Most likely you won’t be surprised to find out that the current flap over “climate change” isn’t the first time our society has been torn apart by a controversy over the weather and our alleged effect on it.

But I’ll bet you will be surprised to learn that one of the previous incarnations of this issue was one of the most infamous, shameful, and cruel episodes in human history…

That’s right, the infamous “witch hunts,” that wracked Europe from 1430 to 1650 and even extended into the New World in Salem, in what is now Massachusetts, were, to a significant degree, about climate change. One of the main “crimes” for which a number of humans estimated from 60,000 to more than a million (mostly women but a significant number of men, also) were hanged, burned at the stake, and tortured by a variety of other means (mostly in Europe) was “global cooling.”

In a (London) Telegraph article dated February 7th, 2012, “Big Issue” columnist Brendan O’Neill wrote, “One of the key mad beliefs behind witch-hunting in Europe between the fifteenth and seventeenth centuries was the idea that these peculiar creatures had warped the weather, that they had caused “climate change.”

Christian Pfister, Director of Business, Social, and Environmental History at the University of Bern, Switzerland, added, in an interview quoted in the 22 June 2013 Swiss newspaper Basler Zeitung, “Today we estimate that from 1430 to 1650 in Europe 60,000 women were executed as witches, not only because of, but most often because of weather-sorcery.”

Historian Emily Oster, in Witchcraft, Weather and Economic Growth in Renaissance Europe, writes that, “The most active period of the witchcraft trials (in sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe) coincides with a period of lower than average temperature known to climatologists as the ‘little ice age’.” “Witches” were targeted for blame, Oster argues, because… the culture at that time both allowed their persecution and “suggested that they could control the weather.”

So, are there any similarities between those ancient climate change witch-hunts and the ones we’re conducting today?

You bet!

The most obvious similarity is they both embody the assumption that the way to solve a problem is via blame and vilification. The 15th century version didn’t have Republicans or Tea Partiers to blame so they settled on witches. Today, we do have Republicans and Tea Partiers to blame not only for weather change, but also for racism, poverty, income and wealth inequality, endangered species, Radical Islam and their beheadings, overpopulation, the War on Women, Occupy Wall Street, etc., etc, etc…

How well is that working? About as well as it did the first time — in the 1500s. For confirmation check The War on Poverty and the War on Racism. As you check the War on Racism and encounter those photos of people standing in front of the burning buildings in Ferguson, think about how much those images resemble the paintings of people holding their torches and pitchforks backlit by burning (I don’t even want to say what) during those earlier witch hunts.

Has anyone suggested climate change “deniers” be burned at the stake? Well… recently, there has been a huge flap on the web about an article about “climate change”  “deniers” published in “The Guardian” that, according to Breitbart News, was illustrated with a photo of a severed head. The Guardian article, elicited a number of comments including one which was traced to another Guardian author and Greenpeace activist using the name “Bluecloud” that included numerous references to beheading so-called “deniers” including the subject of the article — UK House of Lords member Matt Ridley (who describes himself as a Climate Change “Lukewarmer).”

When I went to the Guardian website I didn’t find the severed head photo, nor could I find the comment from Bluecloud. Instead I found a photo of people costumed as “zombies” and a reference comparing debunking climate change myths to killing zombie and complaining about how tiring it becomes having to kill and re-kill myths that never stay dead.

Further web research revealed that the Guardian had removed Bluecloud’s comment as well as info revealing his identity.

In various other articles writers have suggested that: “Climate Change Deniers” be subjected to Nuremberg-style trials, that firemen let deniers’ houses burn down (because those who deny climate change are willing to let our planet burn up); That deniers be executed. (Strangling them in their beds is one suggested method.) A New York Times cartoon even suggested stabbing deniers in the heart with icicles as justice for the deniers” claiming that the severe winter of 2013-2014 (which formed plenty of icicles) served as proof Global Warming was a hoax: A 2010 climate campaign video even shows a teacher blowing up students who didn’t sign on to cut their carbon footprints.

On a milder note, Well-known environmental activist Robert Kennedy, Jr., in his article “Jailing Climate Deniers,” argues that corporations and think tanks, which do not enjoy free speech protections reserved for individuals, “should be given the death penalty” (charter revocation) if they “deliberately, purposefully, maliciously and systematically sponsor climate lies.”

In a time when people being beheaded and burned alive has become de rigueur on the daily news, advocating beheading people or burning them at the stake, even if it is alleged to be “mere rhetoric,” makes me wonder where this is all headed.

This brings to mind another point of identity between those earlier witch-hunts and our contemporary versions — the fact that deniers attract the most venom from the blamers, more venom even than the alleged perpetrators of said crises. If your modus operandi is never waste a serious crisis (as it is for modern liberals — thanks, Rahm Emanuel), the last thing you want is for someone to debunk your crisis. During the 15th and 16 th century, confessing guilt as a witch and admitting that witchcraft was responsible for altering the weather could get you a reprieve and forgiveness.  Denying it could get you burned at the stake.

And we wonder why Republicans are so reluctant to mount an open opposition to these campaigns.

How can conservatives counter this…? Not very well, apparently. It isn’t the business of free market solutions to counter crises that are trumped up, imagined, or manufactured in order to provide a leg-up to political power. For example, the fact that no one can prove the Earth is actually warming aids Climate Changers more than deniers. If the Earth was truly getting warmer, oceans would be rising, cities would be flooding, crops would be failing, and, well, everyone knows that the best way to deal with any real problem is with capitalism, private enterprise, and the free market. If the globe actually were warming, quite likely most of us (including Climate Change Crusaders) would have to turn to a conservative, free market approach to actually solve the problems thus created, and the Crusaders would be put out of business, at least temporarily.

But not for long.

While free enterprise establishes its legitimacy by solving concrete problems, liberalism campaigns itself into positions of power by using problems that can’t be solved because they are trumped up, manufactured, or distorted to be immune to pre-emption by the free market and conservatives. Take the issue of race. Republicans are currently cast as villains in this issue and are even blamed for trying to recreate slavery in spite of the fact that a Republican (Lincoln) ended slavery in the U.S. and more Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Bill. Also, Republicans, rather than Democrats, are the most functional supporters of Martin Luther King Jr’s dream that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. The free market judges people by what they do, what they are able to achieve, how hard they work, in other words, by the content of their character. These days that will get you classified as a racist.

Another example from the list of crises manipulated by liberals to serve as an excuse for a witch hunt is poverty. Democrats/liberals tell us that poverty and income inequality are created by capitalism and the producers within our economy, even though it is capitalism and free enterprise that has made us the wealthiest nation the world has ever known. The free market is thus ruled out as a source of solutions to poverty except to be parasitized and the wealth it creates confiscated and redistributed. If initiative and inventiveness are applied to solve the problem of poverty — to solve any problem — they must be applied in service to liberal prescriptions — renewable energy, wealth redistribution, reducing human impact. Otherwise they will be blamed for increasing human impact, climate change, causing the sky to fall.

In the meantime, blacks, poor and others who are willing to give up their right to realize the content of their character and rise to their full potential via their own initiative, creativity, and enterprise are indentured to the dole and required only to vote Democrat, raise a little hell, and conduct some witch hunts (to keep Republicans intimidated) to stay on the plantation.

The best way to counter climate change as far as I can see is to stop trying to debunk it with dueling thermometers and climate studies and reveal it for what it is, a Trojan Horse dressed up in a Chicken Little outfit and filled with an endless supply of witch hunters.

Posted in 1001 Ways to Debunk Global Warming, Climate Change deniers, Conservative Environmentalism, Conservative environmentalist, environmental politics, Green Conservatism, Holding Liberals Accountable | Leave a comment


What About Global Warming Drake

How much do cows and grazing really contribute to Global Warming? Some groups say they are the greatest contributors of all, creating even more carbon loading than all forms of transportation combined.

I like to find things out for myself, on the ground so to speak. So, rather than read a bunch of studies in which I have little to no faith, I decided to try a technique which, as far as I know, no one else has tried.

I decided not to measure carbon dioxide. I didn’t have any real way to do that, and I didn’t want to go around counting, collecting and measuring cow farts, so I decided to measure warming itself.

To do that, I went to the local hardware store and bought a device which can read the temperature of a surface — the soil surface, for instance — from as much as two feet away. Having thus equipped myself I headed for some central Arizona rangeland.

First, I went with a group of agency people – U. S. Forest Service, Arizona Game and Fish, Arizona State Lands, etc.— to monitor transects on a well-managed ranch, a ranch on which I’ve studied, rode horses, taken photographs, and even done ecosystem restorations for a number of years.

Below is a photo of the group “reading” one of those monitoring transects. While the monitoring team identified plants, counted them, measured their density, and recorded data, I took my new thermometer and took several readings. Because the area was almost entirely covered by grass (native grasses, I might add.), I took the most of my readings on areas of that sort. The reading illustrated along with the photo below (78°) is fairly representative. All of my readings were in the low to mid 80s and high 70s.

What About Global Warming Bar Heart

Next, while the rest of the team headed off to another transect, I went to visit one of my favorite counter-examples to the idea that land is healthiest if and where we protect it from the impacts of humans, especially from livestock grazing. This area is the U. S. Forest Service Drake Study area located not too far from Prescott, Arizona. The Drake has been protected from all human use (except study) since 1946. That’s a photo of the Drake Study Plot at the top of this post. So you don’t have to scroll back to the top, and for easy comparison, I’ll include another copy here:

What About Global Warming Drake

How effective a means of countering global warming is removing livestock grazing. In central Arizona, at least, it appears to increase global warming rather than counter it  by at least.  If you’ve spent much time on this blogsite, you’ve heard of the Drake before, and you’ve seen photographs of it. If that’s the case, you know what it looks like, and if not, well, here it is — bare as a parking lot. I know it surprises most of you to encounter a piece of land that is “protected” and, nevertheless, in this condition. It surprises virtually everyone I tell about it, but bare it is. Most people whom I tell about the Drake assume that it is bursting with growth when I tell them it has been protected from grazing for more than 65 years (68 and counting). I don’t intend to explain here why this is not the case, but if you want to know more about this apparent contradiction of environmentalist conventional wisdom just search the blogsite for “Drake,” and you’ll get the picture. Actually, you’ll get a lot of them.

Right here and now, I’m using the Drake purely to illustrate the fact that, in some cases at least, protecting the land contributes significantly more to planetary warming than grazing it (as much as 44° in this case).

I checked the temperature of several areas, both grassy and bare, that day and the temperature difference remained about what I’ve reported. I did find that green grass was a little cooler than grass that had completed its growth cycle and had begun to dry and turn yellow. This is significant because the majority of green grassy areas I found were on the well-managed ranchland.

What that all adds up to is areas that were grazed were consistently and significantly cooler than areas that were protected from grazing, as much as 44° (36%)cooler. What makes this even more significant is that the most effective way I know of turning bare and therefore hot areas into grassy and therefore cool areas is to use animals such as cattle to do so. I know this contradicts the conventional wisdom, which tells us that cattle make the land bare, therefore it has to be impossible for them to make it green and lush. For more on this check just about any (or all) of the other posts in this blog.

Posted in 1001 Ways to Debunk Global Warming, Conservative Environmentalism, Conservative environmentalist, environmental politics, Green Conservatism, Holding Liberals Accountable, Natural Conservatism, Nature is Conservative, Uncategorized, vegetarianism, with animals | Leave a comment


For a narrated video via YouTube click on the picture…

(To return to this website, hit your “back” arrow after the YouTube ends.)



Posted in Conservative Environmentalism, Conservative environmentalist, environmental politics, Green Conservatism, Natural Conservatism, Nature is Conservative, vegetarianism, with animals | Leave a comment


Dawa Both Hands Up

In 1980  when I first moved to the West, to Flagstaff, Arizona, one of the first things I did was become involved as an environmentalist and join the Sierra Club and, shortly thereafter, Earth First!. I was excited about my new home, about the mountains, canyons, rivers, and wide open spaces, and wanted to keep those things as spectacular, healthy, open and free as possible. At the time I arrived, one of the hottest environmental issues was grazing private livestock on public lands. Grazing livestock on land both public and private was claimed to be the most damaging activity humans had brought to the West. As one environmental group put it:

“The ecological costs of livestock grazing exceed that of any other western land use.”

Livestock grazing was blamed for endangering species, destroying vegetation, damaging wildlife habitats, disrupting natural processes, and wreaking ecological havoc on riparian areas, rivers, deserts, grasslands and forests alike.

What most caught my attention about this campaign against public lands grazing were the photos of denuded, eroded, cowturd-littered landscapes. Those photos served as one of the most effective tools for communicating the damage described above to those, like me, who were most likely to be concerned and recruited.

Here are a couple:

11. Public Lands Grazing Damage Hudak best 1











Entrenched sharp


To make a long story short, I got involved, wrote a couple of books about the topic (actually about environmentalists and ranchers working together), and ended up enjoying a fairly rewarding speaking career about the topic.

Over time, the furor over public lands grazing has lost much of its intensity. Although grazing continues on public lands, it is highly regulated and significantly reduced. In fact, it has been totally removed from many areas where it had been standard operating procedure for more than a century. Also, Global Warming/Climate Change has replaced it (as well as a number of other issues) at the top of the eco-issues hit parade.

Living in Arizona, and remaining just as concerned about the mountains, canyons, rivers, and wide open spaces that have been my home now for 34 years, I have continued to keep track of the areas I made such a big deal about as a wilderness advocate and crusader for “healthy ecosystems.” As a result, I have something to report that may surprise you. It certainly surprised me.

The surprise is, the problems purportedly caused by grazing haven’t gone away even where grazing has. In fact, they have become worse, so much worse that a significant portion of Western rangelands may be in worse shape today than they were when the campaign to protect them was at its hottest. What is different, however, is that the responsibility for the deteriorated condition of the western range has shifted — reversed, in fact. Now it is protection and regulation and the advocates of those policies that are wreaking havoc on our natural heritage.

This is something you have to see to understand — and to believe.

Having noticed the poor and deteriorating condition of the rangelands near my home in Sedona and on trips as far afield as Big Bend National Park in Texas and Jasper National Park in Canada, I started taking photographs to confirm my concern. First, I took photos of the most eye-catching (and mind-blowing) examples of degradation on lands that are now “protected” but were grazed in the past. That ignited my curiosity, and inspired me to start ferreting out old photographs of those exact same places while they were being grazed. These I located via local U.S. Forest Service offices, museums, books, and the internet. I even copied some from old movies (An old Elvis movie — “Stay Away Joe” was one of my sources).

One of the first “before and after” comparisons that caught my eye is illustrated by the following pair of photos from along a favorite hiking trail near Sedona. The first photo (courtesy of the Sedona Heritage Museum) was taken on 12/29/1957. Grazing was ended on this site shortly after this photo was taken.

1.Little Horse Park 1957

The next photo shows the exact same place in 2012 after 55 years of protection from grazing. The mountain on the upper right in the first photo (Courthouse Butte) doesn’t show above the trees in the second photo because the trees are bigger, and the point where I took the re-photo is lower than the original photo point, according to my rough calculations, due to 3 to 4 feet of soil erosion.

Little Horse Park 2013

Next, I located some old U. S. Forest Service photos of old rangeland monitoring sites used to evaluate the effects of management (in this case grazing) on Forest Service lands. Here’s an example — a photo taken in 1963, also near Sedona, of an area that had been grazed for more than 50 years.

3. Dry Creek Allotment C5T1.1963

In 1963 the grass was short (most likely it had recently been grazed), but you can see the plants were close together, the coverage was fairy complete, and there was little evidence of erosion.


I even located a photo of a 3 foot square frame by means of which the plants in a certain part of the transect were identified, recorded, and mapped to enable the USFS to accurately read and record any change that happened.

Forty-nine years later (2012) I took a photo of that exact same site. I even relocated (and re-photoed) the frame. According to the best information I can find, grazing was removed from this area “before 1981,” so, at the time of the re-photo, the area had been protected for 30+ years. To shed a little more light on what is happening here, I included a photo of the land just to the left of the monitoring site. (That’s the same location stake.)

56. JPG

Interestingly, a U. S Forest Service Range staffer, upon visiting this site with me in 2013, and comparing what she saw with the 1963 photographs said, “Well, The grass looks healthier now than it did back then, except where there isn’t any.”

”Where there isn’t any” is just about everywhere. Here’s a photo showing a little broader perspective on the matter.

7. Left for Upload

To give a bigger picture of what’s happening here I’ve included three photos from nearby on the same grazing allotment.

8. Big Erosion 1 upload

That’s me. I’m 6’3”, and I can reach to 8 feet.

From the look of the exposed tree roots and freshly toppled trees it appears safe to say that erosion continues in this area in spite of the fact that it is being protected and has been for 30+ years. (I would also add it’s just as obvious that protection isn’t doing much to heal the area.)

Seeing devastation of this degree I couldn’t help but wonder: Were the effects of “overgrazing” anywhere near as bad as the effects of protection? To answer that question, I started searching the Web for those denuded, eroded, cowturd-littered images that were used to make the case against public lands grazing. I wanted to compare the effects of the activity whose “ecological costs exceed that of any other western land use” with the impacts of the remedy that was supposed to return the West to conditions the protectionists described as “pristine nature.”

This is where things really got surprising — the great majority of those “cows destroy the West” photos were mild, ho-hum, no big deal in comparison. Some even looked like positive impact photos.

Here’s the collection of images that resulted from one of those Google searches. 

11. Public Lands Grazing Damage Upload11. Public Lands Grazing Damage

When that collection of photos showed up on my computer screen I couldn’t help but wonder: Is this what so outraged me and recruited me thirty years ago? Is this the best they’ve got?

It must be, I concluded. These are the images that were published in books like Welfare Ranching, and Waste of the West, These are the photos that are on the websites of the groups still making the case to remove grazing from public lands.

So, If environmental groups were so concerned about the effects of grazing on public lands in this photo, for instance:

12. Hudak 1

From Mike Hudak’s Photo Gallery of Ranching on Western Public Lands “This drainage in a heavily grazed field has eroded to a width of five feet.”

Why do we not hear a peep from them about the apparently much more damaging effects of protection on public lands in, for instance, this photo?

13. Looking up Through Roots Upload

This drainage, in an area that has been protected from grazing for more than 30 years, has eroded to a depth of more than ten feet.

Another comparison — same question:

If environmental groups are concerned about the effects of grazing on public lands in this photo:

Entrenched sharp

From Welfare Ranching: The Subsidized Destruction of the American West — LIFEBLOOD OF THE WEST Riparian Zones, Biodiversity, and Degradation by Livestock, by J. Boone Kauffman, Ph.D “This stream in northern New Mexico has become “entrenched.” Over time, grazing and trampling of the soils and banks by livestock have caused the stream to widen and cut downward.”

What about this?

15. 2013Spring_WheatfieldExclosureUpload

Talk about entrenched!!! This is the Coconino National Forest White Hills Erosion Control Study Plot protected since 1935 (78 years and counting). (Photo courtesy of the Coconino National Forest)


What do these comparisons tell us? Well, one thing they seem to make clear is that, for those of us who are truly concerned about restoring and sustaining the ecological health of the rangelands of the American West, we’re spending our money and our energy in the wrong place. Instead of campaigning to protect the public lands of the West from grazing, we ought to be protecting them from, well, “protection,” which may qualify as the real “most damaging activity humans have brought to the West”

One thing that qualifies protection for this distinction is that the damage it causes is not only more severe, it is more permanent — more permanent because it is a one way street. Ask protectionist groups what they can or will do to heal the damage shown in the photo of me looking up through those protected tree roots or that fellow peering out from that huge eroded gully in the White Hills Study Plot, and the great majority of them will tell you, “Protect it longer.” One activist has told me, “It might take more than a lifetime.” The White Hills Study Plot has been protected for 78 years. That sounds like a lifetime to me.

I’ve written books (and articles for this magazine) about ranchers who have healed damage greater than anything shown among the “grazing destroys the West” photos by using their management practices and their animals as the means to perform that healing. In fact, I’ve done some of those restorations myself (I have some dynamite photos). Those restorations took days instead of lifetimes.


To their credit a few environmental groups and collaborative associations are using those grazing-to-heal techniques today. I suspect that, in some cases, they’re even using them to heal the effects of protection.

But to heal damage, you have to be able to see it, be aware that it is there, and you have to want to heal it.

Environmentalists have trouble seeing the damage they cause because they suffer from a type of blindness of which they have accused ranchers for as long as I’ve been involved in this issue.

Environmentalists accuse ranchers of being blind to the damage they cause to the land because they (ranchers) consider what they do (raise food for people by using resources they believe God gave us just for that purpose) so valuable and so righteous that they refuse to see, just plain ignore, or consider irrelevant the damage it causes.

This phenomenon — being rendered blind to the damage you cause by your own feelings of righteousness — is a more accurate description of an affliction that plagues the green side of the aisle. When environmentalists say, “We all want to protect the environment,” they use the word “protect” in its vague general sense: “to protect from hurt, injury, overuse, or whatever may cause or inflict harm.”

The idea that “protecting” in this sense could cause harm to anything doesn’t make any sense. How could saving something from harm cause it harm?

If you peel away this blindfold of righteous semantics, however, as the photographs in this article have done, it becomes evident that the ecological impacts of “protection” may actually “exceed that of any other western land use” including grazing.

The implications of this are clear… If environmental groups and government agencies truly want to achieve their stated mission — to protect the environment from whatever may cause or inflict harm — they’ll have to open their eyes to the damage caused by what they call “protection.”

And hold this environmentalist panacea as accountable as any other land management method.





Here’s an alternative final paragraph that is less functional but more fun:


The idea that “protecting” in this sense could cause harm doesn’t make any sense. How could saving something from harm cause it harm?

If you peel away this blindfold of righteous semantics, however, and consider the comparisons included in this article, it becomes apparent that the ecological impacts of “protection” may actually “exceed that of any other western land use” including grazing.

The implications of this are clear… If elements of the protection industry, (environmental groups and government agencies) want to truly achieve their stated mission — to protect the environment from whatever may cause or inflict harm — they’ll have to protect it from themselves.




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The most effective way to repair damaged ecosystems, my experience and study has taught me, is for us humans to combine forces and energies with other animals (and plants, too) to work together and apply the processes that naturally create and sustain ecosystem health. This YouTube (my first successful effort at uploading one of my PowerPoint presentations) provides illustrations of successful applications of this natural collaboration.

I call this kind of environmentalism “conservative” because it is directed at and judges its success by creating a certain result rather than applying a liberal policy — “protection.” In fact one of the examples illustrated here deals with healing the damage caused by applying the liberal panacea of protection.

That, in my opinion, is Real Environmentalism…

Take a look…

YouTube Preview Image
Posted in Conservative Environmentalism, Conservative environmentalist, environmental politics, Green Conservatism, Holding Liberals Accountable, Liberalism Doesn't Work, Liberalism's Deepest Darkest Secrets, Natural Conservatism, Nature is Conservative, Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Words, words, words…

Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Mark Levin and a long list of others dedicate thousands of hours of air time and millions of words to make the point that liberal policies don’t work; that they don’t solve the problems of the economy, race relations, international relations, etc.

Their case is only as good as they are articulate in making it.

There is one place, however, in which you can see liberalism’s failures exposed graphically in barren landscapes, catastrophic erosion, precipitous gullies, desertified grasslands, washed away soil, etc. That place is here, on the

(Note: Since this is an unfolding story, I’ll be adding to it as time goes on and as I make new discoveries. In spite of that, the story will always begin at the beginning, but if you’re following it as it develops (and don’t want to have to search through the whole thing to find out where you left off) I have included search terms similar to chapter headings that you can use to go straight to more recent posts.)

One more note: many of the comparisons I present here use the technique of rephotography. What that means is, I locate an old photograph in one of a number of places — old movies, magazines, or books; museum collections; the files of the U. S. Forest Service or some other government agency; family collections, my own colletions (I’ve lived in the West and been involved in environmental issues since 1980) and then I relocate where that photo was taken and rephoto it as exactly as I can.

I’ll start off with one of the most startling examples of what this technique can reveal. The first photo in this comparison comes from the files of the Sedona Heritage Museum. It was taken by a local writer and photographer and shows cattle on an area from which they had been permanently banned about a year previous by order of the U. S. Forest Service. My suspicion is the writer knew cattle had been banned from this area and intended to use this photo to prove that a violation of the had occurred.

Below is her photo taken on 12/29/1957. Cattle are plainly visible. Note the condition of the land. There are trees and lots of grass. The land looks healthy. There is no indication of desertification nor of erosion. At this point the land had been grazed for more than 50 years.

1957 near Sedona Arizona, rangeland grazed for more than 50 years. (photo courtesy Sedona Heritage Museum)

Shortly after the above photo was taken grazing was effectively halted here. Fifty-six years later I reshot the photo. Here’s what the same place looks like after it had been “protected” for more than half a century.

2013 - Same location as above. protected for 55+ years. Photo by Dan Dagget

Notice the changes. First of all, the grass is gone. Second, the trees are bigger and there are more of them. Third, there has been significant erosion. For instance, the mountain on the right doesn’t extend above the ridge as far as it did in the original photo. In fact, you can barely see it through (rather than above) the trees. The reason, I believe, is that the point where I was standing when I shot the second photo is three feet lower than the original photo point because that much soil has eroded away.

At this point you may say, “Wait a minute! How could removing the cows cause all these negative effects? Environmentalists have been campaigning for years to remove cattle grazing from public lands because they claim doing so would reverse desertification and prevent  erosion.

Other changes have happened here. After ranching was stopped here, houses were built in the area. (The chimney of one is visible above the trees just left of center in the “after” photo.) Also, an area nearby has been made a U. S. Forest Service trailhead, and people now hike and bike through the area. A small power line has also been constructed through the area — to service the house. In fact, I was standing under the power line as I shot the “after” photo.

Where does that leave us? If protection causes the kind of ecosystem changes illustrated in these two pictures, the same thing must have happened in other ecologically similar places where similar management changes have been made.


The photo shown below was taken by the U. S. Forest Service as a monitoring tool to determine how human activity (in this case, cattle grazing) effects a certain area of the Coconino National Forest in central Arizona near my home town — Sedona.

Faye Canyon US Forest Service monitoring site (near Sedona, Arizona) 1958

Since 1958 (the date of this photo) this same site has been periodically re-photographed, and certain data (plant species, density, and condition) have been recorded.

This is the same place in 1974.

Faye Canyon US Forest Service monitoring site (near Sedona, Arizona) 1974

Here it is in 1979… About this time (in 1977) grazing was effectively halted on this USFS grazing allotment.

Faye Canyon US Forest Service monitoring site (near Sedona, Arizona) 1979

In 1988…

Faye Canyon US Forest Service monitoring site (near Sedona, Arizona) 1988

Here it is today, in 2013. Notice the changes. The trees have gotten bigger. There are more of them. There is less grass, more bare dirt, and erosion is accelerating.

Faye Canyon US Forest Service monitoring site (near Sedona, Arizona) 2013

The change is revealed more effectively if you take a look beyond those trees.

Faye Canyon US Forest Service monitoring site (near Sedona, Arizona) 2013 beyond the trees.

Here it is easy to see that there is a lot less grass, a lot more bare dirt, and much, much more erosion. Scroll back up and see what it used to look like.

This land has effectively been “protected,” for more than thirty years. According to liberal environmentalist dogma it should be returning to ecological health instead of  turning into desert. What has happened here and what can we learn from it?

Stay tuned.


Posted in Big Green Doesn't Work, Conservative Environmentalism, Conservative environmentalist, environmental politics, Holding Liberals Accountable, Liberalism Doesn't Work, Natural Conservatism, Nature is Conservative | Leave a comment


First published on American Thinker:

Most environmentalists I know consider themselves non-religious, even anti-religious. A few subscribe to “new” religious denominations such as Unitarianism, which I have heard described as “church for atheists with children.” None, as far as I know, would take kindly to being described as practitioners of fundamentalist, Bible-thumping, “ol’ time religion”.

The irony, here, is that contemporary environmentalism and fundamentalist religion have so much in common.

Take the most basic assumption of contemporary environmentalist doctrine. Individual environmentalists and environmental organizations, alike, hold that the one and only way to solve the problems they address is to “protect” the environment. Who they would protect it from, of course, is us, based on the further assumption that everything that goes wrong with the environment — desertification, species extinction, invasion by non-native plants, etc. — is the result of human misuse or overuse or just plain use of “nature” or the ecosystem, or whatever you choose to call our surroundings.

This assumption has become so all-encompassing that we now even blame ourselves for occurrences we used to call “natural” disasters.. Hurricanes are our fault (a result of Global Warming). Weather too hot — our fault. Too cold — ditto. There are even plenty of people who say earthquakes and tsunamis are our fault; also caused somehow by Climate Change.

Such a line of reasoning leads inevitably to the conclusion that the only way to solve any and all environmental problems is to somehow get us humans to use less, produce less, and reproduce less. So, at environmentalists’ behest our government creates such things as wilderness areas and nature preserves, on the theory that nature-left-alone will heal its human-caused wounds and help sustain at least a part of the planetary life-support system. In some countries, Canada, for instance, there are areas into which humans are forbidden to even set foot. More radical environmental groups, such as Earth First! (which I played a small part in helping to form) are pushing for similar measures in the U. S.

You’re not paying attention if you haven’t recognized this as simply a rerun of the biblical story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

This congruence of environmentalism and fundamentalism isn’t a coincidence. It can be traced to the fact that John Muir, “the spiritual father of the environmental movement” who founded the Sierra Club, the first environmental group, was a Calvinist. Calvinists, who first coined the word “fundamentalist” to describe themselves, held that the original sin for which humans were punished by expulsion from Eden, is a defining characteristic of what it means to be “human.”

As a good Calvinist/fundamentalist/environmentalist, Muir was a frothing misanthrope, referring to humans as “the Lord Man” and writing, “Man is always and everywhere a blight on the landscape.”

So, as modern day green fundamentalists engage in a ritual re-creation of the expulsion of “the Lord Man” from Eden, one could make the case that they are indulging in a religious exercise rather than applying a practical effort to solve environmental problems.

Using an approach derived from fundamentalist  religion to deal with real world problems (and there are plenty of environmental problems that are real and serious) has a huge downside. First, it dooms us to deal with practical problems with an approach that treats them as invariably a matter of good versus evil, of “us” (the righteous Earth Savers) against “them,” the heretics and devils (Global Warming Deniers, capitalists, one percenters, Republicans,…)

Because this makes those issues a matter of winning and of defeating devils rather than solving problems, we spend more time proselytizing, evangelizing, and battling in the arena of politics than we do learning to live sustainably within our surroundings. Evidence that this is the case is provided by the fact that environmentalists measure their success in terms that really have nothing to do with the ecological problems they supposedly set out to fix. Among those terms are:

• the number of converts (members, supporters, and devotees) groups are able to evangelize, and the amount of contributions they are thus able to attract

• the extent to which they are able to convince the rest of us to blame the villains, demons, devils, satans, they blame — capitalists, free enterprisers, private land managers, meat eaters, the 5 % of the world’s population who live in the U. S. and use 25% of the world’s resource, and…

• the extent to which they are able to inject their doctrines, prejudices, and policies into the rules by which our society operates.

Does this approach of using religious-style rituals, exorcisms, and crusades work to make the environment any better, healthier, more sustaining?

To true believers that question doesn’t even make sense.

Religious truth is a matter of faith. It can’t be falsified by experience or fact. Can you prove via experience, facts, or science that God didn’t make little green apples, that Buddha wasn’t truly enlightened, or that Islam isn’t the religion of peace?

In the same way, and for the same reasons, it is just as impossible to debunk the charge that we are the cause of global warming, climate change, species extinction, or whatever.

This is why using environmentalist dogma to guide the creation of legislation and regulation violates the separation of church and state. It is also why doing so can lead us to results that are just the opposite of what we intend. If environmental policies can’t be proved wrong by experience, facts, or science, there is no way to prove that they don’t work, even when their results are absolutely disastrous.

This fatal flaw isn’t limited to environmental policies, it extends throughout liberalism. The reason it is impossible to prove (at least to liberals) that wealth redistribution doesn’t solve the problem of poverty, no matter how much poverty rates increase under those policies, or that Obamacare doesn’t create the best health care system possible, no matter how much rates increase or how many people end up without insurance as a result of those policies, is because liberalism, as well as its offspring, environmentalism, is a matter of blind faith, not reason.


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By Dan Dagget

Saul Alinsky, Rules for Radicals: Rule 5: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. It’s hard to counterattack ridicule, and it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage.

What’s funny about liberals? That they actually believe that stuff. Liberal dogma, I mean. In fact, if you take off your liberal blinders (If you happen to be wearing a pair), liberal politics reveals itself to be nothing more than a string of second-rate comedy routines.

Take Global Warming, for instance. It doesn’t take a PhD to recognize this scam as nothing more than a cheap imitation of the old Saturday Night Live “Landshark” skit. For those who aren’t old enough to have seen “Landshark” (or are so old they’re unable to remember), it was a take-off on the movie “Jaws.” Bill Murray, disguised in a Muppet-style shark suit, would ring the doorbell of an unsuspecting Gilda Radner, who would refuse to open the door because she had heard there was a landshark prowling the neighborhood. The “shark” would then attempt to fool Radner by announcing itself in a tinny monotone as a “Plumber,” and when that didn’t work, “Cable guy,” or  “Flowers” and finally, “Candygram,” at which point Gilda would open the door, and, there would be the landshark, which would then mock-devour her to the “Dum-dum, dum-dum, dum-dum” theme of “Jaws.”

The difference with the liberal political version of this routine is, instead of  “cable guy,” “flowers,” and “candygram,” liberals threaten us with a litany of crises they’ve dreamed up specifically to convince us that we ought to open the door to what they’re all trying to sell — bigger government. In the 1970s they tried “return of the ice age” to convince us that we should surrender more of our rights and liberties to the government (which means to them), and when we got bored with the “ice age” scare, and it lost its traction, they changed to “the end of the rain forest,” then “death of the oceans,” and “the ozone hole,” More recently, they’ve come up with “global warming,” at which point some of us said, “Wait a minute, You just said “return of the ice age.” Now it’s “global warming?” Do you really think we’re stupid enough to believe that humans are making the world too cold and too warm at the same time?”

So, they changed to “climate change.”

I guess “whatever” is next.

And when we finally do open the door to one of these scams by electing some liberal or other to office, the remedy they propose to solve any or all of these the problems is always the same. In fact, liberals only have one remedy for anything: That we invest them with more authority so they can gobble up more of our freedoms with more government, more regulation, and more sure-fire solutions that don’t work.

The theme music, however, remains the same…

Dum-dum, dum-dum, dum-dum.

Posted in 1001 Ways to Debunk Global Warming, Conservative Environmentalism, Conservative environmentalist, Green Conservatism, Holding Liberals Accountable, Liberalism Doesn't Work, Liberalism's Deepest Darkest Secrets, Natural Conservatism, Nature is Conservative | Leave a comment


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Because a public school in Queens, NY has become the first in the nation to serve only vegetarian food

And, because a new eating disorder: orthorexia (the compulsion to eat only politically correct foods — no dairy, eggs, meat, grains, fats) — is sweeping the nation.

I have decided to re-post EAT MEAT AND SAVE THE PLANET!

Every time some overinflated Hollywood celeb or irrelevant British royal says we all have to become vegetarians to save the planet, I think about how rarely I’ve seen wildlife in a vegetable field. No elk, no pronghorn, certainly no mountain lions. And if I do happen to see a rabbit or a prairie dog among the veggies, I know whoever planted them is doing everything they can to get those uninvited guests out of there to keep them from eating up the produce or polluting it with e coli.And wildflowers? In a field of vegetables wildflowers are considered “weeds” and treated as such.

On the other hand, visit a cattle ranch here in the West and you have a good chance of seeing deer, elk, pronghorn, coyote, black bear, bobcat, rattlesnakes, gila monsters, road runners, Gambles quail…. the list is too long to print here. Get lucky and you might see a mountain lion. I know a rancher who has seen a couple of jaguars on ranchland here in Arizona.

As for wildflowers, as I write this, I’m looking at a ranch out the window of my camper, and I can see giant saguaros, cholla cactus, palo verde and creosote bush. The Arizona poppies, brittlebush, and desert marigolds were spectacular this spring, and the native grasses are providing plenty of forage for wild and domesticated animals alike.

An activist vegetarian responding to what I just said would point out that growing vegetables requires a lot less land than raising meat. This enables us to protect more land and allow it to return to nature so it can be home to even more wildlife and wildflowers.

That would be an effective counter-argument if it weren’t true that raising meat on the land can benefit it ecologically even more than protecting it.

How’s that?

Scientists who’ve studied the matter tell us that grasslands and grazing animals evolved together and developed an interdependence similar to so many other mutually beneficial relationships in nature: bees and flowers, beavers and meadows, reef fish and coral. When cattle are managed so that they act like natural grazers, i. e., when they are kept in herds and moved across the landscape in response to conditions of moisture, season, and other natural factors, they create this same kind of interdependence.

That’s why cattle have been successfully used to restore ecological health to land that has been damaged by mining, by raising crops in ways that exhaust the land’s fertility, and even by the environmentalists’ panacea “protection.” For instance, in Arizona and Nevada, cattle have been used to return native vegetation to denuded mine sites and piles of mine waste on which other forms of reclamation had failed. How do they do it? By stomping in seeds and mulch and nourishing the mixture with their own natural fertilizer. Sheep and goats have been used to create firebreaks and remove nonnative plants at various locations from East to West, and sheep, goats, and cows have been used to revegetate land damaged by catastrophic wildfire.

I haven’t heard of a single case of soybeans or broccoli being used to achieve any of that.

As for all that cow flattulence and belching the anti-meat folks tout as a cause of global warming, properly grazed grasslands have been shown to be so effective at sequestering carbon in green and growing grass that some ranchers have been able to supplement their income by marketing carbon offsets created by their naturally-managed cattle.

That works even if you don’t believe in global warming

Acknowledging the effectiveness of these techniques the state of Florida has come up with a plan to contract with ranchers to use their livestock to improve that state’s rangelands’ ability to absorb, clean, and sequester water. One of the aims of this program is to raise the water level in the Everglades. That’s right. Florida is using cows to rewater the Everglades.

On the other hand, when grazers are removed from the land the ecological results can be disastrous.

In Central California, when cattle grazing was removed from seasonal wetlands called vernal pools, the native plants and animals that live there, some of which are endangered, were displaced by nonnative weeds in as few as three years. When grazing was resumed the rare plants and animals returned.

Also in California, the threatened bay checkerspot butterfly has disappeared from lands from which cattle grazing was eliminated — to protect the butterfly. On lands that continue to be grazed the butterfly has managed to persist.

Because of this and similar instances “cessation of grazing” has been recognized as one of the main threats to some of California’s most sensitive ecosystems by the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition. That organization includes The Nature Conservancy, Defenders of Wildlife, and Audubon, among others.

And, for those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you may remember (and want to link back to) the story of the native fish in Arizona (the spikedace) that was sustained by grazing for more than a century and exterminated  in less than a decade by “cessation of grazing,” or the Drake exclosure that’s been protected for more than 60 years and is as bare as a parking lot while the grazed land right next to it is covered with native grasses.

There’s more:

Meat is the only human food that can be raised on land that is officially designated wilderness. Not so with vegetables.

Meat can be raised on land that can also be used for recreation such as hiking, mountain biking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, orving, downhill skiing, and birdwatching. Vegetable fields are off limits to most of those. Just try riding your orv or your horse through someone’s field of bok choy.

So, the next time you chow down on a big juicy steak or leg of lamb, give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for saving the planet, and remember that you are enjoying the only food that can be raised within a diverse, native, openspace ecosystem in such a way that it restores, sustains, and even enhances that ecosystem.

On second thought, maybe you ought to order two steaks. It’s going to take a lot of cows to remedy all the ecological damage perpetrated by vegetarian environmentalists.

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