Tag Archives: Environment

If I am a crazy environmentalist, does that make you a polutist?

People who believe in environmentalism often get stereotyped as liberal- atheist-granola eating-vegan-hippies, but environmentalism is a forward thinking, big picture plan for how to keep the earth that God created, entrusted to us, and asked us to care for, viable. I read recently that four out of five people believe in environmentalism.  If the percentage is that high, why are we who want to save the earth called environmentalists, instead of calling that 1 in 5 person who doesn’t a polutist?

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Congressman Kline gets angry for all the wrong reasons

I thought this MPR headline was kind of interesting when I read it:

“Kline and Cravaack angry over dropped wolf provision”

The headline refers to a policy rider that was attached to a spending bill that would limit judicial review of US Fish and Wildlife decisions.  By the way, the gray wolf, or timber wolf, is still slated to be taken off the endangered species list in the next few weeks regardless of this rider to a spending bill.

I’m annoyed by two things here.  First, the real purpose of this policy is to make it more difficult for environmental groups to challenge decisions made by the US Fish and Wildlife Agency.  It’s funny that Kline and Cravaack want less government control, but here want the government to have all the control.  As I said, the gray wolf is still scheduled to come off the endangered species list by the end of the year, maybe they shouldn’t be upset, and tie their anger to wolves, maybe they should admit that they are upset that private citizens who value the environment and God’s creatures still have a say in what our government does.   By the way, I will also add that I read an article recently that reported that less than 1% of Wisconsin farms in gray wolf territory have had a wolf attack livestock.  I’m not saying’, I’m just sayin’.

The second thing I am annoyed by is that my congressman, John Kline, and the 8th district’s representative, Chip Cravaack, are angered by this.  I did a Google search of other things John Kline might be “angered” by, and nothing came up.  He is not angry about poverty levels rising in the US, or the terrible job market, or even the uber-partisanship that has developed in Congress.  I also looked at what he might be “disturbed” by, just to cover my bases.  He wasn’t disturbed by the fact that the Iraq war was not paid for, nor was it included in budget shortfalls.  He wasn’t disturbed that medical insurance rates are rising faster than even college tuitions, or that millions of people have lost billions of dollars thanks to greedy and unscrupulous bankers and investors.

You might think he just doesn’t get upset unless it means protecting farmers from the big bad wolf, but that isn’t true.  Recently, Congressman Kline was upset when for-profit colleges were being asked to prove that they were actually teaching students, not just taking their money.  He is disturbed that we are subsidizing wind energy, the problem is I’m not sure he is quite as disturbed about subsidizing the oil industry, or the corporate farm industry.  And he is upset that it is important to a majority us that we provide affordable healthcare for every American.  Most of all, I think Kline is upset that the president is Obama, and not an extremist TEA Party Republican who would return the country to a time like the Guilded Age when the rich were rich and the poor were really poor. When giant mansions held giant weekend long parties, and tenements in dirty cities held giant masses of sick and beaten down people.

I wish they could get angry at things most of his constituents might get angered by, not topics that only the most extreme and partisan Republicans who support him get angered at.  Way to go Congressman Kline, keep fighting for everything but the people.

More than 8 years of blogging and my environmentalist roots

When I first started blogging, technically when I first started it was an email list that became an email newsletter, then a blog, I started because of two specific actions that were occurring in tes country, the widespread rollback of environmental protections, and the unilateral decisions being made in Washington by one party and one president whose first term would be up in about a year.

George W. Bush was president, he had just started what seemed like an unwise second war in the oil rich Middle East, environmental actions removing restrictions were regularly happening with the sign of his pen, and drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Area Refuge (ANWAR) was continually popping up in emails from conservation groups.

So much of what we were doing seemed to be revolving around energy, oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.  The price of gas was approaching $2 a gallon, and instead of doing what previous generations did by investing in Universities and solving problems, many in the country seemed content to delay the problem for further generations by drilling now and using up the dwindling resources rather than daring to consider how to fix the problem.

Never mind that just two decades earlier foreign countries in the Middle East exercised the leverage they had on our economy by restricting oil sales.  An OPEC decision could literally thrust us into the beginning of a deep depression immediately.  Yet we continued to ignore and delay logical changes in how we live, and float in the breeze of an unstable Middle East that doesn’t really seem to like us very much.

I was frustrated and began blogging (or newslettering) about how important it was to replace Bush with Howard Dean, Wes Clark, John Edwards, John Kerry or whoever.  I was literally an ABB person – Anybody But Bush. And as we approached the 2004 election, blogging became mainstream and a logical place to write.  Sites popped up that made it easy to blog.  I used one site for about a 2 years, I don’t remember what it was, maybe Homestead, then Blogger for many years before the current incarnation in WordPress.  And what happened over those years is that I increasingly ignored the environmentalist base and core of what is important to me, my three boys and any grandchildren I might eventually have, in favor of partisan political blogging activism.

Today I am entrenched in partisan activity — in my blog, volunteering for the DFL, and in the candidates I support.  And where has that gotten me?

A friend from church recently said about the current state of politics:

“No respect, no creativity, nothing constructive, nothing positive. I just struggle to engage in a process that has become so divisive and so destructive.”

I used to think that that was exactly why we should be involved, to change that.  Now I am beginning to think that it won’t change and I have better things to do with my time.  I know one blogger who has already done that.

Anyway, I found some of those old blogs and thought maybe I need to return to my roots.  After all, I have been an environmentalist since I was a little kid.  When I was in elementary school, I was very interested in saving whales.  I think I was in 5th grade when a librarian at Fulton Elementary in Minneapolis, who knew of my interest in whales, gave me a pamphlet that had a picture of a cute baby harp seal on the front of it.  When I opened it up, it was graphic pictures of seal hunters with clubs, bloody baby seals, and pools of blood on the rocks.

How can John Kline explain a zero rating from Conservation Minnesota?

I read that you know you are a Minnesotan if you consider it a sport to gather your food by drilling through 18 inches of ice and sitting there all day hoping that the food will swim by.

I think there are plenty of Minnesotans who find it strange, let alone people from other parts of the country that think it is odd to drive out on the ice to fish in the winter hoping there will be fish near a tiny hole that is a miniscule fraction of the size of the rest of the lake. 

But fishing is important to Minnesotans.  Just being outdoors is important to Minnesotans.  I went fishing on Lake Waconia a few weeks ago.  We caught a few perch, but despite the lack of luck, it was a great day just to be out.

And it isn’t just fishing.  There seems to be an innate need among Minnesotans just to be outdoors.  Have you been at Lake Harriet or Lake Calhoun on that first sunny and 70 degree day in the spring?  The traffic on the walking paths rivals the halls of the Mall of America the week before Christmas.

Minnesotans are nationally known for our love of the outdoors.  I’ve heard stats about the per capita cabins, boats, fishing licenses, golfers, snowmobiles, and I’m sure you probably know one or two statistics also.  Fishing opener and deer hunting opener are practically state holidays.  The outdoors and natural resources have an important place in many of our lives.

So who is representing us when it comes to the outdoors and the environment?  It isn’t John Kline. 

The group Conservation Minnesota just released congressional ratings for 2009.  In 13 votes during the 2009 legislative session John Kline had a 0% environmental support rating.  In a reviewing John Kline’s overall environmental ratings, I learned that he has about a 20% approval rating when it comes to environmental issues over his time in Congress.  Of course that rating includes annual perfect 100% ratings from the conservative League of Private Property Voters.  If you remove those scores, his rating falls into the lower single digits, with annual 0% ratings from The League of Conservation Voters, American Lands Alliance, Defenders of Wildlife, Environment America, and even the group Republicans for Environmental Protection.

Is that voting record a record that reflects the voters of his district?  The environment is so important to Minnesotans, that we took matters into our own hands after years of decline in the quality of environmental legislation and spending by passing the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment in November 2008.  With nearly 80% voter turnout, it passed, so no one can deny that was a mandate for our legislative leaders to take the lead and be the stewards of our natural resources that we expect.

John Kline isn’t willing to be that leader.  John Kline and Michelle Bachmann were the only two Minnesota Legislators to score an imperfect zero from Conservation Minnesota.  The voters of his district do not support zero percent.  That rating is proof that John Kline is out of touch.  It is proof that he is more willing to put Republican Party agenda above the ideals of a majority of people in his district?

The outdoors is a part of Minnesota’s heritage.  It is imperative that we protect it so we can pass it on to new generations of Minnesotans who will love it.  The candidates challenging John Kline will not score zeroes when one of them joins Congress.  Dan Powers wants to listen and act for the people of CD2.  Dan wants wind turbines and solar panels dotting the counties he represents.  We need a Representative who represents the ideals we hold dear.  Our wildlife and environment are dear to us.

Jottings and Questions IV

I think I brought this up in the last election, but don’t you think it is odd that John Kline does not have an issues page on his website?  2010 will be his seventh run at congress, and he has nothing.

John Kline has a lot of support from people who call themselves outdoorsman.  It is too bad he is rated as the worst Minnesota Legislator when it comes to issues of clean water and land protection votes.  He and Michelle Bachmann both scored zero in 2009 on 13 votes that would impact outdoors issues.

I listened to a rant the other day by a conservative caller to a radio station talking about how it isn’t good enough to get down to being average in taxes, we need to have even lower taxes to be a prosperous state.  Doesn’t that make us below average?  Am I wrong that if we want to be an above average state we have to invest in that?  The Governor and people like that caller can’t just say we are a great state and expect it be.

When people talk about our taxes and spending do they compare Minnesota to Wisconsin, Michigan and other Midwestern states, or are we comparing Minnesota to states that don’t have to pay for plowing, and the continuous road repairs that cold weather states need?  I’m guessing even Iowa doesn’t spend what we spend on road maintenance, let alone states even further south.  Doesn’t that alone increase our taxes more than other states?

Facebook and Twitter are really bothering me.  It isn’t just all the time I spend on the sights, it’s holding my tongue about what other people write.  A local politician wrote something that could be easily twisted to be used against him.  I didn’t write anything.  I guess that means I just don’t have the killer instinct Michael Brodkorb has.

I like the new blue Dan Powers site.  It is starting to look good as he gears up for the push to challenge John Kline.  You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook too.

Shelley Madore’s site is still pretty bare, but she is active on Facebook too.

Colin Lee and Sigrid Iversen will be running for the House seats in Senate District 36.  Both Colin and Sigrid have social media presence.  And both could use a lot of volunteers and financial support as Colin takes on Mary Liz Holberg and Sigrid challenges Pat Garofalo.