Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A World Without Bee Stings?

A World Without Honey?

Actually, it's worse than that. There's growing evidence that something very odd is going on with bee populations across the United States and Europe. In the past month or so Drudge has picked up a couple of stories about recent the growing phenomenon called "colony collapse disorder" (CCD) where bee colonies pull a Roanoke and disappear. Some possible culprits of CCD are parasites and immune deficiencies caused by pesticides. Another possible vector, according to studies done in England, are cell phones. The numbers are pretty scary, with massive losses in bee populations in 22 states.

Either way, it's fairly clear something is going on, and there's a decent chance that we're more responsible than not. Now before you go all troglodyte [Gino: ;)] bees are crucial parts of agriculture. While we've been busy creating artificial pesticides and toxic-runoff producing fertilizers, we haven't figured out how to effectively replace the simple bee's role in pollinating crops. If bees go, well, we go.

Here's Einstein's take on it:
“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
Look. I'm a Republican. I'm a conservative, in the classical sense. I don't get all weepy about calling out evil and facing it (Nazi Germany, Iraq, the Soviet Union) and I don't think that it's particularly productive or sustainable for the Government to be relied on for sustenance, education, and direction.

I believe in God and I think he's as real as a rock, but even if I didn't I believe that the idea some overarching and eternally true moral sense is required for human beings to live together and not kill each other. I voted for GW Bush twice and I cried when Reagan died. I'm red state, baby.

But my party has got itself all fricked up over the environment, and the love of money, and the debasement of quality living, and I can't stand it anymore.

You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing, and something is not right here.

It's time to slow down. It's time to stop thinking that newer is automatically better. It's time to stop paving the green places, start reinvesting in our cities, recreate our neighborhoods and... and... and this is the toughie: turn off the goddamn TV and have dinner as a family.

For my conservative friends: you claim membership in a creed that cites personal responsilbility and minimalist government intervention. The flip side of that is a requirement that we be stewards of our own lives -- we don't believe in the nanny state so we work, we take care of our own family, we, in short, take care of our own business.

Well, this big world of ours, this is our business too. This is all part of stewardship. We have a responsibility to ourselves, and our kids, and our kids' kids, to understand what we're doing to the world and, as best we can, minimize our footprints. And we don't do that when in the name of efficiency or economy we buy cheap crap made oversees by slave labor for companies that piss and moan every time you try to make them clean up their messes.

We don't practice stewardship when we say "oh, the Earth is so big and nothing I do can have much impact." Multiply that statement times 6 billion and you see the problem.

We don't practice stewardship when we, in the name of convenience, surrender the moral and ethical programming of our children's minds to the folks who put "Two and a Half Men" on TV.

Too many in the Republican party have come to associate "conservatism" with bowing and scraping to big business. Efficiency is exalted as the end. Big is good. Cheap is good. Stock market's up? GREAT! Does it matter that it's up because the five biggest companies on the Dow have undertaken "downsizing" initiatives to inflate profits at the expense of thousands and thousands of jobs? Ah, the hell with those folks who got canned, I'm gonna get an extra $0.04 on that quarterly dividend...

Times are changing. Are you ready?


Gino said...

so, when do you start quoting 'das capital'?

but, i am glad to see you really care, as do i, about the life and welfare of my kids' kids, the generations yet unborn, and are finally casting your lot to join the pro-life movement.

Kal said...


Christ. Throw that on the table, eh? There's the fun one. I think like a lot of people I'm totally flummoxed by this problem.

First, let me say, I find abortion abhorrent. You can't rail against waste and inefficiency in the environmental world and not look at abortion as the pinnacle of waste and inefficiency.

I just want to take people and shake them: "If you don't want kids, don't have sex". It's not rocket science. It's not like there aren't a million and a half other things to do on a Saturday night with your sweetie.

But (and I just erased about 12 paragraphs of Socratic discussion with myself).... but...

I think there are times when you have to have society lead the law, and not the other way around.

I don't like abortion. And I can't fully reconcile my beliefs on this issue with my other beliefs. But I feel in my heart that the government stepping in on this realm is wrong.

Let's toss this back to you Gino: does your membership in the pro-life movement include being anti-death penalty?

Gino said...

last december:


i didnt throw it out.
you did, by calling for govt intrusion for a moral end.

you cant call for the moral thing to do, and not be for other morality things, too.

this is why i threw it out.

gotta be consistant, is all.

i support individual freedom above all else, the rights to life, liberty, property, and the govts role in securing these rights.

you wont pass a law against something you yourself find abhorant, but will pass laws to ban lightbulbs and aerosal deodorant?

what abhores you more?

society leads the law? i dont remember, and i am old enough to, society up in arms about what form deodorant takes.

prolife isnt about legistlating responsibility(that's nannyism).
its not about waste.
and its not about what you did with your sweetie on saturday nite.
none of these are in my realm.

its about govt defending the weak from the strong, just as you would expect it to protect a large kal from an armed VT student. or kids from predators, whether armed with a penis, or a scalpal.

what is right about banning lightbulbs for the unborn, when they have no right to even show up in the first place?

is it really about the rights of future generations to live? or is it really all about dictating the lifestyles of others who dont live like you think they should?

i have my faith, that leads me to a reasonably responsible attitude towards God's creation.
but i'm not about to dictate Mass attendance either , even though i believe very strongly all will benefit from such, using the force of law, all of which carries threat of death if you dont comply.

is my lightbulb worth killing me over?
or worse, since i am armed, is it worth the death of any federal marshall who is ordered to force compliance?

are you, personally, willing to force my compliance?

can anybody of true pop-enviro faith tell me my lightbulb is endangering everybody else's life, and not be willing to use whatever force necessary to remove it from me?

i dont care if enviros preach and teach. i may even join them. i DO care that they force their faith on me through govt power.

dont get me wrong.
i am not attacking you personally.
i'm attacking the nannyist mindset.

are you a teacher?
or a nannyist dictator?

teach morality: i will listen
dictate morality: i will fight

and we are having a friendly chit-chat. at least i hope we are. this is my intent.

Kal said...

Hey, I'm an advocate, I'm an educator.

And yes, I think we're having a friendly chat: no one is yelling yet.

I'm not really one for MaMa state plunging in and inspecting your fixtures for incandescent bulbs, but I don't think companies have constitutional rights, and I don't mind telling companies: hey, don't make those lightbulbs, make these lightbulbs instead...

(although I don't think I ever cheered Australia's ban, I think I talked about individual people making smart choices, not the government forcing them to make smart choices)

My comment about society leading law is an echo of something Peggy Noonan wrote about abortion once, that what would we have gained if we ban abortion and the end result is fewer abortions with more deaths from illegal and presumably less-safe abortions, the thing we had to do was change people's minds.

For the most part, the stuff I advocate for is common sense stuff. Banning aersols in the '70s is like banning lead from gas. When there's an ingredient that's harmful (to people, to nature), we should ban it, shouldn't we?

The government never said: "Hey, you: You have to stink! No more deodorant for you!". They said: "Hey, company, stop making this kind of deodorant, make another. And they did, and life went on.

The problem is when certain folks (ahem...) go ballistic any time the environmental community says, "hey, wait a minute, this isn't a good way to do things, try this..."

Just because a commie environmentalist says it doesn't mean it's not true...

Gino said...

interesting... do companies have constitutional rights?

they do.

they are legal entities recognized as such by the govt.

but remember: these companies are populated with folks who serve folks. and yes, these folks have rights,too.

can i manufacture one of your evil lightbulbs in my garage? will the feds come knocking?
how bout if a make a few for my nieghbor,too?
what if my nieghbor offers me a few bucks for my trouble?
at what point do i come under the enviro jackboot?
(doctors do abortions. and every doctor is a corporation. so is it ok to stop these corp's from doing what you say is abhorant?).

where on the scale is your standard of enviro-governmental do-goodism? what is the governing intellectual principle?

i like noonan,too. but she is wrong here. given her logic, we would still be a slaveery nation because companies might go overseas to employ child/slave labor.

Kal said...

Oh, I know legally corporations have constitutional rights.

Yes, I think we should all switch to CFL's, but, hey, you want to blow your money unnecessarily, that's more or less your business.

But, really, what is it you have against CLFs?

Here's my defining principle:

I believe in the "No Regrets Policy". I believe there are things we should be doing that are both good for climate, and good for us economically, and we should be doing regardless of any position on climate change.

Is it better to undertake energy efficiency which pays for itself?


Is it good to pursue the creation of renewable energy sources that are home grown?

Hell yes. Particularly good for us folks in New England who don't have oil, gas, or coal.

I'm generally a "carrots" guy - in reference to the "carrots and sticks" equation.

Don't worry about the lightbulb manufacturers. They're agnostic about the whole thing, they'll make whatever they have to make money.

As a matter of fact, check out this: http://www.wate.com/Global/story.asp?S=6237621

Now, some of these folks favor standards-based approaches, which, frankly, is fine. Everytime we set a bar through government action, the private sector meets the challenge.

From my experience with environmental rule-making, the complaint the light companies, and other manufacturers have is that standards with little government enforcement allows companies (usually cheap-o foreign fly-by-night companies) to cheat while the American companies try to meet the rules.

Anonymous said...

the masses are dumb and need laws to live by or they'll end up killing them selves. These laws range from saying how fast you can drive on a road to what kind of light bulb you can buy. Think about it, would your really pop for an expensive efficient light bulb which helps preserve the environment or would you pay for a cheaper inefficient bulb? Laws and regulations are needed for the idiots.