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Chris_3gAugust 21st, 2007, 8:29 am
Posts: 59Hey everyone. I really did not intend to start a war! I almost said nothing, because one of the characteristics that I appreciate about the forums on this website is that everyone is very accepting, offers constructive criticism, etc. - I should know as I've asked some seemingly idiotic questions of you guys, about fly fishing. Anyway, I knew that spouting off about a controversial topic like this would open the flood gates, so to speak, so I figured I would be the sacrificial lamb for the topic. Flood gates open? CHECK!

Since everyone else is stating their credentials, I am not a biologist. My interest in this field of science began and ended during my high school biology course, and with the exception of genetics, the field just never really turned my crank. Some very compelling points have been made throughout this discussion, which some may have upgraded to an argument, and it has forced me to re-evaluate my stance on this topic as a whole. That doesn't mean I'm not a skeptic, but all of the postings have made me think more, and I guess that's the goal of any such discussion / argument. I'd like to respond to a few comments that have been made though, just to clarify my attitude.

First, I hope I didn't give the impression that I don't care about the environment. That's far from the truth. I try to do my part. I use these highly touted fluorescent bulbs in nearly all of my lighting fixtures. I try to only turn on lights, electric appliances, etc. when it's necessary. I prefer a cooler apartment and typically open my windows vs. cranking up the AC or the heat. I make use of mass transit and / or walk when I can, my wife and I have only one car, and it's a Corolla that gets ~40 mpg - this is in spite of my intense desire to own a Tacoma. We recycle, and I even try to resist the urge to spray CFC ridden aerosols into the atmosphere for no reason - please take note that I'm being sarcastic. I adore nature, and I really can't get enough of the outdoors. I'm not a tree-hugging hippie who powers my organically grown car on dreams and starlights, but the point is that I try to do my part.

Second, I absolutely do not believe that we have no impact on our environment. We pollute at excessive rates, we clear huge portions of land for various reasons, and in the process of all of this pollution and land-clearing, we kill off species - species that we know exist and plenty that we don't. The list goes on, and it's not hard to see that we're the cause of a lot of bad things that have happened on this planet.

Jason, I liked what you said about modeling large-scale problems, i.e. climate change vs. small-scale problems, i.e. tomorrow's weather. One could offer the counter-argument to your physics example that a particular rock on the "hill of model-validation" could be positioned in such a way that the ball comes to rest prior to reaching the bottom of the hill. I also didn't say that the human adaptation would be easy. If the worst-case scenario does occur, human adaptation will be tested to the limits. It will be a global catastrophe, period.

I stated a couple of times in my post that if global warming is the cause that gets everyone to start paying attention, then go global warming. I agree with what a lot of people have stated on here. If we're wrong, then the worst we've done is we've cleaned up our environment, and if we're right, then the worst we've done is we've cleaned up our environment. It's a win-win situation, and regardless of our attitudes, we should all do our part, and I absolutely believe that! In the end, there is no disputing the fact that we should reduce our impact on the environment. We should have been paying attention from the get-go, but hindsight is 20-20, and the best we can do now is work toward reducing, or in the least, stabilizing our impact.

I don't want to perpetuate the argument. I just wanted to set the records straight that I actually do care about the environment, I try to do what I can to preserve it, and I hope it stays the way it is for a long time.


P.S. - Who wants to go fishing?
Jmd123August 21st, 2007, 8:57 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2545
Amen, Chris, amen. My spleen is shrivelling from too much venting on my part, and I bet others feel the same way too. So, back to fishing talk!

So, any questions for the Michigander here? We have thousands of miles of trout water in my home state, and if I haven't fished the ones you are interested in, I can probably point you to a better source of information. If any of you folks out there plan on coming this way, let me know and I might just be able to show you in person. Salmon and steelhead runs are due to begin shortly, and the rest of the fishing always picks up with cooler weather in the fall - especially warmwaters.

FISH ON (and on and on and on...)

Jonathon :oD
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
DavezAugust 21st, 2007, 9:42 am

Posts: 59
Unlike most of us here, a friend of mine is actually doing something with green or renewable energy.

he owns a dairy farm with a methane digester. Basically, farmers lease the land and milking staiton to bring their cows there. My friend steals their poop via a scraper and pumping station.

The poo is put into a giant covered container where it is heated to the magic temperature to speed up decomposition. The result is methane gas in which they burn off on two 100kW/h generators. they power their farm with it, sell electricity back to the grid, and power a small factory. this is of course tightly controlled and monitored continuously.

The dried waste is then used as fertilizers on their grounds, where they grow high dollar organic crops.

They also take in waste from a cheese factory- they can't just flush this stuff, so they pay the farm to take it and use it as fuel in the digester. There are a few of these operations around the country, and in europe. so they complete the cycle. its a pretty cool thing.

so cows aren't all that bad.

Jmd123August 21st, 2007, 9:52 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2545
As I said, Dave, it's all about how you manage them. It sure sounds like your friend is getting the most out of his! Kudos for him for his use of cutting-edge technology to provide him with an almost free energy source, and keeping the poop out of local streams. I've seen what cow pies can do...

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
GeneAugust 21st, 2007, 12:04 pm
Posts: 107Gentlemen:

It seems as usual this topic of Global Warming "burns up the internet." There are many points of interest here but there are some undercurrents that do not go away no matter what the political ramifications may be. Whether you like it or not here are some of the problems: 1) The Bush and this Republican Administration are anti-scientific (these people are not really Republicans or Conservatives, unfortunately they go by those terms). It has suppressed scientific data and scientists. It has changed reports and studies to their extreme right-wing political and religious beliefs. It has placed administrators in power for the EPA and Dept. of Interior that are nothing more than industry representatives and have destroyed the morale and the scientific research of many branches of these departments. A simple example is that of the Utah mining disaster. The federal inspector is nothing more than George Bush appointee from industry who is so bad even Republicans voted against him. I could be wrong but I believe he was appointed during the recess of Congress by of those great deals! For analysis of how the mining industry owns America you might be interested in my little blog ( where I comment on this situation.

2)Global Warming is not the hockey stick graph or any other individual set of data. It's the cumulative and synergistic effects of all that is going on. The Rush Limbaughs of the world (now there's a real scientist)love to try and find some little piece of nothing that they purport that refutes global warming. These people couldn't pass any basic science test yet they can analyze the myriad of data that goes into global warming.

3) The extreme right-wing think tanks funded by Exxon and others have more money and power than any university scientist and get their disinformation message out because they literally own the media. Americans are fearful they won't be able to drive their pick up truck just like they are fearful that their guns will be taken.

4) People like Gore and Robert Kennedy Jr. are actually hypocrites on many things and fall right into the traps set by these extremists on the right. Kennedy Jr. in particular with his hypocrisy on the wind mills of the cape (try reading a book called Cape Wind). These people cause the American populace to second guess the real science because they fly in private jets while telling you not to use an SUV!

5)It may not be polite but H.L. Mencken said it best a long time ago: "Nobody ever went broke by underestimating the intelligence of the American people." Whether we like it or not we aren't a very intelligent nation. However, we think we are smarter than we are. I know I'll upset a lot of people with this statement but I really don't care at this point in my life. Our Congress is made up with two majority degrees: Law and Poly Sci (government). These are the easiest degrees to get (even a Phd) and require the least amount of critical thinking skill--analysis and comprehension! These people all think alike and thus are present state of affairs, and seldom can think outside of the box. We are trapped by a myopic thinking condition that cannot solve the problems of our society because these people cannot comprehend in any real terms the complexity of the issues and thus rely on what they did before and nothing changes! Compare these people to Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison just to mention a few and you realize what dummies we have running this country (by the way did you know Jefferson wanted to be a biologist. He wrote a discourse on the Fishes of Allegheny River Systems or something to that effect if I remember correctly. He decided he couldn't make a living at it! Well he was right). That's not to say that these people didn't have their political problems but they never sacrificed the country for their own self gain.

Now what does this have to do with trout streams? Well unfortunately for many fly anglers----nothing, and that's our problem. Trout streams do not exist in a vacuum. They exist in the real world. All of the political decisions that effect environmental conditions end up in our trout streams whether we like it or not. The failure of the EPA to enforce what is left of the Clean Water Act. The failure of the states to adhere to the same act and the failure of the EPA to monitor and force the states to take care of their streams is just one small example of what I'm talking about. If the administrators in the EPA and Dept. of the Interior that are working for industry how do you expect your streams to survive?

The idea that I'm not a political fly fishermen is an oxymoron! Trout streams are the most precious of systems and they can't exist in indifference whether it's the effects of Global Warming, Acid Mine Drainage, or other pollution. If you can't see this then you perhaps you just don't deserve to call yourself a fly fisherman because it is in the noble birthplace of this great avocation that we are all riverkeepers and part of the journey on this earth is to pass these most precious systems to the next generation.

gene macri
aquatic and environmental scientist

Shawnny3August 21st, 2007, 3:04 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Thank you, Jon and Gene, for those poignant commentaries on the political climate. Being too young to remember a Republican president before Reagan, it was nice to read what Jon wrote about the sabotaging of Republican values - I know the parties used to be quite different, but never in my personal experience. I am a Republican according to my voter registration card, but I really couldn't care less how people label me. I've been put in the same unfortunate position of a lot of people like me - as a social conservative who likes the environment, I am always forced to make the same decision come election time: Vote for a Republican who at least on paper shares my social values but is in bed with every big company in the country, or vote for a Democrat whose social values I dislike but at least on paper likes the environment. What's one to do? I vote the social issues because I think they're of more immediate importance. But I really wish we'd get some nature-loving Republicans or pro-life Democrats on the ticket - I'd vote for either one of those in a second. A few years ago, there was a really great Republican candidate (can't remember his name) running against Arlen Specter, a guy who is the worst of both worlds in my mind - a fiscal conservative and social liberal. Guess who Bush endorsed - freaking Specter, and Specter won the primary by an eyelash. Why? Because he was a valuable crony who stood a better chance of winning the general election. I hate that crap. If that's the way things are done, how's anything ever to change?

This upcoming presidential race is one I'm really not looking forward to - man, are the Republicans slimy (with the exception of Brownback, a guy who, because I like him, has no chance of winning the nomination). And if Hillary wins the Democratic primary, well, shoot, I'm sure not voting for her. The most likely ticket, Rudy/Hillary, might just make me jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. I'm from New York, but that doesn't mean I have to like its politicians, does it? Gives me the creepy-crawlies just thinking about it - 50 little New Yorks out there. Almost as bad as 50 little Texases.

Anyway, I just want to thank you guys for your insights. Nice critiques.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Jmd123August 21st, 2007, 7:35 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2545
Shawn, PLEASE don't jump off any bridges, unless it's to get to better waters and you plan to SURVIVE. If anything, perhaps YOU should get more involved in your political party so that you may have some influence in its direction. I think most people, Demos and Repubs alike, think the party needs a NEW direction, since the Bush/Cheney/Rove regime has been an unmitigated disaster that has turned your party into a mean-spirited, profit-motivated political machine that can't stand any kind of dissent. That seems awfully un-democratic (small D for democracy, NOT the party) to me - this country is FOUNDED upon the principle that we can all speak our minds AND be heard. The Constitution is a truly remarkable document and I recommend that EVERY American should read AND understand it at least once a year. I do! (The World Almanac has the complete text and some historical background to boot.)

Besides, if you jump off that bridge, you'll never be able to fly-fish again, and who the hell is gonna whip your students' butts when they throw away their negative results??

I have a lot of problems with Hillary - I'm starting to think that she might just be another member of the "Washington establishment", i.e. politics as usual. And don't EVEN get me started on Giuliani! Unfortunately, the only people who gain political power in our society are those that not only desperately crave it but will do ANYTHING to get it! Cynicism and despair are only logical byproducts of this tyranny. But, that sure doesn't mean we should give up trying! There are a few good folks out there, and we have to throw our backing behind them, whether they can win or not. Frustrating as it may be, we should always vote with our consciences.

If it all gets too frustrating, just let me know and we'll plan a fishing trip somewhere to soothe our souls. And by the way, you're most welcome for the history of the Republican party. Though my B.S. is in botany, I actually completed all the requirements for a Political Science degree, so technically I have a B.S. in that too (strange, but true!). History is also one of my interests. Sometimes I think I have too many interests! But these things keep my stimulus-hungry brain happy (maybe I have ADD?) and make for an interesting life.

Tight lines and heavy hatches, man!


"Endeavor to persevere!" - Indian Chief from The Outlaw Josey Wales, supposedly quoting Abraham Lincoln (the ORIGINAL Republican!)
No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
TroutnutAugust 22nd, 2007, 1:22 am
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2727
with the exception of Brownback, a guy who, because I like him, has no chance of winning the nomination

Not to risk a dangerous change of topics, but how can you reconcile being a science teacher with liking Brownback? He's worked harder than anyone else in the Senate to undermine the foundations of biology.
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
Jmd123August 22nd, 2007, 5:33 am
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2545
Hey Shawn, I lived in San Marcos, TX for 2 1/2 years, and I have to say that Texas isn't just BUSH COUNTRY. Go hang with the hippie folk musician crowd in Austin, or the students at TX State in San Marcos, and you'll get this impression pretty quickly. A friend of mine in GA, where I lived before I went "West, young man", asked my why the hell I would ever want to live in TX, as he had nothing but bad impressions of the state. Well, in '97 I attended the North American Benthological Society annual meetings in San Marcos and I just fell in love with the place, so when I was offered a job in Austin I knew where I was going to live. And it's not just pancake-flat cattle ranches as far as the eye can see, especially not in the Hill Country, the Big Thicket area, or in the Davis Mountains - all spectacularly beautiful. There is also a VERY STRONG Democratic party down there to balance out the political scene. Besides, Bush himself has changed while in office, moving much farther to the right than he was while governor of TX to get and stay elected (his father did the very same thing - former moderate who leaned FAR to the right because he thought that what what he needed to do to get into national office).

On top of that all, there's some fabulous fly fishing down there!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
Shawnny3August 22nd, 2007, 6:24 am
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
"If it all gets too frustrating, just let me know and we'll plan a fishing trip somewhere to soothe our souls." - Fishing sure sounds good to me, Jon. And I should temper my remarks about Texas, having never lived there. I have two brothers in Austin who married Texans, and one of my bros is pretty vocal about his distaste for Texas and Texans, but he has a tendency to find the bad in things. I have other extended family down there as well, some of the Democrats you mentioned. It's certainly not the number of rednecks that bothers me - we've got plenty of them here in PA, and we get along just fine. It's probably the climate more than anything, and the tendency of Texans to think Texas is the world's greatest sovereign nation. That's a little annoying.

And my apologies in advance for this next part - I don't wish to hijack this wonderful discussion with my personal political views. I probably should have never brought them up in the first place. Just disregard it if you so choose.

Jason, with regard to Brownback, he is from Kansas, so I'm under no illusions about his approach to science. On the other hand, I think he actually holds true social conservative values (rather than just hypocritically pretending to), he's not afraid to think outside the box and take a new approach to problems (he made some pilot legislation, for example, to give tax credits for newlyweds who buy a first home, trying to combat the anti-marriage financial incentives in a lot of social legislation that leads to a lot of single moms and deadbeat dads on welfare), and he has been more responsible than anyone else I know for bringing awareness to Washington of the problems in the developing world (he was outspoken about the crisis in Sudan way before it became big news, for example). So he's not a cookie-cutter Republican by any means. I saw him recently on the Catholic channel speaking alongside Chris Dodd, and I left with a much greater respect for both of them. Two smart guys with divergent views coming together to have a civil conversation about the thorniest of issues - how rare and refreshing is that?

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
SofthackleAugust 22nd, 2007, 10:12 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
This will be my last post in this thread on this subject. I can not profess to have a degree in biology or math, but I graduated college, and during my study I took courses in General Bio., Botany, Zoology, and Anatomy and Physiology and Chemistry, too. In the service, I was trained as a Petroleum Analyst, so I know a little, but I can not rival the comments or insights made here in some of these posts. I understand what we do in our environment affects the conditions within that environment. It's very similar to taking care of a single room. Don't clean it; throw things around; deficate and urinate on the floor, and what do you have?

I can, however say that as an observer of man and nature I can understand the difficulty people in general have in trying to understand this very complex subject of Global Warming. Right here, in this thread, the diversity of opnions and ideas are varied and at odds with each other. I also believe that people, in general are concerned, but they have difficulty deciding who to turn to for the answers.

Any answers given however, must be given in a manner to educate people in all there is to know. The delivery must be one as to not talk down to people, but to show people whatever evidence or lack of evidence there is. In this small group of us, here, that have been discussing this topic, the two sides of the coin are quite obvious. It is my opinion, however, that even if global warming is not true or real, we do know harm to ourselves or our environment by doing things that may, in fact, reduce the progress of its occurance.

What is and what isn't politically correct really has no place regarding this even though politics affects these things. It has more to do with what is ecologically correct and morally correct. Despite what we think, science does not have all the answers always. Many times the answer just lies in the realm of doing what's right. To me taking care of where we live is what's right, and if there are some signs that what we are doing is wrong, we'd better take stock of those signs whether or not they are scientifically substantiated.

I've said it in other places and I'll say it here-we are the keeper of the keys. Lets not drop them and not be able to find them again.

Enough said by me,
"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
Shawnny3September 13th, 2007, 4:20 am
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197

It will be interesting to see how this one develops.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
TaxonSeptember 13th, 2007, 9:27 am
Site Editor
Plano, TX

Posts: 1337
Well Shawn, for my part, I hereby pledge to immediately discontinue further ordering of Big N Tasty burgers, and will start ordering Filet Of Fish burgers in their place. This is my personal plan for reduction of atmospheric methane attributable to avoidable beef production. However, I must admit some concern over the associated risk of contributing to groundfish extinction.

Am I actually serious, not only about this commitment, but also about my concern? Yes, on both counts.
Best regards,
Roger Rohrbeck
SofthackleSeptember 13th, 2007, 10:46 am
Site Editor
Wellsville, NY

Posts: 540
Hi Shawn,
I saw some info about this on TV. The chairman and founder of PETA presented this information to viewers. A friend of mine sent this to me recently. Thought it might be interesting. There IS two sides to every story.

"I have the highest respect for the skilled wet-fly fisherman, as he has mastered an art of very great difficulty." Edward R. Hewitt

Flymphs, Soft-hackles and Spiders:
GeneSeptember 13th, 2007, 10:55 am
Posts: 107Gentlemen and ladies if present:

This study may or not be true. I haven't seen the data...has anyone else? But there are many caveots in such work that were not mentioned. This unfortuantely falls into the catergory of what are the consequences! Contrary to popular belief our oceans are not limitless supplies of fish and other food sources. Would this put more strain on these resources (like what so called ethanol and biofuels are starting to do in these areas)? Many of our fish are so tainted with mercury and other toxins (such as swordfish and even canned tuna)that they should be limited in their consumption. Aquaculture is adding more pollutants to our waters and in some areas threaten native species. The environmental rapists of the Bush administration are saying that salmon in the hatchery are the same as wild salmon. What would more aquaculture do?

There are no simple answers to these problems. The truth of the matter is that we have too many people for the way we wish to live. Overpopululation is a problem that no one wishes to address. When I taught college biology one of my first lectures would be when countries like China and India tried to reach our industrial capacity what would that do to the pollution of the world? Perhaps those students are now realizing what I was talking about!

Other countries eat a lot of red meat too but their citizens exercise more and have less stress and better medical care than the US. Vegetarians have shoter life spans than ominivore humans in most studies. There is no easy way out of what we have done to this planet.
And the Right Wing will jump on this story like flies to dung! The beef industry will immediately attack this study etc. because corporations own our governments. A little less red meat wouldn't hurt anyone but I am wondering how this would fit into the overall model on Global Warming.

In the end we are the drivers of space ship earth and we are overcrowded and unprepared for this journey.

gene macri
aquatic and environmental scientist who is sorry to say we are losing the battle on planet earth
Shawnny3September 13th, 2007, 6:19 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Sorry if I stirred this pot again unnecessarily - I really didn't mean to. I certainly didn't mean to depress Gene so much! It might not be all THAT bad, bud.

Some of my thoughts about population growth and pollution:

First, the U.S. population is growing primarily because of immigration. We don't, contrary to popular opinion, have a problem in this country with overpopulation. We dropped below 2.0 children per two adults long ago. In fact, the only reason our birth rate still exceeds our death rate in this country is because the Baby Boomer generation isn't dying yet. When they start retiring in earnest, we will be damned glad we have so many immigrants to help shoulder the load. I remember vividly Bill Clinton stating his concern over impending population declines in the U.S. during his presidency about 10 years ago, and I was shocked. Like most people, I had the false impression that our country was facing severe overpopulation. The same problem exists to an even greater level in Europe - they face a serious population vacuum in the near future and are currently well below replacement level.

I recently had a very educated aunt of mine try to feed me this myth about population explosion, lamenting that "those wackos who have 12 kids so they can spread their religion are killing our environment... it's just IMMORAL." I was flabbergasted. She has never had children and has had instead a highly successful career that has left her with the means to spend her early retirement traveling the globe and lamenting from her ivory tower the plight of those in the countries she visits. Meanwhile, she seems never to have given thought to whom will care for her and the rest of the Baby Boomers when they're too old to do it themselves. I stopped short of stating the obvious probability that it would be that religious wacko's 12 kids who would be staffing her retirement home. I love my aunt and I know she means well, but I find that sort of thinking in educated people quite unsettling.

Along those same lines, increases in life expectancy also contribute to population booms - people just don't die like they used to. U.S. life expectancy has climbed by about 10 years in the last 50 years. That's not a horrible problem to have, and I don't know how we're supposed to deal with it outside of a mandatory death age. We could, I suppose, refrain from indulging the dying in exorbitant health care (I can't recall the numbers with confidence, but I know that in this country we spend an incredible amount of money on people who are within 6 months of death).

The only significant population growth occurring in the world today is in the southern hemisphere. As I stated before, the U.N. (not known for a conservative bias, even by Jason's standards) projects that growth in the southern hemisphere will stabilize within the next 30-50 years and that it is unlikely that we will see the world's population increase by more than another 50%. We would have no trouble feeding all those people if they didn't live so far from the food they require, but that's probably why they're poor in the first place. If the northern hemisphere finds itself in crippling population decline, though, maybe we could find room for some of them up here.

With regard to industrialization of third-world countries: While industrialization may be associated with increased pollution over the short-term, industrialization also results in lower birth rates and population stabilization. Once an industrialized nation has matured, environmental awareness also matures and pollution problems generally improve over the long-term. After all, addressing environmental concerns is expensive and is the luxury of the wealthy. It is impossible to accomplish major environmental goals in an impoverished nation, which is why pollution problems in underdeveloped nations tend to be much worse (especially with regard to water quality) than in mature industrialized nations. Keeping countries from industrializing is not necessarily the best way to further environmental responsibility.

Another popular misconception is that pollution is primarily the fault of big cities. An civil engineer once told me that New York City, for example, has a per capita waste rate and energy consumption rate much lower than those of your average small town. It makes sense if you think about it - when you have 1000 people living in one building, each with 200 sq-ft of living space adjoining each other's, it is many times more efficient to heat and cool than a suburban development with 1000 people living 3 or 4 to each 3,000 sq-ft, stand-alone structure. Now, obviously high concentrations of people can create major localized environmental problems, but on a global scale it is not those people who are mucking up everything for everyone else.

The bottom line is that I don't think it is overpopulation per se that is responsible for pollution problems, rather it is the way our resources are managed (and wasted) that strains both planet and people. There are obviously people and places in bad shape right now, but I don't think it is because our planet is just too small for all of us.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
Jmd123September 13th, 2007, 8:13 pm
Oscoda, MI

Posts: 2545
Hey Shawn, your latest post is certainly ripe for discussion, but for me, not tonight - I spent the day crawling around in some deep swamps and busting through some of the thorniest brush I've ever had to deal with. I don't understand this - I lived and did field work in Texas for over 2 years, and EVERYTHING has frickin' thorns down there. Yet, somehow I never got as scratched up as I have since I returned to Michigan! I fed a few too many mosquitos out there too - we got over 2 1/2 times as much rainfall in August as we normally do so they're WAY too abundant and hungry right now.

Anyway, maybe this weekend I'll have the time and energy to thoughtfully respond...have a good evening!

No matter how big the one you just caught is, there's always a bigger one out there somewhere...
GeneSeptember 13th, 2007, 8:32 pm
Posts: 107Shawn:

It's ok to stir the pot don't apologize for that. However, I disagree with you entirely on that's it not overpopulation. Pure and simple the fewer people we have on the planet in certain areas especially where our trout and salmon rivers flow the less pollution and the less pollution we produce overall. The idea that it's immigration is immaterial; these people are still in our country and they are still having kids.

Whether our own population has stabilized (which is true) is also immaterial because it's the way choose to live as a nation and people are not going to give up their lifestyle in America. We are nation of waste and that will not change. You are missing the point. If we bring the rest of the developing nations up to our level of so called living standards and they go through their industrial period what will the planet look like?

We don't manufacturer much in the US anymore. It's made in China and other places. Our system of economics is based on temporary products and a throwaway lifestyle which is constantly cycling. The corporations that run this world want it just like that and our government lies in beds with them. This cycle must continue because if it doesn't the world's economies would crash.

They now want a constant supply of cheap labor in this country to continue the service sector which is our only industry and thus the open borders concept as espoused by the Wall Street Journal. And this labor force must reproduce to do this cheap labor in our cycles because our so called population won't.

When I was out West in 79 and 80 it was still in pretty good shape. What does it look like now! There is development everywhere! They are destroying the foot hills of the Rockies for energy development. What do you mean overpopulation doesn't have anything to do with it! If we had fewer people..fewer cars ...fewer demand for energy and oil etc.

What does the Chesapeake Bay Area look like. They have built around it everywhere. It's worst now than it was 25 or 35 years ago. Our infrastructure in America is crumbling from lack of repair and overuse because these bridges and highways weren't built for the use they receive.

If we choose to live in small homes and use small cars like they do in Japan would that help? Maybe--- but look around you, we aren't doing that and we never will. Trout and Salmon waters will not survive the present model of how we are living because they represent optima in systems when they are surrounded by minimal systems they degrade and there is no getting around that. And the biggest reason for their degradation is that we have too many people for how we live that produces too many perturbation inputs which negatively effect the systems.

Trout and Salmon waters don't exist in a vacuum. Overpopulation always refers to the context in which it is delineated. If we would live in a more ecological way would it help? To a certain extent it would but we still have the onslaught of civilization destroying our watersheds for homes and development.

According to the Right Wing the world is not overpopulated because they would like to see everything in concrete and cement (and I'm not referring to you in this group). Because they basically despise most of the natural world and see it as something to be conquered.

Overpopulation is the biggest problem and is the mother of most our ecological problems on this earth. This was dramatized by the Dr. Eric Pianka, a world renowned zoologist at the University of Texas at Austin in a lecture not too long ago for saying exactly the same thing I am. Of course, the Fox Noise Broadcast went crazy and said that he wanted to kill everyone.

I respect your opinion on these matters but I must entirely disagree with you. If we had 75 million less people in the US.....I think our streams would be in much better shape. And that's not some Draconian wish that these people would die but just what the data show when we have less people we have less pollution no matter how hard we try and minimize the pollution it always boils down to overpopulation. As far as civil engineers go I wouldn't put too much faith in anything they say. These were the guys in organic chemistry who were always trying to blow up the lab (I wish I could say I was kidding on this but I'm not).

tight lines and may all your nymphs rise slowly to the surface so the trout get a good drift

Shawnny3September 16th, 2007, 7:30 pm
Pleasant Gap, PA

Posts: 1197
Sorry to take so long to respond - I've been out of town. Anyway, to what you said, Gene:

Whether our own population has stabilized (which is true) is also immaterial because it's the way choose to live as a nation and people are not going to give up their lifestyle in America.

I absolutely agree with you on this. The way we choose to live is paramount, and we are, as you said, a nation of waste. Until we live within lesser means, we will need a continually growing economy to sustain our extravagance, and that probably means a growing population. But these attitudes can change. Europe, for example, has been long known for its opulence, yet has learned to deal with a higher population density by being more environmentally aware. We could do the same, although what I like to refer to as our "cowboy mentality" in the U.S. will make that harder than it has been for Europe. We Americans don't like people telling us what to do, do we?

That said, I think we are better about these things than we used to be. Your points about many places worsening is well taken. But many have improved as well. We've cleaned up a lot of our environmental blunders from the past with initiatives such as the Superfund project (with a pound of cure obviously still not better than an ounce of prevention, but still better than leaving things trashed). Grassroots efforts have burgeoned as well, with organizations such as TU cleaning up a lot of water. Our clean-up does not mean those ecosystems will return to their virgin states, but their improvement is noteworthy. While I certainly won't ever profess to know more about this than you do, Gene, I don't think I'd be going out on a limb by saying that many waterways and watersheds are better now than they were 50 years ago. Now, whether we're gaining or losing ground I don't know - you seem to think we're losing it. And I have no way of arguing against that except to say that I think there's room for optimism regardless.

Not only are we cleaning up a lot of our worst messes, but we're doing a much better job of controlling what ends up in our environment. We've eliminated phosphates from our detergents, lead from our paint, DDT from our sprays, carcinogens from countless products, and on and on. We have certainly applied new understanding of the health impacts of chemicals to environmental improvements. Recently I asked a colleague of mine who's very knowledgeable in the chemistry of fuels and is a passionate environmentalist why electricity is so expensive relative to the coal from which it's made. He mentioned a few obvious reasons having to do with the inefficiencies associated with generating and distributing electricity, and then added - "Do you have any idea how expensive the scrubbers we're using to treat coal emissions are these days?" With that he rolled his eyes and said, "It's incredible how much cleaner our emissions are these days... but it's not cheap." So we ARE doing better on a LOT of things, even if we haven't reduced our footprint to zero.

Another huge improvement is a philosophical one: Environmentalism, long regarded a wacko left-wing idea, is now quite mainstream. The degree of environmental awareness of my high-school students, for example, is far greater than mine was in the '80s as a high-school student. Their efforts may be a bit misguided (they think recycling everything is important but using energy extravagantly is normal and unavoidable), but they have their hearts in the right place. The redneck community, traditionally the worst environmentalists, I find becoming passionate about biofuels because they impact both automobiles and farming, two things they care a lot about. Whether biofuels are a worthy investment or not, the point is that people you'd never expect to care about them are beginning to care about them. So each generation is improving in its environmental awareness, I think.

They now want a constant supply of cheap labor in this country to continue the service sector which is our only industry and thus the open borders concept as espoused by the Wall Street Journal.

We have become more of a service economy, not just in low-end jobs but in our entire economy. Our energy expenditure per dollar of GDP has gone down drastically in the past 3+ decades, and it is projected to continue to fall. When I asked a colleague of mine who teaches economics why that decrease has become so dramatic since the mid-90s, he replied with one word: "NAFTA." While shipping our production overseas is doing little for blue-collar workers in America, we are also incurring fewer environmental costs associated with manufacturing. I'm not saying this is an ideal situation (it's certainly a dirty trick to send your polluting endeavors elsewhere), but it is better for our environment here in the U.S. And our economy still grows, by the way, even as we produce fewer products - weird and unsettling but true.

If we choose to live in small homes and use small cars like they do in Japan would that help? Maybe--- but look around you, we aren't doing that and we never will.

No, our homes aren't as small as they are elsewhere, but they are smallER than they were in the past and are much more energy-efficient, which are good steps. Our residential energy costs climb slower than those in any other sector. Widespread implementation of low-energy lightbulbs make the future look... umm... better. While lightbulbs are not going to solve all of our problems, to be sure, it is actually possible that, with their widespread use, U.S. residential energy costs could actually begin to decline in spite of population increases.

According to the Right Wing the world is not overpopulated because they would like to see everything in concrete and cement (and I'm not referring to you in this group). Because they basically despise most of the natural world and see it as something to be conquered.

No offense taken. I really don't think this is true of very much of the Right Wing, though - perhaps this mindset is limited to those with great power and wealth, which make up the very small percentage of the Right Wing who fund most of the politicians. A more accurate statement might be, "The few people who pick which Republican candidates will get the funding necessary to make them electable would like to see everything in concrete and cement." Take outdoorsmen, for example. Most outdoorsmen are Republicans because Republicans defend the Second Amendment with great zeal. They are not Republicans because they want to see the world in concrete. In fact, they are more likely to be landowners who want to see their farms and forests preserved. But when it feels to them like the fruity liberals want to take away their guns, send social workers to their doors to tell them they can't hit their children, tell them what they can and can't do on with their own land, and even serve them notice that the liberal majority in the Supreme Court has given the government the right to make them sell their property to build strip malls... well, they get understandably itchy with their trigger fingers. These issues are complicated, but many card-carrying Republicans are just Libertarians of a different sort - they defend their rights as zealously as anyone on the opposite side of the spectrum does, and they feel it's their right to do as they please with what's theirs. I'm not saying they're right to think this way, I'm just explaining why someone who cares about the environment might end up voting for a wilderness-raping oilman.

As far as civil engineers go I wouldn't put too much faith in anything they say. These were the guys in organic chemistry who were always trying to blow up the lab (I wish I could say I was kidding on this but I'm not).

What?! A whole field of scientists with a common bias?! That's preposterous.

My point here was just that it is easy for people living in the 'burbs to point a judgmental finger at the cities, when their own environmental impact could actually be much greater than your average urban resident's, just that it's not as noticeable because it's not added to the impacts of millions of others. I mentioned the reduced energy costs when many people live in the same building, but urbanites also own fewer cars, use less land (and less ChemLawn!), use more public transportation (which gets more efficient the larger the population density), live closer to shipping and manufacturing centers... there are many ways their environmental impact is lower. Urbanites also live with a greater appreciation for their waste because its effects are magnified before their eyes on a daily basis - they are better connected to their impact than those in less densely populated areas are. It's a lot easier to ignore one plastic bottle in a ditch than it is to ignore two hundred plastic bottles clogging a street drain.

Please do not misunderstand - I'm not saying that overpopulation is not a problem. I'm just saying that there are ways we can all live here and there are enough reasons to be optimistic. It's dangerous to say that there are "just too many people," because it causes us to despair rather than find solutions and causes us to view people as liabilities rather than as... well, as people. No one is saying environmentalists want to kill others to lower the population (well, unless one were to decide to bring up the 'A' word), but maybe those who feel so passionately that the world is overpopulated wouldn't mind offering themselves as the first participants in a brave new Population Downsizing Project? After all, if the world would have been better off without my having existed at all, then why am I so selfishly continuing to live my life at all? Perhaps that's too drastic, though. Rather than snuff it, I suppose I could always join the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement and at least save the world from my unwanted offspring so I feel better about myself while I continue to selfishly live my own life. No, it's true - the VHEMT exists. Well, ummm... I thought it existed - now I can't get their website to load. Hmmm... maybe we're making some headway after all, Gene.

Jewelry-Quality Artistic Salmon Flies, by Shawn Davis
GeneSeptember 16th, 2007, 10:23 pm
Posts: 107Shawn:

I don't know what you do for a living (chemistry and physics teacher I believe you said) but you don't have a clue to what is happening in aquatic ecology. The Susquehanna is almost dead by any objective analysis ( I will be writing a commentary on that soon). We have not made much progress on water quality that you think we have and for the most part TU has tried and failed in too many instances. Our streams aren't getting better. Your head is basically up your ass as far as I am concerned because your letter reads like the talking point from the Republican Party. Gore is not right on everything but your argument that there are no objective scientists who are global warming experts is also total bullshit.

And the video that you mention was another hatchet job done by idiots on the doesn't pass any scientific scrutiny and if you knew anything about global warming you would know that.

Next time you post just don't remove the title of Republican Talking Points on Global Warming (and of course they mention that same video) because I've read them all before. In the scientific community we monitor that kind of insanity. Believe whatever you want or whatever their talking points tell you to believe. On Friday of this week I am meeting with the Maryland Coalition to Save the Brook Trout.....and it doesn't look too good. Perhaps you have some wonderful talking points about this too. Just check your mail..I'm sure Bush and Cheney (who killed the Salmon out West) can have a list for you because they believe trout in the hatchery are the same as wild trout.

Sometimes I find it hard to believe you are really a fly fisherman and really care about the streams at all because you appear to be totally clueless of what is really happening in the world. But I guess there are a lot like you and that's why we are losing everything.

Sorry but I can only take so much of this nonsense...and I don't really care if Jason needs to ban me to settle things down but when someone basically posts "talking points"... I've spent a fortune of my own money and research trying to save trout waters and people like you just make me wonder why I even try!

gene macri
aquatic and environmental scientist


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