Home > Environment, Science & Technology > Bound to learn the hard way

Bound to learn the hard way

November 25, 2006

I don’t know how guarding the natural environment got to be a “right-wing/left-wing” thing, but somehow it’s become “liberal” to advocate conservation.  Never mind the tremendous economic importance of topsoil, fish stocks, or a stable climate; you’re a ‘leftie’ and can be dismissed out of hand if you want to head off environmental catastophe.

But your precious ‘free market’ is no good when there’s no fish to sell, when kids are dying of asthma in your cities, or when your cities are underwater, or when our nation’s enemies are funded by our addiction to the oil that they have under their sands. 

Take ‘bottom-trawling’ – please.  In this method, a 5-ton steel plate is dragged across the ocean floor to act as a moving anchor for an enormous net that sweeps the sea clean.  Not only does it leave behind only empty water, it mangles the sea floor that shelters the food and reproduction chain for the very fish it is catching.

This is a criminally stupid and short-sighted practice, but United Nations negotiations on fisheries have failed again to ban it.  Heavens!  You wouldn’t want to interfere with the ‘free market’! 

The ‘conservative’ approach seems to be to deny that anything bad could ever happen.  What, exactly, are conservatives conserving? 

  1. November 25, 2006 at 11:12 | #1

    Monkey wrench comes to mind.

  2. November 25, 2006 at 13:16 | #2

    What, exactly, are conservatives conserving?

    That’s an easy one… There own power, greed, wealth, and class status.

  3. November 25, 2006 at 14:10 | #3

    If you’re describing Dick Cheney, then yeah, it’s a good explanation.  But too simplistic for massive numbers of Americans who vote conservative but are neither powerful, wealthy, or of upper-class.

  4. November 25, 2006 at 14:14 | #4

    I was referring to the rich conservatives, the conservatives in power, and the conservative policy makers. 

    A better example than Dick Cheney would perhaps be Tom Delay.  I think he is the shinning example of my answer.

  5. November 25, 2006 at 15:24 | #5

    Aside from folks just being greed-heads, I think there’s concern that restrictions on things that very, clearly, obviously ought to be restricted or regulated or controlled easily leads to restrictions, regulations, or controls on other things that are not as arguably justified.

    That some folks seem more than happy to demonstrate that makes the concern that much easier to understand.

    The particularly criminal aspect of the past decade or two is the degree to which that concern has been used to fearmonger by conservative *leadership* towards the conservative population, while turning around and simply using it as an excuse to be greed-heads.

  6. November 25, 2006 at 17:46 | #6

    IMO, the non-rich, non-powerful conservatives who vote “against” the environment have two essential problems.  One, lack of information and understanding.  Two, fear.

  7. Mrs SEB
    November 26, 2006 at 13:38 | #7

    Sigh, yet another depressing example of mankind’s movement toward total self-annihilation.  Is it really going to happen? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean a vast number of ignorant, selfish types aren’t doing all in their power “to make it so.”

  8. November 26, 2006 at 21:08 | #8

    Oh, one more thing.  Ask the people of Newfoundland about not properly “managing” fish stocks.

  9. James Old Guy
    November 27, 2006 at 07:24 | #9

    This is not a U.S issue so blaming either policital party is a waste of time. This just proves once again how totally useless the UN has become. Remember anything outside the three mile and in some cases ten mile limit basically is free territory. The Japanese longline fleets and the bottom clearing fleets of the european nations with Spain and France in the lead are the culprits. Some of your more liberal thinking nations are just as guilty. In fact because of current federal requlations commercial fishing in the U.S. is dying out.

  10. November 27, 2006 at 09:13 | #10

    I am not referring only to US conservatives and mentioned no political parties.  But the ban on this idiotic practice was opposed over the same liberal/conservative divide that exists in microcosm here. 

    You’d think conservatives would be first in line to preserve the fisheries, a long-term source of enormous profits from net manufacturers to waiters in restaurants.

  11. November 27, 2006 at 10:36 | #11

    Actually James this is a U.S. issue on both the East and West Coasts.
    Here is the link for the New England Fisheries…
    Couldn’t find the link for the West Coast, but it has been an on going issue since about the mid-90’s in Portland Oregon.  The fisherman are having an increasingly harder time finding places to fish in Oregon, and Washington as well.

    Some of your more liberal thinking nations are just as guilty.

    Yup you’re right, and you know why they are guilty?  Because every time some scientist steps up to make a rational argument for conserving areas of the ocean some conservative steps in and gets people to rally around the idea a free market.  Make sure you read the article linked in the post.  But what the f*** is the point of a free market when all the fish are being exhausted.

    In fact because of current federal requlations commercial fishing in the U.S. is dying out.

    I haven’t heard of federal regulations killing the fishing industries, but a source would be nice here.

  12. November 27, 2006 at 10:52 | #12

    In any case, lack of fish will sure as hell kill the fishing industries.

  13. James Old Guy
    November 28, 2006 at 14:49 | #13

    I could probably dig up something on the decline of the American fishing fleet but I really don’t need too. I just drive 30 minutes down the road and talk to the men who fish for a living. Ten years ago there were closing to 50 fishing trawlers operating out of the little fishing village.  Today 20 on a good day. Some went under because they just couldn’t handle it anymore but most tell me they couldn’t compete against the imports. Federal and state regulations were enforced cutting their fishing time, the size of their nets and even where they could fish because they are American flagged. Our laws have become more restrictive to try maintain the fisheries but other countries just thumb their nose at our laws because they are almost impossible to enforce. The one thing that the UN might actually be worth its cost would be in this area but as per usual it does nothing but debate. This is one area the US is a leader in conservation and even our influence is not enough to stop the fishing fleets from Japan, Norway, Sweden and so called other social leading countries of the world.

  14. November 28, 2006 at 15:23 | #14

    You got two different issues you are trying to combine as one here.  Outsiders selling cheaper fish in our markets, and fed and state laws affecting fisherman.  The second one only affects the first in that because we have less fisherman global fisherman can now compete in our market.  To which I say who cares?  This is how a capitalist market functions.  If they don’t care about protecting their fishing stocks then they will be the ones hurting in the future when there stocks run out.  The only way this affects us is that lower stocks in parts of the ocean, seem to affect stock levels in other parts as well.

    But either way, this is YOUR free market at work isn’t it?  Compete with the competitor or leave the industry.  I would think you wouldn’t want the government to step in and save those fisherman, just like you don’t want the government to step in and save the poor.  Or are you getting social on me? ;-P

    But again the reasons those federal and state regulations are there is because of the scientific evidence that shows that over fishing in all parts of the water destroys fish populations to the point that they just don’t come back.  Science has proven through experiments that the way to sustain fishing is by taking sections of water where fish are and close them off to fishing.  If you don’t believe me you can click on the 2nd link I posted in my comment above.  From that website is a BBC article that covers this topic very thoroughly.

    Also from that article is the point that Canada has not listened to the scientists and their Cod fisheries off their East Coast have become completely exhausted, and their Cod market is completely ruined because of it.  They didn’t put in any fed or state regs to control the fishing.

    On issues like this one, just like other issues of the environment you have to look to the long-term, not short-term.  Sure if we use federal legislature to stop fishing in some areas some fisherman will be affected by it.  But isn’t this better than affecting all fisherman.

  15. November 29, 2006 at 20:14 | #15

    Yeah, it is ironic, huh? The majority of people are environmentalists to a point..if it had not been for American sportsmen and fishermen the deer population would not be around eating flowers out of yards and being pests in many area. Fishing is better than ever in our fresh water due to hatcheries funded by fishing permits.

    Protecting the environment is one thing but putting road blocks in front of efforts to build much needed refineries and shutting down a lumber industry to save a three peckered treefrog and a one eyed owl is another. The enviro-nuts have aligned themselves with the left wing nuts who accepted them with open arms just as the left wing nuts have embraced the socialists, gay lib, womens lib, the Black panthers, and any other group that is intent on destroying the American government and thus the capitalist system. The democrats have then embraced the whole grioup just to get the votes…

  16. November 29, 2006 at 20:56 | #16

    Protecting the environment is one thing but putting road blocks in front of efforts to build much needed refineries and shutting down a lumber industry to save a three peckered treefrog and a one eyed owl is another.

    Not protecting a lumber yard, and closing off parts of the ocean to fishing are two completely separate issues.  Since you don’t seem to want to take the time to look into the science I will do it for you.  Here is the article from the BBC…
    Here is some of what it says:

    Historical records from coastal zones in North America, Europe and Australia also show declining yields, in step with declining species diversity; these are yields not just of fish, but of other kinds of seafood too.

      Zones of biodiversity loss also tended to see more beach closures, more blooms of potentially harmful algae, and more coastal flooding.

      Experiments performed in small, relatively contained ecosystems show that reductions in diversity tend to bring reductions in the size and robustness of local fish stocks. This implies that loss of biodiversity is driving the declines in fish stocks seen in the large-scale studies.

      The final part of the jigsaw is data from areas where fishing has been banned or heavily restricted.

      These show that protection brings back biodiversity within the zone, and restores populations of fish just outside.

      “The image I use to explain why biodiversity is so important is that marine life is a bit like a house of cards,” said Dr Worm.

      “All parts of it are integral to the structure; if you remove parts, particularly at the bottom, it’s detrimental to everything on top and threatens the whole structure.

      “And we’re learning that in the oceans, species are very strongly linked to each other – probably more so than on land.”

    (Emphasis is from me)If you need me to quote more of it just let me know, but the science on this issue is pretty clear…

    This isn’t an issue of Left wing nuts and enviro nuts trying to stop globalization.  This is an issue of science.  Non-partisan scientists are trying to get governments to listen to them because we are quickly destroying fish and other sea-life populations in the ocean.  The only ones that are making this a divided political issue are people who don’t do the research and just make assumptions.

Comments are closed.