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Priceless and worthless at the same time

Priceless and worthless at the same time

Over the past 50 years, approximately half the world’s original forest footprint has been lost, now covering less than a third of the planet’s landmass. Forests are complex ecosystems providing homes to many creatures with whom we are meant to share the earth. Forests use photosynthesis to convert light energy into chemical energy producing carbohydrates by synthesizing carbon and water. The byproduct of this process is oxygen, hence forests are referred to as the “lungs of the planet”. Forests also provide us with clean water through filtration and by trapping silt to allow our streams to run clear. In short, in exchange for their sizable environmental footprint, i.e, the space they take up on the planet, forests return two things we cannot live without, clean air and water.

It is truly unfortunate and very probably threatens the survival of our species that the quintillion dollar, dare I say “priceless” infrastructure nature provided only has value in a pure capitalist society if it is extracted and cut down. When I listened to Douglas County commissioner, Joe Laurance, during a meeting with the BOC this week snarl about “do nothing environmentalists” and proudly assert that “in our forests we don’t care how many birds are in there” I had to grip my chair to avoid throwing my pen at him.

iStock_000009999916SmallRecently we have heard a lot about shoring up and developing “traded-sector businesses” from economic development agencies like the Port of Coos Bay and SCDC. The premise is reasonable enough on the surface in that we should export or trade goods in order to import wealth to boost the local economy. Conversely, if we import less and trade locally we will retain more wealth which will also help the economy. Currently, the county imports almost 100% of its fuel and electrical energy needs thereby enriching foreign shareholders and depleting local purses. The county has the equivalent of billions of barrels of oil under the ground in the form of renewable solar and wind energy resources. Another way to retain local wealth would be to buy locally grown foods and to avoid patronizing big box stores and stop eating at fast food franchises. As a friend of mine pointed out recently, “if you are worried about the trade imbalance, stop shopping at Walmart!”

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About magix

When my oldest son, a Marine, left for war and crossed the border from Kuwait into Iraq in March 2003 I started writing my conscience. After two tours that young combat veteran’s mother is now an ardent peace activist and advocate for social, environmental and economic justice. MGx has matured since those early vents and ramblings and now covers relevant and important local and regional matters in addition to national and global affairs.


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9 Responses to "Priceless and worthless at the same time"

  1. The Reminder  January 20, 2014 at 6:16 AM

    Hey Ricky, have you had to do the wal-mart cheer yet.
    I hated the squiggly position.
    Maybe they don’t have their employees line up in the parking lot and do the cheer any more. Maybe they pay all their employees a living wage now, but I doubt it. Those people who don’t make 50K a year or better may find there is no ladder to climb anymore. They may not be able to advance any higher because there is already someone in that position. Do they continue to get their government subsidies until someone higher up moves along or do they deserve a living wage for their labors now? Wal-mart can afford to pay even the bottom rung people a better wage than a rate that makes many of their employees qualify and collect welfare, while the Walton family gets even richer.

  2. Rickey  January 20, 2014 at 5:16 AM

    I do know that wallmart buys a lot of there food product in the USA and I know this because I haul loads of freight to them they also pay very well for example their drivers make about $100000+ a year the people working the gate at their distribution centers make around $50000 a year the loaders make around $15-18 and hour and yes they do import products too

  3. TonyCapo  January 19, 2014 at 5:57 PM

    In other words, “Ecological tax reform. Shift the tax base away from value added and onto the resource flow.”

    Herman Daly: Steady-State Economy

    • magix  January 19, 2014 at 8:33 PM

      Very interesting! Am only halfway through but find he espouses many of the same concepts suggested here but his approach is very different than I have heard before. Thank you for posting

  4. wassup  January 18, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    Some day there will be a meaningful Buy America Act.

    • magix  January 19, 2014 at 8:34 PM

      I hope you are right

  5. Rickey  January 18, 2014 at 6:11 AM

    Why is it that by not shopping at Walmart will save coos county if they were to close how many jobs would be lost remember they start small and became large

    • magix  January 18, 2014 at 6:18 AM

      The point of the quip is that Walmart sells almost exclusively imported goods manufactured in other countries.


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