Sunday, September 23, 2007

Stinky Cheese

Whenever we have spaghetti at our house, our son always asks for the "stinky cheese" first. In case you're wondering, he's referring to Parmesan cheese. With the great debate over cheese names in other parts of the world today, who knows what we may some day be calling it.

Speaking of debates, a recent Cheese article published by the Rensselaer Republican has sparked a furious debate -- not about cheese -- but about the escalating CAFO issues surrounding one particular group of CAFOs in our area -- and comments are getting quite nasty on both sides ...which is precisely why I'm not jumping into the fray over there.

Albert Einstein once said:

"Problems cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."

But... and here is the big BUT order to solve a problem, you have to acknowledge and admit there is a problem in the first place.

And in my personal opinion, that is precisely why there is such a growing outcry of protest against CAFOs regardless what news is published; whether the news be about winning some kind of contest, or about trucks raising dust on the roads, or about flyash finding its way into areas where it hasn't been approved for use.

There is a problem. Actually, there are a host of problems. The problems are still growing. And those creating the problems are refusing to admit there even is a problem.

Or at least, that's the way I see it.

Europe is seeing things differently in recent years.

In fact, the latest report coming out of that corner of the globe, issued on September 17, 2007, by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) warns about the increased risk of pathogen contamination owing to intensive animal farming methods being employed today throughout the world. (Read more here.)

The FAO warns there are problems. Environmental groups emphatically state there are problems. Independent scientists are shouting that there are problems. And many neighboring residents (some of whom are farmers themselves) have been crying for years that there are problems.

And who are the people steadfastly refusing to admit there is a problem?

Well, you can meet some of them posting comments on that RR article referenced above. If you run your own blog and happen to share my opinion on CAFOs, chances are you've received a few inflammatory comments and bashing from them, as I have, too. Or if you happen to fight one from invading your community, you may have even received a SLAPP lawsuit from one (or more) of them. (IMHO, they seem to enjoy using SLAPP suits to shut people up so they can do whatever they want to do -- to any neighborhood they please.)

What disturbs me most is some of the Indiana Government entities that are not only refusing to admit there is a problem -- but are actively encouraging GROWTH of the problem. If you want to see one example, here's a cute pic of Becky.

The above article paints a rosy picture, indeed. But here's a different article that tells the other side of the same story -- Neighbors Raise Stink Over Farmer's Cow Plan.

Same farm -- two different pictures. And our very own Lt. Governor getting her photo op turning the soil to promote the plans.

Totally off topic -- do you recall a long time ago on this blog I asked the question: "What happens when you push a hoosier up against the wall and threaten his livelihood, his family, his home?"

Well, I was sitting here watching a YouTube video for which I got the link from one of my Stock Market newsletters, that described the video as follows:

"It was filmed by a tourist in Kruger National Park in South Africa and it's had over 17 million viewings since it was first posted in May, so you know that it's well worth watching."

While watching it, I got to thinking...

Imagine the buffalo are Hoosiers. Now imagine the lions are CAFOs. Now imagine the crocodiles are our Indiana government.

The video is 9 minutes long -- nothing to do with CAFOs -- might be a great way to take your mind off the subject for awhile. Here's the link. Enjoy.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dead Fish at Jasper-Pulaski Game Reserve

In readiness for our son to start Tiger Cubs, we took him on a little fishing trip to the Jasper-Pulaski Game Reserve the day before school began. He had one of those cute little zebco-type rod and reel kits, and we sat back to watch (waaaaay back sometimes) as he practiced casting.

The heat was sweltering, a day during that heat wave that hit all of us late last month. Needless to say, it wasn't long before our little guy tired of his adventure. Instead, he wanted to go on a short hike through the bush to the old wooden "tower" at another small lake location.

The welcome shade from the trees enticed us to agree... and off we went.

Entering the first area, however, we were shocked at what we discovered -- hundreds and hundreds of dead fish. Some were laying on the banks, most were floating throughout the small lake (pond, really), and the smell -- UGH!

There were dead, rotting fish carcasses all over the lake and shore areas. Hundreds of them... At one point, a Kingfisher bird swooped down to snatch up a small fish. Not sure if it was one of the dead fish, or one of the few remaining small bass struggling to stay alive.

This was not natural at all.

We're not certain, but it looked to us like the Reserve had recently had all the lilly pads sprayed, since we could see what looked like "trails" through the thick weed patches. We'd also seen some type of "Aquatic Management" trucks passing by our home a few days before.

In any event, our son learned some valuable lessons regarding the environment, ecosystems and more that day.

It's a pity to think that a 7 year old child can understand more about protecting our environment than the people in charge of nurturing and safeguarding our State Reserves and Wetlands. That's pretty sad in my humble opinion.