Why we need federal oversight


With all this Cliven Bundy and Federal Overreach talk going on I felt the need to write a post about it. Now, I must admit that the whole Bundy thing really pissed me off. How in the hell could anyone support him? He was grazing his cows on federally owned and maintained land and hadn’t paid his grazing fees in 20 years despite numerous attempts on the part of the BLM. It is the equivalent of me driving on the public roads and assuming that my government will protect me from threats both domestic and foreign, but deciding that I do not have to pay the taxes that pay for all of that to be possible. This leads me to my point: we need federal oversight. Why? Because left on their own, the general population and corporations at large will do what is best for them, not what is best for us all.

It was clearly better business for Mr. Bundy to NOT pay the grazing fees, but it was worse for everyone else because he was getting this service for free and not paying this fees that go to help maintain all public land. It makes sense, to be fair to Mr. Bundy. When it comes right down to it that is what all of us would do if we needed to. I have the luxury of having a stable home and income with no fear of where my next meal is coming from. Therefore, I can afford to compost and go out of my way to recycle and buy the more expensive but biodegradable soap. If I didn’t have all this stability, I would do what was best for me and my family. I would buy what was cheapest, I would send my energy on my safety and the procurement of food, not worry about if my plastic flossing tool is recyclable.

On the subject of corporations, they must also do what is best for them. They are (usually) responsible to their shareholders to make money, not worry about saving the world. I get it, I really do, but it is because I understand all this that I know how invaluable EPA and Government Oversight is. We need those them to make the choices that are best for us all, like cutting carbon emissions or requiring companies to clean up toxic sludge that they spilled. I am not advocating for big brother but am instead saying that everyone needs to do what is best for them, which leaves the government to help protect the big picture. We need an authority that is thinking about today, tomorrow, and what kind of life my grandchildren may have.




Why everyone needs to care about Biodiversity


Even if you personally are one of those people that don’t really like “nature” and much prefer the comfort of walking on concrete, you should care about our current trend of losing biodiversity. The main causes of biodiversity loss are habitat loss and climate change (a.k.a. the climate if changing faster than animals can adapt). Many scientists are calling this the 6th great extinction, on par with the Permian-Triassic mass extinction that killed the majority of life on earth. I have found that some people are quite surprised to discover that environmental concerns such as biodiversity loss will effect more than just those hippy-dippy-tree-huggers.

Beyond the obvious loss of the aesthetics of nature, biodiversity loss usually signals environmental degradation. All living things (including people) rely on the ecosystem services provided to us by healthy and robust environments. These services include cleaning air, cleaning water, preventing erosion, and sequestering carbon. On top of all that we rely on the natural world to provide us new medications, the plants that we grow as crops, the animals that we grow as food, the materials we make into clothes, and a multitude of industrial products such as timber and oils.

The loss of biodiversity means less species and a less healthy environment. When the environment is not healthy it cannot efficiently provide those services and products that we rely on to feed, clothe and shelter ourselves. The more services that the environment can no longer provide us, the more money, time, and resources we have to spend on making up the difference. So, if you care about eating, not being naked, the economy,  medical cures, breathing, drinking, or having a home, then you should care about biodiversity. That is why conserving natural habitats and sustainably using our natural resources is so important and why everyone should care about the “hippy stuff”.