do you?

That means that preserving tropical forests in Brazil, Indonesia, and other places is more important than a lot of other ideas.

Conservation was a Republican issue. Remember Teddy Roosevelt. Remember that gun-owning hunters were at the forefront of the conservation movement when few liberals cared about the issue.

Take the issue back from the extremists.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Fri May 29, 11:52:00 PM:

OT, but as it happens I'm reading The River of Doubt right now, the story of Roosevelt's amazon expedition after the Bull Moose fiasco. He nearly died on the trip through the heart of Brazil to the Amazon.

Saving the rainforest in particular and conservation in general is a great cause, for Democrats or Republicans. Why did environmental activism turn lefty, Luddite and anti-trade, instead of staying true to the causes that everyone could be supportive of, like conservation, clean air and water?  

By Blogger DEC, at Fri May 29, 11:55:00 PM:

One more thing. If you stop much of the deforestation, significantly reducing man-made emissions of CO2, and the weather doesn't change, that should provide the final answer in the global-warming debate, shouldn't it?  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat May 30, 12:09:00 AM:

Why did environmental activism turn lefty, Luddite and anti-trade, instead of staying true to the causes that everyone could be supportive of, like conservation, clean air and water?Because lefty environmentalism isn't about conservation, clean air and water. It's about political control. Well, that and funneling lots of government money into various "green businesses" and stealing lots of private money through cap and trade.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat May 30, 12:29:00 AM:

This is the PRIME objective of the global warming thugs! It has nothing to do with CO2, it is all about population growth.
But, who on the left would dare suggest that blacks and browns should limit breading? They KNOW that the answer is that whites should pay for others. In fact, this movement may also be responsible for the homosexual dynamic; what better way than NO CHILDREN to limit population growth?  

By Blogger DEC, at Sat May 30, 01:03:00 AM:

And another thing.

From an article in the New Zealand Herald, 6 Aug 2007: "Dirty brown clouds created by millions of cooking fires in Asia contribute as much to global warming as greenhouse gas emissions and are a major factor in the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, say scientists."

Therefore, we really need to do two things:

1. Stop the destruction of the rainforests.

2. Offer/provide inexpensive alternatives to wood-burning stoves in the poor villages of Asia and Africa.

That should bring the overall problem under control without interfering with the march to prosperity in developed and developing countries. And those two things are good ideas whether or not you believe the global-warming claims. If nothing else, the two steps would give the world cleaner air.

Then you can focus on alternative energy solutions and related issues in a methodical, intelligent way.

Here is the link to the NZ Herald:


By Blogger TigerHawk, at Sat May 30, 07:30:00 AM:

Excellent comments all around, particularly from DEC. There are a great many things that can be done to protect the planet, and working on the cookstoves problem and preserving the rainforests is very high on the list. Both are traditional conservationism, originally a Republican cause. They ought to be again.

The Anonymous commenter who talked about environmentalism being all about "control" is also correct, which is why I made the distinction between conservationism and environmentalism in the post.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sat May 30, 10:54:00 AM:

Clearing land for agriculture, ranching, and raw resources is part of the progress of human civilization. Brazil doesn't have a whole lot of arable land, otherwise. (unlike us, and our bountiful Midwest and great river valleys) The most fertile lands were long ago grown over and became part of the precious rainforests. They have to develop it.

It's all well and good to say that cutting down parts of rain forests is bad, but if that's what the locals have to do to develop their society then that's what they're going to do, and tough cookies to the rest of us.  

By Blogger DEC, at Sat May 30, 12:30:00 PM:

"They have to develop it."

No, they don't, DF82. The rainforest is a valuable natural resource like oil. The major countries of the world should lease the land from Brazil and preserve it, just like they buy oil.

In the long run, Brazil probably could get more money from those leases than the country would get from illegal lumber and additional cheap crops.

For us, paying "forest-protection" money would be less costly than Gore's ideas.

If Brazil refuses to lease the land, everybody should stop buying Brazilian wood and beef. We live in a market-driven world.

In many cases the problem in Brazil isn't the result of progress, pioneers, and homesteaders. It's about rich guys getting richer, chasing quick money.

Fortunately, Brazilian judges have started to return a lot of land to indigenous tribes. And the Indians plan to preserve and protect the forests.

You have to manage forests intelligently. If you look at the surviving court documents from the time of Charlemagne, you will see that Charlemagne knew exactly how many wild deer, ducks, geese, foxes and other animals he had on his vast land holdings. He had people take inventory every year.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Sat May 30, 02:01:00 PM:

You want to turn Brazil into a rentier state on pain of international embargo? Over trees?

I'm usually the aggressive, neo-imperialist, warmongering adventurer here...

And this: "The rainforest is a valuable natural resource like oil."

Is a false premise. Modern society is literally built on petroleum, from gasoline to plastics to power plants and jet fuel. Without it, the modern economy ceases.

Amazonian rain forest coverage is rather tenuously linked to what is essentially a doomsayer prophecy which is currently 9 years behind schedule. (when I was a kid, global warming [brought on by rain forest deforestation, no less] was supposed to destroy the world along with acid rain by 2000)

They're not the same thing.

But even if they were, the host state gets to decide what to do with it because it's *their* land.  

By Anonymous feeblemind, at Sat May 30, 02:31:00 PM:

I remain unrepentent. I won't quibble with any of DEC's points, but the bottom line is, as long as there is economic pressure to clear the jungle, it will happen. It is hypocritical for a person living in a former wilderness to tell a person in an undeveloped area that he is not allowed to make a living with the resources available to him. That is exactly the argument algore makes. Whether the development is illegal or not, the decisions should be made by Brazilians. Not us.  

By Blogger DEC, at Sat May 30, 02:53:00 PM:

Forty acres and a mule didn't work for the U.S. over the long term, and it won't work for Brazil either, Feeblemind.

Times have changed. With modern farming methods, the U.S., Australia, and Argentina with a handful of other countries have the potential to meet world food needs without tiny farms.

Luckily some key players in Brazil and Indonesia are starting to think my way. They are beginning to view their rainforests as treasure. Get ready for money demands to preserve the trees.

The decision is up to the Brazilians? So I guess you would say that the decisions about nuclear weapons in Iran and North Korea are up to the Iranians and the North Koreans.

Rainforests and nuclear weapons impact the lives of everyone.  

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