Saturday, September 14, 2013

Shooting Elephants

Even more than fossil fuel use, it is our misguided land use policies that are causing changes in atmospheric carbon.  More importantly, our land use policies are causing hunger, poverty, violence, social breakdown, and war ... or so says Allan Savory in the TED talk below.

Our CAOs assume that everything that Man does is destructive to the environment. The recent Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) ruling even says that our buffers have to be protected from agriculture. The GMHB ruling will require that our buffers be larger, and our buffers have to be no-go, no-touch zones.

It kind of makes you feel like an elephant, and for that explanation, listen to the video below. At one time, Allan Savory's "best available science" led him to recommend and implement the needless slaughter of 40,000 elephants ... 40,000 ... almost three times as many elephants as there are people in San Juan County.

This earnest biologist thought he was saving the ecosystem. Instead, he was killing it.

Press release from the Common Sense Alliance regarding the GMHB ruling -

Dear San Juan County Neighbors and Friends,

Three days of hearings in Friday Harbor before the Growth Management Hearings Board (“Hearings Board”) on the San Juan County’s Critical Areas Ordinance (“CAO”) culminated in a decision received by the parties on Monday, September 9, 2013. The determination remanded the CAO back to the County for changes consistent with Order of the Hearings Board that is found at the end of the 109 page document. The decision addressed only some of the issues raised by the 5 petitioners in the case, the Friends of the San Juans, the San Juan Builders Association, William H. Wright, P.J. Tagarres Company and Common Sense Alliance.

A core position that the Common Sense Alliance (“CSA”) took at the hearing is that an essential underpinning of the CAO, the proper designation of critical areas, has not been done by San Juan County. The Hearings Board dodged this issue by effectively saying that determining the legality of the County’s CAO is beyond its authority. By ducking the “legality” question the Hearings Board did not deal with the fundamental issue of whether the Ordinance, due to faulty construction, unlawfully interferes with the use of private property.

It is CSA’s contention that this flawed and incomplete decision leaves San Juan County with an unenforceable ordinance and the specter of an unknown number of future lawsuits brought by individuals who are denied the use their property. An unenforceable ordinance protects nothing and furthers the uncertainty in the real estate market that has been plaguing our County for so long.

CSA’s goal is an enforceable ordinance that complies with all aspects of the Growth Management Act, which is practical, reliable and good for our community, does not harm our fragile economy and makes a positive difference to our environment. CSA will be consulting with the public and weighing its alternatives for future action.


  1. Can anyone briefly explain how this will proceed, procedurally?
    Assuming the county re-writes the CAO and attempts to address the points of ruling by the GMHB, we would have a revised ordinance. Does this then become effective on the date set next year, or does it have to go back to the GMHB for further consideration?
    Can the new ordinance be appealed to the GMHB, or is it left to the real courts (vs. the policy activist kangaroo court also know as the GMHB).


  2. It's a multi-part problem, so no one knows yet. It depends on the actions of the Council. It depends if the Council decides to appeal. It depends if any of the other parties decide to appeal. It was not responsible for Randy Gaylord to issue a press release earlier this week without first consulting with his client, the County. Gaylord is not a party to this matter per se. He is not the County. He is just the County's lawyer.

    Aside from CSA, there has been no word from any of the parties in the case. The outcome will depend upon the actions that they take. Even CSA only comments on the ruling but does not say what action, if any, they will be taking.

  3. Fascinating TED talk by a real scientist doing real work in the real world showing that live-stock properly managed by real humans reverse processes of desertification and feed lots of real people and provide real jobs and real economic impact. Really? Wow.

    And now this. This is a pretty thorough article. You will be reading a lot about this in the coming weeks.

    PUBLISHED: 16:01 EST, 14 September 2013

    "A leaked copy of the world's most authoritative climate study reveals scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong ... the leaked report makes the extraordinary concession that the world has been warming at only just over half the rate claimed by the IPCC in its last assessment, published in 2007 ... They recognise the global warming ‘pause’ first reported by The Mail on Sunday last year is real – and concede that their computer models did not predict it.

    But they cannot explain why world average temperatures have not shown any statistically significant increase since 1997 ... They admit large parts of the world were as warm as they are now for decades at a time between 950 and 1250 AD – centuries before the Industrial Revolution, and when the population and CO2 levels were both much lower ... The IPCC admits that while computer models forecast a decline in Antarctic sea ice, it has actually grown to a new record high. Again, the IPCC cannot say why.

    One of the report’s own authors, Professor Myles Allen, the director of Oxford University’s Climate Research Network, last night said this should be the last IPCC assessment – accusing its cumbersome production process of ‘misrepresenting how science works."

  4. My computer won't allow access to the Ted Talk. Could you please give a link? Thank you!

  5. Certainly ... just cut and past the following link into your browser, or just google "Allan Savory desertification"

  6. Gaylord's press release was amazing. He thinks the board decision is just peachy, and how convenient--all we have to do is roll over by March. Only one problem--he doesn't get to decide. The COUNTY COUNCIL is, last time I looked, at least nominally in charge. It would have been nice (and ethical) of the county's lawyer to consult his client before issuing such a press release.

    Is he running for something?

  7. Here's the business model.

    If we were elephants, the Friends would have blasted us a long time ago, and then asked for a salmon grant to reimburse them for the ammo. They'd promote the scenic byway and eco-tourism, and as the lured tourists/elephants got off the boat, the Friends would blast them for coming here to destroy the environment. Then they'd rifle through their pockets for bank cards, cash, and other valuables.

    Following the paradigm of Rosenkotter's last presentation before the Council, the Economic Development Council would then say that 169 jobs were created by allowing the Friends to eliminate us. The project was deemed a huge success, but we wouldn't know how many salmon were saved.

    The only two metrics for eco success are (1) how much pain, misery, and cost can inflicted on the local bewildered population. As we have learned, there is no limit to that. (2) the amount of grant money that can be obtained when performing #1. As we have learned, there is no limit to that either.

    Paraphrasing the t-shirt saying, "The Friends would be awesome if it weren't for physics and law enforcement." It certainly isn't their morals that are stopping them.

    I feel like an elephant.

  8. Your missing the point on tourism. When you visit here you become a " stakeholder". Now someday when we try to figure out if this whole place should become a national monument we just have to ask ALL of the "stakeholders". How do you think that will turn out? Tourist=stakeholder
    These guys are thinking ahead, pretty smart.

  9. @6:41 PM
    You refer to Randy as "He is just the County's lawyer".
    Seems like he also the attorney for the Conservation District too.
    Anyone ever get clarification from te state AG why they aren't representing the CD, as prescribed in the RCW?

  10. A tourist is:

    A drunken stakeholder in a kayak with investor-backed expectations underwritten by CitiBank.

  11. ... make that an armed drunken stakeholder in a kayak with binoculars staring at you just off shore ...

  12. How come Shaw is the only island without a ferry cam, do the residents there have some thing against surveillance?

  13. Have you ever been to Shaw? It's like being dropped behind the Iron Curtain. The hills have eyes.

  14. Shaw has people who want to ram tourists down our throat while making sure no tourists can set foot in their Little Hermit Kingdom.

    Jamie Stephens must answer to these people, from time to time. They are willing to remind him of his place in the larger scheme of things. Then, will do his best to remind you.

  15. I remember Shaw.

    It used to be an island.

    But now it is a Sub-Area Plan.

    It used to be guarded by nuns.

    But now it is guarded by drones.

  16. We're all stakeholders at the table now.

    You're not a citizen. You're a stakeholder.
    You're not a voter. You're a stakeholder.
    You're not an elected official. You're a stakeholder.

    Here's the table. You've been told where to sit. You should be proud to be here. That person over there is a facilitator, not a stakeholder. The facilitator is here to help stakeholders come to consensus that they are all well and truly screwed. The facilitator is here to help the stakeholders feel collectively demoralized.

    The facilitator is paid to do this by a Targeted Awareness Grant. The facilitator attended special Padilla Bay workshops to learn techniques to deal with difficult stakeholders. People like you.

  17. Shaw has ferry service only because its wealthy landowners need someway for the help to get there. It provides only one "service" tot he County: a park that it does everything in its power to keep people from using. It has its own little plan that keeps anything from being built there, unless the wealthy landowner wants it.

    I always thought that Shaw was the perfect central location for the County's solid waste. And a high-rise "affordable housing" project.

    Either participate in the shared cost of living in the County by providing services OR give up the freakin' ferry. You want to be a high-class Waldron? Good. We can rearange the ferry schedule to exclude you, saving us all time and money.

  18. @3:04 - I suspect if you look at the numbers, you will actually find that the people on Shaw pay a great deal of property tax to the County, in exchange for almost no tax dollars *back* from the County in services. The Shaw residents are likely subsidizing the rest of us.

    As far as the ferry to Shaw, you are aware that the ferry service isn't a County service? Linking "participate in the shared cost of the county by providing services" to ferry service is a bit silly.

    In fact, linking "providing services" to "participating in the shared cost of living in the County" is silly on its own. We *all* pay for the shared cost through our taxes. Not by services.

    The Friends haven't *yet* been able to force us into mandatory work camps to "provide services".... Though if you look at some of the early drafts of the CAO and SMP, it is clear they wanted to force landowners to perform services for the good of us all.

  19. On Shaw, no one can hear you scream.

  20. I LOVE Allan Savory's talk about repairing desertified lands! And crazy interesting to learn that the carbon emissions eminating from those deserts is such a huge contributor to global warming and air pollution.

    Here is an environmentalist who believes in the intellect and in humanity! So wonderfully refreshing to see and hear. Please post more of these positive videos. I'm seeing this one being shared on FB already!

  21. Cattle coming to Shaw Island???

    Wow, real World wonders never cease.

    Oh, yes, this is a pipe dream.

    You do understand, it ain't; "Big Hat, No Cattle" It's; "FOSJ, No Cattle."

  22. Three huge failures of modern medieval environmentalism

    1) Federal ownership is better than local stewardship and private land management

    2) Livestock and herds create deserts

    3) Preventing fires is good for forest ecology

    We can go on and on. But I am really blown away learning much land is intentionally burned in Africa and the massive annual release of carbon we never hear about combined with learning about upcoming IPCC reports that their climate models might have been a tad enthusiastic ...

    For this we are giving up our civil liberties, personal privacy and ripping the guts out of our remarkable island communities.

    This is really sick.