Man, I want some free money from my government, too</cynicism></sarcasm>. The real story is that the USDA has approved over $30 million in assistance for farmers and ranchers struck by drought. The farmers can only use the money (heh) for regular operations related to the drought, such as (wink) hauling water.
As part of continuing steps by the Obama Administration to assist livestock producers in response to the historic drought, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today highlighted that USDA will utilize nearly $16 million in financial and technical assistance to immediately help crop and livestock producers in 19 states cope with the adverse impacts of the historic drought. In addition, USDA will initiate a transfer of $14 million in unobligated program funds into the Emergency Conservation Program.
These funds can be used to assist in moving water to livestock in need, providing emergency forage for livestock, and rehabilitating lands severely impacted by the drought. Together these efforts should provide nearly $30 million to producers struggling with drought conditions.
“President Obama and I continue to work across the federal government to provide relief for those farmers and ranchers who are affected by the severe drought conditions impacting many states across our nation,” said Vilsack. “This additional assistance builds on a number of steps USDA has taken over the past few weeks to provide resources and flexibility in our existing programs to help producers endure these serious hardships. As this drought persists, the Obama Administration is committed to using existing authorities wherever possible to help the farmers, ranchers, small businesses, and communities being impacted.”
just-breezy asked: Really like your blog. I somewhat agree with your "climate adaptation" message, however, merely adapting to the consequences of global climate change does not seem satisfying to me as an environmentalist. Conversely, given our current trajectory, it might make the most sense (unfortunately). Cheers!
Adaptation is tough, but it responds to the reality that people are too busy living as consumers rather than civilians. People are overwhelmingly disengaged in government decision processes (when was the last time you went to your city’s city council meeting?). But by golly, we all have an iPhone…
We are told - by all sides - that we can buy or click our way out of our environmental problems. Recycle. Sign x petition. Go organic. Deregulate. These are consumer oriented arguments. Where are the arguments to go to town meetings or comment on a water permit? Not only do the majority of people don’t know, they don’t care because they’re taught not to care on a daily basis.
I fundamentally disagree with this approach. Ideally, from my point of view, people would be more active in all government processes. Rather than buying crap with a hokie label to solve environmental problems, we’d understand what the permitting process is for any project, from a bike lane to a mall redevelopment to new apartment buildings. We’d understand how our governance choices impacts ecosystem processes. We’d understand how to use the damn Federal Register. And we’d actually write (or <gasp> call) our local representatives.
Most people don’t know the names of their local representatives. Nor do they know what the heck these reps do day-to-day. I’ll bet that they’ll know where the closest Gap or Best Buy is.
In that context, I’m a realist. I accept that we’re not going to change. I accept that people are consumers and don’t nor won’t care about governance. People are not going to wake up and start participating in government. We’re not going to learn where the water goes when we flush. Nor will we learn how to comment on a local EIA/EIS permit.
So, people will continue to buy homes on beaches, along quake faults, in tornado alley… We’ll insist on building suburbs in the parched southwestern deserts. We’ll continue to give away - for free - public oil drilling and mineral mining rights to private, foreign companies.
In response, NGOs and advocates will continue to plow our boards with petitions to save the beluga/polar bear/fish/river-of-the-week. They won’t, to my ire, educate the public on civic duty.
Have a look here. It’s south Florida. You’ll see tens of thousands of homes surrounded by water. There are three main climate impacts happening here - sea level rise, aquifer salinization, and drought (yep).
Which action will help protect their homes - Buying organic carrots or participating in local government? (OK, moving is the right answer, but remember, let’s stay in reality.) Same applies to New Orleans - no one should live below sea level in a hurricane prone area on the banks of one of the biggest, floodiest rivers in the world. But, they do. And my tax dollars clean up their stupid decisions. “Rebuild! Redevelop!” Is what we’re told, rather than “No, you can’t build in dangerous areas.”
So, I opt to adapt. I begrudgingly accept that people aren’t going to change. If people insist on building their homes on the riparian banks of the Mississippi or in tornado alley or in the middle of the desert, then fine. At least build to be disaster proof so my taxes don’t pay for their stupidity.
Image: 142 liters of water are needed to produce the 8 tomatoes, 1.5 slices of bread and portion of butter to make this meal. Via the UN World Water Day Flickr account.
Now we’re running out of water?? Really! I live on the mississippi river. there’s plenty. seriously come on over. Now; when I was a child we were gonna be out of oil by the year 2000. so I am skeptical.
I point this out as evidence that environmentalists have a problem - their education campaigns (even ones that show dead children) do not change the minds of ignorant people. For those that refuse or hand pick facts, only the leaders of their chosen ideology can change minds.
Perhaps, then, it’s time the left start communicating with the leaders of opposite stripes.
Dutch bike lane design. Inherent in this design is purpose, which is “improve safety.” Transportation design in the U.S. does not recognize, “improve” only safety. The system is rigged in favor of productivity. Move cars faster, work work work shop shop shop.
Richard Conniff’s new piece on the philosophy of species extinction is up at the NYTimes. He makes the case that the study of species extinction came rather late, around 1790. A great read, I’m impressed that he’s objective in his assessment of the study of extinction, where even Thomas Jefferson had something to say about it. I’m more impressed that the piece doesn’t stoke the egos of environmental cynics, and speaks to a wide audience.
A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.
I'm a climate change consultant specializing in climate adaptation, environmental law, and urban planning based in the U.S. In addition to traveling and hiking, I research, publish, and lecture on how cities can adapt to climate change.
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