Aug 20 2018

Lack of civility… or is it man’s inhumanity to man?

by Caren Cowan, Executive Director,
New Mexico Cattle Grower’s Association
Read this article & more in New Mexico Stockman Magazine

Is it too much national news? Are manners of any kind ancient history? Do we even know what respect and self-respect are anymore? Can we no longer have an opinion that differs with anyone else without being evil? Is the art of agreeing to disagree lost?

At the national level clearly there are no longer any rules of civility. Just tune in to any news broadcast and you will see people calling the President and others liars. People claiming he is evil just because they disagree with him. We see well-funded marches across the country to protest what appears to be the best economic change in decades.

Some of it is a lack of knowledge, but I fear most of it is disinformation with malice of forethought.

I think I have become almost numb to the national stuff, but what causes me despair is when folks I have known, liked and worked with for literally decades sink into shouting matches and name calling or calling someone a liar in a room full of people. I probably use that word way too often and will do better — unless you have worked to earn the title.

The cattle industry in the Southwest has been here for centuries. Our families have been friends and neighbors over that same period. Now, when we have less people in our circles, it is not time to circle the wagons, aim and fire. We have plenty of groups that take great glee when we cannot get along.

Let’s not hand them anymore ammunition.

Drop that straw and put your hands up!

2018 will forever be remembered as the year that hating plastic straws went mainstream. Once the lonely cause of environmental cranks, now everyone wants to eliminate these suckers from daily life, according to Christian Britschgi, Assistant Editor at reason.com.

In July, 2018, Seattle imposed America’s first ban on plastic straws. Vancouver, British Columbia, passed a similar ban a few months earlier. There are active attempts to prohibit straws in New York City, Washington, D.C., Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, CA. A-list celebrities from Calvin Harris to Tom Brady have lectured us on giving up straws. Both National Geographic and The Atlantic have run long profiles on the history and environmental effects of the straw. Vice is now treating their consumption as a dirty, hedonistic excess.

A California coastal city has become the latest municipality to ban plastic straws, enacting what is potentially the strictest plastic prohibition in the country. Santa Barbara earlier this month passed the ordinance authorizing hefty fines and even a possible jail sentence for violators who dole out plastic straws at restaurants, bars and other food establishments.

According to the ordinance, violators on their first offense will be given a written warning notice. But the second time a purveyor of plastic straws defies the ban is when the heavy hand of the law could clamp down.

In that case, the ordinance cites penalties from the city’s municipal code for a “fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000), imprisonment for a term not exceeding six (6) months.”

In comparison, Seattle, which in the beginning of July became the first major city in the U.S. to ban plastic straws, only fines businesses $250 per offense.

Not to be outdone by busybody legislators, Starbucks, the nation’s largest food and drink retailer, announced that it would be going strawless.

The coffee giant says that by 2020 it hopes to have eliminated all single-use plastic straws at its 28,000 stores worldwide. It will now top all its cold drinks with fancy new strawless lids that the company currently serves with its cold brew nitro coffees. (Frappuccinos will still be served with a compostable or paper straw.)

As is to be expected, Starbucks’ decision was greeted with universal adulation.

Yet missing from this fanfare was the inconvenient fact that by ditching plastic straws, Starbucks will actually be increasing its plastic use. As it turns out, the new nitro lids that Starbucks is leaning on to replace straws are made up of more plastic than the company’s current lid/straw combination.

Right now, Starbucks patrons are topping most of their cold drinks with either 3.23 grams or 3.55 grams of plastic product, depending on whether they pair their lid with a small or large straw. The new nitro lids meanwhile weigh either 3.55 or 4.11 grams, depending again on lid size.

(I got these results by measuring Starbucks’ plastic straws and lids on two separate scales, both of which gave me the same results, said Britschgi)

This means customers are at best breaking even under Starbucks’ strawless scheme, or they are adding between .32 and .88 grams to their plastic consumption per drink. Given that customers are going to use a mix of the larger and smaller nitro lids, Starbucks’ plastic consumption is bound to increase, although it’s anybody’s guess as to how much.

Can we (who can afford it) go back to fur???

Not to be outdone in the assault on plastics, the Animal Activist Watch bailed in with “Fake Fur is Plastic Poison, Research Finds.” The lead was buried at the end of the story with “The tests also looked at the average biodegradation of a number of natural products and found that real fur degrades at the same rate as an oak or willow tree leaf.” Imagine that.

The synthetic fibers of fake fur do not biodegrade, experts have found. The findings are a blow to other animal rights activists who claim fake fur is environmentally friendly.

They examined how both real and fake fur degraded in conditions set up to mimic closed landfill conditions. Natural fur samples biodegraded swiftly, starting to disintegrate within days as microorganisms consumed the carbon inside the fur. But fake fur showed no biodegradation at all.

According to the researchers, this was not unexpected due to the composition of the synthetic fibers. In addition, synthetic fur materials are also known to break down into ever-smaller pieces, eventually forming microplast fibers—a major contributor to plastic pollution.

More Social Engineering…

Do you regularly heat up leftovers in plastic food-storage containers? Do you put plastic reusable water bottles in the dishwasher when they need a deep clean? A new study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics highlights food safety mistakes that many people may be making, without understanding the consequences. According to digitaltrends.com, the study outlines an increasing amount of evidence that points to the dangers of food packaging materials, especially plastic.

The study advises people against microwaving food in plastic containers or placing plastic containers in the dishwasher, as these habits can cause the plastic material to release harmful chemicals. BPA serves as a hardening ingredient in plastic, and it has been associated with adverse health effects, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. BPA exposure or ingestion can also cause harm to fertility, the immune system, and even body fat percentage, according to the AAP. Plastic materials that have recycling codes 3, 6, and 7 — corresponding to phthalates, styrene, and bisphenols, respectively — should also be avoided. The AAP reminds parents that the consequences of exposure to dangerous chemicals may be particularly harmful for children, as their bodies are still in the process of developing.

And, oh by the way, they recommend choosing whole foods over processed food also to reduce risk of contamination, as well as washing hands and produce during food preparation.

Finally, a grain of truth

As the US Department of the Interior begins work on revising endangered species regulations, some media is once again in a frenzy about the world going extinct if even a comma is changed in anything relative to the Endangered Species Act.

The Washington Post ran an article by Kristoffer Whitney, an assistant professor in the department of Science, Technology and Society at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The story is way too long to reprint and the vast majority of it about how the world will come to an end if we change anything regarding endangered species.

The subhead on the story did however make a startling admission. “The ESA does control land use…” but in at least the writer’s opinion that’s okay because he and many other believe that controlling land, and thus people, is “essential to protecting species.”

Fall NMCGA Board Meeting

The Fall Board meeting will be held in Santa Rosa on September 17 and 18. Meetings will be held at the Blue Hole Convention Center and all NMCGA members are welcome to attend.

Additionally the NMCGA is inviting anyone who sits on the board of directors of an agricultural organization to participate in the Board Training being offered at 1:30 p.m. on the 17th. The IRS is increasing the responsibilities of board members and everyone needs to be aware of them.

Watch for registration materials in the mail or your email, contact the nmcga@nmagriculture.org or call the NMCGA office for details.

Special thanks to all our wolf litigation donors!      

Source: New Mexico Stockman, August 2018