Clarity Blog

Clarity Blog

Posts Tagged ‘environmentalism’

Body Blows

The Susan G. Komen group sustained a bit of a body blow over the last week when it canceled funding to Planned Parenthood, then reinstated it, then fired an executive over all the embarrassments that ensued.  There’s talk of permanent damage, but if they hunker down, get a lot smarter and stay on their breast cancer mission, they’ll be OK.

Maybe the same can’t be said for global warming advocates, because a sustained barrage of body blows does a cause much more harm than a single blow, or even a triple blow, like Komen just felt.

The latest salvo against global doom prophets came today in Germany’s Bild newspaper (circulation, oh, about 16 million!), and in the new #1 best-seller in Germany, upon which the Bild story is based.  Since we don’t read German, we will borrow from a post on the No Tricks Zone blog, which specializes in reporting climate news from Germany, in English.

“THE CO2 LIES … pure fear-mongering … should we blindly trust the experts?”

That’s what Germany’s leading daily Bild (see photo) wrote in its print and online editions today, on the very day that renowned publisher Hoffmann & Campe officially released a skeptic book – one written by a prominent socialist and environmental figure.

This is huge. More than I ever could have possibly imagined. And more is coming in the days ahead! The Bild piece was just the first of a series.

Mark this as the date that Germany’s global warming movement took a massive body blow.

Today, not one, but two of Germany’s most widely read news media [The other was Der Spiegel.]  published comprehensive skeptical climate science articles in their print and online editions, coinciding with the release of a major climate skeptical book, Die kalte Sonne (The Cold Sun).

Germany has now plunged into raucus discord on the heated topic of climate change.

Die kalte Sonne is written by a Social Democrat/green activist who is credited as one of the fathers of Germany’s powerful green movement, teamed with a geologist/paleontologist.   That’s akin to a general defecting to the other side in the heat of battle.

Some numbers from the book:  800 sources cited, 80 charts and figures, 20,000 copies in the first print run … and most important, #1 on Amazon.de.

Expect the German environmental movement to throw everything they’ve got at this over the next few weeks, and then some.  Everything from alternative findings to character assassination will be used to tromp down the furor and assure the public that they still need to follow the rules and accept the high cost of fighting global warming.

The global warming activists will hold on for now, but the movement has to realize that when major news media turn against them, it’s akin to a major ally – not just a general – changing sides during a war.  They shouldn’t minimize the harm Bild, Der Spiegel and Die kalte Sonne’s sales will do to their cause.

Wholesale Species Listings Wholly Rotten

We never thought we’d write one of those sophomoric “What do X and Y have in common” leads, but never say never. Here we go:

Nevares Spring naucorid bug

What do the Amargosa tryonia, American wolverine, ashy storm petrel, Big Bar hesperian, black-footed albatross, Brand’s phacelia, California golden trout, canary duskysnail, Casey’s June beetle, cinnamon juga, disjunct pebblesnail, flat-top pebblesnail, globular pebblesnail, goose creek milk-vetch, knobby rams-horn, Lost Creek pebblesnail, Mardon skipper butterfly, Mohave ground squirrel, Mojave fringe-toed lizard, Mono Basin sage grouse, Nevares Spring naucorid bug, nugget pebblesnail, Orcutt’s hazardia, Oregon spotted frog, Pacific fisher, potem pebblesnail, Ramshaw Meadow sand-verbena, Red Mountain buckwheat, Red Mountain stonecrop, San Bernardino flying squirrel, San Fernando Valley spineflower, Shasta chaparral, Shasta hesperian, Shasta sideband, Shasta Springs pebblesnail, Sierra Nevada mountain yellow-legged frog, Siskiyou mariposa lily, Siskiyou sideband, Soldier Meadows cinquefoil, Sprague’s pipit, Tahoe yellow cress, Tehachapi slender salamander, Tehamana chaparral, umbilicate pebblesnail, Vandenberg monkeyflower, Webber’s ivesia, western fanshell, western gull-billed tern, western yellow-billed cuckoo, Wintu sideband, Xantus’s murrelet and Yosemite toad have in common?

Answer: They’re all from California – and they were all just pushed forward towards endangered species listings following smoke-filled-room negotiations between America’s premier environmental litigation mill, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (We’ll leave you to imagine what kind of smoke filled that room … maybe it was Vandenberg monkeyflower smoke … maybe not.)

We are familiar with the Red Mountain buckwheat, San Fernando Valley spineflower and the Tehachapi slender salamander through our regulatory communications work. We are also familiar with the Endangered Species Act and how it’s supposed to work. This isn’t it.

The species are among 757 species pushed forward towards listings as a result of an “historic” settlement of one of the Center’s nearly countless lawsuits.  (Why do the big environmental organizations always say everything they do is historic? Are they seeking eternal purpose?) They call it historic; we call it mind-numbing and a travesty.

The Endangered Species Act has a process to be followed for petitioning for a species to be listed, and for the review of those petitions. The members of Congress who approved the Act never imagined such wholesale actions as this, brought about by legal strong-arming instead of scientific analysis.

The Service is supposed to make the decision whether or not to move a species forward towards the listing process based on scientific findings presented in the listing petition, not litigation. Affected parties are supposed to weigh in on the petitions as interested parties – but were they in the smoke-filled rooms? No.

The CBD has become very adept at forcing these sorts of actions, which remind us of the mass weddings the Rev. Moon puts on – sure the numbers are impressive, but how deep is the knowledge all those brides and grooms really have of each other? How deep was the knowledge the Service’s negotiators had of the 757 listing petitions before them? How could they be at all familiar with the immediacy of the threat to 26 birds, 31 mammals, 67 fish, 22 reptiles, 33 amphibians, 197 plants and 381 of those cute and cuddly invertebrates spread across all 50 states?

Clearly, the listing petitions didn’t get the attention they deserved, and the public didn’t get the process it is entitled to under our Constitution.

Do we think the Endangered Species Act to ever be implemented through a rational, science-based, fair process? No. We’ve been called upon because of our regulatory communications and public affairs expertise to promote several ESA reform efforts over the years and we know what it’s like to bang our heads repeatedly into a Sacred Cow.  Still, it would be nice if the most egregious excesses in its implementation, like today’s example, would go extinct.

A Picture Can Defeat A Thousand Arguments

Take a moment to consider this photo of fish swimming about happily in the seawater intake of an ocean desalination plant in Perth, Australia.

The photo notwithstanding, opponents of desalination plants often attack them because of the supposedly horrible things the plants’ seawater intake and brine dispersal systems do to marine life.  Since most (all?) regulators haven’t put on scuba gear to judge the reality for themselves, the opponents’ arguments often are persuasive.

They need not be.  Proponents of desalination can respond to this line of attack with  scientific studies countering the claims, and should – but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words – even a thousand words in a scientific study.  And a video is worth much more.

Please view the video linked below.  Once you’ve viewed it, you’ll wonder how the opponents of desalination get away with their claims.

Desalination Close-up

As you saw, there is no indication marine life is being harmed by either the intake or brine dispersal systems of ocean desalination plants.  In fact, just the opposite appears to be true – the critters are thriving.  How are they going to counter that?

Here at LP&A, we spend a lot of time writing messages, but we know that sometimes it’s best to put away the keyboard and just show the message.

Fact-Checking Democrats’ Water Statement

Last week’s Congressional water hearing in Fresno, if nothing else, produced thousands of acre-feet of hyperbole – if politically expedient but morally challenged statements can be measured that way.  The Natural Resource Defense Council’s particularly reprehensible propaganda is discussed in the post below; this post focuses on an article covering the position of Congressional Democrats regarding the hearing, “California Lawmakers Seek Statewide Approach to Water Supply.”

The article quotes Grace Napolitano as the lead spokesperson for the Dems.  We like Napolitano on water issues.  Her district runs from East Los Angeles to Pomona, so she understands that her constituents are largely dependent on water delivered to Southern California from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the Colorado River.  As the former chair and current ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Water and Power, she has done a lot to support a Delta solution and to bring federal dollars to groundwater clean-up, recycling and desalination efforts.

Fortunately for our positive view of Napolitano (just on water issues, mind you), the statement that we’re fact-checking here was not attributed to the Congresswoman, so we must credit it to the editors and writers at Environmental Protection, where the article appeared.  Here it is:

Last year, the state reported that the closure of salmon fishing cost the economy at least $250 million. Recent studies have estimated that nearly 2,000 salmon fishermen have been unable to work over the last three years, job loss figures comparable to the number of farm workers who could not work due to pumping restrictions during the drought. (emphasis added)

On its face, this statement is true.  Job losses among salmon fishers are comparable to job losses among farm workers who couldn’t find work because drought and environmental restrictions shut of the spigot to many Central Valley farms.  The comparison is this:  Salmon industry job losses are probably one percent or so of agricultural job losses.

In the town of Mendota alone, which I visited when its unemployment rate hit 38 percent at the peak of the weather-and-regulatory drought, if we assume half of the town’s population of 10,000 is made up of workers, then 1,900 people were unemployed in that town alone. There are towns like Mendota every few miles throughout the  Central Valley, so the editors of Environmental Protection are guilty of minimizing human suffering for political gain, a not uncommon but always unwise tactic.

Besides, there is no consensus whatsoever that the decline in California salmon populations can be tied to pumping water south from the Delta.  In fact, the consensus seems to be shifting to blaming any number of other causes, including ammonia from sewage treatment plants, predation by non-native striped bass, oceanic conditions’ impact on salmon food supply, overpopulation of protected predatory sea mammals, and others.

Everything I’ve learned in a career in public affairs and strategic communications tells me the complex debate over California water supply and the challenging (and likely impossible) effort to find a course of action that pleases all constituents is not furthered by this sort of destructive and divisive language.

California’s Universities are the Best

Finally, a survey has shown that through diligence, hard work and unending commitment, California’s universities – Berkeley in particular – are the best in the whole wide world.  Unfortunately, it’s for all the wrong reasons.  Here’s why:

The University of California, Berkeley, has been crowned top … of the world’s most environmentally friendly higher education institutions.

The “UI Green Metric Ranking of World Universities” is based on several factors, including green space, electricity consumption, waste and water management and eco-sustainability policies.

Based on research and surveys conducted by the Green Metric team at the University of Indonesia on thousands of other universities around the world, University of California, Berkeley, United States scored best with a points total of 8,213 and is the greenest campus in terms of its environment policy.

Berkeley got the title, but the award really goes to the entire UC system, the UC Board of Regents and the UC faculty as a whole, because the green policies established at Berkeley are not unlike those at all the UC campuses.  So it’s fair to say that California has the greenest public institutions of higher education in the world.

Now don’t get us wrong.  We’re all about green space, conservation and eco-sustainable policies.  Whether there’s a looming eco-catastrophe or not (we think it’s “not”), it makes sense to be good stewards of our shared resources.  No, the problem we have with Berkeley’s new glory is that it’s really just the outgrowth of the deeper commitment to environmentalist brainwashing education that goes on at UC campuses.  If it weren’t for Regents who have bought into environmental doctrine, a faculty that’s bought into environmental extremism, and a curriculum that ensures wave after wave of freshly minted environmentalist soldiers will be graduating every spring and going into battle for Gaea, Berkeley would not be at the top of the green university rankings.

It’s what I – Laer – refer to as California’s PEER Axis, standing for progressives, environmentalists, educators and reporters.  I wrote about it a few months ago in a well-read op/ed that ran just after the mid-term election on the national news website The Daily Caller:

While the established political parties and their consultants will ignore California and pore over campaigns in other states for clues on how to capitalize on — or crush — the Tea Party’s influence, the Left will be studying what happened in California, so they can replicate it the next time around. What they will find is not so much a magic formula but a vast progressive infrastructure they will then work to replicate elsewhere.

I call this infrastructure the PEER Axis, for the progressives, environmentalists, educators and reporters who collectively run California and influence the underpinnings of America. The PEER Axis remains powerful because politicians and political movements may come and go, but government bureaucrats and regulators, environmentalists and social justice activists, and their supporters in education and the media are pretty much forever. The structure of California ensures that appropriately indoctrinated college graduates will continue to fill the personnel pipelines that run from Berkeley, UCLA and other liberal universities straight into the progressive movement.

Many end up in government offices in Sacramento, where they write policies that are parroted in other states around the nation, as evidenced by the fact that the federal government is following California’s lead in setting the next round of vehicle fuel economy standards. Others will go to work at California’s giant environmentalist organizations, social justice NGOs and activist law firms, or the powerful public employee unions. Some will stay on the campuses, turning out future generations of progressives and writing studies to reinforce and justify progressive government policies, and those who graduate into the media will publicize these efforts and belittle any contrarian thinking. Many will find jobs in California’s foremost culture-bending venture, Hollywood, where they will pummel all the world with green messages (The China Syndrome, Avatar), anti-corporate tirades (Metropolis, Wall Street), anti-war propaganda (Apocalypse Now, In the Valley of Elah) and movies challenging conventional values (Milk, Juno).

Wherever they end up, they will be greeted by like-minded alumnae ready to show them the ropes so they, too, can form and implement policy, bring lawsuits, and mold the next generation.

In my 30 years as an Orange County and California public affairs specialist (maybe even a guru, now that my hair is gray), I’ve watched the PEER Axis in action.  It has transformed California from a state that spawned great private enterprises and embraced needed public infrastructure into a state that could easily win the same award Berkeley just one, if such an award were given.

Defeating the PEER Axis isn’t an option I see playing out in my lifetime, so I’ve made it my work, and my agency’s work, to win skirmishes, shine a spotlight on their activities and in so doing, dull the edge of their blade. Care to join us in the good fight?

We’ll Stand by the Parasites

Filthy parasites?

In case you missed the news, three people at the Discovery Channel headquarters were held hostage today by James Lee, a madman who had “beef” with the network. Unlike the typical disgruntled former employee hostage-taker, Lee was a crazed uber-environmentalist who felt the Discovery Channel isn’t living up to what he saw as its responsibility to save the planet.

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Furry Vengeance: Anti-Growth Activism with a Side of Chocolate Milk

A new, kid-friendly comedy, Furry Vengeance, hits theaters April 30, chronicling a cast of loveable critters as they conspire to make the life of a developer (played with maximum evil buffoonery by Brendan Fraser) a living hell.  But don’t take it from me, here’s how this lovely bit of slam-the-developer is being marketed:

This hilarious film depicts the inventive and clever ways forest animals fight back against thoughtless humans whose development plans encroach on their habitat.

Of course the story line doesn’t mention EIRs, open space dedications with management endowments in perpetuity, or any of that boring stuff.  Instead, it’s another piece from the same folks that brought us An Inconvenient Truth, targeting our kids with an eco-activism message. The movie’s marketing plans include a “Social Action Network” complete with materials and games to teach kids how to vilify development.  No, really.  Its goal is to “educate and engage future environmentalists” and to help kids – your kids – “develop skills and deeper knowledge of habitat and animal protection issues.”

Here at LP&A, we happen to think habitat and animal protection is a stellar idea.  We’ve been involved in the approvals of new communities whose developers have set aside a combined 350 square miles of protected open space – more by far than the producers of Furry Vengeance have protected, we’ll wager.  We just don’t like it when one-sided messages go straight from Hollywood to the next generation, complete with suggested school curricula and Furry Vengeance stuffed animals and lunch boxes.

Kids are Key

While we disagree with their one-sided, anti-development message, the Earth Goddess evangelists of Furry Vengeance got one thing right: Young kids are a powerful audience that shouldn’t be overlooked.  Reaching out to them can spread goodwill, combat rumors, and have a surprisingly positive impact on your approval process.  The alternative is to let a talking squirrel from Hollywood get the last word on your well-balanced proposed project.