Odd that the Prime Minister is so concerned about the trucks in and out of the port for visitors to the "Fish Fry", yet his silence about the burning dump is deafening. Go figure!
Priorities of government officials are very interesting indeed. Press releases on issues like "The Candy Store With A Difference" or "Mount Tabor Celebrates Fatherhood" but nary a word about the burning dump.
I need a break from the frustrations caused by the "activities" of our Government (things like Mr. Mitchell and his work permit follies to the proposed online gambling Bill) so I was poking around two web sites that I thoroughly enjoy each time I visit.
The New York Observer reported in its April 15, 2013, issue (B 1) that Leonardo DiCaprio is teaming up with Christie’s in New York City, to hold a “major philanthropic auction.” I am not interested in the details, which appear to me a kind of kiss up to fellow celebrities on the political/cultural Left. But the following statement from the actor is quite instructive:
The Observer reports: ‘’The world’s forests, oceans and biodiversity provide us with innumerable benefits like oxygen to breathe, clean water to drink, and an abundant food supply,’ Mr. DiCaprio wrote in a letter to artists asking for donations, on his foundation’s stationary, the promotional item mentioned above. ‘And yet our planet and these vital ecosystems that sustain life are under enormous pressures from modern civilization’.”
Trouble is that from an environmentalist viewpoint the enormous pressure of which DiCaprio speaks is itself part of the environment, not some independent natural force. In short, modern civilization is part of the system! If it causes harm, that means the system itself is causing harm.
This is an inescapable fact. Environmentalists have no justification for removing people, including the people of modern civilization, from the environment. From their viewpoint, we are all in it together. We are all parts of nature, as well.
Interestingly a good many environmentalists are also animal rights champions and their argument includes the idea that human beings aren’t different from other animals in crucial respects. Tom Regan has argued that non-human animals possess virtually the same level of consciousness as we do and thus ascribing to them basic rights such as human beings have is justified. The other main advocate of treating animals like humans are treated, which justifies “liberating” them, holds that the feelings and interests of non-human animals differ very little from those of human beings, something that once again warrants ascribing to them basic rights akin to those we ascribe to ourselves.
All this suggests that animal rights advocates who are environmentalists place human beings within the realm of nature. So the enormous pressure from modern civilization--i.e., people--is actually just one additional natural pressure, namely, evolutionary pressure.
The bottom line is that for environmentalists the contributions people make to environmental developments are natural ones and cannot be rejected as something alien. Pollution, technology, modern agriculture, etc., etc., are all part of nature as far as environmentalist are concerned (including Mr. DiCaprio). From his point of view, then, even the environmental movement is but an aspect of nature! Its battles are natural battles, no different in principle from hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. I point out all this mainly to reduce the rhetorical heat emanating from too many environmentalists whereby what they like about the world counts as natural but what they do not counts as alien. That just will not do.
April 24, 2013
We are delighted to present Lessons in Freedom, essays by Dr. Tibor Machan, for your pleasure.
Dr. Machan holds the R. C. Hoiles Chair in Business Ethics & Free Enterprise at Chapman University's Argyros School of B&E.
As noted in Part I, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) manages and coordinates disaster preparedness on a national scale and appears to be doing some things right. Nonetheless, there may be ways in which we could improve our overall disaster planning efforts through decentralisation, thinking more widely about the natural threats that may face us, planning year-round (rather than during the hurricane season) and ensuring that disaster (and recovery) planning plays a more prominent role in our nation’s psyche.
First, like everything else we do in The Bahamas, our coordination efforts are totally centralised in the Capital. Whilst it is desirable to centralise certain aspects of disaster planning such as decision-making, due to co-location with the seat of government, our geography does not lend itself to total centralisation. This is mainly because of the infrastructural damage caused by storms which makes it difficult or impossible to transport relief supplies to the ‘outer islands’ after passage. This hampers recovery efforts, so moving relief supplies to hurricane ‘hotspots’ before the storm would eliminate the hassles of transport when transport is compromised.
Second, we have focused exclusively on one type of natural disaster (tropical cyclones/hurricanes), so all resources and knowledge gathering efforts are geared toward tropical storms. As the world’s climate evolves, we can expect changes in our natural events in future, for example, more frequent tornadoes. Of potentially more concern, is our position with regards to the North American and Caribbean Plates (see below) and the likelihood of earthquakes (or more likely, the after effects of earthquakes in neighbouring countries). Why should the country be immune to the possibility of quakes, generally, or indeed tidal waves? In Jan-2011 the effects of the Haiti ‘quake were felt strongly in Inagua, a short distance away.
In consideration of Atlantis, a major civilization that allegedly disappeared completely into the sea more than 10,000 years ago, Robert Ballard, acclaimed Ocean explorer, said “the legend of Atlantis is a logical one since cataclysmic floods and volcanic explosions have happened throughout history …”. I am not suggesting that we ought to lapse into ‘the world’s going to end’ mode but we should expand our thinking on other disaster possibilities, no matter how remote the probability.
If we look at the abpve seismic hazard map, which “depicts Peak Ground Acceleration (PGA) with a 10% chance of exceedance in 50 years” we could infer that more than a minor possibility exists.This particular seismic hazard map of North and Central America and the Caribbean “depicts the likely level of short-period ground motion from earthquakes in a fifty-year window”.
Third, our ‘disaster planning’ seems to kick into gear in Nassau during the few months prior to the hurricane season (01-June to 30-November) and focus on the Capital, when clearly, it would benefit from year-round education, training and awareness campaigns on all islands.
Finally, ‘disaster planning’ should maintain a more prominent position in our nation’s psyche, which could start by encompassing a wider scope of public activities and events and consider all of the following:
A dedicated national weather/emergency radio station to broadcast information on an ongoing basis between event seasons and do so frequently and comprehensively during natural events.
Education and training programmes should be ongoing to ensure that we are always conscious of the dangers that may visit us and how we might mitigate them.
Adequate collection and ‘pre-distribution’ of relief supplies (food, building supplies, mobile generators, etc) must be strategically stored around the country before storms arrive in designated 'hurricane supplies depots'.
Notwithstanding the above, we must improve our capability to transport relief supplies (after passage of a storm, once we know where the storms have actually hit).
Effective water management is needed to ensure that adequate potable water is available or at least, accessible, when needed.
Teams of emergency personnel comprised of RBDF personnel, RBPF personnel and local volunteers on each island are required on a 'matrix structure' basis. Personnel should be ready for immediate deployment and mobilization after passage of a storm.
Improved national and local coordination (centrally controlled from Nassau) but based on a national network of satellite phones on all major islands (apparently in limited use at the moment).
Last but by no means least, and dare I say it, Government intervention in the market (a clear ‘exception to the rule’), to stop the greed of a few suppliers from ‘price gouging’ or preying on the misery of others, who, through no fault of their own, find themselves without food, water, shelter or just under-resourced. The 'flip side' to this is to make available funds to aid recovery in the hardest hit areas (possibly through a 'national disaster insurance', paid for by all stakeholders in the country).
The eight steps outlined above above should build on current disaster planning efforts and strengthen our capabilities to deal with natural disasters and other ‘Acts of God’ that may visit upon us from time to time. Our recovery from these events has been woeful; it is shameful to see properties lying damaged 5 years after the storm.
A new and interesting group has surfaced to help prevent further degradation of Clifton Bay.
Their web site says:
"The Coalition to Protect Clifton Bay is a group of concerned individuals and organizations that are committed to preserving and protecting Clifton Bay and other common marine environments surrounding New Providence Island."Read more at their web site here…
They also have an online petition you can sign if you are so inclined here…