10 January 2012

This week our program carries the title, “The Rubber Dodo and Other Lobbyists.”

Our guest tonight is Philip Cafaro who is a professor of philosophy at Colorado State University. He is President Elect of the Society for Environmental Ethics and Chair of Progressives for Immigration Reform. He will talk with us about some issues in lobbying and something called the “rubber dodo award,” given annually to “to those who have done the most to drive endangered species extinct.”

Listen to the Program

The Story of the Dodo from the Center for Biological Diversity

In 1598, Dutch sailors landing on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius discovered a flightless, three-foot-tall, extraordinarily friendly bird. Its original scientific name was Didus ineptus. (Contemporary scientists use the less defamatory Raphus cucullatus.) To the rest of the world, it’s the dodo — the most famous extinct species on Earth. It evolved over millions of years with no natural predators and eventually lost the ability to fly, becoming a land-based consumer of fruits, nuts and berries. Having never known predators, it showed no fear of humans or the menagerie of animals accompanying them to Mauritius.

[The Dodo’s] trusting nature led to its rapid extinction. By 1681, the dodo was extinct, having been hunted and outcompeted by humans, dogs, cats, rats, macaques and pigs. Humans logged its forest cover and pigs uprooted and ate much of the understory vegetation.

The origin of the name dodo is unclear. It likely came from the Dutch word dodoor, meaning “sluggard,” the Portuguese word doudo, meaning “fool” or “crazy,” or the Dutch word dodaars meaning “plump-arse.”

The dodo’s reputation as a foolish, ungainly bird derives in part from its friendly naiveté and the very plump captives that were taken on tour across Europe. The animal’s reputation was cemented with the 1865 publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Based on skeleton reconstructions and the discovery of early drawings, scientists now believe that the dodo was a much sleeker animal than commonly portrayed. The rotund European exhibitions were accidentally produced by overfeeding captive birds.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2011/rubber-dodo-10-14-2011.html

Why are we talking about the Dodo on Ecotopia? Partly we’d like to rescue the Dodo and the word “dodo” from their meaning as dumbheads. The real dumbheads in this story seem to be (who else?) the humans who exploited the island and destroyed an ancient an ecologically well-adapted bird.

Our Discussion with Philip Cafaro

Philip Cafaro is professor of philosophy at Colorado State University. He is President Elect of the Society for Environmental Ethics and is Chair of Progressives for Immigration Reform. He also is a former ranger with the U.S. National Park Service and an affiliated faculty member of CSU’s School of Global Ecological Sustainability. Welcome Philip Cafaro. Part I: The Rubber Dodo, Lobbying, and Ethics –The Center for Biological Diversity makes an annual award called The Rubber Dodo “to those who have done the most to drive endangered species extinct” Please tell us a little about the Rubber Dodo award. What’s the purpose of this award?

–And the winner (for 2011) was? [Drumroll!!] U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

–In a Press Release, the Center for Biological Diversity focused on the Chamber’s consistent opposition to climate control efforts and legislation. Could you please describe how the Chamber works against heading off climate change? How much money do they spend on this effort? How do they lobby to achieve their goals?

–Who were some of the other nominees for the award, and how does their “work” negatively affect biological diversity.

[Other official nominees were giant pesticide manufacturer Syngenta and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), who’s launched a disinformation campaign opposing Endangered Species Act protections for the dunes sagebrush lizard. Hundreds of write-in votes were given to Congress, Monsanto, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, President Obama, Sarah Palin and Wall Street.]

[Previous winners of the Rubber Dodo include: former BP CEO Tony Hayward (2010), massive land speculator Michael Winer (2009), Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (2008) and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (2007)]

–In your comments about the Rubber Dodo Award, you emphasized the Chamber’s “quest for never ending U.S. population growth.” What is your take on the American (global) business model of “grow or die,” which essentially requires new customers and new markets to succeed?

–What level of population do you feel the earth can tolerate sustainably?

–What do you teach in your ethics classes at Colorado State? What’s your level of optimism that the grow-or-die/lobby-for-moolah attitudes toward the environment may change in the future?

–On this show, we often ask interviewees about what sorts of mechanisms can rein in climate change. Will it come about through legislation and compulsion? market economics? green industry? voluntary restraint? being driven to or over the brink? What do you think is required so that, in the future, it might not be necessary to make a Rubber Dodo Award?

–We’ll be taking a short break and come back to talk with philosopher and environmentalist Phil Cafano about another topic that concerns him: the effect of lobbying on anti-immigration policies. But before we do that, Phil, please tell us how listeners can learn more about the specifics of the Rubber Dodo Award and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We’ll put some links on our website:

Center for Biological Diversity www.biologicaldiversity.org
U.S. Chamber Wins Rubber Dodo Award http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2011/rubber-dodo-10-14-2011.html

Part II: Population and Immigration Reform

–You are also Chairman of Progressives for Immigration Reform, which is committed to “examining the unintended consequences of mass migration.” Please tell us about this organization and its work. Mass migration from where to where? How does this relate to current U.S. (and other “developed” countries) attitudes toward immigration? What’s the problem with “give me your tired, your poor”?

–You link your concerns about population growth to what you see as an anti-immigrant stance by the U. S. Chamber and “other anti-environmental organizations like the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., National Restaurant Association and the American Meat Institute” [who] “spent over $15 million dollars this summer to lobby against a law that would require business to only hire workers legally eligible to be employed in the U.S. (House bill H.R.2885: Legal Workforce Act).”

–The First Street Research Group has issued a report that describes other lobbying efforts on immigration over the past decade. Could you provide us a few details about the breadth of lobbying on these issues?

[■1,733 immigration-related bills have been lobbied on.

■Over 1,000 organizations have lobbied on immigration issues.

■Over 7,500 lobbyists have lobbied on immigration issues including over 40 former Members of Congress and over 500 former congressional staffers.

http://firststreetresearch.cqpress.com/2011/11/30/extending-the-borders-in-the-immigration-debate/]

–The First Street report also talks about the DREAM Act that would allow the children of undocumented immigrants to attend college. Why are industry lobbyists opposed to the DREAM Act?

–How can activists counteract the effects of such massive lobbying efforts by industry, especially in a time when employment is down and lobbyists argue that their way is the only way that can rescue the economy?

–Do you and/or Progressives for Immigration Reform have specific recommendations for a reformed immigration policy? [What would you propose that the U.S. do about currently undocumented immigrants (estimated at about 12 million).]

–How can listeners become more involved in your work on immigration, population, and lobbying issues?

Progressives for Immigration Reform http://www.progressivesforimmigrationreform.org/

Thank you, Phil Cafaro of Colorado State for talking with us tonight. We appreciate all your great efforts on ethics, species diversity, population, and immigration.

Playlist:

1. Trophic Cascade 4:12 Ronn Fryer Endangered Animals (Environmental Jenga)

2. The Way of the Dodo 3:34 The Streets Everything Is Borrowed

3. Danger (Global Warming) – Radio Mix 3:35 Brick Casey Danger (Global Warming)

4. Supernova 4:42 Liquid Blue Supernova

5. Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) 3:16 Marvin Gaye What’s Going On

6. Weave Me the Sunshine 4:28 Peter, Paul And Mary The Very Best of Peter, Paul and Mary

7. Traffic Jam (Album Version) 2:13 James Taylor James Taylor Live 8. Global Warming Blues 3:42 Lenny Solomon Armando’s Pie

Ecotopia #172
The Rubber Dodo and Other Lobbyists 10 January 2012

This week our program carries the title, “The Rubber Dodo and Other Lobbyists.”

Our guest tonight is Philip Cafaro who is a professor of philosophy at Colorado State University. He is President Elect of the Society for Environmental Ethics and Chair of Progressives for Immigration Reform. He will talk with us about some issues in lobbying and something called the “rubber dodo award,” given annually to “to those who have done the most to drive endangered species extinct.”

The Story of the Dodo from the Center for Biological Diversity

In 1598, Dutch sailors landing on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius discovered a flightless, three-foot-tall, extraordinarily friendly bird. Its original scientific name was Didus ineptus. (Contemporary scientists use the less defamatory Raphus cucullatus.) To the rest of the world, it’s the dodo — the most famous extinct species on Earth. It evolved over millions of years with no natural predators and eventually lost the ability to fly, becoming a land-based consumer of fruits, nuts and berries. Having never known predators, it showed no fear of humans or the menagerie of animals accompanying them to Mauritius.

[The Dodo’s] trusting nature led to its rapid extinction. By 1681, the dodo was extinct, having been hunted and outcompeted by humans, dogs, cats, rats, macaques and pigs. Humans logged its forest cover and pigs uprooted and ate much of the understory vegetation.

The origin of the name dodo is unclear. It likely came from the Dutch word dodoor, meaning “sluggard,” the Portuguese word doudo, meaning “fool” or “crazy,” or the Dutch word dodaars meaning “plump-arse.”

The dodo’s reputation as a foolish, ungainly bird derives in part from its friendly naiveté and the very plump captives that were taken on tour across Europe. The animal’s reputation was cemented with the 1865 publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Based on skeleton reconstructions and the discovery of early drawings, scientists now believe that the dodo was a much sleeker animal than commonly portrayed. The rotund European exhibitions were accidentally produced by overfeeding captive birds.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2011/rubber-dodo-10-14-2011.html

Why are we talking about the Dodo on Ecotopia? Partly we’d like to rescue the Dodo and the word “dodo” from their meaning as dumbheads. The real dumbheads in this story seem to be (who else?) the humans who exploited the island and destroyed an ancient an ecologically well-adapted bird.

Our Discussion with Philip Cafaro

Philip Cafaro is professor of philosophy at Colorado State University. He is President Elect of the Society for Environmental Ethics and is Chair of Progressives for Immigration Reform. He also is a former ranger with the U.S. National Park Service and an affiliated faculty member of CSU’s School of Global Ecological Sustainability. Welcome Philip Cafaro. Part I: The Rubber Dodo, Lobbying, and Ethics –The Center for Biological Diversity makes an annual award called The Rubber Dodo “to those who have done the most to drive endangered species extinct” Please tell us a little about the Rubber Dodo award. What’s the purpose of this award?

–And the winner (for 2011) was? [Drumroll!!] U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

–In a Press Release, the Center for Biological Diversity focused on the Chamber’s consistent opposition to climate control efforts and legislation. Could you please describe how the Chamber works against heading off climate change? How much money do they spend on this effort? How do they lobby to achieve their goals?

–Who were some of the other nominees for the award, and how does their “work” negatively affect biological diversity.

[Other official nominees were giant pesticide manufacturer Syngenta and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), who’s launched a disinformation campaign opposing Endangered Species Act protections for the dunes sagebrush lizard. Hundreds of write-in votes were given to Congress, Monsanto, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, President Obama, Sarah Palin and Wall Street.]

[Previous winners of the Rubber Dodo include: former BP CEO Tony Hayward (2010), massive land speculator Michael Winer (2009), Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (2008) and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (2007)]

–In your comments about the Rubber Dodo Award, you emphasized the Chamber’s “quest for never ending U.S. population growth.” What is your take on the American (global) business model of “grow or die,” which essentially requires new customers and new markets to succeed?

–What level of population do you feel the earth can tolerate sustainably?

–What do you teach in your ethics classes at Colorado State? What’s your level of optimism that the grow-or-die/lobby-for-moolah attitudes toward the environment may change in the future?

–On this show, we often ask interviewees about what sorts of mechanisms can rein in climate change. Will it come about through legislation and compulsion? market economics? green industry? voluntary restraint? being driven to or over the brink? What do you think is required so that, in the future, it might not be necessary to make a Rubber Dodo Award?

–We’ll be taking a short break and come back to talk with philosopher and environmentalist Phil Cafano about another topic that concerns him: the effect of lobbying on anti-immigration policies. But before we do that, Phil, please tell us how listeners can learn more about the specifics of the Rubber Dodo Award and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. We’ll put some links on our website:

Center for Biological Diversity www.biologicaldiversity.org
U.S. Chamber Wins Rubber Dodo Award http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2011/rubber-dodo-10-14-2011.html

Part II: Population and Immigration Reform

–You are also Chairman of Progressives for Immigration Reform, which is committed to “examining the unintended consequences of mass migration.” Please tell us about this organization and its work. Mass migration from where to where? How does this relate to current U.S. (and other “developed” countries) attitudes toward immigration? What’s the problem with “give me your tired, your poor”?

–You link your concerns about population growth to what you see as an anti-immigrant stance by the U. S. Chamber and “other anti-environmental organizations like the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., National Restaurant Association and the American Meat Institute” [who] “spent over $15 million dollars this summer to lobby against a law that would require business to only hire workers legally eligible to be employed in the U.S. (House bill H.R.2885: Legal Workforce Act).”

–The First Street Research Group has issued a report that describes other lobbying efforts on immigration over the past decade. Could you provide us a few details about the breadth of lobbying on these issues?

[■1,733 immigration-related bills have been lobbied on.

■Over 1,000 organizations have lobbied on immigration issues.

■Over 7,500 lobbyists have lobbied on immigration issues including over 40 former Members of Congress and over 500 former congressional staffers.

http://firststreetresearch.cqpress.com/2011/11/30/extending-the-borders-in-the-immigration-debate/]

–The First Street report also talks about the DREAM Act that would allow the children of undocumented immigrants to attend college. Why are industry lobbyists opposed to the DREAM Act?

–How can activists counteract the effects of such massive lobbying efforts by industry, especially in a time when employment is down and lobbyists argue that their way is the only way that can rescue the economy?

–Do you and/or Progressives for Immigration Reform have specific recommendations for a reformed immigration policy? [What would you propose that the U.S. do about currently undocumented immigrants (estimated at about 12 million).]

–How can listeners become more involved in your work on immigration, population, and lobbying issues?

Progressives for Immigration Reform http://www.progressivesforimmigrationreform.org/

Thank you, Phil Cafaro of Colorado State for talking with us tonight. We appreciate all your great efforts on ethics, species diversity, population, and immigration.