Here are some musings for my youngest relatives.
California, Earthquake and drought
I saw the new movie San Andreas today. It was not a true picture of our future here in the Golden State, but a warning. This quake business shows a fast catastrophe, but the ongoing drought is a slow one.
My dear grandson Aaron- how are you going to be happy in a place that shakes and bakes in heat waves and where the lawns have to be made of plastic or spray painted green?
I guess you will have to adjust. There is no other place to run, as we are on the edge of the continent, and Hawaii will not support a large refugee population if all Californians choose to be climate refugees.
Someone wrote a humorous editorial about who was to blame for the drought, and he included everyone here, plus Mother Nature and God. The earthquakes are simply a fact of life in many countries, and the only ones to blame are the architects and construction companies that build shoddy buildings along fault zones.
Imagine if my grandchildren would like to move east instead of west to avoid the environmental degradation of the Central Valley, caused by agricultural poisoning and the over drilling of our aquifers.
There would still be the same problem of the desertification of the Wild West in the states of Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico and Arizona. These states have the misfortune of suffering the depredations of big cattle ranchers who run their cattle on public lands and then refuse to abide by the environmental laws and work on legislatures to de federalize the land and turn it over to local control. This local control would utterly ruin the grazing lands, as all environmental protections would be disregarded. The American tax payer would still be required to foot the bill after the damage had been done.
This destruction of the environmental protections would result in cattle eating all the native plants down to the dust, and exotic grasses taking over. The next step is where the desert takes over and where once sweet smelling sage brush grew, now the dust storms would imitate the 1930’s Dust Bowl.
The latest move to take over the BLM lands has been spear headed by Mr. Cliven Bundy, a tin pot rancher who likes to think that he understands what our Constitution says. It does not say that he can run cattle at twice the herd count over fragile desert tortoise habitat, thereby driving the animal to extinction. It does not say that he does not have to pay his fees which are not by any standard costly.
The Constitution recognizes that large problems like the management of large tracts of empty land set aside for the public use has to have a large Federal agency to insure that individuals and extractive industries do not totally destroy the landscape as has been done by coal mining companies and polluting utilities.
Not to be partisan but the facts do bear me out in thinking that it is a Republican conspiracy to destroy our environmental protections and let loose the raping of the landscape in these aforementioned Western states.
The Koch brothers are giving money to the organization that was formed to dilute the power of the federal government in this matter. Traditionally the West was developed and run by bankers, miners and investors from back East, and they only disguised themselves as cowboys in order to appeal to the romantic public relations fantasy of rugged individualism of the Western hero.
The railroad companies were in the development of the West to gain land and profit, the legislatures, judges, and local law enforcement personnel were bought and sold by rich and powerful men behind the scenes.
I guess that the distance between the wide open spaces of the ranch lands in the west and the center of our Federal government gave the westerners the idea that they were best suited to manage the land by themselves.
What they did was to ruin everything that used to be natural and healthy.
Now the politicians in Congress have been suborned into thinking that with a Republican victory, they can destroy the BLM and give away mineral rights to big mining corporations, run cattle over the newly created desert dust bowls, and still have the tax payer pick up the pieces when it all goes south.
In the next ten to twenty years we will see the results, and it may not be too hopeful for my grandson and great grandson.
So when the water runs out, the dust begins to seep into our lattes, and the price of a hamburger makes it nearly impossible for a middle class boy to buy a Kids Meal at a fast food chain, who you gonna call?
When it’s gone it’s gone.
Credit for these thoughts go to-Cristopher Ketcham who wrote an article in the February 2015 issue of Harper’s entitled “The Great Republican Land Heist”.