Monday, February 9, 2009

Madder than Bette

I read an infuriating (to my bleeding heart (see previous post) sensibilities) response to an op-ed piece co-authored by founder of the NY Restoration Project/singer/actor, Bette Midler, and Connie Roosevelt, in the Daily News. And for all the social media know-how I've acquired techno-snafus on the News's site got the better of me and I couldn't reply on that site. So, just to channel my fury, thought I'd share here:
Bette's appeal was for the stimulus package to support and encourage more green-collar jobs, particularly to the benefit of her pet project: NYC Parks. The lame response posted by "woodrose" was that that was like "redecorating a burning house."

"Really, Woodrose?", as Seth Meyers might say.

MY response to Woodrose is to consider what we're facing, pal! We have to think beyond our current paychecks (or lack thereof) and current generation.
The benefit of keeping the city green is more than for beauty's sake (though that might help soothe that savage beast!)
As the parks dept site DOES say: "NYRP's work in parks and community gardens directly contributes to achieving four of these – Goal 3: Ensure that all New Yorkers live within a ten-minute walk of a park, Goal 7: Reduce global warming emissions by more than 30%, Goal 9: Clean up all contaminated land in New York City, and Goal 10: Open 90% of our waterways for recreation by reducing water pollution and preserving our natural areas." And sorry for the reality check, but by way of reminder, some facts I saw promoting a lecture by Gus Speth, Dean of the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, founder of Natural Resources Defense Council and World Resources Institute, former Administrator of the UN Development Programme say:
1. We need to confront the American people with how bad environmental conditions are:
“We (i.e., Americans)… are living a dream. We need to be reminded of the nightmare ahead. Here is the truth as I see it: we will never do the things that are needed unless we know the full extent of our predicament.”

2. We need to confront the public not just with climate change but with the full panoply of severe degradation of global ecosystems. “The rate of deforestation in the tropics continues at about an acre a second. About half the wetlands and a third of the mangroves are gone. An estimated 90% of the large predator fish are gone, and 75% of marine fisheries are now overfished or fished to capacity. Twenty percent of the corals are gone, and another 20% severely threatened. Species are disappearing at rates about a thousand times faster than normal. The planet has not seen such a spasm of extinction in 65 million years, since the dinosaurs disappeared. Over half the agricultural land in drier regions suffers from some degree of deterioration and desertification. Persistent toxic chemicals can now be found by the dozens in essentially each and every one of us....[There are} 200 dead zones in the oceans due to overfertilization….….Freshwater withdrawals doubled globally between 1960 and 2000, and are now over half the accessible runoff….[Major] rivers no longer reach the oceans in the dry season.”

3. Today’s environmental strategy will not succeed because: It works within today’s system of regulation and legislation. It works incrementally and accepts compromise. It allows the public to believe that problems can be solved at acceptable economic costs, without significant lifestyle changes. It tries to save global ecosystems without changing political systems. It does not organize the public. It overly depends on bureaucracies, e.g., EPA, Dept. of Interior, UNEP. "
Want to take some action? Call your senator today.

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