VOTE – Here are some great choices for you

With the ballots going out soon, the choices are often very clear. I urge you to vote, even if you think it won’t matter. In some races a few votes one way or the other could make the difference in a radical swing in styles in governing, as we saw from the last Presidential election.

I have looked at the candidates and talked to some of them, gathering their backgrounds and statements about environmental issues. I’ve read through the initiatives and public votes that are on the ballot. If I missed something, let me know.

But on the front page of this blog is a tab at the top with a series of names. One is Elections 2018.  Clicking on it will take you to a web page with a list of candidates and issues that I believe will help promote environmental protection, moving us forward and not back. Some, like Maria Cantwell and Derek Kilmer, will do all they can to stem the destructive agenda of the current administration in Washington, D.C.

The initiatives can be confusing because some of them are actually not what they claim to be, using deceptive language on purpose to get uniformed voters to say yes to what appears to be a good idea. Others are being outspent by vast sums by corporations who profit from polluting the air and water.

Government is no perfect solution. From reading the translations of Greek debate, over 3000 years ago, you learn that the much vaunted Democracy of Athens was a very messy affair,especially since all of the eligible voters had to come to a consensus to move forward! Can you imagine trying that today? The take away is that there is no ‘perfect union’ only striving to make “a more perfect” one. There will be losers and winners, our goal here is to make sure that the environment is not one of them.

I have serious issues with some of these candidates, to be sure. But the ones that I do have issues with, will be vastly better than their competition in some cases. In others, you may barely see a difference. It may come down to one vote sometime to protect a place that is dear to all of us.

So click the 2018 tab on the top and then do your own research if you wish. This is a very real way for you to protect the environment, by voting for leaders that support it.


Trump claims he is an environmentalist, and that “we are going to have the cleanest air.”

The man who has done more to destroy environmental law in this country in decades is now claiming he is an environmentalist. Sorry, I can’t stop laughing. He is such a pathetic liar. Again, with no proof whatsoever to back up his claim. Here, you can read the story at Grist, they did a good job covering it.

You know when I was a child I used to claim I was all sorts of things: a fireman, an engineer, a truck driver, a President. I guess Donald has never grown out of that stage.

Hope to see him funding the removal of the Snake River dams soon!

Trump finally admits climate change is real

In a wide ranging interview on 60 Minutes, President Trump finally admitted that climate change is real,  not, as he claimed in his 2016 campaign, that it was a “Chinese hoax”. He went on to  claim, without offering any proof that climate scientists “have an big political agenda” yet he didn’t even know who the scientists issuing the warnings were.  Just what a  ‘political agenda’ for a scientist might be is undefined.  He also went on to state, again without offering any proof, that “it will change back again.” This president, who routinely lies, makes up supposed ‘facts’ and changes his points of view seemingly daily on many issues, (or is it that he can’t remember what he said the day before?),and no longer has a scientist advising him,  is now confronted with twin hurricanes that have cost lives and billions of dollars of damage, including the apparent destruction of 22 Stealth fighters which cost the taxpayers $339 Million dollars each. Reports state that  Tyndall Air Force base was a complete loss. In addition to the loss of the air force base, (his own military advisors have told him that climate change and global warming are a threat to the nation’s national security, which he apparently ignored) towns along the Gulf coast have been wiped off the face of the earth, and over 200 people who had told police that they were staying in their homes during the storm are unaccounted for and their homes were entirely washed out to sea leaving only the footprint of where they stood. Police are attempting to determine whether these people managed to flee or are gone. One of the  only homes left standing in Mexico Beach was one that was built last year far beyond the already stringent “government standards” that Florida have in place and Trump loves to talk about getting rid of on our behalf.

Now that he “thinks” that global warming is happening, he isn’t clear if it’s man-made. And he is certainly clear on one thing, he doesn’t want to spend money to fight it. “I will say this: I don’t want to give trillions and trillions of dollars. I don’t want to lose millions and millions of jobs.”

I don’t know what kind of base he is talking to here, maybe the freebase,but let’s be clear one thing. His base, as well as many others who didn’t vote for him, is suffering from climate change. Areas around the Southeast and the Panhandle, along with Redding California and other rural western forest fire zones were heavily supporting Trump in the last election, according to a map of voting in each county in the US created for the NY Times.  Panama City, which sustained horrendous damage, voted over 80% for Trump in 2016. Trump may not want to tell them, but he (through their taxes)  already is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on climate change, by running behind it and cleaning up after it.  They and us will be paying for supporting these people in their hours of need. And we are paying ever increasing amounts to fight forest fires in the west. He’s losing tens of thousands of jobs by the destruction of places that were pummeled in both hurricanes this year, in Puerto Rico, Texas and other American controlled islands last year, and other locations around the country that are being severely impacted by drought and forest fires. Many of those small businesses lost may never reopen. The thousands of people who lost their homes around Santa Rosa and Redding California in the last two years will never recover what they lost, and many of them are likely to not be able to afford a home of their own again. We are losing jobs to climate change yearly, yet this President and Congress’ lack of action on it are making the problem worse, not better.

Obviously I am not saying that if Hilary Clinton was elected President, rather than simply winning the popular vote, that she would have stopped this from happening. But she would not have been hosting a seemingly mentally impaired Kanye West in the Oval Office allowing him to utter profanities to further degrade the highest office in this country while children watched on television. She likely would have been helping get people motivated to get out of the way of the storm, along with working together with other countries to do what we can to lessen this problem moving forward. She would have led, not sat back and diverted attention to bizarre rapper entertainment in the White House and election campaigning to adoring fans that still scream, “lock her up” though they don’t know which woman Trump wants locked up this week. She would have, in effect, acted Presidential.

This ‘no nothing’ President at least is coming around that somethings happening. Just like the proverbial frog in the pot of water, he can feel the heat but doesn’t understand he’s about to be boiled. He’s saying to his adorning followers, “Hey, smart people tell me the stove is on and we are all about to be cooked. I don’t believe them! It will get cooler soon.”

Let’s hope the elections in November turn up the heat on him even more.


The other day a woman came up to me and asked, “How do you have hope for the environment with a President like this?” It’s an interesting question and worth an answer.

The key reason I have hope that we will get through this and on to a better day, is by looking at how far we have come. In my life of 65 years, I have personally watched a polluted river burn in Ohio, smelled the steel mills of south Chicago spewing massive amounts of toxic pollution into the air, ran with all the other children behind DDT smoggers in our neighborhood on a regular basis every summer, and witnessed the pollution of Los Angeles at its worse. There was no organic food movement when I was a child. No one imagined that cars could run on battery power.

Since then, the country, with help from both the old Republican Party and Democrats, has put  into action thousands of laws to protect us, our children, our food, air and water. The laws are so ingrained that many of the voters who supported Donald Trump and his minions in the current incarnation of the Republican party, have forgotten just why the laws are there. That we have huge numbers of eagles in our area is because of public pressure, and science research recognizing the dangers of DDT and Congress passing a law that a President signed banning its use in the U.S.

The splitting of news media into real news (now labeled fake news by Trump) and a propaganda machine called Fox News,  which has through clever programming become one of the most watched news media in the country, has worked to dumb down those watching it and created a population who no longer understands what we have gained by the laws that it rails against.  This was by intent. As documented in numerous news reporting a small cadre of people  started working on the program to take control of America back in the 1970s. They were reactionary to the events happening in the 60s. They have all but succeeded in their goals, but whether the population will continue to support them remains to be seen.

As Trump and his administration go about tearing down the laws and even the notion of using science to make decisions, those inside those institutions are not willingly going along with the destruction. Outside the organizations, there is a coordinated effort to take the Trump administration to court over these blatant attacks on our resources. We will lose some of these battles to be sure. But when it’s all over, I have no doubt that future administrations will come along and rebuild these laws.

When looking at these laws, it is undoubtedly true they often are laws that were built and added onto over the decades since the 1970s, and probably can be improved. A rewriting of them by future administrations and Congresses can be hoped to improve on them,  not destroy them.

The bigger concern is the lack of desire to even admit to global warming and do anything about it by Trump. As many of the world’s leading climate scientists said last week, we have not much time left to avoid global catastrophe. Over the last decade we witnessed from afar the creation of a global class of climate refugees.  This year, we are witnessing the creation of a class of climate refugees here in the U.S. As we have seen in the Southeast U.S. just this last two months, and the forests of Northern California this summer and last summer, along with numerous smaller incidents that don’t make “ink”  in the news. The poor along the Gulf Coast of Florida, the backwaters of South and North Carolina, the areas around Redding and Santa Rosa California, and elsewhere are facing a horrendous future as they watch their entire homes and places of work blown to bits or burned to ash. Given that it has been reported by Money magazine and other real news sources that 6 in 10 Americans don’t have $500 savings, it points to an unrecoverable situation for those who are affected by global warming.

While each of us can do some small thing to help, like use less fossil fuels or install solar panels, this looming global catastrophe is waiting on leadership from the U.S. to move towards a true solution. Our country is the largest global polluter closely followed by China and India. We have to lead in order to really change anything. Luckily, the economics of solar have created a financial incentive that even Trump can’t lie his way around. Coal is doomed by the costs of solar. It’s happening already. And states such as ours are taking the initiative because of popular demand, to move towards sustainable energy sources. But there is a huge amount of work yet to be done.

Once we were challenged by a true leader, President Kennedy, and supported in that challenge by President Johnson and Republican President Nixon, to put a man on the moon in 10 years. We did it. Out of that effort, came huge benefits to our society and to the rest of the planet. When the next true leader comes along, it will be up to us to get ourselves out from under the rule of fossil fuels to a solar and wind powered future. It will not be easy. It will disrupt numerous industries and jobs (just ask the coal miners in Kentucky).  But the outcome will eventually create a better world. Unfortunately, in the meantime we have to protect ourselves from the planet doing what it is programmed to do with a rise in greenhouse gasses, absorbing the heat in the oceans, which fuels hurricanes and creates ocean acidification, among other problematic scenarios.

My hope is in  two things that humans have had in their favor over the last 100,000 or more years,  ingenuity and tools. We have created our way out of so many seemingly insurmountable problems, from bacteria caused illnesses with penicillin to  sewer, light and transportation systems to support cities of tens of millions of people. I trust in our ability to find a way through the next hundred years.  A good place to start is to vote in politicians who believe in science and recognize the problem for what it is. That starts next week. The decision is yours to make.




Tarboo Ridge Coalition charges D’Amico violated moratorium

The Tarboo Ridge Coalition, the group fighting the proposed shooting range in the south central part of Jefferson County, has charged that Joe D’Amico has violated the county’s moratorium on any construction on his property. D’Amico has a long history of irritating his neighbors by creating noise from gun shooting at his now closed facility along the shores of Discovery Bay.  It is unclear what the county commissioners and staff of Jefferson County will do to Mr. D’Amico, or whether this may ultimately compromise his ability to get a permit for construction. Flagrant violating of laws is usually seen as challenge that does not help those that do the violations. Here is the letter in full from the Tarboo Ridge Coalition to help you make up your own mind.

October 12, 2018

Joe D’Amico Ignores Jefferson County Moratorium Ordinance

A moratorium ordinance, unanimously passed on December 18, 2017 by the Jefferson County BOCC, prohibits the “the submission, acceptance, processing or approval of any Jefferson County permit applications for any proposed use, development, or project for siting, construction or modification of any commercial shooting facility…. during the moratorium”. The moratorium expires December 17, 2018.

Joe D’Amico wants to build a multi-range shooting compound at Tarboo Lake. He has chosen to ignore the County ordinance and submitted a permit application on October 3, 2018–fully 75 days in advance of the moratorium’s scheduled expiration.

The Tarboo Ridge Coalition, a citizen group that supports sensible planning and environmentally compatible development, opposes D’Amico’s proposed weapons compound on the shores of Tarboo Lake. They have formally objected to the County accepting D’Amico’s application. It remains to be seen whether the BOCC will enforce their moratorium ordinance and hand Mr. D’Amico’s paperwork back to him.

Diane Johnson, a TRC board member noted, “ TRC presented over 1200 petition signatures in support of the moratorium. Last week the Commissioners were all complaining that they seem to be losing the public’s trust. If they do the logical thing and enforce their own ordinance they might get some trust back. Otherwise public participation seems to mean nothing.”

The next BOCC meeting is Monday October 14 with public comment beginning at 9:00 AM. TRC encourages everyone to make their voices heard.


Contact: Peter Newland



Vicki Christiansen to stay on as head of Forest Service – High Country News

Seems like a reasonable choice.

Vicki Christiansen is set to become the permanent chief of the U.S. Forest Service, after seven months as the interim head. She replaced former Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke, who resigned amidst sexual harassment allegations in March.

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Video on NOAA work to breed oysters resistant to ocean acidification – Crosscut & PBS

Local PBS show ReInventors highlights the work of NOAA Manchester’s research facility as they race to find a hybrid oyster that can survive ocean acidification. A very good quick look at the problem, with animation, and the possible solution. If we are going to have seafood survive, this will likely hold the possibility. As it is currently going, we don’t have long before the oceans will be too acidic for shellfish to survive.

The story

The video

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