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Comic Strip of the Day — Nature’s Way

Adam Zyglis‘s commentary isn’t perfect, but I like it a lot.

He’s certainly right that the Trump administration is waging war not only on the environmental movement of the 1970s but that of Theodore Roosevelt at the turn of the last century.

I’m less concerned with the proposed adjustments to the Endangered Species Act — because they appear to be more adjustment than repeal — than with the attitude towards National Monuments and National Parks, which is deeply disturbing and blatantly dishonest.

I’m no tree-hugger. As an Adirondacker, I’ve seen the potential downside of extreme preservationism, in that we weren’t allowed to have cell towers until after a few people died in car accidents because they couldn’t summon help, and the Forever Wild crowd at one point tried to tighten regulations even further with a big, colorful, deceptive pamphlet featuring photos of things that had been built before the then-current set of rules.

But intelligence prevailed: We got our towers and the proposals failed and the park is still astonishingly wild and wonderful.

That happy result came about mostly because the regulators came north and had a look for themselves and listened.

It’s a good cure for extremism.

I don’t know what motivated Nixon to turn from his industrial buddies and support the environmental acts under his administration, but I do know that Roosevelt changed his mind about a variety of conservation concepts by getting on a train, going west and visiting Yellowstone and the Canyon, talking to experts and seeing the problems for himself.

That ain’t gonna happen with this crowd.

My quibble is that Zyglis hasn’t made clear that Guthrie’s song was a protest, not a celebration, written in response to the mindless patriotic bullshit of “God Bless America,” which he felt ignored the way poor people in this country were not simply marginalized but actively repressed.

He might have been more explicit except that “This land was made for you and me goddammit” didn’t scan.

On the other hand, he wrote an alternative verse which is not taught in schools but is preserved by Arlo:

As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

Which applies to this issue, but, then again, so does this equally neglected verse:

One bright sunny morning in the shadow of the steeple
By the Relief Office I saw my people
As they stood hungry, I stood there wondering if
This land was made for you and me.

Maybe the fact that little children aren’t taught those verses is the reason we’re in this position.

We stopped cleaning up the environment and, instead, cleaned up our history.

 

Also in the environmental news, Steve Breen notes the war on plastic straws.

Plastic straws are like kale. Yes, kale is good for you. But turning it into a cult fetish was weird and over the top. Bumper stickers promoting a freakin’ vegetable? Are you kidding me?

Similarly, straws are a good example of a frequently unnecessary plastic object, but they surely aren’t the only one, and let’s keep a little perspective here.

I was on the road last week and, as I went through various airports and ate at restaurants, it struck me that I was given a lot of straws without asking for them. If you’re eating on the fly, you probably want a straw. If you’re at a table, it’s just silly to drink through one.

A sensible approach would be to encourage restaurants to make them a request item.

Many fast food places already have straws in a bin rather than automatically handing them out. Good.

They’re saving money, just as stores would if — after a modification of cash register programming — they asked if you wanted a receipt before printing one out.

Another sensible approach would be to go back to the waxed-paper straws of my youth. And go back to wooden stir-sticks and wooden ice cream spoons, too.

City people fall to pieces when a tree is cut, but, trust me, sustainable forestry is a real thing, though sustainability has to be sustained itself through consumer pressure.

LL Bean pulled a contract for catalog paper from a mill in Maine a few years ago, not because their pulp wasn’t sustainably harvested but because they failed to get it properly certified as such.

Meanwhile, the Oval Wood Dish company in Tupper Lake, NY, provided jobs for years making those flat little wooden ice cream spoons until plastic spoons took over the market. They actually processed the things for a few years before shutting down for good.

And I’ve often told of how we resisted milk in non-returnable plastic jugs until it became the only mainstream option, while plastic bags are the default, even at grocery stores in towns with paper mills.

The children sing “This land was made for you and me,” but nobody told them that they are therefore responsible for it.

 

Speaking of battles I thought we’d already won, Big Ben Bolt is agonizing over having killed a sparring partner, even as he trains for an upcoming title fight.

There’s a continuity issue here, because Ben had retired from the ring at one point — these Vintage strips are from 1958 — but I’m more concerned with how, 40 years or so ago, we recognized the damage boxing does to fighters’ brains and turned away from the sport. Networks quit showing it and we all mourned as Muhammad Ali succumbed to the damage.

But, while we obsess over the accidental/incidental damage to football players, boxing — in which brain damage is not an unintended consequence but the equivalent of a touchdown or a home run — is back on the air.

We forgot to tell the kids about that, too, I guess.

 

I’ve saved the best for last: Today’s Reply All is the funniest, wittiest cartoon I’ve ever seen.

And I am completely unbiased, I can tell you that.

 

Death is …

Community Comments

#1 Sean Martin
July/26/2018
@ 7:14 am

Just this morning, I found someone had commented on a cartoon panel of mine, one showing two guys in an old-fashioned truck. The commenter said the following: “The stinking and air polluting and climate warming machine. And all heads and leaders of the car and oil corporations knew what millions of these devil’s hell machines are causing. To nature and to health of humans. On the entire planet named earth.” — and shred the panel with the same commentary.

Not bragging here, but we Canucks are one of the most environmentally aware countries on the plane, so I think you can understand why I read this and thought, “Yep. SJKW.”

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