Avoiding Oligarchy to Preserve Nature

Cherokee Nation Seal

Cherokee Nation Seal

The Cherokee Tribe is a sovereign nation with rights guaranteed by a treaty ratified by the U. S. Congress and signed by the U. S. President. The Tribe’s relationship with the United  States is similar to that of the 50 states. The following article by Chuck Hoskin, Jr. Cherokee Principal Chief, concerns the tribe’s efforts to control the corrupting influence of dark money on elected members of the tribal government. I’ve posted it here for the edification of American voters and the U.S. Congress where money is being used by special interests to legally bribe congressional members. Allowed to continue, this could replace our representative government with an oligarchic government.
In my limited experience, it appears that oligarchs have no respect for nature and see natural systems only as resources to harvest. It seems that a representative government is more likely to take action to save the Earth from our current rampant growth and quest for wealth and power. Here’s what Chief Hoskin says:

“Dark money corrupts. Democracy dies in the dark. But, the sovereign government of the Cherokee Nation Reservation is fighting back with recent election law reforms that demand transparency.
“Let us start with the facts: Our longstanding election laws require transparency and accountability with respect to campaign donations. Donation limits, mandatory disclosure and prohibition against “independent expenditures” are all hedges against corruption embedded in Cherokee law. I believe our campaign finance laws were among the strongest in the country even before the latest reforms.
“But, the 2019 election exposed some weaknesses in our laws. It is true that a candidate in 2019 was disqualified for illegally coordinating with an illegal entity operated by non-Indians out of Oklahoma City. Public hearings, including by our Supreme Court, disclosed this attempt to cheat and to steal an election by a group called “Cherokees for Change.” The law held one lawbreaker accountable. However, the law left many involved in the illegal scheme unscathed.
“The law did not hold accountable the people who funneled an unknown amount of money into the election. We may never know the full extent of the corruption, who made donations and what they hoped to gain from their scheme. Perhaps these same outside interests are regrouping to again try to buy our elections. Perhaps others are circling the Cherokee Nation with the same plans.
“The Council of the Cherokee Nation recently took action after literally years of careful review of our election code. I proposed, and the council enacted, the country’s strongest ban on dark money. The law passed 15-0, with two councilors absent. Deputy Speaker Victoria Vazquez said she sponsored the legislation so that “people, not outside corporate interests, control our democracy.” She is spot on.
“I proudly signed the reforms into law earlier this month alongside Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. The law reinforces the ban on the kind of anonymous and unlimited piles of cash that illegally poured into our 2019 elections from Oklahoma City. But, the law now punishes those who donate to these illegal entities with stiff criminal and civil penalties.
“As Council Speaker Mike Shambaugh said, “The message we are sending today is that this is not 2019; you won’t get away with corruption.”
“The ban on dark money is a true exercise of our tribal sovereignty and a win for government transparency. While other nations may be content with unlimited, unregulated, anonymous campaign contributions, the Cherokee Nation is not. Sixteen of 17 council members expressed support for this basic idea: The Cherokee people deserve to know who is contributing to candidates for public office.
“As I reflect on our Nation’s bold stand against corruption, my thoughts turn to the current election campaigns in Oklahoma. Recently, I pushed back on politicians in Oklahoma who are claiming Cherokee sovereignty is “the greatest threat” and that our reservations should be “disestablished.” A number of powerful politicians seem to fear Cherokee Nation making its own laws and protecting the public interest.
“From the perspective of anti-Indian politicians, maybe our sovereignty is a threat. It is certainly a threat to the corrupt influence of those who would try to secretly buy our elections.
chief-hoskin“I firmly believe that some of the same anti-Indian interests who want to destroy our reservations are busy hatching a “plan B” to try to control tribal governments. The Cherokee people and their representatives will not stand for it. No wonder some of these anti-sovereignty politicians are scared.
“We are sovereign. The Cherokee people demand transparency. The days of corrupt dark money in Cherokee politics are over” Chuck Hoskin, Jr., Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Canada Thistle

<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">A WordPress glitch deleted the discussion I included with this story. Something to do with the new editor. <a href="https://onpasture.com/2021/04/05/have-you-discovered-the-benefits-of-canada-thistle/">Here's a link to the original article. </a>A WordPress glitch deleted the discussion I included with this story. Something to do with the new editor. Here’s a link to the original article.

Canada Thistle is Nutritious and Delicious and Can Improve Average Daily Gains

“Since I started training livestock to eat it, I’ve known that Canada thistle is alfalfa-like in nutrition. – it’s like candy to a ruminant”–Kathy Voth.

Weed Appreciation Day

Today is #WeedAppreciationDay. Before humans, weeds were almost entirely beneficial for Earth’s ecosystems. Problems began when we transported weeds across natural barriers created by deserts, forests, and oceans. In their new homes without their natural consumers, some of the weeds become malignant. They replace local species and destroy local ecosystems. Diversity and stability often decline. The damage is extensive and it is increasing. Here’s a link to more information on weeds: https://garryrogers.com/invasive-plant-articles-by-garry…/

Wildlife Decline Continues

Wildlife Decline

As the human population grows and consumes more of the planet’s resources, the number of wild animals and plants declines. Encounters with insects outdoors and in our homes are falling rapidly. Birds numbers are falling, and wild mammals are disappearing.

The Living Planet Index tracked 20,811 populations of 4,392 vertebrate species and it recorded a 68 percent decline between 1970 and 2016. Over-consumption by humans is primarily to blame, particularly deforestation and agricultural expansion–Niall McCarthy, Data Journalist.

I’ve reported on this issue in many posts over the past few years. In fact, most of my posts are related. Like the rest of the world’s citizens concerned with nature, I’ve been an ineffectual nag. I have come to believe that even if we had 100 Greta Thunbergs demonstrating for nature, we would fail to evade calamity. But it is fair to imagine all is not lost. Caught in the whirlpool of human nature, we can still believe remnants of nature will survive to reseed Earth’s living complexity and beauty once again.

We are All Scientists

You are a Scientist

I heard someone ask “why do scientists lie so much.” Thinking about how I would answer, and with my grandchildren in mind, I composed the following statement:

Sharing the Earth

Half for Nature

Dr. Helen Kopnina (photo: Springer Nature)

As we age and grow more familiar with our surroundings, the limits of the Earth begin to appear through the clouds of our experience and reactions. When I think of the Voyager Golden Records travelling into the Cosmos for the past 43 years, I wonder if some alien species will one day trace humanity’s greetings back to a barren planet no longer wrapped in life and promise. In the linked article, Helen Kopnina and her coauthors gracefully lay out the mutually beneficial path we must follow to save our planet’s life and ourselves.

https://go.nature.com/2NxX2Cs

Header photo:  College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley.

 

Legal Tools & Links For the Conservation of Nature

Globe on grassYesterday, a visitor sent an email containing corrections and additions for my Legal Tools & Links page. So much appreciated, I made the changes and checked a few other sites too. It occurred that the list needs something more helpful than alphabetization. Okay, that’s on my to-do list. Any suggestions would be most welcome (the image is from the scclegal website).

Thank you.

Garry

Expect the Best, Be Prepared for the Worst

How to Send a Finch Extinct

strange behaviors

Australia’s southern black-throated finch: Going, going …

This one caught my eye because it’s such a pretty bird, and because of the mindlessness with which Australia is letting human development drive it to extinction.

The state of Queensland and Australia’s federal government have allowed more than 1900 square miles of potential finch habitat to be cleared without anybody asking: Is this really a good idea? Almost 800 developments have been proposed and only one was turned down for its unacceptable impact on the finch, which has now vanished from 80 percent of its original habitat. Still in the works, five new coal mines in the last remaining high quality finch habitat.

It’s kind of amazing in a country that just this month is experiencing fish, wild horse, and bat die-offs  because of climate change.  (“Their brain just fries.“)

There’s a Senate hearing in Brisbane Friday on the…

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15 Reasons Why You Should Study Environmental Science

Motivation & Environment

We live in an age that has a lot environmental challenges threatening the existence of living and non-living things. This Earth in which we breathe, eat and live, is not as healthy as it was in the distant past; so the major reason why you should study environmental science is because it will make you more aware and sensitive about happenings in the Earth’s environment; furthermore, it’ll update you about the environmental issues affecting everything in it, and which may likely continue to do so throughout the lives of its inhabitants.

It’s understandable if I sound biased when I state that environmental science is the most important subject because it cuts across all humans and other living things in the world. It is important to understand how the Earth works, how our activities affect its life-supporting capability, and how we can reduce the negative environmental impact on it; nobody has…

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Helping Wildlife Survive the Sixth Mass Extinction

Preserving Critical Habitats Will Help More Wildlife Survive

This morning, an article by Andrew Suggitt (How wildlife will keep cool. . . .) made me think again about refugia. Earlier, I concluded that unlike ice ages, global warming would leave no refugia in which pockets of wildlife would survive. I was picturing a pervasive atmospheric impact instead of a discontinuous physical impact by tongues of glacial ice. I was wrong. The best habitats for wildlife, the ones along streams, in deep shaded canyons, and those in areas of diverse topography will sustain more wildlife as climate changes. Preserving those habitats is an essential goal for wildlife conservation.

Rick Turley. Approaching Wind River Canyon.

Unfortunately, the best habitats for wildlife are the most desirable for humans. Worldwide, farming and home construction have destroyed the richest valley-floor habitats, and roads have filled the floors of canyons and narrow valleys. In the arid region where I live, livestock graze along rare desert streams and around lakes and marshes.

Preserving critical habitats is not a new idea. Conservation organizations have programs that identify and urge protection of important habitats. The National Audubon Society, for instance, has initiated the Climate Strongholds program that focuses on the needs of individual species. The program has strong citizen-scientist opportunities for participation. Read about it here.

Most wildlife species will be lost over the next few decades and centuries, but it will be possible to prevent some of the losses through preservation of critical habitats. As changing weather patterns force governments to respond to the climate emergency, nature conservation advocates must work hard to explain the critical role nature plays in human survival and to convince governments to protect the best wildlife habitats.

Half for Nature

Current climate projections suggest that global carrying capacity will drastically decline over the next few centuries. Human civilization as we know and imagine it now will not survive. Once the Earth’s energy budget stabilizes, people can begin to rebuild cities and networks and evolution can begin to rebuild natural plant and animal diversity. For the immediate future of 300 – 400 years, we must advocate for the “Best” for nature. Saving Half for Nature will be important as rebuilding begins.

I hope that saving the “Best” is a practical goal. Instead of plants and animals, there may be masses of people jammed into cool mountain canyons and camping along streams. Impacts of food and fuel gathering could block wildlife and make the mass extinction worse.