Posted in: Arcata, blogging, Emerald Triangle, environment, Eureka, Garberville, Humboldt Co. CA, Humboldt State University, Humor, Manilla, news and politics, Redway, Redway, SoHum, Uncategorized. Tagged: audio, bang, dog, endangered species, funny, gun, gunshot wound, john Hardin, LOL, radio, shooting, sounds, species, what the hell, wildlife. Leave a comment
I love cannabis, and I love Humboldt County. Cannabis is a beautiful plant with many beneficial uses, and Humboldt County is a very special place. Humboldt County’s steep, rugged terrain, frequent earthquakes and remote location have protected it from development. As urban sprawl and agriculture displaced California’s native wildlife, many of California’s endemic species retreated to the forested mountains of Humboldt County. Some of these species are now found nowhere else on Earth.
Everyone knows about the redwoods, and that Luna, the famous redwood giant that Julia Butterfly Hill lived in for two years, still stands in Humboldt County, along with some of the last remaining old-growth redwood forest in the world. Roosevelt elk, mountain lions and black bear all make their home in Humboldt County’s wild back-country. Endangered species like the spotted owl, coho salmon, pacific fisher and Humboldt martin all face uncertain futures as the very last populations of these once abundant creatures struggle to survive and reproduce here in the last wild refuge left to them. Rare amphibians like the tailed frog and the giant Pacific salamander testify to the great biodiversity that Humboldt County’s ancient forests have incubated and nurtured through the eons.
Today, Humboldt County’s black market cannabis industry threatens them all. A massive expansion underway in Humboldt County’s underground marijuana industry is having a devastating effect on native wildlife. New roads and clear-cuts for marijuana plantations degrade and fragment vital forest habitat. Fertilizer runoff and road sediment choke salmon streams, Noise and light pollution disrupt wildlife behavior. Rat poison and pesticides kill native wildlife, including essential forest pollinators, and leave a legacy of poison that kills and sickens animals throughout the food web for generations. The movement towards legalization and the deescalation of the War on Drugs has unleashed a monster in Humboldt County.
Humboldt County’s cannabis industry is a product of the War on Drugs, and to this day, the vast majority of the marijuana grown in Humboldt County gets sold on the black market. Humboldt County’s black market growers heed no regulation, pay no taxes, and show no respect for wildlife. The black market cannabis industry has always been a “cut and run” business, and our forests are already littered with the detritus of long abandoned guerrilla grow sites from those bygone days. Today the scale of the grows and the number of grows have increased by orders of magnitude. Humboldt County’s forest habitat cannot withstand this scale of abuse.
Most of Humboldt County’s local environmental groups have chosen to work for better regulation and compliance. However, their efforts are overwhelmed, both politically, and on the ground, by an industry that never asks permission and always wants more. Humboldt County government is dominated by real estate developers who seem as eager to cash in on the green-rush as the growers themselves. The great seal of the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors depicts a redwood log, not a tree, but a log, sawn at both ends, lying on its side. That pretty much sums up the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors attitude towards the environment.
So far, regulation has done nothing to reign-in the out-of-control devastation going on in Humboldt County. That’s why a new group of concerned Humboldt County residents have decided to take their message to cannabis consumers and policymakers directly. This new organization, Habitat Forever, strongly supports the complete legalization of cannabis, but seeks to draw attention to the terrible environmental impacts of Humboldt County’s black market industry. To this end, they’ve produced a five-minute micro-documentary titled Humboldt is Habitat that examines the environmental impacts of Humboldt County’s black market marijuana industry.
Cannabis consumers might be surprised to discover that Humboldt County’s famous marijuana is not grown in Humboldt County soil at all. Instead, all of the soil used to grow marijuana in Humboldt County is trucked-in fresh each year, often hundreds of miles from its source, up steep, winding dirt roads, causing sediment and erosion that choke salmon streams. Cannabis consumers deserve to know the truth about the products they pay for, and now that cannabis has become legal, consumers should be able to choose whether they want to support Humboldt County’s fisher-poisoning, salmon-killing black market growers, or not.
Habitat Forever reminds cannabis consumers that it is still best to grow your own, and that it is more important than ever to know where and how your cannabis was grown. Now that prohibition is ending, Habitat Forever believes that it is vitally important to move the cannabis industry out of Humboldt County’s critical natural habitat, and to make space for the legal cannabis industry in more appropriate locations, like agricultural farmland, urban brown-fields, close to population centers, abandoned mill-sites etc. Humboldt County’s natural beauty and the world’s biological heritage is far too precious to abandon to Humboldt County’s drug war holdovers still squeezing the last few bucks out of the this heinous crime against humanity known as the War on Drugs.
You can see Habitat Forever’s new video, Humboldt is Habitat at youtube and you can visit their website at www.habitatforever.wordpress.com
Did you celebrate Earth Day last Friday? Me neither, and I don’t blame you a bit for letting it slip by. Earth Day has quickly become our most depressing holiday. A lot of people find Christmas depressing, especially if they spend it alone. Memorial Day is a real bummer, if you lost friends or loved ones in a war, but compared to Earth Day, these quaint celebrations seem naively joyous.
Even if you think of Christmas as the mythical origin of the Christian tradition of clerical sex abuse, and Memorial Day as a glorification of technological warfare, which I do, the blackness of Earth Day overshadows them all. Earth Day is more like Good Friday, except that there’s no Easter to follow it up. For people who believe in science and technology, democracy and civilization, Earth Day is a day to observe the crucifixion of their savior, in real time. Nobody wants to see that.
Earth Day didn’t start out as a depressing holiday. When we first established Earth Day, we thought that a day to celebrate the environment would help us re-prioritize our values and change our culture to meet the challenges of the looming crisis. Those were hope-filled times. We were all really high on LSD, and we thought we could do anything if we just celebrated it enough.
Forty years later, we can’t say “We didn’t know.” Today, the truth stares us in the face. We know we’re killing the planet. We know that we’re destabilizing the future, and we know that it’s killing us, but we don’t know how to stop. Forty years ago we had some ideas about how we could apply the brakes, and turn things around, perhaps even before it was too late. Today, we’re out of ideas. Nothing we’ve tried works. We’ve won a few battles, but we’re still losing the war, and losing it faster than ever. A recent survey estimates that we’ve lost half of the Earth’s biodiversity since the first Earth Day.
Not only have we failed to stop the environmental destruction, we’ve failed to slow its acceleration. We have failed, as a culture, to meet our most pressing existential threat. Knowing is not enough. Understanding does not help, and the more we know, the more we realize that it’s worse that we feared, and harder to change than we ever imagined. Against the hard truth of the environmental crisis, the myths of our culture unravel like a cheap sweater.
Today, we can look back on the whole history of civilization since the agricultural revolution, and project forward our global environmental impacts. From this perspective, we can see, pretty clearly, I’m afraid, that the costs of civilization far outweigh the benefits. What’s worse, the benefits of civilization lie mostly in the past, while the costs of civilization loom large over our future. After centuries of secular skeptical scientific inquiry and bold technological innovation, the only thing we know for sure is that everything we know about how to live on planet Earth is wrong.
How do you turn that into a holiday? …that doesn’t make you want to kill yourself? Some people still do the Earth Day festivals, but, you know, any excuse for a party. So go ahead, enjoy the music,
eat the organic veggie hippie food,
shop for fair-trade, creatively recycled handicrafts…
…and try not to think about it too much, because, believe me, you don’t want to know.
We don’t need another depressing holiday to remind us of how we’ve failed as a culture. We need to pick a day to take back our lives from the economic machine that consumes us all, and the environment around us. We need a global Day Off, just to remember what life is all about, and if people like having a Day Off, just to enjoy life, maybe we can stretch it to a week.
I write to you today on behalf of marijuana smokers across the US, of which I am one, and on behalf of my community here in Humboldt County, California. I write to you because I read recently that you intend to market, or at least license your name to, a brand of cannabis products. I’m glad to hear it. I wish you enormous success on your new endeavor, and look forward to trying your weed.
I know that you’ve been working for legalization since at least the Carter administration.
I’ve been working for it for a long time too.
Now that it looks like we have finally done it, here in California, the people who profited so much from marijuana prohibition, politicians and black market drug dealers, are working together to keep marijuana expensive through excessive regulation and taxation.
This policy of high taxes and anti-competitive regulation insures that the black market for cannabis remains strong because cannabis in the legal market stills costs more than it does on the street. The black market for cannabis is destroying my community, not to mention some of the last great forests in the lower 48. We have grown pot for a long time here in Humboldt County. However, the recent dramatic expansion in cannabis cultivation here, has had serious impacts on spotted owl habitat, endangered Coho salmon and the Pacific fisher, not to mention the quality of life for the people who live here.
The black market economy has had a corrosive effect on my community. The black market for marijuana has the effect of devaluing all other forms of work. Kids here expect to grow up to become drug dealers, like their parents, and they start young. This creates special challenges for our public school systems. Violent crimes, like home invasion robbery, murder, and violent assault have become commonplace in our small rural community, and we have some of the highest suicide and drug overdose rates in the state. Despite the supposed “economic benefit”of the black market marijuana industry, it produces a very deep kind of poverty in this community.
Sure, there’s more money around town, thanks to the black market, but that money mostly goes into the pockets of the very worst people, and the promise of black market money brings more of these greedy bottom-feeders to Humboldt County every day, where they chop down trees, poison wildlife and convert local housing into grow operations in order to coldly exploit marijuana prohibition in the rest of the country. Believe me, the money that the War on Drugs has brought to Humboldt County has done more harm than good, and the harm the black market marijuana industry does to this community is expanding at an astronomical rate.
Humboldt County became a popular place to grow marijuana because of its remoteness, and because of the cover the forest provided. Today, drug dealers from all over the country come here to grow weed, but thanks to our work to legalize cannabis, they no longer need to hide under the forest canopy. They know that here, the county government loves their money, the Sheriff will ignore them, and that we have the infrastructure to supply them with all of the soil, fertilizer and grow supplies they need. However, the land here is steep, heavily forested and very poorly suited to agriculture. Marijuana farmers use incredibly wasteful production methods, and our remote location makes everything here more expensive. There’s no reason you couldn’t grow pot that was every bit as good as we grow here, for a hell of a lot less money, somewhere else.
That’s why I’m writing to you today, Willie. We have turned the tide in the War on Drugs, and we have forced the politicians to change the laws, but politicians and drug dealers remain as greedy as ever. We can’t let them continue to rip-off pot smokers. Pot smokers deserve deserve a break after all of these years, and it’s time for the legal business community to serve cannabis consumers with safe, reliable cannabis products at prices that put black market dealers out-of-business.
Pot is not difficult to grow. I’ll bet you could grow a hell of a lot of it in Texas, and I’ll bet you could grow it cheaper there, than we can here, even if you have to haul your water all the way from Louisiana. This nation needs weed, Willie, and Americans need reliable cannabis that they can afford. Thus far, the licensed legal growers in Washington, Colorado and Oregon have not begun to quench this nations’ thirst for cannabis. As cannabis becomes more reliable and accepted, the demand will likely rise as well. Also, as the price of cannabis falls, the demand will increase as people devise imaginative new ways to use cannabis. What that means, Mr. Nelson, is that this nation needs an enormous amount of weed, and we are counting on you and your company to produce it for us.
I know that you might feel tempted to smoke another joint and think about this for a while, but my community needs relief today. We need to stop this disease now, before it wipes out the last wild salmon, before it drives the spotted owl to extinction and before the last Pacific fisher dies of rodenticide poison. What’s more, we need to drive this insatiable greed out of our midst before we lose any more of our community to the War on Drugs.
You have the opportunity to make a LOT of money for you and your investors, create jobs for American workers, and make marijuana affordable for the people who need it most. At the same time, you would save our environment, my community, and put violent drug cartels and greedy criminal gangs out of business. We should have done this back when Carter was president, but we absolutely need this ASAP, PDQ and NOW!
It shouldn’t cost as much to sit on the front porch and smoke a doobie while you strum your old guitar, as it does to go out to a bar and have a couple of beers. American workers should not have to work an extra day each week, just to pay for the pot it takes for them to enjoy a joint at the end of a long day at work. Americans need the stress relief that cannabis provides, and they don’t need the extra stress of ridiculously high, prohibition-era prices, when they can barely keep a roof over their head and food on their plate as it is.
When we started fighting for the legalization of marijuana, it wasn’t because we wanted drug dealers to be able to legitimize their illegal profits. We worked to legalize marijuana because we love marijuana and we don’t think that anyone should go to jail for it. The American people deserve marijuana, and after all that marijuana smokers have been through because of prohibition, we deserve safe, reliable, high-quality marijuana at a price we can afford. I hope you can make that happen, Willie, before it’s too late for my community.
Sincerely, John Hardin
We have a long history of shortsightedness here in Humboldt County. I suspect that we’re as eager to throw our long-term assets away for a fast buck as we ever were, and the impending legalization of marijuana gives us another opportunity to do just that.
Right now, the black-market cannabis industry holds this county hostage, politically and economically. The illegal marijuana industry has already brought enough social problems to Humboldt County, problems ranging from poverty and homelessness to hard drug abuse, violent crime and murder. Feeding this disease, and fueling the destruction it causes, the misguided War on Drugs has turned a harmless, easy to grow weed into expensive contraband. Now that the tides have turned on the War on Drugs, politicians and drug dealers will try to convince you that marijuana is nuclear caviar.
Nuclear, meaning that they will tell you that marijuana is so dangerous that it requires as much government oversight, control and regulation as a nuclear power plant. Caviar, because they intend to concoct some scheme to control cannabis production, to keep the price of cannabis artificially inflated, so that good pot remains an expensive luxury that working people can ill-afford.
Cannabis is not nuclear caviar. Cannabis is a giant fucking ripoff. Until now, the price of cannabis has been highway robbery at the point of a cop’s gun. If the CA legislature passes the current passel of pending cannabis legislation, they will simply turn iron-fisted prohibition into a state sponsored racket. It will still be highway robbery at the point of a cop’s gun, and pot will remain a giant fucking ripoff. For now.
Still, dramatic changes, already underway in the cannabis industry, will continue. The marijuana industry of today looks nothing like the marijuana industry of 20 years ago. Humboldt County will probably produce more marijuana, this year alone, than it did in the entire two decades between 1980 and 1999, and the cannabis industry of the future will look nothing like the cannabis industry of today.
The cannabis market will become more competitive, production will expand and automation will increase. Profit margins will shrink, leading to rapid consolidation. That means lots of people lose their jobs or go out of business. That’s how legal industries work. The cannabis industry is rapidly becoming a legal industry, full of businessmen who know how to run a business, and aren’t afraid to make tough decisions.
That is a dramatic change from the cannabis industry we all know and love. We like pot growers to be spendthrift fools who have no idea how much money they really make, buy everything retail, and drip money as they walk down the street. More than the cannabis itself, our local economy relies on the stupidity and shortsightedness of black-market dope growers who’s lack of business acumen lured them into this line of work to begin with. The black market takes money out of the hands of hard-working people, who might otherwise save it, and puts it into the hands of the people most likely to squander it. That’s how prohibition boosts the economy, and that’s what we see here in Humboldt County.
The fact is, no matter how legalization plays out, most of the people who benefit from the marijuana industry in Humboldt County today, will eventually get squeezed out. Will it happen in three years, or will it take five? That depends on a lot of things, but it will happen, regardless. A lot of people around here will have to find something else to do, and the sooner, the better.
The War on Drugs is a cruel racist policy. Mostly, the War on Drugs provides a legal framework for the violent control of minority communities, but here in Humboldt, we see another racist aspect to the War on Drugs. Here, the War on Drugs provided a relatively low-risk avenue to affluence for privileged white kids with no particular skills, talent or ambition. Hey, I’m a privileged, white, college drop-out myself. I certainly understand the attraction, but it’s still racist. It’s still wrong, and it’s still a huge fucking ripoff, but rest assured; that side of the War on Drugs, will evaporate too. The marijuana industry will no longer be dominated by white middle-class dilettantes looking for a low-stress, way to support their high-consumption lifestyle.
When you think about it, these are the people who make Humboldt County attractive and interesting, at least to me, the artists, performers and musicians, the idealistic art history, English and ancient language majors and the disillusioned scientists and engineers who decided they didn’t want to build weapons systems or devise new, environmentally destructive, products. For people like this, growing pot was a way to finance their art or their writing or their political activism, or their other interesting hobbies, without distracting too much from them. The cannabis industry of the future will have no place for these people.
Instead, the cannabis industry will be dominated by greedy white farmers who know how to grow pot and run a business, but have few, if any, other interests. Greedy white farmers do not attract tourists. If they did, people would flock to Iowa to watch corn grow. Greedy white farmers drain rivers, kill fish and destroy habitat, and they use their political clout to make sure that no one gets in their way. That’s what greedy white farmers do everywhere, and that’s what they intend to do here.
Yes, farming is boring and ugly and no one wants to see it, and the same is true of farmers, but we have something else here in Humboldt County that is worth more than all of the black-market marijuana we’ve grown here in the past, and all of the nuclear caviar we hope to produce in the future, put together. That is natural habitat.
Natural habitat has become remarkably rare around the world. I mean really rare, not artificially price-controlled, “rare,” but genuinely uncommon, and truly valuable. The Earth has lost half of its natural biodiversity since the first Earth Day, and the primary reason is loss of habitat. If we should treat anything around here like nuclear caviar, it is the natural habitat here in Humboldt County.
People want to see natural habitat, and they want to see it teeming with life.. Natural habitat attracts tourists. Biodiversity attracts tourists. No one will ever figure out how to produce habitat on the cheap and flood the market with biodiversity. Habitat will only become more rare and valuable. Pot, on the other hand, is easy to grow and cheap to produce, and it won’t be long before some state, like Nevada, Texas or Kansas, decides to get out of the way and open up the floodgates to an ocean of cheap cannabis.
That will leave us, here in Humboldt County, facing the same decision we face now, but with fewer options, and greatly diminished assets: Do we sacrifice our lives, and the natural habitat we love, in a vain attempt to compete with market forces beyond our control, or do we use our imagination, and learn to do something else, that harmonizes with the natural splendor of this unique place, and works for the kind of people who make up this community, and make this community special.
Here’s a novel idea for my neighbors in Humboldt County this Spring: It is OK to just leave the dirt on the ground. You don’t need to dig it up. You don’t need to plant anything in it. Something will grow there. You don’t have to worry about what it is. Just leave the fucking dirt alone for a change.
You don’t have to water it. You don’t have to fence it. You don’t have to feed it a special blend of organic nutrients. Just leave it alone. Too much gardening has a dulling effect on the mind. That’s why farmers are so fucking boring. Do something different this year. Cultivate an interesting personality. Cultivate an unusual hobby, like whelk racing, amateur rhinoplasty or squirrel-suit diving,
or better yet, cultivate an original idea for a change. When was the last time you had one of those? Well here’s one for you: The dirt on the ground is just fine as it is. Leave it alone.
Don’t get me wrong. I like gardens, if they’re small. I mean real small.
I have a three foot by four foot cactus garden that I love dearly. I might give it as much as 50 gallons of water in an entire year. It takes up about a half-hour of my time, maybe once a month, but that’s plenty. It never seems like a burden. I get all the benefits of nurturing living plants, and I get to enjoy some exotic greenery around my home. What more can you ask of a garden? Really, there’s more to life than gardening.
Besides, there’s no shortage of greenery around my home. Like most of us here in Humboldt County, I’m surrounded by green. I’m 50ft deep in green. Green I got, and all of it producing food. I get pelted with acorns every Fall, I’ve got more huckleberry bushes than I’ve got time to pick, not to mention madrone berries, manzanita berries and wild raspberries to name a few. Everywhere I look, it’s all green, and it’s all producing food. Why would I want to cut that down, dig it up and replace it with Lima beans, Brussels sprouts, and hours and hours of backbreaking work in the hot sun?
Contrary to popular belief. Gardens are not attractive. I’ve never seen a garden that looked better than anyplace that has been left alone for twenty years. I find vegetable gardens especially ugly. They look like desolate wastelands all winter, and then all Summer they look like a rag-tag army of plants, all lined up in straight rows, and as the season wears on, they start taking casualties, as they get eaten, either by the people who planted them, or by nature’s guerrilla army of insects, rodents, lagomorphs and ungulates in their relentless battle to reclaim the stolen territory. By the end of the season, everything is dead, and the field is full of corpses. Every vegetable garden is just another battle in a long ugly war, and gardeners are not the “good guys” in this war.
That’s why I don’t have a vegetable garden, and that’s why I don’t want to hear about your vegetable garden. I don’t want to know what you do to get rid of Japanese beetles. I don’t want to know what you do to stop gophers.
I want Japanese beetles. I want gophers, and deer, and rabbits. If I see an animal in my yard. I want to watch it, maybe take a picture of it, maybe even shoot it and cook it for dinner. The last thing I want to do is chase it away. These animals are my neighbors, and I don’t want to have conflicts with my neighbors over broccoli.
If you were smart, you’d plant just enough of a vegetable garden to attract deer, and then, the first time you see a deer in your garden, shoot it, dress it and eat it. You’d get more food out of one deer than you’ll get out of your whole garden. Really, if you subtract all of the calories you burn working in your garden, from the total calories in the food that you eat from your vegetable garden, you’ll be lucky to break even, but if you throw a few seeds on the ground and sit on the front porch with a rifle in your lap all summer, you’ll put some real food on the table with a fraction of the effort.
I realize that here in Humboldt County, gardening has become a cornerstone of our rural lifestyle, and that it won’t be easy to give it up. Around here, if people simply gave up gardening, their lives would revolve entirely around reckless driving, violent crime and drug abuse. People really need to find something better to do with their time.
That requires imagination, and thought, so dust off your imagination, and tune up your thought process and find something better to do this year. I know that it seems like gardening is the most wholesome thing you do with your time, but in reality, gardening destroys the environment and enslaves humanity. When you work in the garden, you do the devil’s work.
Think about it. Over 100 species of plant and animal go extinct every day. Rhinos, orangutans, manatees, wolves, kit foxes and coho salmon all teeter on the brink of extinction. Who is pushing them over the edge? Farmers and gardeners, that’s who. And what are they replacing all of those wild animals with? Lima beans, or some equally repulsive vegetable like Brussels sprouts.
Who wouldn’t rather eat a big fat rhino steak, which would still be plentiful if farmers hadn’t run them off all of the arable land, rather than a bowl of Lima beans, for dinner. No one in their right mind would ever eat a Lima bean if farmers hadn’t already destroyed most of the world’s natural habitat, and replaced it with their gross and disgusting vegetables.
As if digging up Mother Earth weren’t bad enough, gardeners then fill these open wounds with the most foul-smelling stuff they can find. They actually buy the filthy crap they sweep out of commercial chicken coops, and then bury it in the ground. They bring in truckloads of cow manure, boatloads of rotting fish guts and they pay people to go spelunking for 5,000 year old bat shit. Then they expect us to eat the Lima beans they grow in this filth. The next time you bite into a Lima bean, remember that that pasty, nauseating green goo is made of chicken poop, cow pies, and fossilized bat-shit. Mmmm, mmm, no wonder they taste so good. You might as well eat out of the toilet.
As if Lima beans aren’t bad enough, now they’ve got these new, upscale, yuppie Lima beans. They call them Fava beans. Fava beans taste every bit as disgusting as Lima beans, but they’re even bigger and grosser than regular Limas. As a kid, I was forced to eat Lima beans, against my will. I learned to eat them by swallowing them individually, like pills, with a glass of water. I could not stand to chew them. I still can’t. Fava beans are too big to swallow like pills. You will choke to death on them if you try. Fava beans give you no choice but to chew them, which is sick and cruel.
Do you remember the scene in Silence of the Lamb where Anthony Hopkins says: “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” Personally, I like liver. I’ve never eaten a human liver before, but I’d give it a try. I don’t mind a glass of wine on occasion, but the fact that he intentionally ate fava beans, in any context, totally grossed me out. Those beans have forever prejudiced me against psychopathic cannibals.
All kidding aside, this issue is serious. 38% of the Earth’s land mass has already been stripped of rhinos and orangutans, and planted in Lima beans. Most of the land that’s left is barren desert, tundra, salt flats, inaccessible mountain peaks, or steep, unstable forest-land situated over major seismic faults. All of the wild animals in the world now have to live in these inhospitable places, because greedy Lima bean farmers have taken over all of the good real-estate.
It’s time to take a stand, and to stand up for wild animals. You might want to be one yourself someday.
Say NO to Lima beans, and leave the fucking dirt alone for a change this year.
By now you should realize that the 5th Sunday of the month means you should turn your radio on first thing in the morning for a stimulating, thought-provoking, in-depth discussion of the issues that define our times. If you are not already hip to The Living Earth Connection, and you have an IQ just slightly higher than the average garden slug, you owe it to yourself to listen to one of the most interesting hours of radio programming you are likely to hear anywhere at any time.
The Living Earth Connection airs on the fifth Sunday of the month, in those occasional months that have five Sundays, at 9:30 AM on KMUD, Redwood Community Radio. That’s THIS Sunday, March 29 at 9:30 AM Pacific Time. My partner, Amy Gustin, hosts the show. She does an enormous amount of research for her show. She usually reads 20 to 25 books in preparation for each show, and this one is no exception.
For this upcoming edition of The Living Earth Connection, Amy examines the dynamic relationship between agricultural development and biodiversity. In 2014, the Living Planet Report cited a 52% decline in global biodiversity since 1970. In a discussion that encompasses biology, ecology, and island bio-geography, Amy reveals that the key to our collapsing ecosystems lies in the habitat requirements of certain “keystone species.”
These “keystone species” tend to be relatively small populations of relatively large carnivores. Although few in number, as individuals, these “keystone species” require an enormous “home range,” and much of the biodiversity in their ecosystem depends, in one way or another, on their presence. Developing land for agriculture punches holes in the habitat that these animals need to survive. When development crowds out the “keystone species,” most of the natural biodiversity in the area disappears as well.
This is a show about natural science. I know you all like science when you get to watch them put a nuclear powered car on Mars, or when you think it means we understand how the universe works.
Are you still interested in science when it tells you that agricultural development is causing mass extinction on a global scale?
Does biodiversity matter?
That’s the topic. Please tune in.
Today, Thursday, February 26 at 5pm, KMUD Redwood Community Radio will air the latest installment of Wildlife Matters. On this month’s show Amy Gustin and I will talk about Sea Otters, and the crucial role they play in maintaining healthy coastal ecosystems.
We’ll hear from sea otter biologist Dr. Jane Watson
…and noted ecologist Dr. James Estes.
They talk about sea otters’ peculiar adaptations which allow them to flourish in the chilly waters of the North Pacific. they’ll teach us about “trophic cascades,” a fancy word to describe the consequences of eating habits on ecosystems, which explains how sea otters can turn a barren sea floor inhabited by nothing but sea urchins, into a lush kelp forest teeming with biodiversity.
Wildlife Matters airs on the fourth Thursday of the month on KMUD, and is available to all Pacifica Affiliates through audioport.org. In the future, wildlife Matters will alternate the fourth Thursday at 5pm time-slot with my other new radio show called The Adventurous Ear.
Next month, The Adventurous Ear, a radio show highlighting music of exceptional originality, will bring you the music of Arcata based improvisational ensemble Medicine Baul. I hope you’ll tune in today at 5pm for Wildlife Matters, and March 26 at 5pm for some wild music on The Adventurous Ear. Just remember the fourth Thursday at 5pm as the time for something wild on KMUD Redwood Community Radio, or listen online at http://www.kmud.org
This Thursday at 5pm on KMUD, catch the latest episode of Wildlife Matters, the new public affairs program my partner Amy Gustin and I produce. Amy and I are still in the midst of hammering it out, but it’s going to be a great show. On this show we’ll cover coyotes, the singing dogs of North America.
As usual, Amy has done a lot of research, and we’ll have some great guests as well:
We’ll have Dr. Marc Bekoff, who studied coyotes for years talking about emotions in animals and the significance of play in canines.
Dr. Michael Soule, the ecologist talks about the important role coyotes play in ecosystems.
Monte Merrick, Co-Director of the Humboldt Wildlife Care Center talks about attitudes towards coyotes locally.
Congressman Peter Defazio rails against the pointless, cruel, and government subsidized slaughter of thousands of coyotes every year by Wildlife Services, a branch of the USDA. We’ll also hear a bit from the coyotes themselves.
Like I said, It’s going to be a great show, but we still have about ten minutes of it to hammer-out, so I better get back to work.
Oh God, is it Tuesday afternoon already? Like I told you last week I’ve been very busy with a couple of radio projects. I hope you listened to Living Earth Connection this past Sunday. If you haven’t heard it yet, you can download it or stream it by clicking the links below:
It’s a really good show. That John Hardin is a pretty bright guy, and he’s good at explaining stuff. You could easily find worse ways to spend an hour.
Coming up this Thursday, Sept. 4 at 5pm on KMUD you can hear the other radio project, the one that has kept me too busy to write this past week. Amy and I call this show Wildlife Matters. You might have read about it in The Redwood Times, The Independent, The Times Standard, The Mad River Union, or The Lumberjack. You might have seen it on facebook, or on my Youtube channel. If you missed that media buzz, hey at least I’m giving you a “heads up” 24 hours in advance right here at your favorite SoHum blog.
I fear, however, the show will come as a complete surprise to people who rely on KMUD for information about upcoming KMUD programming. Apparently, the nice promo I sent them, disappeared into a black hole and was never heard from again.
This happens pretty regularly, We have a great staff at KMUD, and some wonderful volunteers, but KMUD is a dynamic organism containing a high degree of internal chaos. I try not to take it too personally.
My partner Amy Gustin and I collaborated on this show, and it will replace, at least in terms of my commitment to it, the radio show I’ve produced for over four years, The SHARC (Southern Humboldt Amateur Radio Club) Report. After producing 53 half hour shows, at least tangentially related to Ham radio, I am out of ideas and ready for a new challenge.
I wanted to do a show that was a little more ambitious, in terms of production values, and I wanted to work collaboratively. I love working with Amy, and she pitched me a great idea for a show, so here we go. Amy loves wildlife, especially wild animals, and she likes to do research. I like writing, editing and producing. With Wildlife Matters, Amy gets to make a show about the topics she is interested in, and I get to make the kind of show I want to make.
We jumped into this project as soon as we finished last Sunday’s Living Earth Connection show. We recorded the interview with Monte Merrick in his office near Arcata a couple of weeks ago when we made a trip up North, to perform, on Theremin and didgeridoo, no less, at the Humboldt Maker’s Street Fair in Oldtown Eureka.
It was great to talk to Monte. Monte came to our attention a couple of years ago as “Bird Ally X,” the man who came to the rescue of hundreds of oiled, starving and injured pelicans all up and down the Lost Coast.
He became a musical inspiration when we heard him speak at Godwit Days, a birders event that happens every Spring in Arcata. At Godwit Days, Monte reported on this whole pelican disaster, and how they responded to it. To accompany this heartrending story, off-stage a lone banjo player picked out some of the slowest, saddest, dockside pelican conjuring banjo music I ever heard.Amy and I talked about that presentation a bit, and those talks eventually turned into The Big Picture.
Monte came to our attention again, recently, when he asked that the renewal of the County’s contract with Wildlife Services be removed from the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors’ “consent calendar.” In other words, Monte told the Board of Supes, “I know you’ve been paying this guy to kill animals for almost a hundred years, but maybe it’s not really such a good idea, and I think we deserve a chance to talk about it.” We talked about it. Unfortunately, the Supes renewed the contract anyway.
That’s what gave us the idea for the show. People don’t know enough about Wildlife Services, at least I didn’t, until Amy started filling me in about their history, their practices, and their political maneuverings.
We asked Monte Merrick for an interview because he obviously knows a lot about Wildlife Services, and, as co-director of Humboldt Wildlife Care Center, he knows a lot about humane alternatives to the trap-and-kill policy of Wildlife Services. He was kind enough to grant us an interview, at the office, on the weekend, and we very much appreciate the time he took with us.
While Amy reviewed the recording, I worked on the theme music and the promo. Amy identified the clips we wanted to use and developed the angle for the show, I worked out the show’s format. I wanted to produce a tight, scripted show with dialogue, that would also include unscripted interview excerpts, clips from speeches, sound samples etc.
We hammered out the dialogue together, one bit at a time, then rehearsed and recorded each bit individually, working them around the interview segments. Slowly, we assembled the show. I crafted the intro and ending with lots of animal noises, jungle sounds, and original theme music. Thanks to Patrick Rose for the djembe drum track. Just last night, we finished it, and it sounds pretty good.
This episode of Wildlife Matters looks at Wildlife Services, a shadowy branch of the USDA responsible for exterminating wolves in the early part of the 20th Century, and for killing millions of other animals every year, for over a century, using poisons and other indiscriminate methods. Wildlife Services amounts to subsidized pest control for farmers, ranchers, and rich people in their country estates, and to Wildlife Services, the life of the animal means nothing.
We contrast Wildlife Services with Humboldt Wildlife Care Center, who get no taxpayer funding, but handle the same kind of human/wildlife conflicts with an entirely different approach. We talk to Monte Merrick about the Humane Solutions movement, Humboldt Wildlife Care Center’s mission, and about his experiences with Wildlife Services.
So, that’s what the show is about, but I’m more excited about how it sounds. I hope you’ll tune in, just like you hope I’ll write something funny for next week.