Author's posts

The Real Makah

Disclaimer: My only relationship with the Makah tribe consists of having enjoyed their hospitality on numerous occasions.

(map, right, courtesy of the Makah Nation – click to enlarge)

“. . . we are not going to sanction illegal activities. We are not that kind of tribe.”

–Ed Claplanhoo, Makah tribal elder, member of the tribal whaling commission

The statement above is from a Seattle Times article which does a pretty good job of presenting several of the differing viewpoints on the incident of September 8, when five members of the Makah tribe fatally injured a California grey whale in a criminal act that has been loudly condemned by the group angered the most:

The Makah tribal council denounces the actions of those who took it upon themselves to hunt a whale without the authority from the Makah Tribal Council or the Makah Whaling Commission.
We are a law-abiding people and we will not tolerate lawless conduct by any of our members. We hope the public does not permit the actions of five irresponsible persons to be used to harm the image of the entire Makah tribe.

That hope is vain, as the Makah know well. Hence the immediate dispatch of a delegation to DC in an attempt to repair the damage.

Friday fun around the webs

To accompany the release of the Red List, a few videos of what we
stiil have left of the web of life. Some you’ve seen before.

You need to watch this first one very intently to catch the surprise.

Before I forget, I wanted to point everyone to emPivot. It is a site
and community about specifically green videos, which are lost in the
shuffle at Youtube, etc. Note that it is not a rah rah site but a
resource site: you can find the denialist film The Great Golbal
Warming Swindle
there, and a comprehensive debunking of it:
Scam of the ‘Great Global Waming Swindle’.

Here’s an octopus with a novel trick for confusing predators:

“As indigenous people, we have always depended on the environment . . .”

also posted at Truth & Progress

The quote in the title is from a letter which in its English version begins

Dear AES Shareholders:

We are addressing you on behalf of more than 15 indigenous Ngobe communities which live on the banks of the Changuinola River, located in Bocas del Toro Province, Panama. We have lived along this river for many years, this river which borders La Amistad International Park – a World Heritage site shared by Panama and Costa Rica. We work the land as our ancestors taught us, cultivating oranges, corn, bananas and other crops which grow together with the small number of animals we raise. But also, the fish and shrimp of the Changuinola River are an important part of our diet and our culture.

Currently, our lifestyle and the ecosystem surrounding us are facing a grave threat: the construction of three hydroelectric dams on the river, located above and below our communities. These dams, called Chan 75, Chan 140, and Chan 220, are being financed and constructed by AES Corporation. While some of us have been temporarily employed to clear trees and prepare the ground for construction, the reality is that in the long term these dams will have disastrous effects for us.

The dams are expected to rapidly eradicate up to eleven species of diadramous fish and shrimp on which the Ngobe traditionally rely. For a technical analysis, see Probable Effects on Aquatic Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function of Four Proposed Hydroelectric Dams in the Changuinola/Teribe Watershed, Bocas del Toro, Panama, with emphasis on Effects within The La Amistad World Heritage Site (22-page pdf)

AES’s Panama page, which features a smiling young Indian boy, sounds benevolent enough:

. . . we’re not just running a business, we know that the impact of our work goes far beyond that. Bringing electricity to places that never had it before, working for the social good-these are often profound outcomes of our business. Providing electricity can radically improve the quality of life, especially in developing countries, and especially because AES does so reliably, safely and responsibly.

News from the Northwest

Also posted at Truth & Progress

The Copper Salmon Wilderness

Oregon’s 4th district congressman Peter DeFazio and Senator Ron Wyden have introduced bills to create the 13,700-acre Copper Salmon Wilderness in southwestern Oregon.


This one’s for you, LoE:

“Now that the Republicans no longer control the Congress, there’s a possibility of doing a meritorious wilderness bill,” DeFazio said Monday. He said former Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., who was the gatekeeper for wilderness bills before he lost re-election last year, “hated wilderness with a passion.”

The proposal is enthusiastically supported by virtually every local official, the local chamber of commerce, Governor Kulongoski, and hunting and fishing groups. And for good reason. The area is home to one of the most productive salmon spawning grounds in North America. Its loss would be yet another blow to both the commercial and sport fisheries.

Friends of Elk River presents the case:

What would the Copper Salmon Wilderness protect?

  • the headwaters of the Elk, Sixes and South Fork Coquille Rivers
  • eighteen miles of streams used for spawning and rearing by Coho salmon and coastal cutthroat trout, both listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as Chinook salmon, steelhead, resident rainbow trout and lampreys
  • critical habitat for spotted owls and marbled murrelets, both listed under the ESA
  • one of the last large stands of old-growth Port-Orford-cedar that remains free of the deadly Phytophthora lateralis root disease
  • a wildlife corridor extending from the Grassy Knob Wilderness near the coast to the Wild Rogue Wilderness, the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and south through the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion to the Yolla Bolly Wilderness

In effect, the adjacent 17,200-acre Grassy Knob Wilderness is being doubled. Click on the map above to expand it and see the location.

The bills are not yet available at THOMAS. When they are, Wyden’s will be S. 2034 and DeFazio’s H.R. 3513.

I’m just curious

Before the opening, before the great flood, I’m wondering about the religious and/or spiritual or faith traditions to which people here would care to claim allegiance. It’s not always straightforward.

For this I will attempt a poll, something I have never done. So it will probably go all wrong. Much like I believe our religions have. Please answer conforming to what you think now; there is plenty of room to elaborate and excoriate in comments. Be as serious or as flippant as you want to be, this time around.

But I’m warning you: the fire next time.

Yes, I know this was a mistake. But I’d like a little snapshot of the group, before it grows up, changes, and moves away. I am nothing if not sentimental.

The Sydney Distraction on Climate Change

or, as Alexander Downer himself calls it, a political stunt.

All Hail Market Based Policy!

All Hail the Status Quo!

All Hail the Sydney Declaration on Climate Change!

Bush, far right in the photograph, seems so exhausted by his trip to OPEC or Austria or wherever the hell it was that he can’t even lift up his paw in time with the rest. You can almost hear the photographer: your other right, Mr. President.

Let’s make sure we’ve got our priorities straight right off the bat:

The pursuit of climate change and energy security policies must avoid introducing barriers to trade and investment.

Economic growth, a recurring subject in the text, is mentioned before climate change in the very first sentence. Sounds like a good plan: endless economic expansion, with no piper to pay.

Friday Fun: Intelligent Design

Theo Jansen: The art of creating creatures

Better viewed widescreen at TED. (Expando symbol upper right of screen.)

Anyone remember Sandkings?

Dugong v Rumsfeld

Also posted at Truth & Progress

(Okinawa dugong, photo ©Greenpeace Japan)

Where better to build an air base than directly on top of a coral reef and its associated sea grass beds, home of the last 50 dugong in Okinawa and in Japan? Okinawans have been fighting this for years now, and still it proceeds.

Two things are happening in September of great import to the future Of Camp Schwab, it’s adjacent marine habitat, and the Okinawa dugong.

Item 1 is that Japan is conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment. According to Greenpeace:

Throughout September, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the proposed airbase site is open for public comment. We’re using this opportunity to let the Japanese government know what the people of the world think – by delivering a petition of thousands of names to the environment and defence ministries, and calling on the government to establish a marine reserve in the area.

As the main remaining site where dugongs are sighted in Okinawa, the area is the obvious choice for a marine sanctuary for the dugong, something the UNEP has been calling on Japan to establish since 2002.

If you wish to add your voice to that of the local opposition, click the logo to personalize and sign Greenpeace’s petition to the the Japanese government.

Leaders Melting, Bush Lost

Hat tip Sydney Indymedia

MakePovertyHistory Australia carted ice sculptures of George Bush and John Howard around Sydney to melt today to highlight their alternative vision for APEC: Building a Sustainable Future Free from Extreme Poverty: Priorities for APEC (40-page pdf)

Make Poverty History co-chair, Andrew Hewett, makes the connection:

It is a moral challenge, because those least responsible for causing the problem – the poorest people in the poorest countries of the world – will overwhelmingly pay the highest price as climate change begins to bite. If Australia is serious about being a global leader as chair of APEC, we must do three things. First, join the rest of the international community in ratifying the Kyoto Protocol. Second, commit to deep cuts in greenhouse pollution. And third, support the efforts of our neighbours and developing country partners in APEC to adapt to climate change and reduce poverty in an environmentally sustainable way.

It is clear that climate change is affecting the lives of the poorest people in our world. The monsoon season in our region and in South Asia has become shorter and more intense over the last decade, and so we can expect to see more people displaced by the kind of flooding we see right now in India, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh. Crops are failing in the face of increasing temperatures and changing rainfall patterns. Millions of the poorest people in sub-Saharan Africa
face water shortages. And sea level rise could potentially displace millions of people from small island nations in the Pacific, and low-lying coastal countries, over the next few decades.

If we don’t get serious about tackling climate change, we won’t be talking about making poverty history, we’ll be making it permanent.

In other news from Sydney, surprise! W doesn’t even know where he is. In front of business leaders on Friday:

Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit . . . .

His recovery was lamer still, if that is possible.

As I type this, Radio Australia is playing Pink’s Dear Mr. President, something I have never heard them play before.

Bush inspires try for new world record in Sydney

Hat tip Sydney Indymedia

Nothing else reaches the frat boy. Maybe he will understand this.

Organizers in Sydney hope to set a new world record on Friday, mooning the president of the United States with 2000 sideways smiles simultaneously from Hyde Park, an area of Sydney not off limits for normal use during the APEC meeting.

Details at

by photobucket

blast it all. Imageshack:

Thanks LoE. I’ve seen about enough different versions of this image now.

Here’s what gets me

(Also posted at Truth & Progress)

There are a lot of Christians in this country. And they spend an awful lot of time griping about things. Some of them think Jews should leave the US if they don’t feel like celebrating Christmas. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you think about it.

Some of them think people like me should rot in hell, after we die a horrible death. Preferably in a concentration camp. 9/11 was our fault.

God tells them these things through a special hotline. I get a lot of prank calls too, but I usually just hang up.

Milk and honey on the other side, hallelujah.

Here’s what gets me

There are a lot of Christians in this country. And they spend and an awful lot of time griping about things. Some of them think Jews should leave the US if they don’t feel like celebrating Christmas. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense if you think about it.

Some of them think people like me should rot in hell, after we die a horrible death. Preferably in a concentration camp. 9/11 was out fault.

God tells them these things through a special hotline. I get a lot of prank calls too, but I usually just hang up.

Milk and honey on the other side, hallelujah.

Load more