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Killing the Colorado (Pro Publica series)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by townsend, Nov 21, 2016.

  1. townsend

    townsend

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    I have an interest in all things desert southwest, and today I read one part of a series of articles entitled "Killing the Colorado" from the Pro Publica website. The series of articles was published online during the summer of 2015. This is somewhat old news, but surely the issues raised and discussed are more important today than they were then. I didn't know about these articles until today, when I came across them when checking out the Pro Publica website.

    The one I read was entitled "End of the Miracle Machines: Inside the power plant fueling America's drought":

    https://projects.propublica.org/kil...ajo-generating-station-colorado-river-drought

    Many years ago, I remember the first time on vacation to the desert southwest that I saw on the Navajo reservation the three gigantic smokestacks reaching skyward.

    The issues of both air pollution as well as declining water levels in the reservoirs are discussed. I was astonished at how much water is being lost, both through evaporation (known to me) as well as leakage into porous sandstone (unknown to me). The mighty Colorado River has been over tapped and overused.

    There is plenty of blame to go around into the causes of the current crisis, and it should concern all Americans who live in the region as well as those who recreate there.

    We can be thankful that a host of environmental organizations (e.g., Save the Colorado, Sierra Club, etc.) are hard at work and have raised concerns over the relevant issues and proposed solutions. We would do well to be aware of these problems and learn to live our lives respecting the fragility of the natural world.

    "Knowledge is freedom and ignorance is slavery" (Miles Davis)
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2016
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  2. robert kyslovsky

    robert kyslovsky

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    Q: Would you cut departments?
    President Elect: Environmental Protection, what they do is a disgrace. Every week they come out with new regulations.

    Q: Who's going to protect the environment?

    President Elect: We'll be fine with the environment. We can leave a little bit, but you can't destroy businesses.

    Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 Coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Oct 18, 2015



    Cutting the EPA makes zero sense for those people who value clean air and water, but makes all the sense in the world for someone who has demonstrated for three decades to only care about the bottom line. Clean air and water regulations, along with regulations demanding greater auto efficiency and cleaner carbon emissions from stacks nationwide (as promoted by the sitting President) allow for green technologies to emerge, and fossil technologies to fade to black. Who in their sane mind would reverse that, one wonders?

    Remember Glen Canyon, its known to have been a magnificent grand canyon like canyon with archaeological ruins, grottoes, slots, seeps, and all the magnificence all gone due to the bottom line. We need the canyon lands (and all the other lands, and air) to be the bottom line. The color webbing to use ought to take a distant second...or third, fourth or last... place in the conversation.
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  3. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    I am with you Robert!
    We cannot ignore this.
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  4. gajslk

    gajslk

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    I think there's a middle ground that works better than what we have and better than letting industry run rampant. The EPA isn't doing it's job very well but it's creating a huge regulatory burden. Better job, less burden would be a win-win. Let's hope that things move in that direction.
  5. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    From the article @townsend referenced:
    Thanks for cheering us up, Scott!

    Jumping on the purveyor of bad news wagon.
    So...
    Keep on recycling, turning off the lights when you leave the room, take shorter showers, drive less - walk more, and encourage your neighbor to do the same. Sadly, when matched against a beastly dragon gobbling up 15 tons of coal every minute and belching out 16 million tons of carbon dioxide annually (and that's just one measly example on one tiny patch of earth)... we're on the losing side of this conflict!

    To do nothing is immoral - although, doing something seems wistfully ineffectual....where's that little starfish!
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  6. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    It would be smart to retrain the people who make their living doing things that ultimately harm everyone and everything (like coal mining). Retrain them to do something that would ultimately benefit everyone and everything.
  7. townsend

    townsend

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    While your short "to do list" is a good place to start from,:twothumbs: but it is not one to finish from. After doing our little part, another thing we need to do is to pressure local, state, and federal officials to take action through legislation to address this problem.

    There are numerous excellent articles on climate change on the website Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. E.g., did you know that 90 companies are responsible for 60% of greenhouses gases (http://thebulletin.org/just-90-companies-are-accountable-more-60-percent-greenhouse-gases10080)?

    That would be a great place to start, to get with those companies and figure out how to reduce and eliminate greenhouses gases.

    While much damage has been done, and we may even be past the tipping point, we still know what to do now. The problem isn't not knowing what we should do, the problem is one of will. We have got to "bite the bullet". As Neil deGrasse Tyson (the renowned astrophysicist) states, the science [of climate change] is true, so the natural consequences (listed by Kuenn) will continue to play out, regardless of what you believe or think.
  8. Ram

    Ram

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    I fear for our access. Loss of public land. Wilderness lost to fossil fuel development, which "fuels" much of the problem. You can't "make" wilderness. Only lose it. Short term benefits, not seen locally, for permanent loss of what can't be replaced. Teddy R figured this out for us 144 years ago and still we haven't seemed to grasp it.
  9. townsend

    townsend

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    In the mail today, I received the Great Old Broads for Wilderness newsletter. This organization has expanded to 37 chapters in 15 states.

    It states ". . . we have elected to sharpen our focus on three key areas:

    * Keep wild lands wild and the Wilderness Act intact.
    * Keep public lands in public hands.
    * Make public lands part of the solution to climate change."

    These three goals have been discussed in the two threads I have recently started:
    1) On the public lands issue, see http://canyoncollective.com/threads/preservation-of-the-wilderness-patagonia.23970/#post-102660

    2) And on climate change, that is touched on in this present thread.

    Again, another example of a fine organization that is dedicated to preserving our public lands and encouraging action against climate change.:twothumbs:
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  10. robert kyslovsky

    robert kyslovsky

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    To do nothing is immoral - although, doing something seems wistfully ineffectual....where's that little starfish! --Kuenn

    Precisely, I agree wholeheartedly. In fact, while it would not be right to do so, nor would it feel right to do, folks could ignore all of the pro-active habits you noted above (personal recycle, drive less, shorter showers...) because they add up to very little. Real change needs to happen at the industrial level, and the polluters are certainly not going to regulate themselves for the good of the canyoneering community and for the good of anyone else. Thats in part why a strong EPA is essential as well as an administration that has the vision to shape our direction on a green pathway. In this day and age any so called leader of any first world nation who's energy plan is not one hundred percent focused on shifting green over a realistic timeline, and phasing out fossil, is ignoring a grand opportunity and stumbling around grasping at air.
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  11. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    or to put it another way: you can't breath money
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  12. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    True that. However, now we're crossing a much more difficult boundary of changing minds, social behaviors, human comfort demands, etc. A whole new ballgame.

    And then there's China and many others across the globe that from an industrial perspective appear they couldn't care less about the environment. I'm not trying to pour acid rain on anyone’s parade just observations of the past 50 years. For the most part our saving the planet efforts have been abysmal.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2016
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  13. townsend

    townsend

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    .
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
  14. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    There ARE positive signs.
    China is one of the major backers of the Paris Climate accords.
    They have a horrendous air pollution problem which is a huge source of health problems and social unrest in their country.
    China's investment in the production of solar panels and wind turbines (among other technologies) have helped to bring the costs way down, worldwide.
    Nevada has made some great steps forward in clean energy production.
    We have been closing all the coal fired plants (natural gas is now cheaper, cleaner)
    The molten salt solar farms are very successful and producing 24-7 clean energy as we speak. There are plans to ramp up a lot more of these.
    http://www.solarreserve.com/en/technology/molten-salt-energy-storage
    Electric cars are on the rise and we will be seeing more and more choices for affordable consumer models with good range, soon.
    (we will be buying one!)
    The clean energy revolution is already happening, here and around the world.
    We need to make sure that the USA regulatory structure FAVORS these new technologies to hasten their adoption.
    :D
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  15. townsend

    townsend

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    Great post, Todd. Much more informative than my earlier post (#13 -- unlucky number).

    And each us needs to do our part. Why? It doesn't really matter - - or does it?
    1) To avoid hypocrisy. Hypocrites have no credibility. Actions along with words, and actions speak louder. Talk the talk, fine, but walk the walk too.
    2) Math. We need mass action, and masses are made up of 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 ad infinitum. As the mass grows in size, it begins to have an effect. Your actions may rub off on another person, etc.

    The Arab spring began in Tunisia, late 2010, after a government official confiscated a vegetable cart and humiliated a struggling street vendor in public. Bouazizi, the youth, torched himself, and burned to death in the square. This fueled (pun intended, sadly) mass protests. (Tunisia was suffering from high youth unemployment, inequality, nepotism in the government). And this unrest eventually spread throughout the Middle East. Who would have thought it possible?
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2016
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  16. robert kyslovsky

    robert kyslovsky

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    Almost EVERY nation on the face of the earth has signed onto the Paris Agreement, which is historic. China has signed on. Climatologists do not believe that the Paris Agreement goes far enough, but do agree its a start. There is talk rumbling around white house north about pulling out of the Agreement. No, its not happened yet, and perhaps it will not happen, however, the fact that pulling out is even being discussed by the US is appalling. The next leader of the free world needs to move to actions which protect not ravish the land, water, and air. Id like to keep canyoneering, and living healthfully too for that matter, for a long time to come. Thats gonna take good genes on my part (who knows how lucky I will be there) and forward greensighted vision on the part of my national leaders (and again, who knows how lucky I am going to be there).

    Id like to thank those who have had the good sense and I guess courage, though I dont know why it takes so much courage, to chime in with your opinions. So many who are so very willing to argue every little nuance of chopping or placing a bolt do not have energy or, perhaps courage, to discuss this most pressing of matters. Canyons and environment, environment and canyons...all interconnected, as it should be.
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  17. Kuenn

    Kuenn

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    Ah yes, the Paris Climate Agreement... where 193 members of the United Nations Climate Control Conference agreed to do something about our carbon emissions - in Paris, no less. The agreement to end all agreements... politicians making policy for industry, Right. I'm all warm and fuzzy now.

    Pardon my callous disparagement here, but there's a very, very, very long road between execution and delivery with this agreement. Don't get me wrong, I'm all in and ready to do my part! Maybe even buy an electric car, when they make one that's not a 4 wheeled coffin. But holding these nation's feet (US included) to the fire (that fire being clean burning fuel, of course) is going to prove challenging. How will it be done? With Trust? With more politicians?

    Admitting we have a problem is an important first step, however we, the US (and we're supposed to be a leader here), have a track record of slow implementation of international agreements - often languishing for years due to lobbyists, committees and Congress. (see Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants)

    In the meantime we can all do something, like pick up trash along the roadside deposited by those who haven't caught the vision, and dream of a brighter day.

    [Edited]
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
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  18. AW~

    AW~

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    Thanks for feeding the trolls....its interesting that you and I go to the same places and reach vastly different conclusions about the reality of those places.
    What you see as nature, I see as managed(aka fake) land. Id think itd be obvious that it was managed to the average person. But then I saw a video about a FS ranger saying that wilderness was something 'for the man'...in other words wilderness is defined by man's perspective(and defined by such as law), and not about the actual reality. As long as someone thinks its wilderness, its wilderness. Thats the concept of the 'permanent forest'...a part of the anti-life utopia.

    I was recently out and about and noticed a pretty big solar farm....in was in the middle of the oldest forest in California....or was it? Depends on the perspective. Actual science & reality...sure, but what does Columbia Sportswear think? Oh, those 'expert climate change scientists' look out and laugh at the notion of any wilderness. When told there was an endangered specie, they use political power to encourage overconsumption via 'green' energy.
    "Dan Smuts, director of The Wilderness Society, called the plan a “thoughtful and balanced blueprint” "...I do think they have a video that you can all cheer?
  19. gajslk

    gajslk

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    This. In spades. If I had a dime for every so-called environmentalist with a SUV, a half dozen bikes, skis, hundreds of miles of driving every weekend to play, and the attitude that they're only willing to sacrifice if everyone else does, I'd have more money than Trump.

    Gordon
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  20. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    I think the way for us to move forward is to re-frame the argument.
    For me as a business man/ manufacturer, being 'eco-friendly' goes hand in hand with running a profitable business.
    The cost of energy is a mayor part of our 'overhead'.
    So, we insulated our 10,000 square ft. building, installed energy efficient lighting, use only electronic (digital) sewing machine motors,
    and shifted our hours of operation to a cooler time of the day.
    All of this did not cost that much, and cut our electric bill by a third.
    After two years the upgrades have paid for themselves.
    Now we are considering solar panels on the roof to knock down our peak energy use in the summer (air conditioning) that
    COULD put us at a lower rate schedule saving even more money.
    Yes, every small step makes a difference
    Especially when we all step together.
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