Wednesday, June 8, 2005
Science and politics
It is a real shame when an elected member of our state legislature (though, thankfully, not from Polk County) abuses our trust to expound for half a page in our local paper on a subject he knows basically nothing about.
Jeff Kruse, in his June 1 guest opinion, admits up-front that he is a lifelong businessman and "undeniably probusiness."
He has no background in science. Yet he proceeds to lecture us on the "science" of global climate change, the effects of DDT and oil spills, and the cause of fish declines.
Poor Mr. Kruse must have been led astray by all those "pro-business" lobbyists in Salem.
Is he aware that Exxon-Mobil, Texaco, Ford, and others who want us to buy fossil fuels have spent tens of millions of dollars trying to debunk the scientific consensus for global warming?
Similar to the tobacco industry's campaign to hide the dangers of smoking, these efforts have been successful at delaying public acceptance of reality.
Think how much farther we would be toward national energy independence, clean air and clean water, if all that money going to discredit science was diverted to alternative energy technologies!
We all know such technologies will be necessary in the long run, anyway.
Mother Nature is not producing oil and gas nearly as fast as we are burning it.
Mr. Kruse apparently prefers to distribute false and distorted information in order to give a helping hand to Big Oil and mega-corporate lobbies, rather than to support responsible Oregon businesses and those of us who are biased toward the family values of a clean, safe environment. Perhaps the good people of Roseburg will realize that the oil and gas industry has not done them any favors lately. Then they might vote their senator out of office.
It is always commendable when someone does something nice for a kid. That's what makes this year's Outdoor School so amazing. The Polk Soil and Water Conservation District organized a wonderful event for the 6th graders in our area. We had a very successful two and a half days of educational activities, taught by professionals who volunteered their time and energy.
I was pleased at the wide range of subjects that my students from Perrydale were able to explore, and the expertise of the presenters.
Again, thanks to the staff and directors of the PSWCD. Hopefully this will be the start of an annual tradition.
A column, "Beware of science with a spin," by a Republican state senator who claims scientific expertise through "involvement" in natural resources for 30 years, is not about science.
It is a poorly disguised political diatribe.
So what do we know from this summation of a 30 year "involvement?"
We know DDT is not "a rather benign chemical" based upon myriad studies reported in journals like "Science and Nature".
We know about two million people die from malaria annually, not 30,000, and not from DDT deprivation.
We know the Marine Mammal Protection Act has revived populations of several species of whales and the sea otter.
We know piscivorous pinnipeds are not responsible for depleted and endangered salmonoid populations.
We know Kuwait has not "recovered" in two years.
We know Prince William Sound has not "recovered" in five years from Exxon's oil spill! (2004 profits: 22.5 Billion)
We know this planet is, indeed, a fragile system based upon a network O~ balances. many of which are now out of synch due to human activities.
We know global warming is a reality, although we are unsure about intensities and duration of effects.
We know we have made some improvements in water and air quality.
However, look a the Willamette of 1970 and 2005.
We know the environmental movement has been responsible for pinpointing environmental problems, proposing solutions and producing environmentally sound resolutions. We know it takes money and that “20 billion a year” sum represents the citizen’s voice on environmental matters. (See, ivory-billed woodpeckers: The Nature Conservancy and donations from citizens and corporations).
Finally, we know "Big Bidness" has been responsible for many of the environmental problems, mentioned by our "conservative" senator, in its pursuit of profit.
Profit, made at the expense of our fragile planetary systems and off the backs of workers.
Profit in obscene proportions compared to sums volunteered for our citizen driven conservation movement.
'Read at Home'
I would like to thank Abby's Pizza, Burger King, Wal-mart, Dallas High School Catering, Starlite Lanes, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Dairy Queen, Mcdonald's, Figaro's, and the Dallas Aquatic Center for donating cash and prizes needed to make the Lyle School Read At Home program a success.
Thanks to dedicated students, parents and teachers, at least 80 percent of students participated in this wonderful program to increase reading skills and to instill a love of reading early in life.
The committee who helped run the program this year -- Cheryl Cook, Angel Hammond, Chris Thiel, Rachelle Eitzen and Alice Bibler -- did a great job.
You made a difference.
Read At Home Coordinator
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank the community of Perrydale and the surrounding areas for coming out to support our team during our recent playoff run.
Having those familiar faces in the crowd made the victories that much better.
It was especially nice to see some of our former players there cheering us on. The current players may or may not known who you were, but Coach Marty and I most definitely appreciated seeing your faces among those others cheering loudly for our ladies to bring home a championship.
As a thank you to our community for their support this year, we would line to invite our fans to our school at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, June 12.
The coaches, players and players parents would enjoy having you join us as we celebrate our successful season.
Thank you again for all of your support.
To Polk Soil and Water Conservation District:
I would like to thank Jackie, Heather, Melanie, Jill, Michael and everyone who made the Outdoor School such a hit.
Thank you for letting me be a part of your team for a while. I loved it.
Kim Merrill, aka "Cookie"