Category Archives: Environmentalism & Animal Rights

PLASTIC POLLUTION: Bans vs. Recycling Solutions

Business, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Regulation

Independent Institute: | www.independent.org

… One need only compare Disneyland, for example, with a
national park or a public beach to see the environmental
benefits of privatization.

EPS (expanded polystyren) producers themselves have little incentive
to invest in recycling technologies, since creating
new EPS is cheaper than recycling it. Foam takeout
packaging is cheaper than most paper alternatives,
making it appealing to food vendors (particularly
small vendors).

Governments that already manage waste disposal have some incentive to try to control
the problem, but they may not be best equipped
to do so, or the most efficient at handling the
problem. As mentioned above, blanket bans of EPS
products in food service can generate economic
and environmental costs, and thus it may not be an
effective solution to pollution.
Private Action

Private recyclers and companies have made progress
in reducing the impact of EPS pollution. Some private
companies are making decisions to move away from
EPS of their own accord. Other private companies
are looking at making recycling more efficient and
more accessible.

Several large retail companies—Dunkin’ Donuts,
Target, McDonald’s, Crate and Barrel
, and others—
have announced or implemented plans to phase out EPS
packaging in favor of paper and more easily recyclable
plastic options. Dunkin’ Donuts says that the shift is
“part of its commitment to serve both people and the
planet responsibly,” which echoes the sentiments of other
companies moving away from EPS.

Starbucks® recently announced a $10 million grant to encourage development
of a new, more environmentally friendly coffee cup.

Larger companies that can afford to shift away from
EPS products to more expensive alternatives may do so
in response to public pressure and in an attempt to be
better corporate citizens. If local governments are intent on
implementing EPS bans, they would do better to focus on
large companies that can afford to make the change, rather
than small, local businesses that get hit hard by EPS bans.

Other private groups are working to advance EPS
recycling efforts. Since most municipal recyclers do not
recycle EPS, most of the material ends up in landfills
or wherever the wind takes it. Some private companies
will pick up used, clean EPS and recycle it for a small
price. Unfortunately, most of those recyclers accept only
uncontaminated EPS and, even then, frequently operate
at a loss. Sedona Recycles, a nonprofit recycler in Sedona,
Arizona, says that recycling EPS costs them $725.85 per
pallet.

They continue to recycle, using donations, and
try to reduce EPS pollution with every pallet they process …

READ THE REST: “PLASTIC POLLUTION: Bans vs. Recycling Solutions.”

Asia: Turning Exotic Species Into Meals, Pets And Snake Oil Potions

America, Asia, Culture, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Ethics, The West

It’s a tragic truth, but wild life will go the way of Western culture. By that I mean that when the West is no longer; wild life, now on the wane, will likely die out, too.

“Asia’s appetite for endangered species is” insatiable, warns The Economist.

In Indonesia, if not for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), “an American NGO, which helps bring half of all cases of wildlife crime to court,” there would be no convictions and hence no deterrent to the orgiastic culling, poaching, trafficking:

… The Indonesian island straddles the boundary between Asiatic and Australian species—and boasts an extraordinary number of species found nowhere else. But the market also symbolises how Asia’s amazing biodiversity is under threat. Most of the species on sale in Tomohon have seen populations crash because of overhunting (habitat destruction has played a part too). Fewer than 6,000 crested macaques now inhabit the forests. The cuscus hangs on by its fingertips—or its curling, prehensile tail. …

… Trade in wild birds is supposedly circumscribed. Yet the ferries are crammed with them: Indonesian soldiers returning from a tour in Papua typically pack a few wild cockatoos or lories to sell. One in five urban households in Indonesia keeps birds. Bitung feeds Java’s huge bird markets. The port is also a shipment point on a bird-smuggling route to the Philippines and then to China, Taiwan, even Europe. Crooked officials enable the racket. …

… As for the tiger, in China and Vietnam its bones and penis feature in traditional medicine, while tiger fangs and claws are emblems of status and power. Fewer than 4,000 tigers survive in the wild. The pressure from poachers is severe, especially in India. The parts of over 1,700 tigers have been seized since 2000. …

…  Owing to Asian demand for horns, the number of rhinos poached in South Africa leapt from 13 in 2007 to 1,028 last year. The new frontline is South America. A jaguar’s four fangs, ten claws, pelt and genitalia sell for $20,000 in Asia. Between 2013 and 2016 authorities in Bolivia seized 380 jaguar fangs.

South Africa auctions permits to hunt a few rhinos each year, with the proceeds supposed to fund conservation. This has provided cover for poachers. One Thai smuggler used prostitutes to pose as legal trophy hunters; the dead beasts’ horns ended up in Asia. Schemes to farm animals, which some said would undercut incentives to poach, have proved equally harmful. Lion parts from South African farms are sold in Asia as a cheaper substitute for tiger, or passed off as tiger—either way, stimulating demand. The farming of tigers in China, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam provides cover for the trafficking of wild tiger parts. Meanwhile, wild animals retain their cachet—consumers of rhino horn believe the wild rhino grazes only on medicinal plants.

THE REST: “Asia’s appetite for endangered species is relentless.”

Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast: Explaining The Yankee Mindset

America, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, Fascism, History, Left-Liberalism, Pop-Culture, Pseudo-history, States' Rights, The South

NEW COLUMN IS “Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast: Explaining The Yankee Mindset.”
A slightly abridged version is now on Townhall.com.

Unabridged, “Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast” appears on Unz Review, WND.com, Constitution.com, and other discerning outlets.

Excerpt:

I recently traveled to Texas to speak about South Africa, at the Free Speech Forum of  the Texas A & M University.

To travel from the Pacific Northwest all the way to College Station, Texas, without experiencing more of the “Lone Star State” was not an option.

So, after driving from Austin eastward to College Station (where I was hosted by two exceptional young, Southern gentlemen), I headed south-west to San Antonio. There I lingered long enough to conclude:

The Republic of Texas is a civilization apart.

Ordinary Texans—from my brief travels—tend to be sunny, kind and warmhearted. Not once did I encounter rude on my Texas junket.

On the Pacific Coast, however, kindness and congeniality don’t come naturally. State-of-Washington-statists are generally aloof, opprobrious, insular. And, frankly, dour.

Southern historian Dr. Clyde N. Wilson tells of receiving “a package containing a chamber pot labeled ‘Robert E. Lee’s Soup Tureen.'”

It came from … Portland, Maine.

Unkind cuts are an everyday occurrence around here, where the busybody mentality prevails.

Stand still long enough, and they’ll tell you how to live. They’ll even give chase to deliver that “corrective” sermon. A helmeted cyclist once chased me down along a suburban running trail.

My sin? I had fed the poor juncos in the dead of winter. (Still do. Bite me, you bully.)

Having caught up with me, SS Cyclist got on his soap box and in my face about my unforgivable, rule-bending. Wasn’t I familiar with the laws governing his pristine environmental utopia?

Didn’t I know that only the fittest deserved to survive? That’s the natural world, according to these ruthless, radical progressive puritans.

Yes, mea culpa for having an exceedingly soft spot for God’s plucky little creatures.

When a Washington statist gets wind of your core beliefs—why, even if your use of the English language irks His Highness—he will take it upon himself to fix your “flaws,” try to make you over in his sorry image.

For the distinct cluster of characteristics just described, Dr.  Wilson aforementioned uses the term Yankee. …

… READ THE REST. The column is  “Texas Vs. The Pacific Coast: Explaining The Yankee Mindset”.

Or, unabridged. 

Oh, Clyde Wilson adds this: “Telling other people not to feed God’s creatures according to some supposed scientific official plan is simply fascism.”

UPDATE II (12/18): Why All Three South-African Presidents Supported Robert Mugabe

Africa, Colonialism, Democracy, Environmentalism & Animal Rights, History, Race, South-Africa

NEW COLUMN, “Why All Three South-African Presidents Supported Robert Mugabe,” is on Townhall.com. An excerpt:

On November 21, after 37 years in power, Zimbabwe’s dictator, Robert Mugabe, resigned in infamy.

By contrast, the late South African leader, Nelson Mandela, was revered in the West. His successor, Thabo Mbeki, was well-respected.

Yet over the decades, both Mandela and Mbeki lent their unqualified support to Mugabe.

When the baton was passed from Mbeki to the populist polygamist Jacob Zuma, the current leader of South Africa’s dominant-party state, little changed in the country’s relationship with Zimbabwe.

Why?

And what is the significance of the support Zuma and his predecessors, Mandela and Mbeki, have lent the Zimbabwean dictator over the decades?

Wags in the West love to pit the long-suffering African people vs. their predatory politicians. As this false bifurcation goes, the malevolent Mugabe was opposed by his eternally suffering people.

While ordinary Africans do seem caught eternally between Scylla and Charybdis, the government of Zimbabwe—and others across Africa—doesn’t stand apart from the governed; it reflects them.

Consider: Early on, Mugabe had attempted to heed “a piece of advice that Mozambican president Samora Machel” had given him well before independence. As historian Martin Meredith recounts, in The State of Africa (2006), Machel told Mugabe: “Keep your whites.”

Mugabe kept “his whites” a little longer than he had originally envisaged, thanks to the Lancaster House agreements. These had “imposed a ten-year constitutional constraint on redistributing land. … But in the early 1990s, with the expiration of the constitutional prohibition, black Zimbabweans became impatient.”

Nevertheless, noted African-American journalist Keith Richburg, “Mugabe remained ambivalent, recognizing, apparently, that despite the popular appeal of land confiscation, the white commercial farmers still constituted the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy.”

Restless natives would have none of it. Armed with axes and machetes, gangs of so-called war veterans proceeded to fleece white farmers and 400,000 of their employees without so much as flinching. In the land invasions of 2000, 50,000 of these squatters “seized more than 500 of the country’s 4,500 commercial farms, claiming they were taking back land stolen under British colonial rule.” (CNN, April 14, 2000.)

These Zimbabweans assaulted farmers and their families, “threatened to kill them and forced many to flee their homes, ransacking their possessions. They set up armed camps and roadblocks, stole tractors, slaughtered cattle, destroyed crops and polluted water supplies.”

The “occupation” was extended to private hospitals, hundreds of businesses, foreign embassies, and aid agencies. The looting of white property owners continued apace—with the country’s remaining white-owned commercial farms being invaded and occupied.

This may come as news to the doctrinaire democrats who doggedly conflate the will of the people with liberty: These weapons-wielding “mobs of so-called war veterans,” converging on Zimbabwe’s remaining productive farms, expressed the democratic aspirations of most black Zimbabweans. And of their South African neighbors, a majority of whom “want the land, cars, houses, and swimming pools of their erstwhile white rulers.” Surmised The Daily Mail’s Max Hastings:

“[M]ost African leaders find it expedient to hand over the white men’s toys to their own people, without all the bother of explaining that these things should be won through education, skills, enterprise and hard labor over generations.”

At the time, former South African president Mbeki had chaired a special session of the United Nations Security Council, during which he ventured that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe. Some American analysts had therefore hastily deduced that Mbeki, who was president of South Africa from 1999 until 2008, was “a sidekick to the man who ruined Zimbabwe.”

How deeply silly. And how little the West knows!

Mbeki led the most powerful country on the continent; Mugabe the least powerful. The better question is this: Given the power differential between South Africa and Zimbabwe, why would Mbeki, and Mandela before him, succor Mugabe? Was Mandela Mugabe’s marionette, too? Yet another preposterous proposition.

… READ THE REST. Why All Three South-African Presidents Supported Robert Mugabe” is on Townhall.com

UPDATE I (12/2):

UPDATE II (12/18):