World On Fire

Which made me think we might be at a hinge where the real cause of the destruction of wildlands is recognized and finally, thankfully changed. It may be that we are finally at the point where instead of harking to hysterics like George Monbiot in the Guardian, and Richard Flanagan in the Times and every ill-founded hysteric in the mainstream press, who never leave their cubicles to venture into the real world, where policymakers demand facts. Talking to real people they would quickly discover that the forests and bush and wildlands in every country in the world, have been critically mismanaged since 1975 when the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N., began pushing their regulatory innovations on forests everywhere.

In British Columbia’s massive boreal forest, the CEO of the dominant forestry company, Crown Zellerbach, told me that in the ’80s, everything changed.  They couldn’t clear cut, so no fire breaks, they couldn’t thin new plantings, they couldn’t pick up deadfall and burn it, they couldn’t strip the trees of brush that acted like tinder.  And this was a man not used to losing, who was a Commander in the Navy, who ended his career as the province’s Lieutenant Governor after serving as a university chancellor. Even he was powerless before the bullying of the green lobby. 

Calfire, California’s forestry ministry has known of the danger for more than twenty years.  In 2010, a research fellow at PERC in Montana, Holly Fretwell dove into the federal Forestry Department’s files and found reports that stated, unequivocally, that 200 million acres of U.S. federal forest were in danger of a catastrophic canopy fire. Why? Green regulation dominating their management.  Equally, the Australian government has been repeatedly warned about overstocking and lack of proper stewardship in the bush, told repeatedly that this was about to happen and ignored it. 

A forester in northern California told me a few years ago that they would bring legislators up to their forests, show them the fire ladders (brush) climbing every tree, the forced lack of clearing underbrush, trees spaced so close together they grew spindly, so many they leeched all the nutrients from the soil, nor could the sun reach them, the lack of firebreaks and so on.  The legislators would nod and go back to Sacramento and vote the way the Sierra Club wanted them to vote.  Contacted, they told the foresters they couldn’t risk it.

Why is this time different?  The 100,000 acres burned in California coast this past year were broadly blamed on climate change, but there was an uptick in reporting on the real causes.  Insurance companies have begun to demand wildland stewardship around the houses they insure, and according to the WSJ this week, the costs of said insuring have risen exponentially.  Trump has made some federal funds to California dependent on proper stewardship.  Besides, once you’ve lost one $10 million house, surely you might want to investigate further than a hysterical burst about deniers.

Equally, moving the Bureau of Land Management to a location near the several hundred million acres managed by the BLM may bring bureaucrats into contact with the real stewards of the land, owners and local men and women who are its natural caretakers and who have watched over the past decades as their resources have been sequestered and then start to degrade.  It is no wonder they protest the move.  It is uncomfortable to live in a town where you face the ranchers, farmers, and foresters whose lives you have damaged. A BLM bureaucrat shot and killed a rancher in Oregon two years ago. That’s not forgotten.

After the 2016 election, the NYTimes, the WSJ, and the Democratic party reported that it was the rural vote that put Trump in office.  It was the catastrophic record of federal and state agencies that caused them to vote, some for the first time. Isolated and without a voice, they streamed to the polls and will again.

Activist groups in rural areas are generally funded by the greatest foundations of our age. The process goes as follows.  An activist moves into a rural area his funders want to preserve.  He makes friends, he joins groups, he insinuates his ideas into the community. And then the actions begin. There are a hundred ways of conserving land, and today, because of conservation biology’s directive to leave the land alone, hundreds of million of acres have been formally conserved and left to degrade. 

The high fuel load in the oily flammable conserved eucalyptus forests meant entire regions would go up in smoke.

Because these green conserver actions happen in rural regions where people have no access to power and are easily intimidated by the powerful forces they face. Trump’s election gave them hope, but even today the U.S. land agencies have all the power in the backwoods, especially when supported by activist groups funded by foundations with bottomless pockets.

Australians have begun to charge the firebugs who started the Australian fires. An estimated 200, in seemingly coordinated fashion, triggered the conflagration on lands made vulnerable by green regulation. Four activists started the last fire in the Amazon and sold pictures of said fire to the World Wildlife Fund for $70,000.  They were paid through Leonardo DiCaprio’s foundation.  Up here in the Pacific Northwest forests, activists run camps, teaching young people the tools of eco-terrorism, which they call, charmingly, ‘monkey-wrenching.’

There is no way that the movement’s leaders are not aware that their ideas are causing destruction.  But it is ok with them, you can make fires fit the narrative.  You have to burn the planet to save it.

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