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Re: [at-l] A simple test........

bullard@northnet.org wrote:

> At 05:53 PM 8/26/99 -0700, kahley7 wrote:
> >A marvelous question......one that I have asked of many people in many
> >ways.  I have finally arrived at what I deem to be the perfect manor to
> >assess someone's willingness to sacrifice for the sake of the environment.
> >Do you use a gas or electric clothes dryer?  A simple test.....
> I hang my clothes on a clothesline.
> >>The earth is billions of years old.  It will be here for billions more.  Is
> >>it too much to ask that we look at these issues from the perspective of a
> few
> >>fleeting centuries?
> >
> >Ok...in the last few fleeting centuries, my beloved PA woods were logged off
> >so systematically that the few remaining old growth sectors are designated
> >for protection.
> >Now you can walk in the shadow of the trees from my home to NY....almost
> >totally on public lands.
> >There were virtually no deer in Pa at the turn of the century.  Now they
> exist
> >in numbers unprecedented.  The last hundred years have been good for
> >Wildness of Pa.  Much of PA is protected and husbanded.  Even the
> >eagles think so.
> >
> >Can you say the same about the protection of our private freedoms and
> liberties
> >over the last few centuries?  Are you free?  Careful how you answer that...
> Define what you mean by "freedom" before anyone CAN answer. If we aren't
> all speaking of the same thing we'll be talking in circles.
> >..clip..  It will be the private sector, working under
> >whatever freedoms we can protect, that will solve the problems that
> >will minimize our footprints.
> The reforestation and protection of the environment that I've encountered
> ALL came from those dreaded *GOVERNMENT* programs that private enterprise
> howls about. So were the ones you mentioned. I have yet to see a single
> example of large scale (ie. bigger than the highly groomed Corporate
> grounds) environmental improvement that was undertaken and continued
> without public sector pressure and/or involvement. Often such conservation
> is begun through a crusade by a private individual or group but it's when
> the public sector, as in "we the people", get involved that large scale and
> long term improvements happen.

This is just plain wrong.  Most of the reforestation of the northeast has occured
not so much through governmental programs as by the conversion of the
northeastern economy first from an agricultural economy (with it's attendant need
for large tracts of open field and meadow,) to an industrial economy (whering all
production and economic action is reduced to a smaller facotry footprint.)
Further reforestation occured as that industrial economy shifted again in favor
of a service economy which reduces the production footprint even further and
centers it around urban areas with strong transportation and utility

Pennsylvania is another issue.  The majority of the Allegheny plateau of PA was
logged over to make charcoal and to otherwise support the oil fields in the
region (the first oil strike in the US was there).  Since that time, the plateau
has been completely reforested and contains the largest concentration of of Black
Cherry trees in the country, with about 1 in 5 trees being a Cherry tree, many of
them being mature 80-150 year old trees.  The recent (last 20 years) interest in
Cherry furniture has put a great demand on these trees, but there is another
strong movement in the furniture making industry (especially the hand-made
artisan's end) to enter into a voluntary conservation program to ensure genetic
and biological sustenance of the Plateau's magnificent cherry trees.

There are plenty of state and national forests out there, but they make up a
relatively small percentage of all the forest land in the Northeast and in fact,
the East coast in general.  Most of the forest land is privately held and
protected either because some forestry companies depend on a sustained harvest
over generations, or because some private folks just want to have forest land
around their homes.  Much of it is reclaimed farmland reforested over the past
thirty to sixty years, some of it hasn't seen a plow or a cow in much longer.
But nearly all of it is reclaimed from the fields under private ownership.

> Here's a question for you.... if Baxter hadn't given it to the State of
> Maine under the condition that it be a park, what are the chances that
> Katadyn would not now be a logged over ski area? Do you really believe that
> his decendents could/would have kept it and opened it to the public? Are
> they both rich enough and altruistic enough to do that? Could we be sure
> that their decendents would do so forever?

There is absolutely no way to know this.  Actually, it is probable that the area
would have been exploited for timber and maybe even for skiing (though the 6 hour
drive from any major population center might have been a significant deterent to
that sort of development.)  Baxter did a good thing, the land was protected, but
not necessarily from the "rapaciousness" of the timber companies and ski
developers, but rather from the real economic need of the people of Maine which
invites those interests in.

It is easy to toss off the cutting and harvesting of timber and the development
of resorts onto the "corporations," especially for those of us who live in
relative comfort and security in warmer areas with longer growing seasons, more
gentle climates and more diversified economies.  Truth be told though, Most of
Maine just doesn;t have the economic opportunities that we have in southern NH,
MA, CT, NY, etc.; it's too remote and it's too climatically inhospitable compared
to other places to attract the high profit, low impact economies.  Instead, the
people of Maine fall back on their natural resources, abundant forests which
produce trees for making our houses, newspapers and the paper that comes out of
our laser printers and inkjets. They rely on the abundant game in the forests to
attract hunters during the late fall and early winter, and to attract
photographers and vacationers.  They rely on abundant fisheries that produce
trout for the recreational fishermen and lobster along the coasts which is
exported world wide and is famous for flavor and quality. Most of us look on what
Baxter did as wonderful and almost heroic, but I bet there were many who were
just plain ticked off that he bottled up a valuable resource that could have been
used to better the opportunities of the local people.  Which is right?  That all
depends on your point of view.  A person who is starving and struggling to pay
the bills doesn't much care about vistas, viewsheds and hiking trails.

That said, I'm all for protecting Saddleback to the fullest extent possible. I'd
be satisfied with Alternative 2, but would much prefer Alternative 1...I have
that leisure working in my air conditioned office, in my home in MA.

> I'm not against the private sector but you give it far too much credit. Our
> participatory form of government is a very necessary balance to preserve
> the public interests. A part of our "freedom" is to join together to
> protect the interests of the larger community in the face of those whose
> only interest is in private profit. To lose that "freedom" in favor of a
> unfettered private sector would be a sad loss indeed. We wouldn't even be
> having this discussion on this forum because the AT would not exist.

I'm not against the public sector, it has many purposes and can accomplish much
good, but I think you give it far too much credit.  It is the public sector that
sells mineral rights at pennies on the dollar in our public lands, and timber
rights as well,  It is the public sector that systematically exterminated wolves
and most of the bears from our environment.  It is the public sector that wastes
billions of dollars a year on pork barrel projects and bloated bureaucracies,
that endangers our national security in favor of campaign contributions and one
way trade with China.  The public sector puts American citizens in harms way to
win public opinion polls and make news, then, at the first sign of real trouble
or resistance, abandons the mission.

I'm not saying that the private sector would do any of this better, I'm just
saying that the public sector, makes a systematic botch of it.  The reason for
this is fairly simple.  Effectively, the public sector isn't really responsible
for its actions.  Legally and technically it is, because technically, we can vote
out two branches of our government.  But not really.  You see we can vote out the
president, we can vote out our reps and senators, but they are only the tip of
the governmental iceberg.  The only member of the executive branch who is
responsible to the people is the president, behind him are literally hundreds of
departments, agencies, commissions, bureaus, etc.  including the DOD, Treasury,
BLM, UFS, NPS, HUD, etc. etc. etc.  All of those folks are public employees, none
are elected, but rather are hired by bureaucracies and led by appointees.
Likewise Congress.  Congress is elected, but they are supported by a professional
bureaucracy of aides, office managers, campaign managers, PR consultants, etc.
No congresscritter blinks without consulting a professional aid who was there
before that rep or senator came to Washington and will be there long after they
have left.  That professional governmental bureaucracy is becoming the real power
in D.C. with the congresscritters and presidents merely standing up as
figureheads.  None of them are responsible to the people for their actions, they
are responsible to no stock holders for profitability or even fiscal soundness,
they just have to avoid too many non-spinable scandals and make their front-men
look good.

The greatest testimony to the skill of these professional bureaucrats is the fact
that very few people even question the fact that federal, state and municipal
government in the US has grown to the point that it directly employs 25% of the
working population of the US, and absorb as much as 40% of the total income of
the US.

As far as whether or not the AT would exist without the public sector, you need
to rethink that.  The AT exists because of private citizens getting involved,
routefinding, building and blazing the trail.  The AT did not become a publicly
mandated National Scenic Trail until 1968.  Much of the original pathway was
blazed over private lands, where property owners allowed the AT to be routed,
generally out of the goodness in their hearts, some of it still is. Even today.
most of the work done on the AT is not done by public sector, but by the private,
as volunteer private citizens go out on the trail and maintain it, rebuild it and
otherwise administer to it on their own time and on their own dollar.

Another simple test... do you live in a wooden house?  Is it new to you or did
you buy it previously owned?  Did you build it out of wood harvested on the lot?
Wooden furniture?  How much paper do you use each day?  Paper towels by the
sink?  Toilet paper or bidet?  Do you get the newspaper?  How many magazines do
you subscribe to?

All of those come from the paper industry in Maine, NH, VT, and other forest

Iceman AT'95 GA>ME
aka Andrew Priestley

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