Have We Reached Peak Food?


From MARKET SKEPTICS

If you read any economic, financial, or political analysis for 2010 that doesn’t mention the food shortage looming next year, throw it in the trash, as it is worthless. There is overwhelming, undeniable evidence that the world will run out of food next year. When this happens, the resulting triple digit food inflation will lead panicking central banks around the world to dump their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and lower the cost of food imports, causing the collapse of the dollar, the treasury market, derivative markets, and the global financial system. The US will experience economic disintegration…

Specifically, the USDA has declared half the counties in the Midwest to be primary disaster areas, including 274 counties in the last 30 days alone. These designations are based on the criteria of a minimum of 30 percent loss in the value of at least one crop in the county. The chart below shows counties declared primary disaster areas by the secretary of Agriculture and the president of the United States…

The same USDA that is predicting record harvests is also declaring disaster areas across half the Midwest because of catastrophic crop losses! To eliminate any doubt that this might be an innocent mistake, the USDA is even predicting record soybean harvests in the same states (Oklahoma, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Alabama) where it has declared virtually all counties to have experienced 30 percent production losses. It isn’t rocket scientist to realize something is horribly wrong… Facts and figures here
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This is us. This is on us. No one will rescue us.


From LAURENCE LEWIS
Daily Kos

[There is nothing more beautiful than a group of pelicans skimming just above coastal waters, calmly and majestically, at sunset. I have stood and watched a colony of pelicans in a Monterey inlet for hours at a time. This horrible destruction of nature cannot stand. -DS]

A mining disaster. An oil rig disaster. Honest working people killed just trying to make a living. Environmental devastation that is beyond our imagining, despite our imagining being based on truly terrifying scientific facts. There is no clean coal. There is no safe oil production. From those that suffer on the front lines of the extractive industries to all of nature suffering from the burning of what is extracted, this has to end. It has to end as soon as is possible. In the short term, that will mean much mutual sacrifice, but in the long term not only will it mean jobs, opportunities, and a new wave of economic growth, it will mean the possibility of a sustainable future for all humankind.

Even some right wing politicians now seem to be awakening to the specific dangers revealed by the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

The Long-Distance Runner


From DAVE SMITH

If you still hold the values of peace, freedom and justice, as we children of the sixties and seventies learned and demonstrated for, then you appreciate the values of the loyal and the true.

Back then, along with many others, I responded to John F. Kennedy’s call to service. We believed we could and would change the world, and we did. Along with our protests and marches for civil rights, farmworker’s contracts, and the environment, we organized free universities, cooperative food stores, and small alternative community businesses. Our memories of that time are overwhelmingly positive. Dan Hamburg was there and involved.

We had passionate faith in the future and look back now with pride at our accomplishments. We stopped a war. We put civil rights into law. We shut down the building of new nuclear plants. We passed the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act — every one of them now being chipped away by the culture that was then being countered.

Doug Mosel: Why I’m Voting for Dan Hamburg


From DOUG MOSEL
Anderson Valley

Dan Hamburg has my vote for 5th District supervisor.

The main reason I’m working to get Dan elected is that he will be a reliable advocate for agriculture in Mendocino County.  As our next supervisor he will work to grow a local food economy that will be good for farmers and ranchers.  That in turn will be good for ag-related businesses and for those of us who want to get our meat and produce from someone we can trust.

To make this happen we will need committed and capable leadership with a long view of the future. We can count on Dan to pay more than lip service to re-localizing our farm economy.  He will, for example, help bring an animal processing operation to Mendocino County, which will benefit meat producers and livestock alike.

As never before, we need a supervisor who will be present and accessible all over this large and diverse district.  After he’s elected, I know Dan will remember Anderson Valley, the south coast, Comptche, Hopland, Mendocino, and south Ukiah–all of the 5th District.

In profoundly challenging times, we need a supervisor who will do his homework, which I know from personal experience Dan will do.  He combines deep and broad experience with the discipline to study issues carefully and the commitment to hear all points of view to make decisions or find solutions that are realistic and for the common good.
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Victor Frankl: Why Have Ideals?


From TED
Via Andrew Sullivan

TED passes along a wonderful talk about idealism and the potential of the human race:

In this rare clip from 1972, legendary psychiatrist and Holocaust-survivor Viktor Frankl delivers a powerful message about the human search for meaning…
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Janie Sheppard: I’m Voting For My Good Friend Dan Hamburg



From JANIE SHEPPARD
Mendocino County

I met candidate for 5th District Supervisor, Dan Hamburg, in 2003 during the campaign to ban the cultivation of GMOs in Mendocino County.   During that campaign I realized we shared a vision of a Mendocino County based on a locally based economy.  Since then, we have shared that vision in several campaigns:  opposing the Ryder Homes plan to develop the Masonite site, impeaching then Vice-President Cheney for his role in starting the Iraq War that continues to suck the life blood from Mendocino County; and opposing Measure B because it would do nothing to address the real problems with marijuana while punishing medical marijuana patients and harming a potential source of much-needed tax revenue.  More recently, in opposing Measure A, that, had it passed, would have put a monster mega-mall on the old Masonite site.   Those campaigns are just the most recent of the many campaigns to preserve Mendocino County from corporate greed.

Over the intervening years, we have traded articles and comments on the major issues facing the nation and our county.  I know the depth of Dan’s commitment to preserving what we value about Mendocino County:  the forests, the rivers, the farmers, the artists, musicians, local theater, our local businesses and the unique Mendo way.  Simply put, love of place is the most important part of Dan’s life.

As the county absorbs the blows from the economic meltdown, Dan will keep that love of place.  With the leadership Dan will bring to the Board of Supervisors, the Mendo way will prevail.   We will grow our own food, make our own entertainment, harvest our forests sustainably, restore our rivers and educate our children.

I live in the 5th District and I’m voting for my good friend, Dan Hamburg.  If you value our unique place in the world, I urge you too to vote for Dan Hamburg.
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Liberated from Libertarianism: How’s that whole deregulatey depressiony thing working out for ya?


From DAVID MICHAEL GREEN
Common Dreams

[…] Where libertarianism breaks down is in assuming that we can all just do what we want and it will work out great. And in assuming that all private actors are essentially well intentioned. Neither of these is true, and a libertarian society would leave each of us at the mercy of these twin fallacies. And that’s an ugly place to be, let me tell you.

Suppose you bought a house and had a fat mortgage outstanding on it. Now the guy who owns the plot next door decides to build an abattoir on his land. You can’t live in your house anymore because of the nauseating, permeating, stink. You also can’t sell it, because no one else wants to live there either. And you’re still stuck paying the mortgage, probably plunging you into bankruptcy since you’re now also paying rent to live somewhere else. Why did all this happen? Because you voted for that libertarian city council, and they threw out all the zoning laws on the books, preferring maximum freedom for use of private property instead. Aren’t you thrilled about how that worked out?

So you pack all your belongings in your car and decide to drive away. But you turn around after going just a couple of miles, because everybody drives on any side of the road they want to, whenever they want to, and it’s scary dangerous out there. Why?

Outing Wendy Roberts – Supervisor Candidate 5th District


From CHUCK HENDERSON
On Local ListServ

[Update: Wendy Roberts Responds, and Chuck Henderson wraps it up below.]

Ms. Roberts,

You make yourself sound so reasonable… and yet:

You accuse your opponents of “rejecting every possibility for the economic revitalization that is essential to sustain our families and communities.”

Would you explain this please? Just what possibilities for economic revitalization are the “others” rejecting that you would embrace?

Please be specific...

Are you talking about pouring pesticide on forest land so it can be converted to grapes? (never mind the emaciated fish spawning downstream)

Are you talking about off-shore eyesores and navigation hazards disguised as “green” energy?

Are you talking about increased gravel mining in once-salmon spawning streams?

Are you talking about end-runs around the planning process to sneak in mega-developments like Walmart?

Again…. be specific.

You say we here in the 5th District have elected Supervisors who are:

“heartfelt individuals who lack either the technical expertise or the political will to get our outdated planning documents up to legal snuff”

Just what documents are you talking about?

Are you talking about the Gravel Ordinance component of the General Plan which _industry_ has prevented from coming to completion because they like the “limbo” of no gravel ordinance and reject the rigorous environmental controls we here in the 5th District have been insisting on?

Certainly you can’t blame DeVal and Colfax just because they have represented environmental interests in their pursuit of a decent Gravel Ordinance.

Or is it because you favor the idea of carving up our hillsides to promote the pesticide-dependent (and largely out-of-county and illegal immigrant based) wine industry?

You reject the idea of “swinging [away] from a century of destructive over-harvesting” in our forests to something a little more green (as if the environmentally-minded are some kind of nut cases). But you fail to understand that run-away industry has nearly turned Mendocino into one of its “dead zones.” No fish, no forests, just wine and tourism (and untaxed pot).

We watch in horror the growing “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico… brought to us by the same mentality that destroyed Mendocino County’s forest industry. The last thing we need is another representative that panders to the short-term interests of the “dead-zone” makers… and that I’m afraid is who you would represent.

Chuck
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Wendy Responds in Capital Letters:

Ms. Roberts,

You make yourself sound so reasonable… and yet:

You accuse your opponents of “rejecting every possibility for the economic revitalization that is essential to sustain our families and communities.”

ACTUALLY, I’VE NEVER SAID ANYTHING REMOTELY LIKE THIS ABOUT MY OPPONENTS.  I HAVE SAID THIS ABOUT SOME INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE DEDICATED TO WHAT I SEE AS DESTRUCTIVELY EXTREME POSITIONS.

Would you explain this please. Just what possibilities for economic revitalization are the “others” rejecting that you would embrace?

Please be specific…

Are you talking about pouring pesticide on forest land so it can be converted to grapes?  NO.  I BELIEVE YOU MEAN ‘HERBICIDES,’ BUT IN EITHER CASE THAT IS CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR, WHETHER IT IS FOR LEGAL OR ILLEGAL CROPS.

Are you talking about increased gravel mining in once-salmon spawning streams? NO.  AND I’VE HEARD OF NO SUCH PROPOSALS.  THE ONLY SPECIFIC GRAVEL MINING I’M AWARE OF RIGHT NOW IS ON AN INDUSTRIAL SITE AND WOULD NOT IMPACT ANY SUCH SALMON SPAWING STREAMS.  I AM INCLINED TO THINK THAT, TO THE EXTENT POSSIBLE, IT IS BETTER TO MINE ESSENTIAL GRAVEL PRODUCTS LOCALLY, KEEPING CAPITAL AND DOLLARS IN THE COUNTY, THAN TO HAUL THESE MATERIALS FROM SOMEONE ELSE’S LOCAL ENVIRONMENT, USING FOSSIL FUEL TO DO SO.  OBVIOUSLY, EVALUATING WHERE TO SITE SUCH PROJECTS IS CRITICAL.  AN ALTERNATIVE IS TO STOP ALL CONSTRUCTION AND ROAD MAINTENANCE. I DON’T SEE THAT AS REALISTIC.

Are you talking about end-runs around the planning process to sneak in mega-developments like Walmart? NO.  (THE ONLY WALMART IN MENDOCINO COUNTY IS IN THE CITY OF UKIAH.) I DID NOT SUPPORT THE USE OF AN INITIATIVE TO DEVELOP THE MASONITE PROPERTY, BECAUSE ALL SUCH PROJECTS NEED TO GO THROUGH A TRANSPARENT PUBLIC PLANNING PROCESS.  I STRONGLY SUPPORT THE COUNTY’S ADOPTION OF A COMMUNITY IMPACT REPORT SIMILAR TO THAT USED IN SONOMA COUNTY (IN ADDITION TO AN ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REPORT) TO EVALUATE ALL PROPOSED LARGE SCALE DEVELOPMENT.  WE NEED TO KNOW THE QUALITY AND QUANTITY OF JOBS A PROJECT WILL CREATE, ITS IMPACT ON LOCAL HOUSING AND SERVICES, AND BOTH FAVORABLE AND UNFAVORABLE ECONOMIC IMPACTS.

SOME SPECIFICS INCLUDE: THE PROPOSED MEAT PACKING PLANT.  IT IS STILL AT THE CONCEPTUAL LEVEL AND IS RECEIVING QUITE A LOT OF SUPPORT FROM LOCAL RANCHERS AND THE LOCAL FOOD PEOPLE.  MANY ARE ALSO ASKING FOR A PORTABLE UNIT THAT COULD BE TAKEN TO SMALL FARMS.   OTHER CANDIDATES HAVE ALSO SUPPORTED THIS AT THE CONCEPT LEVEL.  WE’LL NEED TO BE ATTENTIVE TO THE DETAILS, INCLUDING LOCATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS.

I’VE ALSO BEEN ATTENDING MEETINGS OF MENDO FUTURES AND THE BIOMASS PROJECT. BOTH GROUPS ARE LOOKING AT WAYS TO DEVELOP A RESTORATION ECONOMY AROUND SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY, LOCAL FOOD PRODUCTION AND RESTORATION-RELATED TOURISM, INCLUDING ECO-TOURISM, FARM TRAILS PROMOTION AND ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE.

I STRONGLY SUPPORT LEADERSHIP FROM COUNTY GOVERNMENT FOR DEVELOPMENT OF COUNTY-WIDE BROADBAND INFRASTRUCTURE.  WE NEED IT FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION AND DELIVERY OF MEDICAL AND OTHER SERVICES.

THERE ARE INFRASTRUCTURE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDS AVAILABLE RIGHT NOW. ADJACENT COUNTIES ARE APPLYING FOR THEM.  AT THE BOS ECONOMIC REVITALIZATION WORKSHOP I ATTENDED ON MONDAY, THE SUPERVISORS WERE URGED TO START DEVELOPING AND SUBMITTING PROPOSALS…AND NO ACTION WAS TAKEN TO MOVE THIS THOUGHT FORWARD.

You say we here in the 5th District have elected Supervisors who are: “heartfelt individuals who lack either the technical expertise or the political will to get our outdated planning documents up to legal snuff”

Just what documents are you talking about?  ALL OF THE CANDIDATES HAVE ACKNOWLEDGED THAT THIS IS A PROBLEM, AS HAVE THE INCUMBENTS.  WE NEED A BOARD THAT WILL STOP RESTATING THE PROBLEM AND GET THIS WORK DONE.

THE UKIAH VALLEY AREA PLAN, LOCAL COASTAL PLAN, MENDOCINO TOWN PLAN AND GUALALA TOWN PLAN ARE ALL MANY YEARS OUT OF DATE AND NO LONGER IN COMPLIANCE WITH CURRENT LAWS.  THE COUNTY GENERAL PLAN WAS UPDATED BUT IMPLEMENTATION CODES HAVE YET TO BE WRITTEN FOR IT OR ANY OF THE OTHER LEGALLY MANDATED PLANNING DOCUMENTS.  THE ABSENCE OF CLEAR, LEGAL PLANNING DOCUMENTS AND PERMIT PROCESSES CREATES GRAVE FINANCIAL HARDSHIP ON PROPERTY OWNERS AND DELAYS OR PREVENTS EFFORTS TO DEVELOP OR EXPAND BUSINESSES AND CREATE JOBS. ONE COASTAL EXAMPLE IS NOYO HARBOR.  IT IS LITERALLY FROZEN IN TIME BECAUSE IT IS CURRENTLY ZONED FISHING VILLAGE.

Are you talking about the Gravel Ordinance component of the General Plan which _industry_ has prevented from coming to completion because they like the “limbo” of no gravel ordinance and reject the rigorous environmental controls we here in the 5th District have been insisting on?

Certainly you can’t blame DeVal and Colfax just because they have represented environmental interests in their pursuit of a… Or is it because you favor the idea of carving up our hillsides to promote the pesticide-dependent (and largely out-of-county and illegal immigrant based) wine industry?

ACTUALLY, GIVEN THAT INCUMBANT POLITICIANS HAVE FAILED TO COMPLETE SUCH ESSENTIAL AND BASIC TASKS OVER A PERIOD OF A COUPLE OF DECADES, I THINK IT IS AN ENTIRELY FAIR QUESTION TO ASK WHETHER REINSTATING THEM IS LIKELY TO RESULT IN A DIFFERENT OUTCOME IN THE NEXT DECADE.

I AM ALSO EXTREMELY CONCERNED THAT WE HAVE A BOARD WITH THE FINANCIAL EXPERTISE AND SENSE OF FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY TO BALANCE THE BUDGET AND REDUCE THE ACCUMULATED DEBT.  IT IS A SIMPLE FACT THAT MUCH OF THIS DEBT IS THE DIRECT RESULT OF FAILED FISCAL OVERSIGHT AND AN UNWILLINGNESS TO SPEND WITHIN OUR BUDGET.  WE CAN’T AFFORD TO CONTINUE THIS BEHAVIOR.

You reject the idea of “swinging [away] from a century of destructive over-harvesting” in our forests to something a little more green (as if the environmentally-minded are some kind of nut cases). But you fail to understand that run-away industry has nearly turned Mendocino into one of its “dead zones.” No fish, no forests, just wine and tourism (and untaxed pot).

THIS IS SIMPLY INACCURATE.  I HAVE SPECIFICALLY SUPPORTED ‘SWINGING AWAY.’ WHAT I REJECT IS SWINGING SO FAR IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION THAT WE SIMPLY TRADE AN ENVIRONMENTAL ‘DEAD ZONE’ FOR AN ECONOMIC GHOST TOWN.  NEITHER IS ACCEPTABLE AND NEITHER IS NECESSARY.  WE CAN HAVE A LIVABLE, PROSPEROUS AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE COUNTY AND THERE ARE MANY GOOD PEOPLE WORKING HARD TO CREATE THAT REALITY.

I LOOK FORWARD TO WORKING WITH THEM AND WITH YOU.

REGARDS,
WR
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Chuck Returns Volley:

Wendy,

So if we extrapolate your statements into one complete thought? you think there are: “Some individuals who are dedicated to what [you] see as destructively extreme positions” that “[reject] every possibility for the economic revitalization that is essential to sustain our families and communities.”

This is the problem Wendy? The pro-corporate (short-term profit, out of county, LP-types) would like to paint folks who I consider really good people, citizens really keen on healthy environmentally sound solutions, as extremists.

Personally I don’t know of anyone in the Mendocino County political milieu that I would paint as extremist. But evidently you’ve got some folks in your mind that have some extreme positions and getting their voices out of the Supervisor’s chamber so you can make changes is a cornerstone of your campaign.

So please tell us who these people are and tell us what their “destructively extreme positions” are.

What I fear, and why I don’t see how I could bring myself to vote for you is that you buy into the notion that passionate environmentalists should be branded “extremists” and they should be excluded from the political process? in fact you believe they are the problem.

You say you don’t want to “trade an environmental ‘dead zone’ for an economic ghost town.”

Who in the hell is talking about policies or ideas that would lead us into that economic ghost town? I’m glad you admit our forests have become a “dead zone.” But our forests aren’t working because of a total lack of enforced forest regulation over the last 100+ years.

Let me tell you a little story? I had the honor to work with the late Mendocino Country resident Dr.
Hans Burkhardt who wrote a wonderful book entitled “Maximizing Forest Productivity” in which he outlined how reasonable forest practices could lead to an endless healthy vibrant forest industry right here in Mendocino County. But the corporate forest owners branded him (and the rest of us supporting regulated forest rules) as “extremists.”

The out-of-state corporate forest owners and their lawyers got their way (thanks to then Governor Wilson) and now we’ve got our “dead zone.” The forests are gone and their logging practices silted up the streams so the fishing industry is gone too. Essentially they killed the goose that would have perpetually laid the golden egg of a healthy forest and a healthy fishing industry? with plenty of good jobs.

So please don’t hang your hat on the extremist label and hope to cleave the dedicated environmental community from the general voting public.

Time is short. Dead zones are appearing all over the globe. We need real honesty making important decisions in that windowless supervisor chamber for the 5th District, not a corporate ideologue dressed in “progressive” clothing.

Chuck
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Ukiah: Young people create films on importance of shopping locally


From MONICA STARK
The Ukiah Daily Journal

Fifteen-year-old David MacDonald may be quiet on the surface, but when he starts talking about music and making movies, it’s not too long into the conversation that he discusses musicians who make music in nontypical ways and what he has done from their inspiration. “What if I can create a percussion track for a song using a bunch of different sounds from local businesses?” he asks when talking about his latest film, which won first place in the Localization Film Project and was recognized along with runner ups at this week’s Mendocino County Board of Supervisors meeting.

MacDonald’s film shows him sitting in Alex Thomas Plaza so frustrated with his computer that he smashes it on the pavement and then goes wandering about local businesses whilst his own music plays in the background. The viewer, meanwhile, gets a sense of community from the customers who know from whom they are buying their goods and services and hence feels some relief. The brewery, the Farmer’s Market, Mendocino Book Company, to name a few were places MacDonald visited.

His story is like that of a few other teens who together took a crash course on film making at Ukiah Valley Community Television and got a rundown of why shopping locally is important. From then on, a competition between them began and the teenagers had two months to create short two- to three-minute films, which UVCTV operations manager Jason Killilea says will be shown all summer on Mendocino Access channel 3.

Jenne, 19, the second-place winner, called her film the “Mr. Rude Commercial” and featured an online camera shopper who gets on the phone only to feel disgruntled from the incompetent customer service. “Dad was playing Butch, the cheesy online salesman,” Jenne laughs. Before filming, she and her dad cluttered the set of his workplace, and so when watching the film, the viewer gets a humorous glance of Butch who tries to play off two roles – that of a lowly know-nothing receptionist and his all-knowing boss, who ironically couldn’t answer the caller’s question about a particular camera lens.

A split screen enabled the viewer to see both the customer and Butch, a scene that when shown at Tuesday’s meeting, caused the audience to howl in laughter. The solution was, of course, to shop locally at Triple S Camera. Jenne said she really didn’t know much about shopping locally until she went to the localization training “and I realized that shopping locally creates a lot of jobs in the community … Money goes back into it.” More here
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