Bayer-Monsanto Merger and Stack and Pack housing Is Bad News for the Planet

Op-Ed by Zrants

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Grapes depend on birds and insects to reproduce. What will we use when the natural pollinators die off? Robotic insects? photo by zrants

Merging corporations are a huge threat to every industry, including food production. Ellen Brown generally writes about the economy and public banking. This article, The Bayer-Monsanto Merger Is Bad News for the Planet, goes back to her original focus on holistic heath solutions and deals with the problems that come from not upholding anti-trust laws. Too-big-to-fail banks are not our only problem. When you look at the issues raised over government involvement, or lack of oversight, in the global food industry in conjunction with government manipulations in the housing industry, the future does not look rosy.

Stack and pack development theories go beyond concerns over how to live independent lives. Sucking people into dense housing and work environments does nothing for the planet but it does force everyone to live in dependence of the government-sanctioned grids: electric, water, sewer, media, wifi, transit, and alt currency banking systems, to name a few. Landless Americans Are the New Serf Class, questions the legitimacy of the current development decisions by pointing out some of the major inconsistencies and problems with the way the government is directing us to live.

Our education system is turning out perfect on-demand consumers hooked on instant gratification, not independent thinkers capable of solving problems. Important jobs are unfilled because no one bothered to learn the skills. Do we know what we are losing or what kind of world we are building?

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Old and new versions of bus shelter designs photo by zrants

What kind of future are we designing and who is it for? We need designers who base design on science, not theory. Look at the new bus “shelters”, if you can call them that, for a perfect example of bad design. Whoever designed these non-shelter shelters should not be qualified to design anything. There is no utilitarian integrity in a bus shelter with less seats and no protection from the rain. The deal SFMTA cut for these non-shelters is indicative of what is wrong with the SFMTA and many government agencies. What did the public get put of the deal? a shelter that is not a shelter in exchange for ad space, that brings in less ad revenue.

We do not need an economy and society modeled on future projections on predictive behavior handed down to us from top level public-private entities that are more concerned with controlling public behavior than corporate behavior. What will it take for society to prioritize human development and creative thinking over financial growth?

please continue to support our efforts to control our land use and zoning by stopping bills like SB 827. Sign the petition and write your state reps.

 

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How affordable housing mandates make housing more expensive

 : latimes – excerpt

This month the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to hear a legal challenge to San Jose’s controversial inclusionary housing ordinance. Enacted in 2010 and upheld by California’s top court in June, this zoning law requires housing developers of 20 or more units to sell 15% of them at prices far below their market value or pay a six-figure fee instead…(more)

Billionaire petitions US Supreme Court to keep people off beach

By : curbed – excerpt

Vinod Khoslas, the billionaire founder of Sun Microsystems, is trying to take his ten-year battle to get exclusive access to one of the Bay Area’s most beautiful and coveted public beaches all the way to the US Supreme Court.

The San Jose Mercury News reported Thursday that Khosla has appealed a unanimous ruling of the First District Court of Appeals against him last August, which held that Khosla has habitually violated California law by trying to bar the only gate to Martins Beach in San Mateo County… (more)

When someone buys property under certain conditions do they have the right to sue to change those condiitions?

Fragranced products to blame for smog as much as cars, study finds

The study, by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and UC Davis, establishes a stronger link than ever before between air pollution and the lotions, perfumes, hair sprays, and other grooming and cleaning products that Bay Area residents use every day…(more)

I am posting this for my friends who are particularly sensitive to anything scented. Cigarettes were early targets but, now scientists are reporting problems with many household products. Construction dust and cleaning supplies are huge contributors to the particulate matter in the air.

Half of California’s Vegetation at ‘High Risk’ from Warming Climate, UC Scientist Says

by Lisa Meadows : KQED – excerpt (includes video and map)

SACRAMENTO (KPIX/KOVR) — Devastation plagued California last year as the worst wildfire season on record ravaged the state.

Scott McLean, with Cal Fire, knows the grim statistics all too well…(more)

Restoring California’s ability to recharge groundwater a more cost-effective drought strategy

By Judy Corbett : caeconomy – excerpt

Experts expect more intense cycles of drought and flooding to be a common occurrence in the future. It is imperative that we capture and bank storm water during wet years, so it is available during periods of drought.

California has dramatically more storage capacity in underground aquifers than is available in surface level facilities. Further, natural groundwater recharge and storage is comparatively inexpensive, amounting to about one-sixth the cost of other options.

Sadly the natural recharge of groundwater has, over the past century, been disrupted by local land use decisions. We have built on and paved our natural landscapes, drained agricultural lands, filled in wetlands, and channelized our rivers, resulting in the loss of untold acre feet of water which otherwise would have been stored underground

This happened without local jurisdictions – nor State and federal government – being aware of the water shortage problem that would eventually develop. While the State of California requires cities and counties to adopt general plans that define where and how they will grow, nowhere in general plan law is there reference to identifying and preserving land well suited to natural groundwater recharge… (more)

National Park Service Drops Effort To Restrict Dog Walking In GGNRA

cbsnews – excerpt (includes video)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The National Park Service on Thursday said it is dropping a more than decade-long fight to impose new restrictions on dogs in the Golden Gate National Recreational Area after a lawsuit filed by dog owners uncovered irregularities in the decision-making process.

The park service had released a final environmental impact statement last December on the proposed dog management plan for the 80,000-acre national recreation area, which spans parts of Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties and includes popular dog walking areas such as Ocean Beach, Fort Funston, Crissy Field, Muir Beach and Rancho Corral de Tierra.

The rules, intended to protect environmental resources and wildlife and increase public safety, were expected to be finalized as early as January 2017 after a more than 10-year process… (more)

RELATED:
National Park Service Gives Up Fight Over GGNRA Dog Regulations

Study: Pollution Kills More People Than War, Smoking, Hunger, and Other Causes of Death

jonathanturle – excerpt

We have previously discussed how environmental dangers remain something of an abstraction for most people who fail to recognize that changes in air or water pollution standards results in high and quantifiable rises in death rates.  Even changes in areas like shipping fuels can translate to thousands of deaths.

However, since these deaths are not immediate and borne privately, the true costs of pollution are often dismissed.  I have been highly critical of the environmental record of the Trump Administration for this reason in rolling back on protections in a variety of areas as well as appointing regulators with anti-environmental records.

Now a new major study has found that environmental pollution kills more people every year that all of the wars.  It exceeds the death tolls for smoking, hunger or natural disasters combined. It kills more than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. Yet, unlike these causes of death, pollution remains a policy concern that is often pushed to the side for more immediate goals like job creation.

This is not to say that environmental protection would trump all other concerns but rather the real costs of such pollution are rarely discussed in real terms of premature deaths by politicians.

The study in the respected Lancet medical journal found that one out of every six premature deaths in the world in 2015 was caused by toxic exposure.  That amounts to 9 million people who died prematurely due to pollution.  The study also found that the cost of the resulting illnesses and deaths amounted to some $4.6 trillion in annual losses.

Worse yet, the 9 million deaths from pollution appears a highly conservative estimate since it relied on only limited data on specific measurable cases of deaths and illnesses. The actual number is likely much higher. Moreover, only half of the 5000 news chemicals introduced since 1950 have actually been fully tested for their toxicity.

Obviously, the rate of death is higher in developing countries, though we are now experiencing heavy pollution migration from Asia.  In India, an astonishing one out of every four deaths are attributed to pollution. In China, there is a term for “cancer villages” in which a huge percentage of the citizens are developing cancers due to horrific environmental conditions. In China, one out of every five deaths are attributed to pollution with 1.8 million premature deaths a year…(more)

Faceoff with Federal Government Possibly Looming Following California Supreme Court CEQA Ruling; Cal High Speed Rail Project Also Vulnerable

By Whitney Hodgesnatlawreview – excerpt

Tuesday, August 22, 2017 : In July 2017, the California Supreme Court determined the federal Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995 (49 U.S.C. § 10101 et seq.) (“ICCTA”) does not preempt the application of the California Environmental Quality Act of 1970 (Pub. Res. Code § 21000 et seq.) (“CEQA”), a state statute, to a state public entity railroad project on a rail line owned by that same entity, the North Coast Rail Authority (“NCRA”). Friends of the Eel River resolves a split among the California Courts of Appeal.[1] However, the decision may conflict with federal precedent and could eventually reach the Supreme Court. As the majority opinion and the dissent both emphasize, the decision creates a direct conflict with the federal Surface Transportation Board’s (“STB”) determination that ICCTA preempts any application of CEQA to California’s state-owned, high-speed rail project.[2] Thus, the dispute over CEQA’s application to High-Speed Rail may need to be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court. Additionally, Friends of the Eel River introduces more legal complications for the planned $64 billion bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco, as it appears to require that project to comply with CEQA, which could lead to additional litigation… (more)

Valley attorney wins lawsuit challenging adequacy of County’s Climate Action Plan

by Sonoma Valley Sun : sonomasun – excerpt

Superior Court Judge Nancy Case Shaffer in Santa Rosa has ruled in favor of local Sonoma Valley attorney Jerry Bernhaut’s lawsuit challenging Sonoma County’s Climate Action 2020 Plan. A lawyer with River Watch, a Sonoma County firm active in filing environmental challenges, Bernhaut’s suit argued that the county’s plan violated various provisions of CEQA, the California Environmental Quality Act…

Commenting on the ruling, Bernhaut said, “The court’s ruling validates River Watch’s contentions that:

1. By failing to account for GHG emissions from global tourist travel and global distribution of wine and other Sonoma County products, the CAP grossly understated the true GHG emissions generated by activities in Sonoma County…

Bernhaut added, “It’s time to admit that perpetual growth on a planet with limited resources and carrying capacity is not sustainable.”

The County’s Climate Action Plan 2020 was adopted by Sonoma County last year, but River Watch’s legal action has placed the program on hold. The plan was that all nine Sonoma County cities would join the county and sign-on to the plan, conforming to its goals and methodology. That process was halted while the lawsuit proceeded, and now that the court has made its ruling, it’s unclear as to the next steps. The county can appeal the court decision, or it can decide to revamp and reissue the plan in accordance with the corrections and changes the court decision highlights.

Of particular note is the court’s reference to the need to use VMT calculations (Vehicle Miles Traveled) to better asses and calculate the full impacts of GHG (Greenhouse Gas emissions). During the recent, successful appeal of the certification of the EIR for the proposed hotel on West Napa Street, appellants objected to the fact that VMT methodology was not used to calculate the project’s GHG impacts, but city staff and the EIR consultant argued that calculations using VMT need not be used. It’s unclear what, if any, this court decision will have on that EIR, which is currently undergoing review and amendment…(more)