A great deal of HOT AIR
44th Annual Earth Day and Global warming
A few years ago at a holiday dinner with some in-laws (who reside in the rarified atmosphere of Olympia, Washington’s state capital) the subject of global warming surfaced... typically we don’t talk much politics at family gathering, because if I’m in attendance the point of view is not in concert, as I do not drink the Olympia Cool-Aid. Thus when challenged (as a minority of one or two in that audience) with, “... and I suppose YOU’RE one of those global warming DENIERS,” my reply was factually based, “...not at all, we’ve been warming since the end of the last Little Ice Age.”
Perspective, history and actual repeatable, reliable experience, is the crux of the scientific method, which precious few of the general public, and their representatives in congress demonstrably appreciate. This reality is not lost on the environmental industry, or business, where “science” is constantly used as a buzz word that lends authority especially to public policy debates, with little regard to the process exercised over time, which yields the data that leads us over time to sort out anomalies from the real world as it actually functions.
Partial knowledge, pulling the bits of pieces of data that support your preconceived position, or designing a study such that it will yield the data you seek, is a very high risk enterprise that more closely resembles the mythology of the dark ages, than a revelation of the scientific method.
How this relates to our present circumstances stems back to a frequent saying of the founder of Loggers World, Finley Hays, who noted with some disgust that presently, “...when you say a lie enough times it (has the tendency to) is accepted as the truth.”
The Chinese viewpoint
As we’ve become reacquainted with Chinese culture, we’re reminded their point of view is both very long term and patient. Historically they’ve demonstrated that realizing a given goal is a long term process that may take many generations.
The environmental industry uses this same Chinese model: patient, persistent, any means being acceptable to reaching the end, mixing fear with convenient facts, and using any crisis to advance your overall agenda should never be wasted.
When one calls into question the motivations of the environmental industry, inevitably your comments must be hedged in first noting “...a lot of good has come from the environmental movement,” which is true. However when it comes to accountability for their mistakes, missteps, and egregious regulatory and legislative over-reach they have and continue to receive a free ride.
To the positive side of the ledger, as a population we’re far more conscious of our responsibility to do things responsibly, and consider a project including the potential ramifications, especially in the business of logging . No one finds fault with doing the best job possible.
To the negative side of the ledge are the many entities who have profited handsomely and continuously from the ongoing environmental zealotry, where the goal is not in doing things better, but in profiting from the process and finding a way for your personal profit.
The basic rule of thumb in finding the culprits: FOLLOW THE MONEY, Duh. Why is the environmental industry leadership composed primarily of the legal community? Concern for Mother Earth, maybe? Perhaps concern with their own ongoing revenue stream? Why heavens no, its only coincidence environmental law is one of the RICHEST and fastest growing of all legal fields. Altruism pays very well.
But the revenue stream extends far further: Academia, government at all levels, private firms dealing with environmental “clean ups,” testing, mitigations, and navigating the maze of agencies, forms, etc. required by legislation and regulation.
This is concern for the environment? Again, perhaps, but numerous entities are mired in the trough of cash that has very little to do with on the ground solutions.
While you may think carbon taxes, and cap and trade issues are dead, think again. Turn on your children or grandchildren’s television and video programs they watch. The regularity of the environmental agenda is palpable (Note above: when frequently repeated, opinion, and propaganda morph into fact). Youth is not a barrier to the environmental industry message, young minds are easier to bend.
At the recently completed Washington Contract Loggers Assn. Annual Meeting, we were presented with yet another approach, albeit sincere, which bore a familiar tone in slightly different packaging, or “repackaging” in marketing terms. Yoram Bauman, PhD. Economist, presentation revolved around “Environmental Tax Reform,” based on “...best climate policy in the world is in British Columbia,” which has been in place since 2008. “In the view of many economists including myself... it’s a good policy.” And perhaps that’s true, at least for BC.
Bauman and a group of others (see the web site at: http://carbonwa.org/) have formed a political interest group, Carbon Washington, that’s based on the BC plan, which was presented as a new source of revenue (from tax on carbon, especially fuels), which will then offset and reduce existing taxes (for instance a reduction on sales tax by one (1.0%) percent. And perhaps that will work, but rather it works or not, one needs to be aware of it for two reasons: 1) in its preliminary form its more effective to challenge and change so it may be workable and 2) know that taxes rarely (if ever) go down or stay down.
There is always the chance this proposal may work out, however I refer back to the earlier paragraphs and pose the question, “who profits,” and who benefits? The central issue in environmental activism is not so much the environment but the constant encroachment of government into our lives well beyond the original stated intent. Who profits from these measures with certainty are the: bureaucrats at all levels, the academics, and believers in a larger government willing to remove all risk from our lives at the cost of our own individual power and freedom.
A cleaner environment needs to be assessed at a cost/benefit ratio and measurable results beyond a series of graphs based on computer modeling. One needs to keep in mind the concern and alarm over “global cooling” scare of 45 years ago share the same source as those selling and rebranding global warming today. They are patient, persistent, and have found a very deep trough full of government (that would be our) money to pay them well taken care of with plenty of upside for growth, regardless of what the cost may be to the rest of us. All we ask is to accurately assess the costs, benefits, and downsides rather than just march forward without questioning. The proponents literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain, which makes me a bit cynical as to their motivation beyond the “benefit of mankind.”
A lot of hot air
We try to get several things done at a time, particularly when traveling good distances from the home office thus when heading for a conference or multiple-day meeting, we do what we can to have lined up a story or stories with logging contractors to break up the drive and give us some exposure to reality along the way.
In a perfect world, everyone has the time, the weather is at least dry, and all logging sides are within close proximity... however we live and work in the real world where equipment breaks, mills are down, the roads are too soft to haul, or the weather interferes and is uncooperative. And just as occurs with logging you improvise and press on: no pain, no gain, plan further ahead, and stay in touch.
We’d known well in advance we’d travel to Spokane, Washington for the Washington Contract Loggers Association Annual Meeting in mid-March and had hopes of catching a story along the way, however this span of time in that physical location means breakup, which in turn means few if any are working due to winter’s end, along with roads being too wet to haul on. Undeterred, we planned ahead contacting Vaagen Bros. forester Josh Anderson to see who might still be working and had four or five pretty good leads a few weeks before the trip, the wisdom being with multiples your odds improve. In addition had a few possibilities on the on the way towards Spokane.
Nature does as it does, and the week prior our departure east our drying than usual January and February led into the wettest March on record (wet even by west-side standards), with some likelihood no one would be working due to breakup. Again, why it’s wise to have alternatives.
Fortunately, one of our primary contacts, D.E. Witlow Logging was still working up by the Canadian border the Thursday before the conference. As it turned out, God displayed a sense of humor as well because Whitlow was also the ONLY logger still working as well. Whew.