Monday, July 8, 2019

"Think Globally, Act Locally" needs revival, elevation in Wisconsin

The group Friends of the Black River Forest which is resisting large-scale deforestation in a dune-and-wetland-rich Sheboygan nature preserve

for golf course construction will find affirmation in this New York Times report:
Restoring Forests Could Help Put a Brake on Global Warming, Study Finds
What if we stopped cutting down forests to produce palm oil and cattle? What if we grew new forests on vacant city lots, old industrial buildings — even golf courses?
For the first time, scientists have sought to quantify this thought experiment. How many trees could be planted on every available parcel of land on Earth, where they could go, and what impact could that have on our survival?
They concluded that the planet could support nearly 2.5 billion additional acres of forest without shrinking our cities and farms, and that those additional trees, when they mature, could store a whole lot of the extra carbon — 200 gigatons of carbon, to be precise — generated by industrial activity over the last 150 years.
Now, look: I know tree planting on every available parcel of land isn't going to happen, but what if we simply began by stopping chainsawing trees that are already cleaning the air - - like those in the way of dubious road-builders' routines enabled by Gov. Evers - - 

In advance of widening State Highway 23
- - to rare oaks eyed by out-of-state corporations to the unique chestnut grove cut down in downtown Milwaukee for a party lawn to historic big trees lining the Milwaukee River in Glendale targeted for chainsawing.
Multiple ancient oaks including these in Kletzsch Park may be destroyed
We know our warming, stormier planet is in crisis mode. Which means we know it's time to revive the sanity and simple science behind a half-century-old precept - -  "Think Globally, Act Locally" - - and extend to a wide-range of state policies and activities that, like the golf course plan, need an infusion of big-picture thinking and action. 

What's particularly galling about the environmental thoughtlessness which Walker made the signature goal of his 'chamber of commerce mentality'-driven DNR is that Wisconsin history is one of environmental leadership.

Gaylord Nelson, Aldo Leopold and John Muir's roots run deeply in this state.

Think about the damage that conservatives have done - - and which corporate captives like Robin Vos and Scott Fitzgerald and Tom Tiffany have as their  directive - - when they decided conservation was a dirty word and forbidden deed here.

In 2019, "Think Globally, Act Locally" is more than a slogan. It's a mandatory prescription. 

Here's a recent blog posting with a few additional examples:

*  Foxconn has completed the necessary paperwork to fill nearly 17 acres of wetlands on its Mount Pleasant construction site, according to information posted by the Wisconsin DNR. Scroll to "Mitigation" on this DNR web page.  

That's a lot of wetlands: visualize acreage equal to 16-to-17 football fields, according to this handy, illustrated square-feet to acres calculator.

And the project suffered major runoff last year, remember?

*  A Georgia frac sand company is fighting a recent DNR decision revoking a permit to fill high-quality, timber-rich wetlands in Monroe County about the size of 14 football fields.

*  Kohler interests intend to appeal a similar wetlands-fill permit revocation for a high-end golf course along Lake Michigan; opponents are continuing their David vs. Goliath preservation effort.

* These wetland losses - - capped off with the removal of state protections from 100,000 acres - - a round number pulled out of a special-interests' lobbied hat - - were set in motion when Walker was Governor; he began authorizing wetland filling in the first hours and in the earliest moves by his administration and define his horrible environmental legacy - - explained in detail, here.

* Speaking of Kohler properties, The Beacon, a Sheboygan community newspaper, reported that county officials there on Tuesday approved a wetland rezoning for Kohler's Whistling Straits property so a wedding chapel could be in the Town of Mosul with a view of Lake Michigan. 

The board reclassified 3,000 square feet of wetlands on the 150-acre Kohler Co. site from shoreland-wetland to shoreland district to allow the company to build a driveway for the chapel, scheduled to open in 2020.
And yes, I am connecting wetland losses with forest losses, because these realities are connected. Look to the prescient words on the DNR's webpage about the people's constitutionally-protected rights to water which the government is supposed to protect as our trustee:
"A little fill here and there may seem to be nothing to become excited about. But one fill, though comparatively inconsequential, may lead to another, and another, and before long a great body may be eaten away until it may no longer exist. Our navigable waters are a precious natural heritage, once gone, they disappear forever," wrote the Wisconsin Supreme Court in its 1960 opinion resolving Hixon v. PSC and buttressing The Public Trust Doctrine, Article IX of the Wisconsin State Constitution.  

1 comment:

RogerDBybee said...

Well-written, informative and comprehensive look at both the world and Wisconsin.

Additionally on Wisconsin, we should also challenge the way that land between state line and Milwaukee is losing more and more trees so that firms like Ikea can be seen by more potential customers.