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A New Shade of Green

By Sherry Listgarten

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About this blog: Climate change, despite its outsized impact on the planet, is still an abstract concept to many of us. That needs to change. My hope is that readers of this blog will develop a better understanding of how our climate is evolving a...  (More)

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The Deck is Stacked

Uploaded: Jun 7, 2020
If you have twelve seconds, take a look at this video clip from October 2015. Candidate Trump is talking with Chris Wallace on Fox News, explaining how he would cut spending. He zeroes in on environmental protections. “TRUMP: Environmental protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations. They're making it impossible… WALLACE: Who's going to protect the environment? TRUMP: -- they -- we'll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit, but you can't destroy businesses.” (1)


True to his word, Trump has been aggressively rolling back environmental protections. Just a few days ago, he used the pandemic economic crisis to justify waiving environmental reviews for infrastructure projects (e.g., pipeline construction) and to weaken clean air rules.

If you care about the environment, his actions are alarming. But when you look at them through the lens of socioeconomic and racial inequality, they are worse. Because who do you think will get that “little bit” and who won’t? Just as COVID-19 has exacerbated inequality, with poor people and people of color falling disproportionately ill… And just as climate change impacts the most vulnerable, with those who contributed the least suffering the most… This same effect has been occurring for decades with basic environmental protections. As a recent PNAS study put it, "(Air) pollution is disproportionately caused by whites, but disproportionately inhaled by black and Hispanic minorities."

Here is a chart showing the impact of vehicle air pollution on different races in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The percentage on the y-axis represents the deviation from statewide average.


People of color are exposed to disproportionate amounts of vehicle pollution in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists)

What about California? Those most impacted by vehicle emissions (the third, fourth, and fifth bars below) are disproportionately Latino. (Statewide demographics are shown in the right-most bar.)


Latinos in California are exposed to disproportionate amounts of vehicle pollution (Source: Union of Concerned Scientists)

You may be thinking that this is a result of poverty — poorer people live in less expensive neighborhoods that can be more polluted. And that is true. All kinds of toxic plants, dumps, distribution centers, factory farms, and more are disproportionately located in poorer neighborhoods. As environmental regulations are rolled back and America forgets its commitment to clean air and clean water for all, inequality is exacerbated. The deck is stacked against the poor, who have limited means to fight back.

But the cause is not just poverty, it is also race. A 2018 editorial in the Lancet Public Health puts it this way: “While a common counterargument to the narrative of environmental racism is that these are conditions that arise from poverty, not racism, a growing body of evidence suggests that this is not the case, including a report from the US Environmental Protection Agency in February, 2018, which noted that ‘Disparities (in exposure to particulate emissions) for Blacks are more pronounced than are disparities on the basis of poverty status.’”

A number of organizations have worked to tease out the racial component from the poverty component. This report states “Race continues to be an independent predictor of where hazardous wastes are located, and it is a stronger predictor than income, education and other socioeconomic indicators.” You can see the table on page 78 reflecting the results of their multivariate analysis. The Atlantic reviews air pollution in this context as well.

I’m not sure it matters so much, since we know that poverty is due in part to structural racism. But how is it that race, not just poverty, results in more environmental pollution? Well, communities of color have a harder time fighting back when the establishment specifically doesn’t listen to them. And if the EPA sits on their cases, they cannot be heard. An evaluation of the EPA’s Office of Civil Rights found that: “In the office’s 22-year history of reviewing nearly 300 complaints, the agency has never made a single finding of a civil rights violation. Nine in every 10 complaints are rejected or dismissed….Filing a complaint with the EPA doesn’t stop an action from happening, and in four of the five cases the action that sparked the original complaint—permitting a new power plant or expanding a refinery, for example—has already been carried out.” Racism can delay the response after an environmental disaster, as reported with Hurricane Katrina. And even when some degree of help is available, there may be a lack of trust between people of color and the environmental movement. A self-described “black tree hugger” writes in the Guardian that his grandparents were bemused by his environmentalism. Their “interactions with the environmental movement were not particularly positive; they contended that, in their time, most environmentalists cared more about protecting remote habitats than protecting their black neighbors from discrimination and violence.” Environmental organizations in the US are still predominantly white.

When it comes to living in a healthy environment, something many of us take for granted, the deck is stacked not just against poor people, but against people of color. They disproportionately bear the burden of pollution, whether it is toxic waste, incinerators, vehicles, farm waste, or pesticides. They have less access to environmental benefits and spend less time in our national parks. They are less able to fight back and have less means to adapt to the changing climate.


So it is no wonder that Yale reported a few months ago that people of color care more than others about environmental protection and global warming. (2) They recognize that if there is only a “little bit” left of a clean environment, they probably won’t be getting it.


People of color care more about climate change (Source: Yale Program on Climate Change Communications)

We must do better. Clean air and clean water are fundamental rights of everyone, however impoverished, of whatever race. The current administration continues to target the most vulnerable with its environmental rollbacks, its funding decisions, and its willful ignorance about climate change. This post started off with Trump’s point of view about the environment. I want to end with this one, from a story from Earthjustice.


Photo courtesy of Earthjustice

Notes and References
1. You can find the full video for context, along with a transcript, here.

2. While some of this difference can be attributed to party affiliation, there is more to it. “Hispanics/Latinos … are still more Alarmed or Concerned than are Whites, even when controlling for differences in party identification.”

Current Climate Data (April 2020)
Global impacts, US impacts, CO2 metric, Climate dashboard (updated annually)

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Comments

 +   121 people like this
Posted by ASR , a resident of College Terrace,
on Jun 7, 2020 at 6:52 am

We need sensible growth that does not destroy our health, people and economics. Greed is not the answer. We need to be accelerate discovery of technologies that keep us safer for all races.


 +   115 people like this
Posted by Blanche DuBois, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 7, 2020 at 7:07 am

The word from the our Pols
March = Science
April = Science
May = Science
June = Feelings


 +   39 people like this
Posted by fantastic subject exploration, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Jun 7, 2020 at 8:50 am

Sherry: fantastic subject to explore and bring forward, and really well done.

There's so MUCH crazy from you-know-who; he uses it to deflect and distract in multiple directions (he is truly a master at it, unfortunately.) Our neck snaps around while going from one crazy to another (200 tweets in a day?) Meanwhile, he somewhat quietly keeps destroying environmental protections, appointing judges inclined to support it, and cutting taxes for billionaires, of course.

...

Dashboard - NOAA:
"April 2020 marked the 44th consecutive April and the 424th consecutive month with temperatures, at least nominally, above the 20th-century average."


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Andrew, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 7, 2020 at 7:24 pm

Comment removed, off topic.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by State Government, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables,
on Jun 7, 2020 at 9:07 pm

The EPA deserves some of the blame, but the states and local government are complicit when it benefits them. Just today, The Chronicle published this article on how SF government looked the other way to help developers: Web Link

The "toxic plants, dumps, distribution centers, factory farms, and more" that hurt the poor were allowed to be built where they were because the local and state politicians allowed it. And most of the time the community welcomes or tolerates these polluters because they bring jobs or pay property taxes that make their presence "worth" it.

It's a Faustian bargain. The community wants the money and in exchange they trade the environmental consequences.

As for vehicle emissions, the federal government has significant control, but so do the states that can always do more to drive emissions down.

1. Raise state gas taxes much higher.
2. Raise yearly registration fees on fuel inefficient cars
3. Raise sales tax on purchasing fuel inefficient cars
4. Charge higher and more tolls on cars and lower the price of public transportation

Any state can push taxes higher significantly if they find their pollution levels too high. People will then gravitate to drive less and fuel efficient cars.


 +   17 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Midtown,
on Jun 8, 2020 at 4:31 am

I don't know, I am really tired of identity politics. This article looks they were desperate to prove that "people color are hurt by climate change" and then they cherry-picked little stats and drew a picture of a graph to form an indirect connection between two utterly unrelated topics: non-white people and climate change. It is backwards, half-baked science.

And then implying that Trump is racist because his environmental rollbacks somehow hurt people of color. That's quite the stetch.

If anything, I suspect its the other way around, and the people who are "most concerned with climate change" are white liberals living in high-priced coastal enclaves. Go to a majority-Hispanic neighborhood, tell me how many people are harping about climate change.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by fantastic subject exploration, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Jun 8, 2020 at 5:48 am

> then implying that Trump is racist because his environmental rollbacks

True. Trump's overt racism is more obvious than that in so many ways ("Mexicans are rapists", etc..) that some have a hard time seeing the ways his racism effect people of color and the poor via his environmental legislative and executive actions.

But it's there, for both. Our poor poster above, who is admittedly seeing all things through her own tired "identity politics" filter ("I don't know, I am really tired of identity politics") probably can't see either obvious fact.

Remove the fox/breitbart filter and see the world, my friend. It's a beautiful place. Let's save it.


 +   12 people like this
Posted by A Time To Get Real, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 8, 2020 at 9:16 am

Wouldn't the elimination of fossil fuels, gasoline-powered vehicles, and coal mining create even more poverty from the standpoint of unemployment?

While I have little empathy for big-moneyed stockholders and CEOs, it's the countless underlings who keep these massive enterprises afloat by simply going to work everyday in order to put food on the table and to provide for their families.

Preserving the environment (or what's left of it) is paramount to our very existence as a whole BUT most environmentalists tend to be idealistic thinkers who cannot relate to the basic necessities of modern-day life as the view from an ivory tower is usually far different than that of one on the streets.

A growing global population is the primary culprit as more people place more strain on the ecosystems and environment as a whole.

While I am not an advocate of forced sterilizations, more people NEED to practice birth control and 'pro-choice' mandates should be unilateral as we can no longer count on war, famine, disease, infant mortality and shorter lifespans to control population growth.

And any organized religion that either promotes having large families OR pro-life advocacies should lose their tax-exempt status.




 +   4 people like this
Posted by Terry Boiae, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 8, 2020 at 10:46 am

"Wouldn't the elimination of fossil fuels, gasoline-powered vehicles, and coal mining create evn more poverty"

No. For example, there are very few coal miners left. According to FRED, 180k in 1986, now 40k.

Next question?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Think Deeper, a resident of another community,
on Jun 8, 2020 at 12:21 pm

Pollution affects communities of color more -- the explanation for this is segregated housing policy that continues to this day. First, people would put restrictions in their deeds that prohibit the sale of a home to a colored person. Once the government made that illegal, cities started zoning communities for race. Once the government made that illegal, cities started using single family zoning and neighborhood approval to restrict non-whites from living in more affluent areas. This last policy continues to this day. Even though few people around here promoting single family zoning are directly racist, they are perpetuating policies that keep minorities out of wealthy areas and stuck in areas right next to freeways (Belle Haven), near toxic sites (Bay Point), etc.

Allowing more mixed-use housing to be built gives minorities more upward mobility and opportunity to move out of their polluted areas. But local folks refuse to admit that and keep pointing the finger at all sorts of other things (like Trump) so that they can keep their expensive house and neighborhood just the way it is. Everything/everyone else must change, but not my street. Ridiculous.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by A Time To Get Real, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 8, 2020 at 1:41 pm

> "For example, there are very few coal miners left. According to FRED, 180k in 1986, now 40k."

^ Curious...did they get retraining in another job sector or add to the welfare rolls?

How many went on to college or vocational schools?

Or did they simply retire with a lucrative retirement package?


 +   4 people like this
Posted by West Menlo, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights,
on Jun 8, 2020 at 1:42 pm

@state government:
And, if you did the things you suggested (higher cost for fuel, car registration, charge for fuel inefficiency, etc) it would (wait for it...) negatively and adversely and disproportionately affect people of color and poor people more than white and affluent. Kind of sounds like the plan has racist undertones or ulterior motives, don't you think?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by State Government, a resident of Menlo Park: Felton Gables,
on Jun 8, 2020 at 3:34 pm

@West Menlo
It wouldn't negatively affect persons of color and poor if an equal amount or more of the taxes were spent directly on those same communities. It's sort of like a carbon tax. In this case, the money would be spent on ameliorating the negative economic consequences.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by fantastic subject exploration, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Jun 8, 2020 at 4:29 pm

> Or did (laid off coal miners) simply retire with a lucrative retirement package?

Mostly no. The coal barons ripped off the pensions and then declared bankruptcy. Though congress backstopped many of the pension plans that were ripped off, our billionaires once again showed us an example of corporate welfare capitalism:

Privatize profits, socialize the losses.

Real enough yet, @atimetogetreal?


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Perspective, a resident of Mountain View,
on Jun 9, 2020 at 11:29 am

Post removed, off topic. (Poster would like me to watch this video Web Link by Life:Powered, a pro-fossil organization based in Texas.)

Folks, please try to stick with the topic at hand, and see guidelines more generally. Thank you!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Robin, a resident of Cuesta Park,
on Jun 9, 2020 at 12:14 pm

Robin is a registered user.

This is excellent. Thanks, Sherry.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Smoggy Day, a resident of College Terrace,
on Jun 9, 2020 at 4:04 pm

A hot, smoggy June afternoon, and he wants us to listen to the oil industry.

No thanks.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 11, 2020 at 10:19 pm

"And, if you did the things you suggested (higher cost for fuel, car registration, charge for fuel inefficiency, etc) it would (wait for it...) negatively and adversely and disproportionately affect people of color and poor people more than white and affluent."

The solution is direct and simple: Steeply progressive income taxes which go steeply negative below an appropriate income level


 +  Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 12, 2020 at 1:03 pm

Gee, it would sure be ironic if Donald Trump's mental problems and dysfunctions are due to environmental exposure to some chemical toxin in his past ... like maybe eating lead paint flakes?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 12, 2020 at 1:25 pm

Curmudgeon:
> The solution is direct and simple: Steeply progressive income taxes which go steeply negative below an appropriate income level

I am about as Left-wing as is possible to get and still remain rational. I agree that part of the solution is to design our system to expect progressively higher support from those who have the most, or those who benefit the most from our system. One problem with that is that with our catastrophic deficit in care taking for this planet and its people, there simply might not be enough financial incentive left for people to work, start businesses, make money if tax rates are too high. I don't know what the too high level would look like.


The pandemic shows that we are woefully behind in our public infrastructure which shows that our richest and most powerful citizens don't really care about what the rest of the country looks like or what happens to us - they just want to keep as much money as they can. Meanwhile we have for hundreds of years now our capitalism system has just stolen and exploited any group possible for their own profit with zero regard for their human rights, their children, their education, their health care. In short the rulers of the planet have done everything but out and out mass genocide - and even that has been tried a few times.

I am totally against that kind of exploitation, but there is one aspect of it that I am in some kind of sympathy with

[Portion removed. The poster wonders about poorer families having more kids, often single-parent. The poster also wonders about wealthier families having children for "ego" reasons and not interacting with them much.]

Practically the worst thing we can do to the environment is to create more Americans.

There absolutely must be some sort of social contract that includes some kind of participation as a citizen in population control. If you do not want to limit your family size, then perhaps it should make one ineligible for social programs, or the cost should be much, much higher, or the services should be only available through the private market. I don't know. I don't mean to suggest those as solutions because there are so many drawbacks to every possible solution to the problem.

We all know it - we all know population is the major problems on the planet when you reduce all other problems down. I've pretty much heard everyone I know or who have had more than a cursory chat with complain in some way or other that the population is too big already. This is especially true if all the people on this planet lived as the citizens of Western developed country's consumers do today.

Until there is at least some nod or discussion about the birth rate and population issue there is little point in pretending we can solve it by half measures. It is an almost impossible issue to talk about or find an angle that would be fair to all groups or people of the country, let alone the planet. As much as we vilify the Chinese they are the only ones who have had the courage to take on this problem materially.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sherry Listgarten, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jun 12, 2020 at 4:54 pm

Sherry Listgarten is a registered user.

Thanks for the thoughtful comments on a difficult topic. A couple of responses...

@ASR: You talk about “sensible growth that does not destroy our health”. I wonder how much of the problem is the focus on GDP in this country. Is there a metric we should use instead that better reflects the quality and sustainability of all of our lives?

@fantastic: It was also a very hot May.

@StateGovt: Great points, thanks. I think California’s cap-and-trade, as another example, is not as effective as it should be. Too many credits floating around. See CalMatters and ProPublica articles on that.

@Resident: Here is a study showing that Latinos care a lot about climate change. Think, if you worked in agriculture or lived in very warm places, as many Latinos do, wouldn’t you care? Related, at least among conservatives, more education and higher income are correlated with *less* concern about climate change. Source. These are reputable studies, but if you think this is cherry-picking, please share your own sources and we can discuss.

@ATime/Crescent: If you are concerned about population (I don’t think it’s our biggest problem, but you suggest it is), consider focusing less on legal contracts and mandates, and more on educating women. When women have career aspirations and gainful employment, they have smaller families. Here is a good article to read on that.

@Think: Yes, we can move people living in polluted areas to less polluted ones, or clean up the areas where they are living now. Same for jobs -- move/retrain people to cleaner jobs, or clean up the jobs they have now. Same for education -- move people to places with better schools, or improve the schools where they are. I don’t think it’s either/or. I hope not. Improvement has been much too slow. But moving is also no picnic, and the more we make it a zero-sum game, the harder it will be to effect. Something needs to change, and probably all of the above.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 12, 2020 at 5:37 pm

Wow, you are getting heavy handed with your editing, at least on what I see from my comments.

The problem with these discussion and people is that they end up arguing over nonsense because
all situation and problems are multivariate. All things being equal population is the biggest problem
in the long run by far.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sherry Listgarten, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jun 12, 2020 at 7:01 pm

Sherry Listgarten is a registered user.

Okay. So here is a portion of the comment that I removed: "If you make life so easy for people at the very bottom we will get a huge increase in the numbers of these people. They will have children indiscriminately, and we can see that because they already do."

So, wow. I consider that to be an unsubstantiated and offensive generality. "These people" are having children "indiscriminately". Plus it's vague. Are you talking about socioeconomic status? Ethnicity? Current rates of birth? Trends in birth rate? I tried to paraphrase it as positively as possible so people would listen to your general point.

FWIW, here you again make a vague, unsubstantiated claim. "All things being equal" -- what does that even mean? "In the long run" -- again, everyone is in agreement that population is going to start dropping in a few decades. So what is "the long run"?

The irony is that all of this is in the context of climate change, where a family with two children in our wealthy city has emissions equivalent to a family with 40 kids in sub-Saharan Africa. So, if you want to talk population, let's start culling children right here.

I don't think you have bad intentions. I think you are frustrated and looking for solutions. And it's hard to be precise and provide references with everything you say. I get that. But I do moderate on occasion, and I will sometimes paraphrase to get a point across in a different way. I wouldn't consider it to be heavy-handed, but YMMV.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Sherry Listgarten, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jun 12, 2020 at 7:22 pm

Sherry Listgarten is a registered user.

@Curm: Somewhat related: One thing I wonder is how much money should people be making from some of the clean-energy technology being developed. I talked once with a guy who was basically going to make money from building a platform to do arbitrage on the price of power in California. When it went negative he would store it, and then he would sell it back when it went positive. He probably had patents on it. It seemed wrong to me that he could make so much money from this. His response was "But don't you want to incent the inventors?" Are the best inventors so exclusively profit oriented? We don't get many chances to overhaul all of our energy, transportation, and industrial systems. How can we drive all the innovation that we so badly need in a way that reduces rather than exacerbates inequality?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 12, 2020 at 8:28 pm

"One problem with that is that with our catastrophic deficit in care taking for this planet and its people, there simply might not be enough financial incentive left for people to work, start businesses, make money if tax rates are too high. I don't know what the too high level would look like."

The top tax rate was 90% during the Fabulous Fifties. The moniker tells it all.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 12, 2020 at 8:49 pm

"I talked once with a guy who was basically going to make money from building a platform to do arbitrage on the price of power in California. When it went negative he would store it, and then he would sell it back when it went positive. He probably had patents on it."

I don't get it. This guy thought he could store gigawatt-hours of electrical energy until the price got to a more likable level? He'd be a gazillionaire with the royalties on that storage system; nuts with the arbitrage.


"How can we drive all the innovation that we so badly need in a way that reduces rather than exacerbates inequality?"

The first consideration is that it is impossible to build a working system that is physically impossible. Many of the energy "solutions" I see are in this category. Others are excessively dangerous.

Money isn't the major driver to innovation. Curiosity is, followed up by ability. True story: There is a mathematician who solved one of the seven Millennium Math Problems. He refused the attendant million dollar prize, and the Fields Medal. To my knowledge, the six remaining million-dollar problems remain unsolved. Go figure.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 13, 2020 at 6:27 am

>> "If you make life so easy for people at the very bottom we will get a huge increase in the numbers of these people. They will have children indiscriminately, and we can see that because they already do."

> So, wow. I consider that to be an unsubstantiated and offensive generality.

OK, I can understand that but I think it is not really warranted ... but why, and offensive to whom. Are we imagining offenses or trying hard to strain to see offense in everything or avoid any possible offense. That is too high a standard to demand from a blog comment IMO. What I mean and i think I clearly said is that if we try to take all the people at the bottom - no group mentioned - and turn them into middle class Americans, or the equivalent, we will consume like planet like a huge burning flame and destroy it

> "These people" are having children "indiscriminately". Plus it's vague. Are you talking about socioeconomic status? Ethnicity? Current rates of birth? Trends in birth rate? I tried to paraphrase it as positively as possible so people would listen to your general point.

OK, well I appreciate the thought.

I think, and I this is my opinion, that when people who are on public assistance or making minimum wage, or not a living wage have children they cannot afford, that one could fairly call that being indiscriminate. I listen quite a bit to KALW Your Call Radio, and I usually love the show when i can listen to it, but it focuses on a lot of these issues of poor and minority problems, and often enough that it really stands out I hear in many call ins very poor people who are not making it themselves and could not making it doing their jobs talking about their 5 children. My point is that at some point if we have too many wards of the state it will break down both the social safety net, but also taking too much tax ( and as I said I am a huge believer in steep progressive taxation ... exponential taxation, but our system as it is now depends on certain groups of people being able to make tons of profit off some business, usually at the expense workers. The upper classes all over the world are terrified of the demographic - read DEMOCRATIC changes that will come about, and we see it in the US where Republicans are doing everything they can do undermine democracy. The question is how to do this ... and of course what exactly to do, and why. To get everyone in the country or the world to agree is probably not possible - which means that these problems will probably just stay with us and not get solved.

Intentionally not vague, but broad in order to avoid making any specific disparaging remarks. Rich people over-reproducing are not a big problem within the scope of what I am talking about because they are the 1% or the 0.1% ... and whatever their birth rate is a drop in the bucket. The children of the rich have their own destructive issues - such as not having enough attention from mommy and daddy and being brough up with servants that they can abuse in some cases or be rude to. This is well described in "The Family" I think it was when the author talked about the Bush dynasty. But they do not have the physical effect, they have more of a political and cultural effect.

--

Here is what I would criticize. You are, and it is your right, or at least in your power as blogger her, that you are reading that with own preconceived notions as to what I mean, making every effort, it seems like to me, to spin it as offensive or attacking of one group or something like that ... but what I am trying to say that it is a general principle that living things reproduce at the rate they can. I would say - don't consider what I said offensive until someone takes offense, at which point I can either explain ... which I should not really need to, or you can edit the person who actually did say something offensive.

We humans are a bit more deliberate, but we are as a planet still reproducing irresponsibly dangerously.

If you want to focus on native groups, the trend has been for the developed world to move into an area, set up their laws, and then push the natives off the best lands, put those lands under colonial control, subject locals to colonial laws, and then take advantage of their inability to live on the poor land they are relegated to - so they are forced to go to the city to get jobs or be criminals or prostitutes ... or in past days slaves.

We disrupt civilizations , cultures, societies and tribes that can last for hundreds of years. In order to bring justice to those people - it is counterproductive and maybe even impossible if they have a very high birthrate. There is a chance that birthrates can drop as development proceeds - but that is a tentative and slow process if it happens at all.

Ultimately the kind of thinking needed - and I speculate here - is a future reasonable steady state and how to get to get there. Whatever it is, it simply will not work with this many people on the planet - if by work you mean that nature survives and the weather is not catastrophic to the environment. Thus, in the long term population is the main forcing variable.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 13, 2020 at 6:36 am

>> "If you make life so easy for people at the very bottom we will get a huge increase in the numbers of these people. They will have children indiscriminately, and we can see that because they already do."

> So, wow. I consider that to be an unsubstantiated and offensive generality.

Why the "wow"? It seems kind of condescending to me that I would even say that or question your judgement on it? Do you meant that ... again ... why the "wow"? ;-)

That sort of seems like to me you basically disagree with it and since the statement could somehow be considered touching on a controversial issue you decided to spin that as "offensive". Why would that be offensive, and to whom? I don't see how it is offensive. There are people at the very bottom of the economy ... is it offensive to merely mention that reality? And a very high percentage of those people without the wherewithal to take care of themselves have multiple children. Is that a lie?

I think it is more important to mention that because by doing so it opens up a whole bunch of other questions that are never asked because they are cut off by "political correctness"?

I spend a lot of time on chat boards trying to challenge, question and tease out "political correctness". It is a useless term and I usually detest it being used and rarely use it myself - but in his case it fits.

The question is, and I am not pretending to answer it, or to suggest a forced answer for others - just a question. Is society in general supposed to be financially responsible to make sure than anyone can have children? Even men? Unlimited children? Is that somehow offensive or an unfair question to ask?


 +  Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 13, 2020 at 6:47 am

> How can we drive all the innovation that we so badly need in a way that reduces rather than exacerbates inequality?

In that question, and he setup before it, I see the seeds of an admission the the capitalist free market as it is practices in the US in energy at least has been a miserable failure. Is that a fair statement? I would at least say, and especially with respect to what we have experienced with the C-19 pandemic, that we need data collection, analysis and discussion above the level or simple market economic, and corrupt politics.

In other words we need to build the system per certain specs - not just think that if we leave capitalist schemers behind a black curtain they and the market will come up with the solution? Our system is not designed to do this. What we do in our economy is about what people with money decide to invest in that will make them the most money.

For example, if I am an investor, especially of other people's money, and I have a billion dollars, will I invest in a 3% return investment that solves global warming or the coal power plant that returns 12% ?

We need to design for the emergency - that means our basic system, and we need to find real ways with teeth to give rights to nature as well as deliver a stand of living to everyone. That is the " must have " and the innovators are not just the people who can scheme to make money - they must be the people who can invent and refine a system that does that with the greatest good to the great number of people, and the least harm to the least number of people.


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Posted by fantastic subject exploration, a resident of Charleston Gardens,
on Jun 13, 2020 at 9:31 am

> "If you make life so easy for people at the very bottom..."

Wow. Simply, just wow. Rather, just injust.

(yes, an archaic word for an archaic notion.)




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Posted by A Time To Get Real, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 13, 2020 at 11:18 am

> "@ATime/Crescent: If you are concerned about population (I don't think it's our biggest problem, but you suggest it is), consider focusing less on legal contracts and mandates, and more on educating women. When women have career aspirations and gainful employment, they have smaller families. Here is a good article to read on that."

^ Concurring with your reply (at least in the United States) BUT globally there are still many 3rd world countries that culturally (or via the repressive dogma of their so-called religions), either curtail women's education and/or promote their enslavement as subservient 2nd class citizens essentially relegated to childbearing responsibilities...and nothing more.

CrescentParkAnon brought up a valid point...

>> "we are as a planet still reproducing irresponsibly dangerously.

If you want to focus on native groups, the trend has been for the developed world to move into an area, set up their laws, and then push the natives off the best lands, put those lands under colonial control, subject locals to colonial laws, and then take advantage of their inability to live on the poor land they are relegated to - so they are forced to go to the city to get jobs or be criminals or prostitutes ... or in past days slaves.

We disrupt civilizations , cultures, societies and tribes that can last for hundreds of years. In order to bring justice to those people - it is counterproductive and maybe even impossible if they have a very high birthrate. There is a chance that birthrates can drop as development proceeds - but that is a tentative and slow process if it happens at all."

^ Illiteracy/ignorance + poverty contribute to high birthrates in the 3rd world and the only way to stem the pending tide of environmental destruction is with economic balance, higher levels of education and the eventual extinction of ALL religions that prey on the underprivileged by promising them glorious afterlives in exchange for tithing and suffering on Earth.

A cultural anthropology professor once lectured us that MISSIONARIES are among the biggest culprits as they tend to convert primitive, self-sufficient peoples to peasantry.

Add imperialism/colonialization/war to the equation as the relentless quest for cheap labor and natural resources only perpetuates this global environmental pandemic.

Modern civilization and industrialized nations have only themselves to blame and there is no going back to yesteryear UNLESS there are fewer people on Earth + LESS exploitation within the material world.

Perhaps the COVID-19 epidemic is Mother Nature's way of dealing with this problem.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 13, 2020 at 2:48 pm

Sorry to get so real, but the history of the world every since we became farmers from hunter-gathering has been violence and war over territory and the way we won those wars and expanded into empires was through being able to produce big populations of fighters with the cheap food. That is an idea and process that has not died because it is artificially sustained by political hierarchies that promote the wealth and power of elites.

Eastern Russia has such a low population that Russia is worried China has designs on it. China and India used to compete with growing populations in case they had to fight over territory, and at least 2 of the world's major religion have population wars build into them.

I am not kidding about this population thing in the least.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 13, 2020 at 5:00 pm

Curmudgeon, as Brooke Harrington wrote in Capital Without Borders ... not sure if this was her or a quote from someone else ... "The rich respect no borders and pay no taxes".

This is war, and the 0.1% have all the weapons and all the intelligence. If we want to win this we have to be a lot more incredibly clever and dedicated. I don't see it.

If we have a group of Founding Fathers today ... and Mothers of course, they would be droned as soon as they presented any real threat to the status quo, which would include forcing these people to pay taxes. And, if they did or were somehow forced to pay taxes, within another generation they or their descendants would figure out a way to end that as they have now.

In the 50's when the rates were up where you quoted, very few paid that rate because they were forced to put their money to real work. Not they launder it and send it overseas or never bring it here to begin with.

A real reset is going to look like ( I think ) a real reset, an acknowledgement that almost ALL money, wealth and power is illegitimate, and that which isn't is so small there is no way to really deal with it in a dollar for dollar fair way. Money itself is a fiction we have all been sold and we need to invent and buy into another exchange paradigm.


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Posted by Curmudgeon, a resident of Downtown North,
on Jun 13, 2020 at 5:19 pm

"Money itself is a fiction we have all been sold and we need to invent and buy into another exchange paradigm."

Clarence: No, we don't use money in Heaven.

George Bailey: Well, it comes in real handy down here, bud!


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Posted by A Time To Get Real, a resident of Barron Park,
on Jun 14, 2020 at 8:53 am

> "Money itself is a fiction we have all been sold and we need to invent and buy into another exchange paradigm."

^ Absolutely...perhaps a cashless society that provides for the basics (i.e. food, shelter. clothing, and medical care).

Luxury (non-essential) goods could be attained via bartering and/or in exchange for skilled services (i.e. various trades).


>> "Clarence: No, we don't use money in Heaven."

George Bailey: "Well, it comes in real handy down here, bud!"

^ HANDY only because we have allowed it to be so.

The concept of economics and money are an illusion perpetuated by a number of abstract & imaginary factors.

If one was in the desert dying of thirst and there was absolutely no water available, all the gold in the world wouldn't save your ass.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 15, 2020 at 9:11 pm

> Clarence: No, we don't use money in Heaven.
> George Bailey: Well, it comes in real handy down here, bud!

Hmmm, bet they use money in hell though! ;-)

Seriously, that is exactly how they control people. It is the same pattern I mentioned
above, take people away from the land and environment that sustains then and
then tell them they must work for you to eat, competing against their own community
members, lowering the wages and breaking communities - while slowly dying
themselves. Money can be used as a weapon of genocide just as much as
guns.



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Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 17, 2020 at 3:13 pm

>> "Money itself is a fiction we have all been sold and we need to invent and buy into another exchange paradigm."

Money is presented to us from an age before we can reason as a symbol and storage of value, but when you actually look at it historically it money has been a tool of of corruption and a facade over in some cases hundreds of years of abuse, crime and corruption.

Read Capital in the Twenty-First Century by French economist Thomas Piketty and fill in the blanks.


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Posted by CrescentParkAnon., a resident of Crescent Park,
on Jun 17, 2020 at 8:43 pm

>> FWIW, here you again make a vague, unsubstantiated claim. "All things being equal" -- what does that even mean?

"What does that even mean?" ... are you kidding? - that makes me feel bad - like you don't think I am very logical or have any reason behind what I say?

Well, OK, that's fine, I missed replying to that and meant to respond.

All things being equal is a math thing ... looking at a function does when all variables but the independent variable are held constant in order to see what affect the independent variable has on the shape of a curve. The human brain is not very good and trying to intuit what multivariate complex functions are doing. We tend to be linear, which is why we are just so, so, so bad at understanding or accept the data on things like global warming which have many inputs.

We like very simple linear functions, like $50 an hour, or 60 miles an hour - or a mile a minute!

> everyone is in agreement that population is going to start dropping in a few decades.

My goodness, unsubstantiated claims? When have you ever known everyone to be in agreement about anything?

Like COVID-19, that curve and whether it is a spike or flattened make a significance difference.


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