Home | About | Donate

Goodbye Grasslands. Goodbye Birds. Goodbye Carbon Sink


#1

Goodbye Grasslands. Goodbye Birds. Goodbye Carbon Sink.

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Much attention has been given to the deforestation in the Amazon and the environmental impacts that go with it.


#2

You can safely bet your last nickle that most of the "annual crops" planted on those 53 million acres plowed up since 2009 are GMO crops requiring record heavy application of herbicides that is polluting water more than ever.


#3

Humankind seem intent on the death of our Mother and all Her creatures - we as well will be lucky to survive the quest for "growth" and profits above all else.

"We are the most dangerous species of life on the planet, and every other species, even the earth itself, has cause to fear our power to exterminate. But we are also the only species which, when it chooses to do so, will go to great effort to save what it might destroy." - Wallace Stegner


#4

"A high percentage of what we’re plowing up now are poor soils in landscapes that regularly experience drought.": Clearly this points to the fact that the lessons of the Dust Bowl Era have not been learned. What insanity!


#5

Corn for ethanol. So Big Ag can cash in on the fossil fuel industry by pretending to offer a beneficial alternative. Corn for high fructose corn syrup. Gotta have our sweet fizzies. Subsidized corn for export as an economic weapon to destabilize and co-opt foreign local markets. And the list goes on.


#6

Can you say subsidies galore for every part of Industrial Farming and Agr-Business for The Heart(less)land. The Midwest has pigs flying over it everyday, spreading manure, and congratulating themselves on their fortunate circumstances. Which was The Federal Gov't murdering Native Americans and then land speculators ( banks, etc. ) buying the lands for $1 an acre. To be subsidized and resold, by the same gov't, and same speculators, to the veterans of the Civil and Indian Wars. Great deal for white males and bankers. Who'd of thunk?:wink:


#7

"So it goes..."


#8

I suppose that one could comment that there would be less problem with our exhausting the environment in present times if we had addressed the issue of population control a generation or two ago, but that is obvious and there should be no need for it to be said.

Mentioning population control is an easy way to get criticized in left wing forums, as if there is always room for expansion. Kind of an American attitude. Besides it could be argued that most of the pressure on the grasslands is due to the Capitalist system that we live under that makes it profitable to convert these carbon sink areas and their biodiversity into a fiat currency form of wealth. Both our numbers and our Capitalist system are contributing to this problem.

A sensible plan to control population requires long-term thinking, but we currently live under a neoLiberal system. If such a plan were to be conceived and implemented there will be a rather long delay between a reduction in the number of babies born and the reduction in the population many decades later, but neoLiberalism is (inadvertently?) already implementing a solution - it creates for much of the population the conditions where raising children is very expensive and as a result the number of babies being born per woman has dropped. I very much doubt if this "solution" had anything at all to do with population control, otherwise our societies would become serious about collectively looking after seniors because zero child, one child, and two child families cannot be expected to reliably provide much support for seniors in their old age, especially under neoLiberal rule where wages are pushed down and healthcare privatized and there are pressures to reduce and privatize the supports that the seniors have already paid for. In fact it might be argued that population control is not compatible with neoLiberal rule unless neoLiberal rule accepts that humanely looking after seniors is a collective responsibility that we need to address and decides to do something about. Fat chance of that.

For those who will argue that there is plenty of room for more people and we should not discuss population control, well one could argue that there is plenty of room for many more mosquitoes, flies, flu virus, cockroaches, mice and squirrels and thus no reason to worry ourselves about their populations either. I will not argue that. I would instead argue that if we cannot support our numbers without using up almost all the grasslands, forests, biodiversity, ocean life, and such then we urgently need to do some serious long-term thinking.


#9

Hell yeah, this is corn central for the most part, and GMO corn. Scary as hell


#10

Corn as feed for industrial meat produced in CAFOs. Etc.


#11

I think you should be spouting this on some republican blog that is against planned parenthood, abortion, foreign aid that has anything to do with birth control etc. Not sure what the lecture is here? Us progressives may be against genocide and forced sterilization if that is what you are getting at...?


#12

If people were running a permanent and well-moderated wiki, planning out the best way that a Democratic Socialist government could control Eaarth's runaway greenhouse gas problem, I'd want to post on it.

Certain native grasses put their roots 30 feet deep into the Midwestern soil. Then an herbivore randomly chooses a plant and eats the top of the plant off. Then the root system dies back to within perhaps the top 1 inch of soil, to give the plant some more energy to quickly grow some leaves again. The dead roots, carbon compounds, stay permanently in the soil.

We should be paying farmers to rotate carbon crops.


#13

Funding for family planning has never been a priority nor the right to choose for women.

And I would also say that statistics show that birth rate is almost always connected to income levels so addressing poverty and inequality as well would affect this conundrum.

No doubt that we have overshot the earth's carrying capacity in the human species department. And it is impacting everything and everyone.


#14

I too am strongly against genocide and forced sterilization.

What I am getting at is that it is getting more difficult to address the loss of grasslands, wetlands, forest, and biological diversity without being tempted to address the question of how many people can be on this Earth. I think that most people have become tired of discussing the population issue because of how it links with some of the intransigant issues in the lengthy and often vicious abortion debate, but world population and arbortion are separate debates and either can exist independently should the other issue go away.

I know that population is less of the problem causing the loss of grasslands and other biomes than is Capitalism. With a tiny population we were able to get rid of the buffalo, the passanger pigen, most of the open prairie, and most of the old growth forest. Capitalism is the main problem as I see it, but our increasing population creates more opportunities for Capitalism to exploit by plowing under the remaining grasslands and forests. If we grow our population enough we will have considerable incentive to do more of this even without a capitalist system.

I raised the side issue of our population being somewhat controlled by economics to point out that humanly taking care of our seniors is a necessary part of population control because they cannot be supported properly by small families without some communal support. Support of seniors will become more of a pressing issue for both conservatives and progressives because the boomers had smaller families than they came from and single child families and childless families have become more common. I was moaning about the lack of long term planning under Capitalism.

Sorry about the lecture. My writing has been improving much too slowly but I trust that eventually I will be able to say more things better without lecturing.


#15

We should be paying farmers ( we already are for monoculture ) to rotate any crops. However, diverted acres ( was a natural price control gov't mechanism) or other regulated market controls had three bonuses 1) nitrogen boost until/when cash cropped 2) conservation ( soil rest and erosin control ) 3) tourism and fishing/hunting/birdwatching/etc. cash infusion for rural areas and small towns. Win-win and hard to get to ( back to the garden ).


#16

I did not get the impression that population control was much of the motivation behind the movement for women having the right to chose whether or not to have a baby.

If population control becomes an important part of the justification of the woman's right to chose, then even fewer babies will be born if the right to chose is extended to men. To oversimplify, the expecting father is given a short period of time to make the irrevocable choice of whether he will support the child or not if it is born. He has no say over whether or not the child will be born. The woman makes her choice of whether or not to have the baby with the knowledge of whether the father agrees to becoming legally bound to support it or not. How might a debate over men having a "right to chose" affect the dynamics of the abortion debates? Giving the man the right to chose in exchange for accepting the woman's right to chose might be a tempting idea to some right wing males.

Last year in a lecture we were asked, assuming no social security or pensions, how many children we would need to have if we were to be certain of being cared for in our old age by our children. I forget the answer, but it was something like 7 or 9 children if I remember correctly to have a decent chance of being looked after in ones old age. Many poor people without pensions have this incentive to have large families. And the neoLiberals are going after our pensions! My point is that satisfying people that they will be looked after in their old age is almost as important as are the other steps that can be taken to reduce the number of births if we are to stabilize and reduce our population and the pressure it places on the the grasslands and other biomes. We can also use the issue of population control in the arguments against reducing social security.

(For me the grasslands are home. As I see it ending unconstrained (cancerous) capitalism is a necessary step towards taking better care of this Earth that is our home.)


#17

I appreciate your opinion on this and will consider in the future engaging in some of the republican blogs. Leftwing thinking is quite varied and I try out some arguments here get some feedback to my thinking.


#18

We've been allowing the destruction of so much of nature over the last 5 decades that it is almost impossible to consider grasslands without also covering wetlands and natural rivers, creeks, lakes. We've been under a power grab by the neocons, and more recently from those neoliberals who've chosen to turn the other cheek, and just ignore the whole problem. Global warming on steroids is how it feels to me, coming from a family who trained to be a part of nature / wildlife biologists / general nature lovers and habitat protectors, and who traveled every single summer to see as many of our natural resources and parks as we could fit into those weeks of vacation. The longest trip we took was a 6 week trip that covered mountains, rivers, gorges, throughout Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, California, Oregon, Washington, and even up into Canada. It was the most amazing 6 weeks of touring/camping and loving the land. Nature has given of itself. What have we given back? Not a darn thing. Isn't it time we launched a mass protectionist plan of nature in North America? Recycling isn't enough.


#19

Our national meat habit has a lot to do with this... since about 85% of that GMO soy and corn goes to animal feed... including the tons exported. Cut our beef intake in half, though, and there goes whole crews of burger flippers... and unemployment rises... and, what then? There will be no alternatives to staying home, watching TV, and ... making babies, with all of that "spare time"... ^..^


#20

I really despise the frame this author has chosen relative to the post false flag wars in the ME as battles to "win".