Political economy or political ecology?

 Gov. Jerry Brown, reflecting on the fires in northern and southern California last month in light of a recent "dire climate report" for the state, said:

"This is not the new normal. This is the new abnormal. And this new abnormal will continue, certainly in the next 10 to 15 to 20 years. And unfortunately, the best science is telling us that dryness, warmth, drought, all those things, they're going to intensify."  NPR, Steve Inskip, Nov. 20,  2018.

The  report he referred to makes great use of the word, "vulnerable." We are all "vulnerable."
What an amazing revelation for science to have discovered!
Are we as vulnerable as the great flocks of birds that used to make clouds of themselves in the wind? Are we as vulnerable as the San Joaquin kit fox? The Delta smelt? Ground-nesting birds on the west side? The waterfowl deformed and killed by selenium and other heavy metals drained into the Kesterson Refuge? The 15 endangered plant and animal species found in vernal pools?
Are we all as vulnerable as the elders and children in the Valley are to respiratory diseases? Aren't we all vulnerable to the Valley-wide dust cloud caused when almond growers harvest their crop, mostly for export?
Aren't we all vulnerable to next year's El Nino's hotter temperatures? Are we sickened by the application of millions of tons of pesticides on crops all around us?
Our drinking water is poisoned with the millions of tons of fertilizers.
We are vulnerable to the environmental effects caused by other people, who operate in the Valley in ways detrimental to the health of themselves, other humans, animals and plants.
The San Joaquin Valley is one of the most unhealthy places in the United States to live in. And still "leaders" call for more orchards, more water for irrigation, more residential growth, more dairy cows, more cotton when the price is right, finding that the way to successful leadership lies along the wide boulevard of rightwing, fact-free ignorance, selfishness, and a slogan or two, like "all problems can be solved by the free market." (And as many subsidies as we can get and hide and government guaranteed farm-income insurance.)
The religion that produced this environmental crisis is called  Political Economy, what has masqueraded as  philosophy in the Anglo-Saxon world for the last three centuries.
What is desperately needed now is not an automatic appeal to the "free market," which, when dealing with environmental issues, tends to produce an absurd level of corruption; what is needed now is a Political Ecology, a philosophy that places the badly wounded planet and its creatures first, displacing profits as the alleged primary motivation of all mankind.
I don't deny that many have contributed toward the effort of a genuine Political Ecology. Nor do I discount the difficulty such a viewpoint has as it emerges from the countless "hard, right decisions" made at every level of government by the smooth, slick politicians we are told are our leaders while they follow the people who  pay others to persuade us that this is the best of all possible governments and it is decided by fair elections.
I am saying that political ecology will get us closer to the truth of our common vulnerability and it will suggest ways of acting to protect ourselves, families, neighbors and friends.






The Guardian
Apocalyptic threat': dire climate report raises fears for California's future
Statewide assessment, which comes amid summer of extreme wildfires, warns of deadly cost if climate change is not stopped
Carla Green

Prop 3 failed, so what's next for the ailing Friant-Kern canal?

 Kyle Harvey, Eyewitness News
Bakersfield Californian
Tariffs the latest jab Kern County’s agricultural industry has to absorb
Beatris Espericueta Sanders
https://www.bakersfield.com/kern-business-journal/tariffs-the-latest-jab...Top of Form

Bottom of Form

Visalia Times Delta
'Red ink' year for citrus farmers who could be shut out from sending fruit to China
John Lindt, For the Times-Delta
October 2018
Office of UC Merced Bobcatflak

Because UC Merced is such a young university, it is unconstrained by “the way things have always been done.” The interdisciplinary and innovative spirit at the university’s core aligns perfectly with the future of leadership and management, whether it’s corporate, governmental or nonprofit, MM faculty members said.
This is the kind of program that could only emerge at UC Merced.
“This is a professional program that will expose students to the real world, to the complexity of the real world,” said Professor Paul Maglio, chair of the Department of Management of Complex Systems and founder of the MM program. “We’re not interested in stripping away everything that makes management hard — we want students to understand how people, technology and nature operate together, and how we can better engineer these systems.”
underlying this report: science2017.globalchange.gov
Summary Findings
Trump Delivers on Water for Valley, Gives Lift to GOP Congressmen
 Bill McEwen and David Taub
The Guardian
The ticking bomb of climate change is America's biggest threat


Michael H Fuchs
Modesto Bee
California’s choice: Let it burn, or figure out how to fight these deadly fires
Modesto Bee editorial board



Associated Press
Experts Seek Ways to Boost Extreme Wildfire Survival Rates
By Matthew Brown And Ellen Knickmeyer