Thursday, August 15, 2019

Environmental Controversies: Avoid Group Think & Herd Mentality like the Plague

I've personally pulled away from following almost all of the non-profit environmental groups and organizations because they have become consumed more about politics and power, than actually caring about what happens to Nature. Nature is used these days as a crutch to lean on for donations for political fights. I've long since let go of the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, EcoWatch, California Chaparral Institute, to name a few. Take for example that bogus outrage over the BLM website photo controversy back in April 2017.
Image - BLM
Remember how it all started and how every single major media outlet & environmental group jumped on the hate bandwagon and exploited it for it's political & money donations worth ??? It all began with a scene from the Home page of the BLM website showing a young boy and his companion overlooking a scenic landscape, apparently on a backpacking trip, looking toward the sunrise and, presumably, a brighter future ahead. What could be more natural than than two friends out there in the outdoors enjoying Nature. BUT THEN ???
Image - BLM
Suddenly on April 7th 2019 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a photograph (or so everyone thought) of a large coal seam at the Peabody North Antelope Rochelle Mine in the state of Wyoming on its homepage. The move offended all the “keep it in the ground” groups like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, along with most Media giants like the Huffington Post & New York Times. Before long there was a massive Twittersphere uproar. Anybody who was anybody climbed on board the hate bandwagon and sided with the outrage without really doing any homework as to the truth about who technically was responsible for the photo rotation makeup of the BLM's website. All wanted to assume it was the fault of the country's newly elected leader whom they didn't approve of and wanted to hate. So just one alert by single outraged activist started a firestorm of controversy. True became the words of a biblical text from Jame 3:5:
"So, too, the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it makes great brags. See how small a fire it takes to set a great forest ablaze!"
The California Chaparral Institute also jumped on the outrage power to the people bandwagon with literally 100s upon 100s of comments from it's loyal followers chiming in with their own angry opinions. I never commented on this post until one of the followers who just happened to work for the BLM tried to calm things down and explain to everyone the truth behind the website's new photo rotation technology that had nothing to do with the country's newly elected President. Nobody wanted to listen or hear that. Instead the BLM employee was viciously attacked and the conversation became who was responsible for that photo. Suddenly the the comments went off topic into a coal vs clean alternative energy debate and that was not originally what the subject was about. I tried to defend the guy who was merely trying to explain to everyone about the BLM's newly developed IT technology within the site which was originally mandated by the previous President Obama. This was further publicly confirmed by another one of the BLM spokesman Jeff Kraus who told the NPR people in an interview that the change was meant to improve the home page with a variety of pics using an IT redesign which would allow diverse images to be rotated through the system of weekly change to illustrate the BLM agency’s multiple-use mission of balancing recreation with natural resource extraction. The rotation of photos changes every Friday, so this coal seam replaced the hiker photo and the following Friday a different photo would appear and so on.
Both myself and the BLM member (I know his name, but will not reveal it because he was afraid of blowback and losing his job by vindictive get even people on that California Chaparral Institute Facebook page). The guy was kind and respectful, but because he was so viciously attacked, he decided to delete all his posts. I private messaged him and apologized if I made things worse in defending him and perhaps I may have been the reason he deleted his posts. Here is his reply through FB Private Message:
"Nothing I said was out of line with policy or was confidential. It was more a matter of keeping a lower profile. My job is to speak publicly about the BLM and its mission. But that doesn't mean that my personal profile should be associated with individuals who advocate for any particular position. This is doubly true if I identify myself as a BLM employee. The job of the BLM is to be the neutral arbiter in the many uses of public lands. Often there is some public assumption of balance. This isn't always the case. Nothing is so cut and dry in "multiple use and sustained yield". Often lands will see one use to near exclusivity. I'm not sure that the audience on that post was ready to really know that. They're also not ready to know that the last administration under Obama presided over the more approvals of Applications for Permit to Drill of any presidency in history. All of this while protecting more acres of the public lands than any other presidency. Our mission, in all of its facets, goes on no matter who is in the Whitehouse. We just talk about different parts of it more at times. Thanks for your concern."
From that point on I've never again commented on the California Chaparral Institute's Facebook page and I've severed all commuication with them. In the past I admired them and wrote posts favourably about their mission. I don't regret writing about some of the positive aspects of Chaparral Plant Community and some of the work they have done from an educational standpoint, but they have for some time morphed far more and more into a giant political machine and I want nothing to do with either side's politics. I did fact check some of the things the BLM Member related about the previous US Administration's mandating the new upgrade in IT image rotating functions on the BLM website (nothing to do with the present leader Trump) and the inconventient truth about the former leader who had been labeled the  "Oil President". Sure enough it's all true, especially the not so environmentally friendly fracking technology for natural gas which the previous US President apparently thought would be a cleaner direction. I mean admittedly it sounded logical. No blame there.
Image - BLM
A week later, lo and behold there it was a new image showing some guy flyfishing out in Nature and a newer photo image appeared just as the BLM guy said would happen the following Friday. But deliberately and purposefully ignoring all that, here is what the Chaparral Institute's owner and admin, Richard Halsey, proclaimed to his loyal members the following Friday (April 14th 2017):

Update: October 2019 - Richard Halsey has since deleted his erroneous April 2017 Coal Seam controversey thread on his Facebook page after a sadly we had an unfortunate heated discussion on the Forest Policy Pub pages. 
Except it had nothing to do with public outrage, rabid eco-activism or collective power to the people voices sending shivers down the spine of the new leader. It was just exactly as the BLM people stated, selected images being rotated showing recreation followed by natural resource extraction photos. All around the globe environmentalist chanted and pushed the same narrative. The people spoke and the evil powers backed down. Except that's not exactly what happened the next following Friday (April 21st 2017) after another new image below appeared on the BLM website homepage. One thing you should remember about the BLM, they take hard flack from both political sides for what ever nonsense ideological reasons. It seems many times they are stuck in the middle in a thankless job.
Image - BLM
But a week later another inconvenient truth photo rotated within the BLM website. An oil pipeline through pristine clean wilderness. So one would have to wonder what ever happened to all those power to the people voices ??? The website's IT improvements, the selected rotating photographs were all the brain child of the previous USA's leadership and nothing to do with the USA's new President. But no one did their homework and ironically no one really commented (Enviro Groups & Media) again after this new image of the oil pipeline in wilderness appeared. Fact is, the controversy was short and it basically provided the much needed outrage to get various non-profit group followers to donate more money so all the non-profit Admins could continue to fight the good fight. Without ever apologizing, these groups chalked it up to greater good rationalizations. Use common sense folks.
Proverbs 14:15 says >>>
"Only a simpleton believes everything he’s told! A prudent man understands the need for proof."
The old terminology for today's dishonest reporting was use to be called "Yellow Journalism" which has now morphed into the unfortunate modern term we know as "Fake News." Whatever term is used, it's not news reporting, but advocacy. But I suppose it was bound to happen. For all the parents out there who may be reading this post, steer your children away from all these radical activist organizations who's gaol is to encourage today's youth to disrespect autority, pursue civil disobedience and destroy other people's personal property otherwise known as Monkeywrenching. You want your children to be law abiding and showing respect for authorities, their fellow man and neighbour. Take a personal hands on responsibility approach and educate your own kids about nature. It'll take effort of course. I realize camping is out as most people rarely camp anymore like they did in the old days. Day trips can be fun and an excellent way of a parent educating and instilling healthy deep appreciation of nature. This requires a little effort in nature education on the part of the parent. Don't rely on advocacy non-profit literature for your own education.

Image - OutdoorFamilyAdventures

We live in an age of TVs, Computers, and electronic gadgets and children are not being exposed to the simple pleasures of exploring nature. It's tough and challenging enough that they have busy school schedules and extra-curricular sports activities leaving them with little simple time of just playing outdoors. Sadly many neighbourhoods have become so built up that there are almost no grassy wild areas left for them to enjoy. Even if there are parks and playgrounds nearby, these are often too structured to invite more important curious nature exploration. Depending on your neighbourhood, the public park can also be a dangerous place. Hiking is an excellent activity for people of all ages and it's definitely the perfect activity for you to share with your children. The goal should not be so much about how far you hike in terms of  distance goals covered, but those numerous stops and pauses along the way. The subject for taking a pause could be a plant, a lizard, a bird, a squirrel or even an Ant hill. Nuture your kid's curiosity about wholesome things. Remember that parenting is your job and not the responsibility of Public Schools and Environmental Groups. Start from infancy, because later on your kids will be exposed (whether you wish it or not) to all manner of irresponsible ideological and political indoctrination from Kindergarden onward. Look where Millennials are now.

The answer to the question above should be a no brainer to most all active hands on parents. Allowing environmental groups to guide and mould your children's minds and hearts through political indictrination at an early age should be discouraged. Kids need innocent surroundings. Our modern human society has destroyed most of these country rural environments.
In Southern California most of the rivers and rural creeks and streams are dead and long gone. Most have been converted over to concrete lined flood channels like this one in Escondido California. Keep your family safe.
Image - Chris Morissette - Escondido Creek conrete channel

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