Matthew’s Musings

Happy New Year! I’m glad it’s a little bit cold and some places are getting snow. There was snow in Texas and Florida, lake effect snow around the Great Lakes. All that moisture in the sky due to the added heat in energy. Speaking of which, the upper Midwest has seen the largest Winter temperature gains as a result of climate change in the continental USA. Canada – an upper Midwest writ large, has even higher gains (along with its peninsular appendage, Alaska. And that other appendage, Antarctica???).

As I write, the US Congress may pass a particularly grim trickle-down tax “reform” bill. I pray the Senate and the House of Representatives will be unable to reconcile their versions. Patagonia has gone to war against the Trump administration and its Interior Department hatchet men in reaction to the “decision” to shrink Bears Ears and other national monuments to benefit uranium salesmen and fossil fuel speculators. Fossils, native art and artefacts, animals and ecosystems – be damned, all of you. You just don’t monetize well.

The oligarchs on the national scene play for big money. The money at the Minnesota State level can’t be as good, yet our US Representatives continue to be whittle away at our environmental legacy to benefit Chilean multinationals. I speak of Representatives Nolan and Emmers (different sides of the aisle, but, hey, you know… there’s dark money talking) efforts to bring sulfide mining to the Boundary Waters, while at the same time eroding the environmental review process and our rights as citizens to have input.

Our own good governor Dayton, of late, has raised his voice in favor of “some kind of sulfide mining” which is a position I can’t fathom. Dayton had seemed a friend to Minnesota’s waters after his efforts to establish standards for buffers along waterways. Now he appears willing to risk the Boundary Waters and the Great Lakes. Attrition may be at work, and the socialization of the wealthy wherein manliness is established by “making deals.” We don’t joust or duel anymore, we make deals. Early socialization is hard to overcome. It also matters who we spend our time with.

Corporate (and oligarchic) attrition is relentless, as corrosive force as powerful as water. The wealthy can afford to continually scratch at a door until a “no” becomes the “yes” they want to hear. To maintain a no is difficult. Obama seems to me to have been a master at avoiding the hard “no”, since that then becomes ammunition for manufactured media outrage. Yet a hard no is justified to prevent sulfide mining in Minnesota or a Line 3 pipeline “expansion.” The soft “no” enables endless cajoling by oligarchs with bottomless reservoirs of wealth – even more corrosive in our current dark money post-Citizens United environment – until eventually, enough decision-makers – lawmakers, executives, judges, — are turned and a project moves forward to its inevitably disastrous consequences. But who cares about that, the oligarchs have already left town before the clean-up starts, and their pockets seem to have gone empty!

We must stand strong against these corrosive attempts to destroy our environment. It might already be too late to prevent our dying in the currently accelerating climate change catastrophe. That is a just comeuppance to our complicity in creating the mass extinction event currently decimating the world’s flora and fauna.

Or, maybe, just maybe, we’ll have converted to solar and wind power and have absolutely no need for any more fossil fuel and water destroying nonsense. We can’t let what remains of our environmental rights and natural world be destroyed in a last, absurd, corrupt feeding frenzy at the dying of the fossil fuel age? It’s a shame we can’t count on our local representation to protect our neck of the woods. A hard “NO” would be kind of refreshing, like cold and snow in winter.

Call for Trumpeter Award Nominations

Mark & Becky Lystig receive the 2016 Trumpeter Award

Each spring for 14 of the past 16 years, MRVAC has presented the Trumpeter Award to one of its members for outstanding long-term contributions to MRVAC. We are soliciting nominations from you; tell us who you think should be our next recipient.

Please send in a nomination by January 31. The selection committee, which is composed of the previous years’ recipients, will review the nominations and forward their choice to the Board. The award will be presented at a subsequent meeting.

There are two ways to get a nomination form:

Completed applications can be submitted online, emailed to Becky  at markbeckylystig@comcast.net, or mailed to Becky Lystig, 1741 Sartell Ave, Eagan, MN 55122.

Previous Trumpeter Award recipients:

  • 2001 Karol Gresser
  • 2002 Joe White
  • 2003 Pat & Jack Telfer
  • 2004 Edith Grace Quam
  • 2005 Craig Mandel
  • 2006 John Rehbein
  • 2007 Lois Norrgard
  • 2008 Jack Mauritz
  • 2009 George Tkach
  • 2010 Bob Leis
  • 2011 Anne Hanley & George Skinner
  • 2012 Steve Weston
  • 2013 Bob Williams
  • 2016 Mark & Becky Lystig

Chip Notes: November-December, 2017

Kirland’s Warbler, Joel Trick, USFWS

My son and I took an epic road trip this August through Canada using Parks Canada’s national park pass. The day we arrived in the Yukon Territory the temperature was 94 degrees Fahrenheit. In the Northwest Territories, I swam in the Great Slave Lake. It was warmer than Lake Superior. The Native Dine people speak about the ominous heat of the last two summers. We did a big figure eight, came back from the high latitudes via the national parks in southern Alberta and British Columbia.

Dry dry dry.

Smoke from fires in British Columbia prevented a clear view of the mountains. Sections of Yoho and Mount Revelstoke National Parks closed due to active fires. We walked on the Columbian Icefield in Jasper, thrilling, but much diminished. We ended our national parks tour in Glacier National Park, Montana. Glaciers there, but so diminished they didn’t really make the experience for us. I feel we threaded a needle; we could see a couple of small fires the park was “keeping an eye on.” After we left, they turned into conflagrations.

Dry dry dry.

Canada bears a lot of the blame for global warming, despite its small population. You can’t drive through the prairie of Saskatchewan or the oilfields of Alberta and British Columbia without being confronted by agribusiness and petrodollars. Public radio is complicit. Every news item concerning Native Americans was preceded and followed by oil industry ads.

We all know the Earth has passed the threshold into a new reality. The hurricanes of 2017 are historic, and will be followed by the hurricanes of 2018 and 2019 and 2020 . . . . The Caribbean Islands and Gulf Coast may become uninhabitable. Will even the wildlife be able to survive if islands are continuously scoured of vegetation by hurricanes? There go wintering songbirds. There goes the Kirtland’s Warbler. The historic wildfires of 2017 throughout western North America. The high temperatures and new (lack of) moisture regime will continue. There is no refuge.

We could still do much to mitigate the impacts. But our leaders play. Truly they are execrable. We won’t mention the travesty that is our Presidential politics, and the damage currently in the EPA and the Agricultural Department, etc. I will mention just how diligently Rep. Nolan – DFL, is working tirelessly to desecrate Minnesota’s water’s, and Minnesotan’s right to due process and public input in environmental affairs — all to benefit the avarice of a multinational corporation.

What makes a public servant go rogue like this? It’d be nice to think the Democratic party politicians would be allies; few Republicans (name one) currently are. Nolan has apparently found a more rewarding constituency?  Being a steward of the environment, thinking unto the 7th generation so our descendants have a world to inherit. Doesn’t seem rewarding to so many in politics and industry. Why? Imagine if our governor was not an honorable public servant? We could have Flint’s water throughout Minnesota as well. Michigan’s governor simply does not care. Neither does Nolan, apparently.

Our leaders play games.

The heat rises.

The oceans roar.

The world burns.

Species go extinct.

Cultures die.

Fight people. Fight with all you’ve got!

Matthew Schaut

Give to the Max Day: November 16, 2017

‘Tis the season of giving, and as you plan your charitable donations for 2017, please consider donating to MRVAC. We’ve partnered with GiveMN.org to help make donations quick and easy: https://givemn.org/organization/Minnesota-River-Valley-Audubon-Chapter.

One of MRVAC’s main objectives is to teach children about the importance of getting outdoors, experiencing nature, and caring for wildlife and the environment. To achieve these goals, we provide birding curriculum materials to schools, provide funding to enable busing to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, and conduct and organize river cleanups in the community. We also provide funding to the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center to hire interns.

GiveMN links donors with organizations that are working to make Minnesota a better place. Its online giving website, GiveMN.org, enables charitable giving any time and any place, allowing people to donate with ease and enthusiasm. GiveMN brings innovation, energy and fresh ideas to Minnesota generosity.

GiveMN is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and an affiliate of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners. Explore GiveMN.org today.