30 thoughts on “Losing our Enviroschools

  1. What a load of fluff.

    May as well say “it’s green, so therefore it’s good”.

    It’s discretionary. We overpaid for a train. We have no money.

    Face up to it, Greens.

  2. Peter – I meant to put this puzzle to you the last time you appeared and hope you’ll have a look at it now. It’s a real situation regarding the rhino.
    In the hope of stopping the approaching extinction of the rhino being brought about as a result of the horn trade, rangers resorted to sawing off the horns, thinking the poaching would stop once the object of their desire was removed. The opposite happened. The horn barrons ordered a stepping-up of the slaughter, knowing that by making the horns all but impossible or even impossible to get, the prices on the ones they had stockpiled would soar. The market at work I suppose.
    Any comments or suggestions Peter? I know you have a different view to mine and would appreciate your views.
    Greenfly.

  3. Greenfly,
    The cow goes “Moooo”.
    The progeny of the Auroch have proliferated well indeed. A lesson prehaps?

  4. ““Public access is already ensured through existing regulation and law and was never at issue. It was used by detractors, including National and Labour, to whip up opposition to Maori having access to the courts for the investigation of their customary title,” said Mrs Turei. ”

    really? when customary title (indigenous ownership of sea land) is granted it will be over to them, surely? Their rights will trump non Maori rights.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0907/S00025.htm

  5. Sapient – so few domesticated animals, so many untame-ables! Why is that? Are we going to be left with only those who can live in a barn-yard? My question is not really about animals (rhino) but about intervention into markets. Does the looming extinction of an animal of the stature of a rhino necessitate action other than saying, ‘Oh well, it’s just the invisible hand. There’s nothing can we do’

  6. Greenfly,
    My reply was related to the market.
    Domesticated animals survive and proliferate because their survival represents a significant economic benefit to those whom claim ownership of those animals. The auroch lacks its prior-to-domestication form but it has spread everywhere on earth and survives even the north of russia (could of seen Bear drinking the blood of one the other night, eh?).
    The farming of animals is not exactly a new concept. The farming of endangered animals is more novel but still not entirly new. There were two methods shown on TV awhile ago and small mention here on frogblog. One is of game animals such as the rhino; allow for their shooting. Allow farmers to own and breed these creatures and then collect fees for allowing hunters to hunt the trophy; income from otherwise marginal land, proliferation of the species, and another industry creating jobs and providing a source of wealth for villages. For non-game animals; allow them to be farmed. Let them be used for consumption. Again, a profit motive will ensure their proliferation.
    As I beleive we ahve discussed previously, this doesint apply well to creatures such as the Kea, carnivorous snail, etc. It does though certainly apply well to the rhino, both approaches.
    So as environmentally minded individuals we should really be pursuing the legalisation of this approach and trying to think of one that would work for those that dont work with these approaches. Zoos do it on a very small scale, that may be the dirrection we should look at but at present they do a very poor job of it in terms of funding to results and they do it on a small scale often only viable due to state fundign of the breeding programs. So how do we create a situation where the market wants to proliferate the wise and beutiful Kea? (yes, my favourate bird. The Kea is smart, agile, and stunning. The Kiwi is dumb, near blind, flightless, and ugly. Me-thinks the kea would make a better emblem, soemthign to aspire to; though prehaps the Kiwi better represents most NZ’ers )

  7. “Farm them all” the cry goes up. Extinct in the wild then. The original aurochs were massive, intelligent and could fend for themselves. They couldn’t though, evade domestication. Now, many of their ‘progeny’ are vessels for the production of milk, ‘enjoying’ lives of boredom and abuse, removed from the forest edges they once enjoyed, the foods they once ate and the natural rythyms of life, birth and death they experienced for thousands of years. And both of you (Sapient and Peter) suggest that we consign the rhino to the same fate. Degrade them to a state where they are marketable and manageable, as with all other domestic animals. No thought to retaining them as the beast they really are?
    In any case, my point is that the ‘market’ isn’t doing that. It’s driving them rapidly toward extinction. According to the marketeers, that’s the way it should be. Peter – you say, ‘farm them’. Is that an instruction? Who will farm them? Should we encourage someone to farm rhino for the sake of the rhino, or will a rhino farmer appear naturally as part of the marvelous market mechanism, in which case I’ve failed to notice where the dod farms of the world are located. Should someone incentivise the farmer? No, of course not. Incentives are out – the returns from the farming will dictate whether the project is viable and worth undertaking. Will this help the rhino? I doubt it, especially if you take into account the fact that those making the big money from the rhino are set on killing them all.
    If the rhino example doesn’t resonate, let’s talk kea (it’s like talking turkey)

  8. >>prehaps the Kiwi better represents most NZ’ers

    LOL

    I think Kiwis are rather left wing…..

  9. Greenfly,
    Ahh, but better the genes of the auroch survive through their evolutions than be eliminated with the forests they call home. Better yet the forrests not be destroied, but meh. I dont personally see a reason why the animals we farm should enjoy their life, but my sentiments to such are probally well known by now.
    I am not saying that we should domesticate the rhino or cage it up. Indeed, it would be irrational to do so as the financial value of the rhino comes from its trophy status more than its meat. While it is certainly true that if would be financially viable to domesticate the beast and kill it for its meat and horn. You are missing the point; the rhino is already farmed in such a way, atleast according to the program. apparently the population has increased dramatically and they are hardly kepts in sheds or small cages. It works, thats what matters. The utility of their genes and survival is retained and more utility is extracted from them, thats all I really care about. If you want them in the wild the enviros or governments can always buy live ones for release; if the demand is high enough im sure you will even get plenty of ‘farmers’ dealing in relaeasable stock as a side-venture. Its win-win-win The rhinos thrive, the jobs are created, and the preservation of the species now produces a profit rather than pure costs. its stops poaching; people protect that which they own.

    It resonates fine with me: Its logical, it works, it acheives everything that could be hoped for; far more than any other program to date or even other theoretical approaches.

  10. Well Peter, I was calling politely for your views. I’ve no suggestion re: the situation of ‘wild rhinos being actively extinguished by marketeers seeking to add scarcity value to their product’.
    Your rather brief contribution, ‘Farm them’ will have to suffice then.

    sapient – your proposals are, needless to say, sound but have you factored in the ‘we’re going to destroy the remainder so that our store of horns rises astronomically in price’ aspect? (Horn is usually sold to Yemini for knife handles – enormous prices are payed. Some go to the medicine industry). I’m not empathising with the animal here, just looking at the market at work.
    If rhino farms are in fact redressing the balance and increasing rhino numbers without intervention of any sort (soft hearted animal lovers etc) then I’ve argued myself into a hole. if not, then I’ll have to continue to ponder the issue. In any case, I have to put my mouse aside for the night. Thanks guys.

  11. Greenfly, Your assumption that the Rhino extermination is “The market at work” is seriously flawed as is assuming Rhino not being farmed is further evidence of market failure. The latter is a failure of democracy since farming Rhino is illegal.

    The former problem is a combined failure of both the market and of democracy. In fact both systems share several prerequisites for successful operation, especially freedom of information and a need for ethical behaviour.

    Hard righties are the worst enemies of the free market because they keep referring to the Theory of the Perfect Free Market as simply “the free market”. The perfect free market does not exist in the absence of perfect information, perfect competition and perfectly rational participants and, IMHO perfectly ethical behaviour. IMHO democracy has the same prerequisites, hence the change from FPP to MMP was a step towards the perfect competition prerequisite for perfect democracy. Now, if only something could be done about the information withholding and dubious ethics of most current and recent politicians at both local and national level we might end up with government that balance the free market with appropriate governance instead of the mish-mash of ideological interference in this bit nad hands off on that bit with no rhyme or reason.

  12. “sold to Yemini for knife handles”. That’s a crucial piece of information. Answering these questions should identify the key market (or democratic)failure and thereby the key market/democratic solution(s):
    Why only Yemini?
    Why knife handles?
    Cultural?
    Any other barriers to material substitution for Yemini knife handles? Cost? Import/export barriers?

  13. Greenfly,
    The hunting that allows them to stockpile horns and attempt to eliminate the entire species is not a result of the legalisation of farming but rather a result of the rarity of the resource comparitive to demand, the greed of the hunters, and insufficent protection. This problem would actually be averted by farming the rhino for in the absence of a monopoly or cartel on the farming of rhinos that strategy becomes uneconomical and illogical as one cannot expect other farmers to do the same. If the other farmers do not do the same the price will not increase significantly and your would ahve effectivly nuked your source of income. Considering that the farming of rhinos would, according to supply and demand, decrease the price of rhino horn (assuming the absence of a same-degree increase in demand due to the ethical acceptability of the use of the horn when rhinos are farmed) this move could even prevent much of the motivations of poachers in the wild and the protection fo the farms by the farmers would effectivly eliminate poaching of the farmed animals. Also, not only does it empower african communities (in this example) but it elimiantes a source of income for one of the most significant causes of social hazard in africa.

    Prohibition is dangerous, eh?

  14. Losing our schools Period – is still a big issue – Who wants a dumbed down population that badly?
    Btw, a friend of mine got a form letter from the PM today cancelling Superannuation cos ‘we’ can’t afford it – any feedback?
    PS Save the Rhino !!!!

  15. On reflection, the point I was trying to make was: that the situation where a rare animal looks due to become extinct as a direct result of it carrying a monetarily valuable ‘add-on’ (horn, feathers, whatever) indicates to me that there needs to be conscious intervention of some sort to save the beasts. The ‘natural’ process of a market that should not extinguish its raw material/resource, doesn’t work. I would cite the huia as a better example. It got ‘desired’ to extinction. Nice feathers – I’ll have some of those!

  16. Kevyn – nothing beats rhino horn for knife handles. It’s literally the best material for the job on the planet (known). Its the combination of ‘quills’ and keratin form a composite that we have yet to replicate.

  17. Greenfly,
    Ahh! I see what your getting at.
    In this case it is the tragity of the commons, pure and simple. Sometimes this problem can be solved with privitisation, others it is best solved through regulation. In this case the regulation (the conscious intervention) has failed terribly and infact exacibated the problem (through hindering the more effective approach of privitisation) while the privitisation approach (hindered by the regulation) appears to work wonders.
    Its a pity really, I am rather adverse to the privitisation approach in most cases.

  18. well as a ratepaying kiwi – i will work with local iwi to keep a mating! pair of rhino’s safe with me – they got smarts ‘umans ain’t figured yet…

  19. The problem is that the farming of animals actually causes more habitat destruction and extinction than it saves. Farming cows has made cows proliferate but caused wide spread destruction of New Zealand’s lowland kahikatea forests and the extinction of the buffalo in the United States, which is displaced.

    the brilliant idea of farming possums has saved them from any threat of extinction but has caused widespread damage and threats of other extinctions.

    The farming of any animal does not preserve the animal; it preserves a domesticated version of the animal. An animal is not simply a bundle of DNA it is a living being with distinct behaviour, and an interaction with other elements of its environment. Kiwi DNA may survive if they are farmed, but the native wild kiwi in its habitat, interacting with other animals and plants in its habitat will still be in danger of extinction.

  20. Sapient – save the rhino by privitising its management? Some one must own the animal to save it from the rest of us? Hmmm. We could all own it as taxpayers contributing to state ownership of the beast, or we could all ‘own’ it in a kaitiaki relationship. Of course guardians have to have power to repell those who would profit from any resource, be it religious or military or social.

    kiore1 – nice call on the possums. Reminds me of the habit of some pig hunters who transfer piglets into areas that have been hunted out. Inspirational. I’m with you on the value of wild animals in the wild – both getting more and more difficult to find now of course. The value of wild is inestimable and incalcuable as well, so there will be many who see no value in it.
    Hooves eh! We don’t need ‘em!

  21. Greenfly,
    Yes, save the Rhino by privitising its management. The collective ownership is what we esentially have at present and it has failed. I would suggest that the role of kaitiaki would best be fulfilled by the privitisation approach.
    Remmember that the privitisation approach and the common management approach are not mutually exclusive. It is insanly expensive to maintain near extinct species. By allowing the farming and hunting of these animals a profit motive is created and economies of scale can be acheived. The public institutions can obtain the species from the private bodies for preserve release at a price likely far cheaper than it would cost to run the expensive breeding and matenence programes. Given demand for as-wild animals there would be a profit motive for retaining such characteristics in atleast a portion of the farmed population, if the public institutions seek to purchase them as-wild or they are hunted then that profit motive will exist and the species will continue in entirity.
    The wild nature of the animal is no more maintained in the public approach with farming prohibited than the private approach with farming allowed. But the combined public-private approach with farming allowed has the potential to easily retain this nature.

  22. Bring on the profiteers to profit the rhino then!

    Now, to the whales.

    I suppose the mananagers/marketers will drop the rhino like a hot potato, the moment the demand for horn stops. What then? Back into the wild for those now domesticated animals?
    It gives me no comfort to know that the future of creatures other than those we’ve already domesticated, relies upon the value of its bits and pieces. Having seen so many varieties of apple trees sawn to the ground as the overseas market swings from flavour to flavour, I am not encouraged.

  23. Greenfly:
    Nice to see that there are people who tend to value other creatures for themselves (intrinsic value) rather than how they are, or can be made, of use to humanity (instrumental value). You must sometimes feel like the anti-slavers when they were trying to tell the world that no person, no matter what their race, should be the ‘property’ of another.
    Our emphasis on individualism and our belief that we are somehow apart from (and superior to) nature could well be the seeds of our own extinction.

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