BUZZWORDS: A glossary of eco and planning terms we need to get wise about!
best science -- all too often, a euphemism for using pseudo-science to promote an agenda. The scientific method is a very specific process for testing and revising hypotheses in order to arrive at the truth. An untestable hypothesis (e.g., climate change, a.k.a., anthropogenic global warming) is nothing more than conjecture. As such, it is not suitable as a basis for public policy. It was for the same reason that religion was banned from public policy by the 1st Amendment.
biodiversity -- an excuse to limit human activity on the account of some allegedly endangered (or inconvenienced) species, neglecting the fact that humans are a legitimate species on this planet too. The diversity of life on this planet has never been static. Populations wax and wane as conditions change, and other species expand their range or move about. Despite elaborate urban myths otherwise, wildlife is doing very well here in rain country.
blue power -- wind power. Considering the amount of subsidy required, and the amount of hot air surrounding this "free" energy source, the buzzword is very misleading. This business is green, dependent on subsidy greenbacks.
communityship - "the positive impact you have on your community ... that may impact not only your quality of life, but also that of your community." Nanny-statism at its finest, this suggests that the government has an interest in every human activity (even religious activity and political activity) as a public health concern. See the WhatcomCounts.org "Communityship Quiz" that's been posted at their website (cached). Oh, this group was an officially sanctioned Whatcom County "partner" that's now been replaced by WAHA.
collectivism -- the notion that individual rights are subservient to the community and to consensus -- contrary to The Constitution, which is still the official specification for the US Government.
eco-literacy -- the ability to understand the natural systems that make life on Earth possible understanding the principles of organization of ecological communities (i.e. ecosystems) and using those principles for creating sustainable human communities. Unfortunately, this is all too often taught as a social program, without any regard for the rigors of real science. See "best science" above, and in particular "scientific method."
ecosystem services -- the benefits people obtain from the environment. Ecosystem services are the transformation of natural assets (soil, plants and animals, air and water) into things that we value. They can be viewed as provisioning such as food and water; regulating, for example, flood and disease control; cultural such as spiritual, recreational, and cultural benefits; or supporting like nutrient cycling that maintain the conditions for life on Earth. Ecosystem ‘goods’ include food, medicinal plants, construction materials, tourism and recreation, and wild genes for domestic plants and animals.
globalism -- the notion that national sovereignty is an outmoded concept. The trouble is, when the entire globe is ruled by one government, where's the diversity? If that government isn't to your liking, there's nowhere else to go. With national sovereignty, at least people have options.
green -- like "kosher" and "halal", it is the seal of approval from the sustainable development elite orthodoxy. "Green" is also used to hawk any product that it's purveyors think can benefit from being "buzzword compliant."
happy planet index -- designed to challenge well-established indices of countries’ development, where high GDP and modern life are seen as greedy and inappropriate, based on the theory that acquiring personal wealth is shallow and wasteful while simple hive life is happy. Furthermore, it is believed that the notion of sustainable development requires a measure of the environmental costs of pursuing socially equitable goals. The theory suggests that happiness requires misery. The Happy Planet Index rates countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Cuba, Pakistan and Vietnam at the top (happy) end of the scale, and selfish and mean-spirited countries like England, Canada, and United States way down toward the bottom.
heal -- nature's constant struggle against human activity; again, neglecting the fact that humans are an integral part of nature, and we have a right to be here, and to make ourselves comfortable and prosperous.
Johannesburg Plan (U.N.) -- fundamentally changes the way societies produce and consume, indispensable for achieving global sustainable development. All countries should promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, with the developed countries taking the lead and with all countries benefiting from the process, taking into account the Rio principles, including, inter alia (among other things), the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities as set out in principle 7 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development. Governments, relevant international organizations, the private sector and all major groups should play an active role in changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns. U.N. estimates for sustainable world population varies, between 4-10 billion persons.
natural resources marketplace (NRM) -- smiley-face code for central ecology control through a trade system of tangible and intangible public and private property rights and uses. Proponents call it "voluntary banking" and "exchanges" of ecological uses, plus carbon trades, limiting the use of water, and any mechanism they desire to protect and conserve the environment from reckless humans "for future generations." See collective above and soviet below to get the full flavor of this plan that's already got a foothold in Whatcom County.
payment for ecosystem services (PES) -- a U.N. recommended approach to environmental management that uses cash payments or other compensation to encourage ecosystem conservation and restoration; to include direct payments from ecosystem service beneficiaries to land stewards, as well as indirect payments earned through eco-certified production.
PDR (purchase of development rights) -- a system already in place in Whatcom county for PES (see above). Akin to/related to TDR (transfer of development rights), also currently in place.
provisioning -- a service class of watershed "community values/attributes" that includes the following "watershed services": water, food, and welfare. Thus is the litany that the church of the Puget Sound Partnership (Action Agenda) is proselytizing. Their teaching is that if human development retreats and remains a cautious distance from surface waters wherever it may flow (even ditches), and if sufficient sacrifices are made in forfeiting property to this cause in perpetuity, The Watershed shall provide for our needs, and sustain us. (Also see "globaloney," below.)
public-private partnership - (see "soviet" below) - an avenue for special interest groups and politicians to pursue goals that extend well beyond a municipality’s official mandate to provide basic public services. The policy trap is that through “partnering,” services and projects that do not rise to real, justifiable, public need find their way into department and comprehensive plans. The “work” that requires subsidy is inherently marginal, failing rational cost-benefit analysis without the “partnership.” Frequently, crony proposals unabashedly state the intent to create public demand, and make unsubstantiated claims about latent demand. If you subscribe to the theory that government is supposed to be an "agent for change" - molding and reforming the public to the will of a few -- this really shines.
relocalize (relocalization) -- a transition, post-carbon movement "social equity" strategy to restructure society for the sake of the environment; focused on "local production of food, energy and goods, and the local development of currency, governance and culture." The paradox of this "local strategy" is that the purveyors intend to ultimately inter-connect all these local pods into a great global network, masterminded afar by a grand sovereign -- of U.N. caliber.
precautionary principle -- states that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action [from Wikipedia]. The precautionary principle is actually the polar opposite of the scientific method, in which the burden of proof falls upon the proponent of a hypothesis. The scientific method dictates that a hypothesis is not considered proven until other scientists have been able to reproduce the conditions and the predicted outcome to within some acceptable range of uncertainty. A hypothesis is called "falsifiable" if it meets this standard. A non-falsifiable hypothesis is merely conjecture. Falsifiability is the scientific equivalent of the American legal standard, "innocent until proven guilty". In contrast, the precautionary principle assumes anyone suspected of having an environmental impact is guilty until they prove themselves innocent.
road diet -- a technique in “transportation planning” whereby a road is reduced in number of travel lanes and/or effective width in order to achieve “systemic improvements.” But by systemic improvements, eco-activist proponents suggest street and road constriction (putting roads on a "diet") to make private transportation (cars, trucks, etc.) as miserable and untenable as possible. The theory is, this will drive the public toward walking, biking, and public transit -- the real goals. Strategies include lowered speed limits, speed bumps, roundabouts with complex entry lanes designed to be difficult (not easy) to navigate, and street and road "narrowing" by imposing wider sidewalk standards and the addition of bike lanes, regardless of actual demand in a given area.
sustainability -- a major con whereby the current generation of egoistic "progressive" ideologues presumes to actually have the talent, skills and prescience to know the future needs of the entire planet. Claiming to know and guarantee what's best for "future generations", sustainability devotees feel justified in methodically stripping the liberty of free people today in order to create a hubristic totalitarian global state that should endure forever. Operating on the universally portrayed "3-E principle" (social justice, environment, economy), this pseudo-utopian movement uses the tactics of indoctrination and fear to promote fascism - the inventory and control of all resources, the means of production, and the forfeiture of individual sovereignty in order to return civilization to virtual tribalism through a "think global, act local" paradigm that sells particularly well in the shallow end of the pool.
watershed services -- "The term “watershed services” generally refers to the water-related benefits people receive from ecosystems in watersheds." "Ecosystem services are defined as all benefits that humans receive from ecosystems. These benefits can be direct (e.g. food production) or indirect, through the functioning of ecosystem processes that produce the direct services. The Millennium Assessment classified these ecosystem services in four categories: supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural. For example, a forest at the source of a river will provide more than fruits or timber. It will also play a role in water quality protection (filtering the water as it flows through roots and soil), flood control (reducing runoff and erosion), carbon storage and sequestration (in the form of additional biomass), biodiversity conservation (providing habitat for plants or animals living in the woods) and landscape aesthetics." "Watershed cultural & amenity services include aquatic recreation, landscape aesthetics, cultural heritage and identity, artistic and spiritual inspiration." The Millenium Assessment said so. WE should argue?
The preceding items are a glossary of the terms they use. The following is a glossary of the terms WE use:
crony capitalism - a capitalist economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, and so forth. Crony capitalism is believed to arise when political cronyism spills over into the business world; self-serving friendships and family ties between businessmen and the government influence the economy and society to the extent that it corrupts both private sector economics and political ideals. See public-private partnership, above.
globaloney - as in, "liberal international globaloney" (from this Breitbart article), refers to the idea that global interests trump national sovereignty. As if all the nations of the world are equally good, and each nation (especially the U.S.) should subvert its selfish national interests to global ones.Do you think China does that? Russia? Not bloody likely! We have to fight for our national interest, or have ours trampled by countries that do.
illiberal -- anyone who supports an oppressive, tyrannical, statist, control-freak approach to government. Ironically, these people call themselves liberals. And for too long, so have liberty-seeking preservatives. It's time we started calling them what they really are: the opposite of liberals -- they're illiberals.
kakistocracy -- government by the least qualified or least principled citizens.
malpractice -- politicians or bureaucrats acting in tyrannical, oppressive, illiberal, regressive ways, after having taken an oath to uphold and defend The Constitution or other applicable charter.
preservative -- anyone who wants to preserve the founding principles and our nation's political heritage for future generations. Preservatives simply ask, "Which article of the US Constitution gives government the authority to do that?" Preservatives demand that our politicians follow the original intent of the same Constitution that they took an oath to uphold and defend.
regressive -- anyone who supports an oppressive, tyrannical, statist, control-freak approach to government. Ironically, these people call themselves progressives. And for too long, so have liberty-seeking preservatives. It's time we started calling them what they really are: the opposite of progressives -- they're regressives.
rent-seeking (political and economics) -- an attempt to derive economic rent by manipulating the social or political environment in which economic activities occur, rather than by adding value. An example of rent-seeking is the limitation of access to skilled occupations imposed by medieval guilds. Many current studies of rent-seeking focus on efforts to capture various monopoly privileges stemming from government regulation of free enterprisecompetition. The term itself derives, however, from the far older practice of appropriating a portion of production by gaining ownership or control of land. From a theoretical standpoint, the moral hazard of rent-seeking can be considerable. If "buying" a favorable regulatory environment is cheaper than building more efficient production, a firm may choose the former option, reaping incomes entirely unrelated to any contribution to total wealth or well-being. This results in a sub-optimal allocation of resources — money spent on lobbyists and counter-lobbyists rather than on research and development, improved business practices, employee training, or additional capital goods — which retards economic growth. Claims that a firm is rent-seeking therefore often accompany allegations of government corruption, or the undue influence of special interests.
soviet - a system of councils that report to an apex council and implement a predetermined outcome, often by consensus, affecting a region or neighborhood. Members of a soviet council are chosen by virtue of their willingness to comply with that outcome and their one-mindedness with the group. Soviets are the operating mechanism of a government-controlled economy, whether it be socialism or government-corporate ("public-private") partnerships.
watermelon -- If you scratch almost any environmentalist, you will find a rabid anti-capitalist just beneath the surface. WE call them watermelons: green on the outside; red on the inside. The leaders of the watermelons use the environment as a hammer to drive their socialist agenda. The followers of the watermelons are just useful idiots, but they come by it naturally. No one wants to trash the environment, but statism is a very poor way of protecting it.
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