Thursday, February 13, 2014

Business as usual?

Are you ready for Valentine's Day. I am, and I promise that tomorrow My Minnesota will have a kinder, gentler posting than yesterday's (or today's). Pictures and poetry will return, but that's for tomorrow. For today, I'd like to provide some context for yesterday's observations about our apparent political priorities. After publishing yesterday's writing, I spent a little time going through the headlines on Grist Magazine, an environmental blog I read regularly. Below is a handful of links to stories about governments protecting corporations at the expense of the environment and/or the public or corporations behaving badly. Yesterday's listing, as far as I can see, wasn't atypical. It also involved a variety of different states and corporations, all of whom seem to be vying for the lead in a race to the bottom. (Since corporations now can make political donations almost like natural persons, I won't be surprised to see more of this.)


It seems to me that the widespread (becoming ubiquitous?) political strategy of depending on (global?) corporations for job creation has gone too far. To the failures in governance noted above, we can (or at least I would) add the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership treaty [TPPT]. According to the linked article, "any company that did business with the U.S. could argue, under the terms of the treaty, that our environmental laws were interfering with its ability to make money. The lawsuits, which are judged by special treaty-tribunal, don’t allow for any sort of appeal, and the records are not available to the public." You might want to read up on the TPPT and let your senators and congressperson know if you think it's a good treaty to be ratified on a fast track (or at all).

In case you're wondering what all of this has to do with nature, let me remind you of one of my favorite quotes from John Muir: "When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe." [This version comes from the Sierra Club's web page pointing out how many misquotes of this saying are floating around.] The underlying issue in all of these apparent malfeasances is that the environment, on which we're all dependent, is sacrificed for the short-term benefits of a few politicians and corporate executives (you know, the 1%). I've written it before and I'll do it again, it's like burning down your house to get warm in a Minnesota Winter.
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