Helping Our Peninsula's Environment

 

Environment & Democracy Protection Glossary
Terms and Ideas you need to understand to effectively stop harmful governmental decisions.
Copyright 2001-2010 David Dilworth

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Abuse of Discretion

When government makes a legally unacceptable decision, courts call it an abuse of the government's discretion - or an impermissible or unreasonable choice of all the options available. Similar to "Arbitrary and Capricious"

Add Factoring

The anti-scientific "adjustment" of a computer model by the person in charge of the model to get whatever results they want (positive or negative, big or small take your pick). Add-factoring makes a computer model bogus because it means the results are not repeatable. A "good" modeler can get a computer model to give any results they want.

Used locally in AMBAG's population forecasts to overinflate population figures. Overinflated population numbers force growth by requiring us to build more freeways (and sewage and water supplies) than are needed.

Address 

Doublespeak for "Ducking the question" or arm waving. "I addressed the problem" does not mean it is solved. It merely means they talked or wrote about the problem, while falsely implying that they solved or minimized it. If a BEO had actually solved the problem, they would boastfully say so. 

Administrative Law

Administrative law is a relatively new branch of law that controls most environmental protection laws. Most lawyers, and even most Judges, are unfamiliar with these very complex set of laws in large part because understanding them is not required for law school graduation or to pass the bar to become a lawyer.

Even though Administrative Law is generally highly skewed to allow bureaucrats and elected officials (BEOs) to make all but the most extreme harmful decisions, BEOs regularly refuse to stay even within those overbroad lines. They systematically violate even the mildest environmental laws. (See Substantial Evidence and Fair Argument)

Aesthetic Values

The attraction and appreciation (or repulsion) of sensual phenomena. They include visual beauty of landscapes, fragrances (or chemical odors), the sounds of bird songs, flowing water and music (or chainsaws), the texture and resiliency of tree bark or forest floor, or the taste of wild fruit.

Aesthetics, while often hard to quantify, are why houses cost more near the ocean than in the desert, or next to a landfill.
 

Agronomic Rates

The maximum rate of applying fertilizer containing hazardous wastes to agriculture that won't kill the crop. (See Soil Amendment)

Alternatives Analysis vs. Risk Assessment (or "License to Kill")

Risk Assessment is really a highly disguised Political choice to do harm.
It actually answers the question "How much environmental damage or human harm do we calculate we (DREGs) can get away with?" - though never stated that clearly. Government has to disguise it because public opinion would never allow such harm to take place.

The answer it provides is almost always replete with meaningless pseudo-scientific doublespeak and jargon disguised with mathematics defending and justifying environmentally harmful activities ("Well Lester, its got math in it so it must be true...") 

Most (if not all) risk assessments are based on selective information, arbitrary assumptions and enormous uncertainties. They admittedly do not calculate for the most vulnerable people or real threats to imperiled species. (from "Making Better Environmental Decisions" by Mary O'Brien) US-EPA has been fighting, and losing lawsuits, for years that force them to evaluate the harm to endangered species.

Who Decides:
A valid risk assessment is when you decide for yourself how much health risk you are willing to accept, presumably in exchange for some reward. Anytime someone decides to make a parachute jump or even buys life insurance they are making that sort of decision, a valid risk assessmenet.

An unacceptable "risk assessment" is when government decides for you how much of your health risk they are willing to accept. For example in 2007 faceless bureaucrats in the US-EPA, USDA, CDFA and DPR approved the aerial spraying of untested pesticides on the cities of Monterey bay area. The bureaucrats arrogantly fought having the public decide they didn't want to be sprayed; 23 cities including San Francisco and Monterey officially opposed the spraying -- yet CDFA spokesman Steve Lyle announced "You don't get to vote."

License to Kill: 
Because Risk Assessment explicitly authorizes activities which kill innocent people ("only one cancer (death) per million people") it is disparagingly known as a "License to Kill." US-EPA (aka Environmental Protection by Autopsy) FDA, CDPR, OEHHA do this all the time. EPA does this every time they approve the use of a pesticide. EPA actually decides that if a pesticide is calculated to not kill more than one person per million exposed to it - that is an "acceptable risk." What they are trying to obscure is that put another way this means that EPA is willing to have 1 person die for every million exposed to an intentionally deadly chemical.

Risk Assessment is inherently wrong, morally, ethically and even legally. Someday soon courts will soundly throw it out for good.

Alternative Analysis is the genuine examination of many different methods of achieving the same goals and to avoid or minimize environmental damage. For example instead of using poisonous pesticides to kill weeds in your sidewalk - you can use a steam wand that only uses hot water. 

Ambiguity

A claim that can be understood in more than one way. Consider the terms Liberal and Conservative. Do they mean the same things to everyone? The most powerful tool for underhanded politicians, lawyers, biostitutes and DREGs. A word or a sentence is ambiguous when it can have at least two different meanings. Example: "That pesticide is safe." The word "safe" is ambiguous because it means one thing for a mother whose child is playing on grass where pesticides were sprayed. It means something very different to the pesticide manufacturer whose children aren't playing on that grass. See also - Environmentalist, and Integrated Pest Management

Appeal to Authority

A trick to make a questionable idea seem valid. A fallacious argument that only because some expert, authority, or celebrity said so - it must be true. 

On the contrary, just because some expert, official, judge, doctor or other celebrity asserts something - does not mean it is true. This is an evasive argument tactic commonly used by people who don't have facts or reason on their side. It takes the form of -

  • "The government [Office of Strategic Prevarication] said there's no problem." or
  • "Einstein said so."

Question Authority. Combat this by providing your own facts and asking "How does this 'authority' - know?" or "what is the evidence?"

There's an old saying "one test is worth 1,000 expert opinions."

How's this for irony - "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." - Albert Einstein. 
 

Arborist vs. Forester vs. Horticulturist

A Forester is only trained, acts and rewarded to maximize removal of trees and biomass from a forest for the production of sawtimber, pulpwood or seeds. Foresters are only interested in the health of the specific trees they can remove or use - at the expense of all other forest health including other trees, animals, insects, plants, flowers and soils. Foresters are only trained to see trees as an agricultural product - not as part of a multifaceted interdependent ecosystem. A monoculture tree farm is generally their ideal "forest."

An Arborist is only interested in the appearance and form of individual trees regardless of the suitability of soils or other environmental conditions.

A Horticulturist's goal is the maximum production of fruit.

(See Ecologist)

Assertive vs Aggressive

Assertive means to defend your position or stand your ground. Aggressive is when one attacks something.

Baseline

The measured conditions, or reference points, existing before an experiment or a project starts. The baseline is measured against the changes that occur during the course of an experiment or by a project. 

Any given biological measure can have many measureable facets. For example - a forest can be measured by the number of acres of a forest, the total biomass of trees in the forest, the number of tree species, the abundance of  each tree species, the genetic diversity of the tree species, the age of the tree species, the rarity of each species, the imperiled status of each tree species, the health of the species the tree depends upon, or many, many other ways. 

Balance

A valuable concept twisted by developers, resource extractors and governments (DREGs) for use when they are losing a political battle - "We need a balanced decision." For some reason, DREGs never advocate for "balance" when they know they've got enough political votes to win.

Beauty Strip

A thin line of trees left next to a highway to hide the destructive logging of the natural forest behind it.

Biodiversity (Biological Diversity)

The three major ways biota vary: genetically (mother vs. son), by species (bears vs. ants), and by community (forests vs. meadows).

Some farms, like strawberries, have none of the three types of biodiversity. The farms grow not just a single species, the strawberries are all genetic clones from a single seed. As a final insult, they use many fiercely deadly pesticides (i.e. Methyl Bromide) to kill all soil, plant, animal and bird species on the land.

Biomagnification

When a non, or slowly, degrading pesticide or chemical concentrates or accumulates by passing through a food chain of, generally more than one, species. PCB levels have been measured biomagnified some 25 trillion times from levels measured in our environment to the levels found in in orca blubber.

Biomass

The total weight or mass of living organisms in a defined area. A single mature Monterey pine can easily have 10 thousand pounds of biomass. Contrast that to the few grams of biomass of seedlings typically offered as mitigation.

Bioserfdom

Laws making it illegal to save a patented seed for planting next year's crop.

Biosolids

Sludge from sewage; sometimes called "humanure" (human-manure). Doublestink created by the Public Relations Industry.

Biostitute (variations - Hydrostitute, Geostitute, Histostitute, Archeostitute)

A person who --
1. takes money or something of value, and
2. misuses their academic credibility or credentials in biology, hydrology, geology, archeology or history,
3. by undermining, misstating, obscuring, twisting, or ignoring the science of ecology, water, geology, history, or archeology,
4. in advocating for, or defending, a polluting, extractive or otherwise environmentally harmful activity. Sometimes called a "misrepresent-ative."

While some point out that some economists do this also, is Economics a science? Consider whether colleges teach Economics in the Science Dept?

(Amusing note: This Glossary was the web's first use and definition of each of the words -- Biostitute, Hydrostitute, Geostitute, Histostitute and Archeostitute.")

Burden Shifting

Responsibility reversal. A subtle and noxious trick employed by those who refuse to take responsibility for the harm their selfish acts cause to our public interests. DREGs put their responsibility on the public to object to harmful activities, rather than proving their activities are safe.

An example is in the use of pesticides where the health and safety of the general public and possibly our species is put at risk by the pesticide manufacturers and users.

The Precautionary Principle states that those who cause public harm must first prove their activities are safe.

To the contrary, despite the fact that pesticides are explicitly designed, used and intended to kill biota, pesticide advocates (including the U.S. EPA) improperly deny their responsibility and shift the burden of safety to the public by insisting that these intentionally deadly chemicals may be used unless and until the public can prove beyond all doubt that they are very harmful.

Canopy

The more or less continuous cover of branches and foliage formed collectively by the crowns of adjacent trees.

Carrying Capacity

1. The maximum population of humans which will not irreversibly harm the environment of a defined area.

2. The maximum population of a non-human species that can exist within the limits of the resources available (e.g. land area, water, food).

Clarification

Doublespeak. Weakening, removal and even reversal of substantial environmental protection regulations, and even laws, by issuing "clarifications" which substantially damage the original intent.

Clearcutting

The killing, by logging, of all trees in a given area. Related logging euphemism terms inlcude sheltercut, strip-cut and seed-tree harvesting, and gap phasing.

Cold Pasteurization

The radiation of food using radioactive waste (e.g. Cesium 137). Food is typically irradiated with a dose equivalent to tens of millions of chest X-rays.

Community Rights (vs Property Rights)

The public's right to a sustainably safe and healthy living environment which legally and morally overrules any individual's demand to pollute water, air and soils; or any wish to damage or destroy the self-sustaining properties of an ecosystem.

Community Noise Equivalent Level (CNEL)

A 24 hour average cumulative noise level measurement. Used in California as an improvement over Ldn (Noise Level Day-Night) by its recognition of greater sensitivity of non-daylight hours by penalizing evening noises (7 pm to 10 pm) by 5 dBA and nightime noises (10 pm to 7 am) by 10 decibels. CNEL does not recognize peak, maximum or impulse noises including gunshots, car horns, power tools or dog barking.

Conspiracy vs Collusion

Conspiracy is when 2 or more people communicate with each other with the intent to break a law.
Collusion is when 2 or more people work together to break a law without directly communicating. For example Elected Officials and County "Planning" Departments normally collude with developers to avoid environmental protection laws. They may never explicitly discuss violating laws, but each person knows exactly what to do to get around those pesky laws that protect our natural environment and human health.

Confirmation Bias 

How people focus more heavily on evidence which supports their beliefs than on evidence which contradicts their beliefs - even when they are trying to be objective.

Cryptobiosis

The state of an organism when it shows no visible signs of life and when its metabolic activity becomes hardly measurable, or comes reversibly to a standstill.

Some seeds "live" or remain viable only a few days, many live 16 - 20 years, while others such as the Lotus can live a thousand years or more. The record holder is the Arctic Lupine which germinated after being found in Miller Creek in the Canadian Yukon, according to radiocarbon dating, some 10,000 to 15,000 years after it was deposited there.

Cumulative Impacts 

Death by a thousand cuts. A single dog bark may not be bothersome, but constant dog barking can be highly annoying. Adding up the dog barks gives you the cumulative impacts. Cumulative impacts are the addition of the same impact multiple times. Synergetic impacts are when two different impacts (e.g. logging and pesticides) combine. Cumulative synergetic impacts are when two different impacts are repeated. (See Synergetic Impacts)

Dead or Dying (tree)

An excuse to kill and remove a tree, which is generally healthy, in the path of a proposed building or road. Essentially every tree has some dead branches or dead leaves or needles.  Misused by arborists, foresters, horticulturists and even biologists, and even occasionally by an ecologist

Every living biota has dead or dying cells. Your own hand has dead surface skin. Many species need dead trees for homes. Many animals (e.g. 80 species of woodpeckers) live only in dead branches or dead trees. (See Overmature, Biostitute,Forests vs Forestry and Ecologist vs Forester)

Degredate (or Metabolite)
Chemicals and pesticides degrade or change into other chemicals after use or time from sunlight, heat or other means. The new chemical is called a degradate and can have very different and even more dangerous properties. DDT left in our environment degrades into DDE which has some toxicity even more dangerous than DDT.

Democracy 

Shared Power; "Government by the people; political and social equality in general." New American Webster Dictionary 1972

Demonstration Forest

A very small area of a relatively natural forest, owned by a logging company, intended to persuade you their logging does not destroy the forest they control, similar to a Beauty Strip.

Denial

A polluted river in northern Africa. (sorry;-)

The standard response from a Developer, Resource Extractors or Government (DREG) when any environmental concern is raised about a project.

Development

The imposition of non-native technology and values, growth and environmental harm, or a higher cost of living, upon local or indigenous people, who are rarely given the choice to reject such intrusion.

Even when development involves improved health care in the third world (let alone subdivisions for mansions in the US), it rarely occurs without a financial benefit for those pushing it.

Dictatorship (unshared power)

The hoarding of all decisions affecting the public by a single person.

Discretionary Decision vs. Ministerial Decision

A Discretionary Decision allows or requires some judgment, where a Ministerial Decision is one that neither allows or requires any judgment. These are the two types of decisions made by governmental officials. 

An analogy is the ticket taker at a movie theatre who is not allowed to use any other judgment than "Are you giving me enough money?" That's a Ministerial Decision. 

By contrast a bouncer at a trendy nightclub, who refuses to let me in, but allows in a trendy dressed youth has used judgment (however poor) Discretionary decision making authority. 

In theory, governmental bureaucrats do not make Discretionary or Policy decisions involving judgment, they are supposed to make only Ministerial Decisions, while Elected officials make all the Discretionary or Policy decisions.

This becomes important in some laws. For instance while all governmental decisions in California are subject to the California Environmental Quality Act, only discretionary decisions require additional analysis. An overwhelmingly number of times staff (governmental bureaucrats) err on the side of not doing sufficient environmental analysis. Then when the lack of environmental analysis becomes a public / political issue, instead of allowing the elected officials to make the decision, staff furiously defends its bad decision and strongly advocate for no further environmental analysis.

Doublespeak

Using words to misleadingly hide or disguise unpleasant meaning, or meaninglessness.

The Four Kinds of Doublespeak (courtesy of Prof. William Lutz)

  1. Hiding Meaning - Words used to avoid harsh or distasteful reality. Example - "Temporary Meadow" was used by the U.S. (de)Forest Service to hide that they wanted a forest completely clearcut.
  2. Hiding Meaninglessness - gobbledygook or bureaucratese. Using many impressive sounding words in a sentence that doesn't mean anything. 
  3. Jargon (or acronyms) made pretentious or obscure ("involuntary conversion of a vehicle" meaning your car was stolen). "The DOE doesn't need to do an EIS under NEPA."
  4. Inflated Language -- making the unimportant seem important or the simple complex. For example - "Recycling Engineer" meaning Garbage Collector, or "negative patient care outcome" meaning a dead patient.

See Spin

Downzoning

Reduction of zoning density so fewer structures are allowed and more natural habitat is protected.

Drift, Pesticide

The spread of pesticide away from its intended target. Pesticides regularly drift and do damage 2 to 3 miles away. One study found a pesticide (2-4D) had traveled 50 miles and damaged grapes.

Economic Values

The concept that environmental values are only worth what someone will pay for them. It also ignores life cycle cost analysis. See Non-Economic Values

Ecological Integrity

The long term ability of an ecosystem to self-support and maintain an adaptive community of organisms having a species composition, diversity, and functional organization favorably comparable to that of nearby natural habitats. 

Ecological Restoration

The process of assisting the recovery and management of ecological integrity without causing environmental impacts on the native biota. 

Ecologist vs. Biologist vs. Forester

A Forester is paid to find trees which can be cut down or to find reasons to cut specific trees down. (See Forester vs Arborist)

A Biologist only studies one species at a time. Biologists are rarely trained in or understand ecological interdependence. The word interdependence does not even appear in most Biology textbooks.

An Ecologist explicitly considers the health of interdependence of all the biota in an ecosystem. 

Ecosystem

An interdependent community (group of populations of species) plus all affecting physical factors such as sunlight, humidity and soils.

Ecosystem Services

Some economic values of an ecosystem are measured, with large margins of error, in terms of the goods and services that the ecosystem provides. The values estimate the cost of replacing these products and studying how much a buyer, including governments, would pay for such ecosystem service.

 Ecosystem services include: Species protection (think of what it costs to keep an endangered animal alive in a zoo, compared to a native habitat. Then think what extra is needed to keep their succeeding generations alive.), storm protection, flood control, drought recovery and other aspects of habitat response to environmental variability mainly controlled by vegetation structure, prevention of loss of soil by wind, runoff or other removal processes, soil formation, nutrient cycling, waste treatment, water filtration, pollution control, detoxification, atmospheric gas regulation, climate regulation, pollination, dynamic regulation of populations, reduction of herbivory by top predators, habitat for resident and transient populations, food, lumber, fuel and fodder production; medicine products, genes for disease resistance, ornamental species, eco-tourism, sport fishing, and other outdoor activities, aesthetic, artistic, educational, spititual and scientific values.

 In each case, projects causing loss of ecosystem services such as storm and flood protection, atmospheric carbon sinks, sustainable hunting, and tourism generally cost much more than the touted benefits of the project.

 

Ecotone

The boundary of two different ecosystems where you find the most animals and plants (population abundance) and the most different species (biodiversity). 

A strong example is the ocean shore. The sea harbors a very different ecosystem than the land. Different animals and plants live in each. As you get farther from the shore ecotone, either out to sea or inland, the abundance and variety of animals and plants decreases. 

Another example is the ocean surface. The largest abundance and variety of animals and plants live near the surface; both decrease as you descend in depth or rise in elevation above the surface into the atmosphere. 

Did you ever notice how south and north facing slopes host very different plants? The ridgetop separating them is an ecotone. What other examples can you think of?

Edge Effect

How a natural environment degrades proportional to how close it is to human activity and structures. For example a road creates pollution of air and water, light and noise. The farther you walk into a forest the less man-made noises (cars) you hear. Similarly, the closer you are to a road in a wild area, the greater pollution (e.g. noise, light, smoke) you experience.

Also, some use this term to indicate an ecotone - where the species and populations increase.

Effectiveness (vs Efficiency)

When some goal is met - independent of the cost in effort, time or money. Environmental laws and mitigations rarely achieve effectiveness. If they did, our environment would be improving rather than getting worse.

Efficiency (or Modernizing, Streamlining or Reforming)

Doublespeak. Perhaps the single most dangerous doublespeak word. Efficiency is a ratio of the amount of effort to the degree of achievement. More, or higher, efficiency is when it takes less effort to approach a goal. However, just because some activity is efficient (uses an efficient method), does not mean it necessarily ever reaches its goal. (See Effectiveness)

Developers and even Governor Schwartzennegor use these focus group tested code words to disguise hacking away or eroding environmental protection and regulation. When environmental regulations are "streamlined," "modernized" or made more "efficient" we always find someone making more money, and almost always lose environmental protection and public participation. Perhaps the strongest form of "streamlined" governmental approval is dictatorship.

Challenge efficiency advocates to show any related instance where streamlining increased environmental protection.

Approvals in a Democracy generally are less efficient and do take longer than in a dictatorship because a democracy inherently involves more people and more ideas and more reasonable decisions.

Emergency

Courts have decided an emergency is an event - not a condition.

Term intentionally misused by governments (and other DREGs) to avoid laws preventing environmental destruction.

Used by the timber industry and President Clinton in 1995 (and President Bush in 2003) to claim that our national forests were plagued by disease and fire-prone and needed logging as a cure. This blatant lie, refuted by all scientists, justified the 1995 "Salvage Logging Rider" which suspended all federal environmental laws to allow rampant logging of our national forests.

Emergency Edict

When at or near a threshold of irreversible environmental harm all additional harmful activities are prohibited and existing harmful activities are significantly and immediately cut back.

Eminent Domain

The right of government to acquire private property for public use by condemnation. However, in the U.S. government must pay just compensation.

Enough

Limiting your impact on natural phenomena to what you need. Animals rarely kill, or take, more than they need. Greedy people on the other hand have no concept of enough. They always want more. See Greed.

Environmentalist

Generally someone who gives up something important (time, money etc.) and acts (not talks) to protect our environment. However it is an ambiguous (thus meaningless) label claimed by the most destructive developers, polluters, resource extractors and politicians (e.g. George Bush) because of our environment's overwhelming public support. The reverse is not true - there are no serious organizations, developers, polluters, resource extractors or politicians openly advocating environmental destruction. (And I have yet to hear a genuine environmental protector refer to themself as an "environmentalist.") It appears that just like a Wave Function collapse in physics - as soon as someone identifies themself as an "Environmentalist" they cease to be one.

Environmental Justice 

The fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.

Even-Age

A stand of trees, typically a tree farm, that are all the same age; germinated at the same time. Caused by clearcutting and in some ways by fires.

Equipoise

To begin research, investigation or diagnosis free of bias. 

Researchers are often led to do research because they expect a particular result. Indeed, science fairs even encourage young scientists to have such a bias. However, a genuine scientist begins by welcoming evidence that can disprove their preexisting expectations. 

One way to examine your own bias is to write down your expectations of results before you begin your experiment.

Experimenter Effect

The unintentional biasing of a science experiment by the person conducting the research - generally the person collecting data. For example, a person who wants a certain outcome may find 52 coin tosses of 100 are in his favor while a video of the coin tosses shows only 51.

Externalities

The genuine, but unpaid for financial, physical and environmental impacts of a business or a government activity (e.g. pesticide use). These often widespread and deep impacts include the costs of cleaning up contamination of drinking water from agricultural pesticides and the priceless extinction of species from destruction of their habitat and damage to their food chain by golf course and subdivision development.

Extirpation

The local extinction of a species when it is no longer found in a locality or country, but exists elsewhere in the world.

Fair Argument

A reasonable judicial standard of review for environmental impact analysis and disclosure laws that roughly embraces the Precautionary Principle.

In California, if you can make a "fair argument" using "substantial evidence" that an activity might (not "will") cause a significant impact on our environment the government is required to prepare an Environmental Impact Report under CEQA.

Fake Meeting

Providing a public "meeting" where only one side gets to speak. Typically the government or the developer speaks to the audience and they provide several tables with biased and selective information that only argues for their point of view.

They key point is they refuse to allow the public to comment at the microphone so that other attendees can hear that others share their points of concern and solutions.

False Dilemma

The restriction of choices to only those desired as in "would you prefer to be poisoned, hanged, or shot?" 

DREGs, almost without exception, discuss only the options they want you to think about, when almost always, feasible and better alternatives exist.

Example - "If we don't support Rancho San Carlos' 31 square mile subdivision, they could do something much worse." 

Many, including some so-called environmentalists, refused to discuss how the magnificent 30 square mile landscape could have been purchased for a song, and made into a real wildlife preserve or a park.

Financial Interests

Those who make money from a government approval. Separates those who advocate for money making approvals from those advocating for public interests. (See Special Interests)

Flexibility

Doublespeak for "allow more greed and less restriction." Flexibility has been use to mean --

1. Subdivisions. As in "Farmers need flexibility for the future. Farmers need the ability to sell all their agricultural land to developers so they can keep farming (grow houses)..."

2. Pollution. As in "Agriculture needs flexibility to use more pesticides and nitrates.

3. Resource Extraction. As in "Loggers (Miners etc.) need more flexibility to log."

You will notice  that DREGs never allow "flexibility" for environmental concerns.

Food Chain

The entire set of species in an ecosystem which need each other as food; the links necessary to support a sustainable ecosystem. 

For example, humans cannot feed upon rocks and sunlight, while lichens can and do. Plants consume the soils originally made by lichens and humans can consume plants. (See Interdependence)

Forests vs. Forestry

Forests are mostly vertical trees (A natural area dominated by native trees supporting native soils and wildlife).

Forestry is the anti-ecological practice of killing trees, making them horizontal and hauling them away on trucks.

Forester

A Forester is only trained, acts and rewarded to maximize removal of trees and biomass from a forest for the production of sawtimber, pulpwood or seeds. Foresters are only interested in the health of the specific trees they can remove or use - at the expense of all other forest health including other trees, animals, insects, plants, flowers and soils. Foresters are only trained to see trees as an agricultural product - not as a multifaceted interdependent ecosystem. A monoculture tree farm is generally their ideal "forest."

(See Ecologist)

Fragmentation

When an ecosystem is severed into fragments by human structures including roads, cities, and subdivisions.

Free Speech

Money - according to the U.S. Supreme Court in the most powerful Campaign Finance decision - Buckley v. Valleo. Although you only get one vote, the more money you have - the more free speech you get to exercise. 

Fully Unclean Legal (FUL) Water, Air, Soil or Food

This is a sample of water (or air, soil or food) containing all the maximum legal amounts of each of the hundreds of regulated pollutants & chemicals. It is used to determine synergetic impacts on biota.

A FUL glass of drinking water (that is just completely legal under U.S. Federal drinking water pollution laws) would contain 4 ppm of the rat poison Sodium fluoride, 9.9 ppb of Arsenic, 15 ppb Lead, .00099 percent of DDT, 0.99 ppm DDE (a DDT degradate), .0049 ppm Carbon Tetrachloride, .069 ppm 2,4-D (pesticide), 14.9 ppm Trichloroethylene, 10 mg/liter of Mercury, .09 mg / liter Formaldehyde, .45 mg liter Nitrate, .0029 mg Atrazine (pesticide), and 3.9 mg of Chlorine - plus hundreds of other chemicals and pesticides. 

Since the EPA has set no drinking water limits on thousands of toxics, including pesticides, which could be in your tap water - it is entirely possible that a completely legal glass of drinking water could have so much pollution - the toxics could fill the glass - there wouldn't be any room left for even a drop of water.
 

General Plan

The Blueprint or Master Plan for all activities in a County or a City (with which in California all building and activities must fully comply).

Golf Course

A shallow "swimming pool" of some 100 to 250 acres carved several feet into the ground by bulldozers where native trees, soils, plants, microorganisms and animals are removed wholesale and replaced with non-native rock, sand, soils and grasses. Sometimes called a "green graveyard" for its wholesale destruction and removal of existing habitat and food chain and its continuous use of pesticides to kill all native species.

Golf Trail

Doublespeak used by Rancho San Carlos developers in 1996 to disguise a giant Golf Course, which takes water from essential habitat for frogs facing extinction; Mark Twain's celebrated California red-legged frogs. The developers have abandoned the term now that they have project approval.

Grandfathered (Doublespeak)

The demand to get away with something illegal because the law breaking deed was first done too long ago. For example: Rancho San Carlos illegally created Moore's Lake in the 1920s to take its water. This causes Garzas Creek to dry up downstream and has killed numerous imperiled and protected steelhead. The developers claim the lake is "grandfathered," that they have a right to keep the illegal lake because they have been using its water for such a long time. 

Similarly, the Feduniaks bought a Pebble Beach ocean front mansion with a tiny golf course. The course was illegally built by the former owners (with no permits at all, because they knew they wouldn't have received any) over rare protected sand dune habitat some 20 years ago. The Feduniaks acknowledge the golf course is illegal, yet they sued the Coastal Commission to keep the course. 

Greed

Excessive desire, avarice, a permanently unfilled craving; not a need. The primary cause of environmental destruction.

"Poverty wants some things, luxury wants many things, avarice all things." -Benjamin Franklin

Greenwash

Hiding environmentally destructive activities behind a thin or phony environmental facade. For example, Rancho San Carlos developers (Tom Gray and Jeff Froke etc.) insisting their 31 square mile subdivision is actually a "Preserve," and calling its huge water guzzling golf course a "golf trail."

Groundwater

Water crushed down to its components, hydrogen and oxygen;-) Actually, water below the soil surface.

Habitat

The environment in which a population or individual lives; includes not only the place where a species is found, but also the particular characteristics of the place (e.g., climate or the availability of suitable food and shelter) that make it especially well suited to meet the life cycle needs of that species.

Habitat "Conservation" Plan (HCP)

Federal version of a Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP). While pretending to protect habitat - it allows potentially large cumulative damage to further imperil species and their populations.

Hardscape

Doublespeak meaning asphalt or concrete. Used by developers and their colluding agents - "Planning" Departments and Environmental Impact report consultants.

Harvest

Doublespeak meaning to kill. As in the Makah tribe in Washington state want to harvest whales.

Hazardous Waste

A solid, liquid or gas that is harmful to biota or could be if burned. Examples include pesticides, corrosives, and flammable or explosive materials.

Hostility

The attitude towards environmental protection of 90 percent (or more) of all government agencies, developers, polluters and resource extractors.

Industrial Food (Industrial Agriculture)

Food brought to you on a mass scale, using secret (and often deadly) chemicals and moved thousands of miles from its origin (e.g. food from Archer Daniels Midland, General Foods, Kellogs) See Personal Food

Industrial Logging (Industrial Forestry)

Wholesale irreversible landscape destruction by multi-million dollar logging companies, using expensive power tools and millions of dollars in political lobbying to kill and move tree biomass thousands of miles from its home. (e.g. Boise-Cascade, Weyerhaeuser, Plum Creek, Georgia-Pacific, Westvaco, Pacific Lumber (aka MAXXAM), Champion)

Industrial Ranching (Welfare Ranching)

The very long lasting destruction of millions of square miles by grazing animals (typically cows) from vegetation overconsumption, intense soil trampling, fecal stream pollution, and massive water diversion for feed crops often with immense subsidies from the U.S. government.

"Inert" Pesticide Ingredients

Doublespeak. Secret, mislabeled ingredients in pesticides which can have even more toxic impacts than the disclosed active ingredients.

Informed Consent

"In medical and other scientific research, the subject of a study should not be used as a means to an end without recognizing that he or she is being so used, and consenting to being used that way."

"The Ethics of Investigation" by David Koepsell, New York State University at Buffalo; Skeptical Inquirer vol. 30 (1)

Initiative vs Referendum

While these two terms are often used interchangeably, in general an Initiative makes law, while a Referendum overturns a law made by elected officials (legislators). Only 23 states, including California, have adopted the Initiative/Referendum processes. 

Intercropping

In agriculture alternating rows of different crop species to attract pollinators, repel pests, diversify soil life and even improve beauty.

Imperiled Species

All the species which are in danger of being permanently expunged from our planet. Because it is so difficult and takes so long to get governments to recognize a truly imperiled species or habitat, this term includes far more species and habitats than official governmental "Endangered or Threatened Species" designations.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM)

Doublespeak. An ambiguous term intended to make you think pesticide use is reduced - when it probably isn't. A smokescreen trying to hide the deadly impacts of pesticides when their use is barely reduced - if at all. IPM rarely reduces pesticide use by 50 percent. Some places claiming IPM have even increased their pesticide use or changed to pesticides with higher toxicity. 

A 2001 General Accounting Office report found IPM failed to reduce pesticide use. While IPM is now used on more than two-thirds of U.S. crop lands, chemical pesticide use has increased.

The realization of IPM's promise is the avoidance of pesticide use as is almost achieved at San Francisco's Presidio Golf Course.

Interdependence, Ecological

Possibly the most important ecological concept. Ecological interdependence is the principle for how no living thing (including humans) can exist without other living things. It is how biota lives in symphony together.

Intrinsic Value

The value that every living thing has the right to live, simply because it exists.

We have alien life right here on Earth, if you define alien as astoundingly unfamiliar species. They are the millions of microorganisms right in front of us in every forest, wetland, and under the sea.

Invasive Species

Plants or animals which are introduced into a foreign habitat and crowd out or kill native species. Related terms include exotic, non-native and introduced, however these do not include the idea of harm to native species. Our local invasives include Pampas Grass, Scotch Broom, Cape Ivy, Rattlesnake Grass, Red Fox and Green Crabs.

Impervious Surface

A manmade surface such as a road or sidewalk, roof or parking lot which water cannot penetrate to moisten soil.

Lagoon

Doublespeak for the giant cesspool from an industrial hog "ranch."

Law

Formal Injustice. Where a priesthood called lawyers makes the vast majority of decisions in favor of corporations and the most wealthy - often fully independently of, and contrary to, what the law says and means, and with only the most trivial accountability. You may not know that in California Judges can take campaign money from lawyers who practice in front of them. Remember, judges are just lawyers wearing black dresses. 

LD50 and LC50

Lethal Dose 50% and Lethal Concentration 50%. The amount of a pesticide which will kill half of a group of test animals. A way to determine relative toxicity of two pesticides. A higher LD50 or LC50 is generally safer.

Expressed in milligrams per kilogram of body weight for LD50 (or LD50), and milligrams of a chemical per liter of water for LC50. The LC50 of Copper Sulfate for Rainbow trout is 0.13 mg/l. The LD50 of Diazanon for Mallard Ducks is 3.5 mg/kg. 

Leave it Alone Management

Management of an ecosystem by protecting it as a wilderness, by not modifying it in any way, other than to manually remove invasive species.

Level (of noise) Day-Night (Ldn) 

A 24 hour average noise level measurement, measured in (A scale) decibels. Does not recognize peak, maximum or impulse noises including dog barking, gunfire, power yard tools and car horns. (See Lmax.)

Lie

To assert something one knows is false. It is not enough to merely state something false, one must also know it is false for it to be a lie.

For example Peter Ueberroth as an owner speaking for Pebble Beach Company in March 2004 told the California Coastal Commission "We are not developers." The truth is that company has turned thousand of acres into golf courses, hotels and mansions and is actively fighting to get yet another approval for the largest  development ever on the physical Monterey Peninsula (which includes more golf courses, hotels and mansions).

Life Cycle Cost Analysis

The (rarely done) analysis of all costs associated with an activity over its lifetime - from cradle to grave.

Light Pollution & Glare

Unwanted man-made light which interferes with astronomical observations (glare) or enjoyment of aesthetic serenity of open spaces or private property (light pollution).

Lmax (Level Maximum)

The maximum noise level, whether constant or momentary.

Lying by Omission

Standard advocacy method of DREGs. They know what they are trying to do is harmful and antisocial, so they intentionally omit vital information from the public. When caught, they use doublespeak to argue "black is really white", "war is actually peace" or "Toxic Sludge (clearcutting, pesticides, extinction etc.) is good for you."

Maximum Noise Level (Lmax)

The peak or maximum noise level measured in (A scale) decibels. Useful for identifying short-term noises including dog barking, gunshots, leaf blowers, chainsaws, and car horns.

Medical Values

The potential & realized medical benefits of plants and animals.

We can be killed by a virus or a bacteria which is so small that we can barely see it with a microscope. There are billions of completely unstudied microorganisms right in front of us in every forest, wetland, and under the sea. Many of those will undoubtedly provide us with medical products and benefits.

Minimum Viable Population (MVP)

The smallest number and diversity (quantity & quality) of a single species which can continue to exist for at least 1000 years with a specified degree (95%+) of certainty.

Mitigation

Pretending to soften the environmental damage you cause; causing environmental damage by not avoiding it, only reducing, or pretending to reduce, the harm. Mitigation only reduces the amount of environmental harm. It does not eliminate harm, nor does it mean minimizing harm. A dramatic example of mitigation is -- "We need to to kill your child, BUT we'll mitigate that by giving you three orphans." That's 3 to 1 mitigation.

Modernizing or Reforming 

(see Efficiency)

Monoculture (vs Polyculture)

Farming of a single crop species such as tree farms, corn fields, strawberries. See Intercropping.

NCCP - Natural Commmunities "Protection" Plan

California's version of a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). While pretending to protect habitat - it allows potentially large cumulative damage to further imperil species and their populations.

Natural Phenomena vs Natural Resources

Natural Resources are things to be used.

Natural Phenomena are the exact same things as Natural Resources - physical environmental values or gifts, but they are valued for their intrinsic, ethical, spiritual, bequest or aesthetic values - not, as is usual for DREGs, just their economic or use value. Natural Phenomena is that which we can choose to leave alone.

Negotiation (Alternatives vs. Compromise)

A powerful tool to achieving environmental protection. Employing agreement on Alternatives so neither side has to Compromise. Unfortunately, American environmental protection advocates are remarkably poor at negotiating perhaps due in part to their unfamiliarity with winning and alternatives. This weakness often results in them giving away everything and protecting nothing.

Noise

Unwanted Sound (See Lmax,CNEL,Ldn)

Non-Economic Values

Ecological Values,Intrinsic Values,Aesthetic Values, Scientific Values, Social Values, Medical Values, Historic Values.

Omission Neglect

The insensitivity of people to missing, but vital information when making decisions. It results in inappropriately extreme and confidently held judgments in overestimating the importance of presented information and underestimated importance of information that was not presented. Seen in politics when bureaucrats overwhelm elected officials with irrelevant information and hide essential missing information. (See Lying by Omission) Can be counteracted by pointing out what is missing.

Organic 

Originally intended to distinguish food raised without man-made chemicals. Now a term highly misused by business giving false credibility to food grown with and legally containing a toxic rainbow of pesticides and fertilizers.

Overmature (tree)

Doublespeak. A live, healthy tree in the path of a proposed building or road. A forester's term. There is no such ecological word or concept. (See Biostitute, Forests vs Forestry, Dead & Dying trees, Forester vs. Arborist, and Ecologist vs Forester)

Personal Food (vs. Industrial Food)

Food grown or caught nearby for personal (family or neighbor's) use - free of industrial chemicals. Can include Community Supported Agriculture products produced within a few hours drive.

Pesticide

Deadly chemicals, designed, created and applied for the sole purpose of killing. They include avicides (to kill birds), herbicides (plants), fungicides, insecticides, and rodenticides (mammals - like us). 

The US-EPA allows the use of billions of pounds of pesticides every year even though no one has ever tested the vast majority of any pesticide's deadly toxic impacts on humans, plants and animals. For example, the US-EPA has contradicted law and ruled the so-called "inert" ingredients and degradates are exempt from testing. The US-EPA simply ignores endocrine harms, immune system impacts and biomagnification effects.

Point Source (Pollution)

A polluting source you can point at with your finger, such as an industrial pipe, a smokestack or a vehicle exhaust pipe. A non-point source is pollution you cannot easily point at - such as a highway.

Political Gap

The difference, often huge difference, between how much environmental destruction politicians vote for and how much environmental protection the majority of their constituents want. For example, we Monterey Peninsula voters always vote against growth, yet our elected officials infallibly vote and fight for more growth.

Planning Department

Official Doublespeak for a Subdivision and Building Approval Department which does no genuine planning whatsoever. Planning requires looking at least a lifespan into the future. Some believe the foresight should be seven generations. Yet there is little evidence of any "Planning" Department looking farther in the future than about 4 weeks - which coincides with the maximum delay to the meeting where some body of elected officials will give final approval without asking substantial questions providing more evidence for the "Political Gap."

Precautionary Principle

1) Using Caution before allowing a possibly (not probably) harmful activity, and 

2) Placing the Burden of Proof of safety on the activity proponent.

(See also Emergency Edict)

Project proposes vs Project "will"

Project advocates, including government officials and so-called objective consultants, often say something like "The project will..."

That is an extremely biased forecast.

They should be corrected to say "The project proposes to ..."

Property Rights (vs. Community Rights)

The false belief that one can do anything they want including causing the extinction of wildlife and their habitat, or destroying animals or streams on land they have paid only 10 percent or less of the fair market value.

Progress

Doublespeak. The touchstone bromide used by DREGs to imply improvement, while they willfully ignore environmental and social impacts.

Provenance

The geographical area or place of origin of a collection of genetic material (generally in the form of seed, pollen or cuttings) for which the process of natural selection has resulted in some common or shared population characteristics.

Psychopath (or sociopath)

A person, a business, group or agency which willfully does damage without remorse. "Such individuals are insensitive to other's needs, and unable to anticipate the consequences of their behavior... characterized by absence of guilt and anxiety normally accompanying an antisocial act." New Columbia Encyclopedia 4th edition, 1975 (See Corporations, Political Gap)

Public Interest

Benefiting the general public, a large class of persons or the natural world. Not something which only benefits one person or a small number of people at the expense of the general public or our environment.

Public Participation

The opposite of a dictatorship or tyranny, where the public actually obtains the right to a fair process and the right to a fair decision.

Recall (of an elected official)

When voters want to get rid of an elected official, or a judge, much sooner than their term of office is completed, they can gather signatures to put the question on the ballot. One of the most newsworthy Recalls was when California's Governor Davis was recalled and replaced with Arnold Schwartzenegger.

Re-Feeding

A term used to disguise cannibalism when an animal is fed parts of its own species. Surfaced in the debates about mad-cow and related diseases.

Regulatory Capture

Doublespeak for how government staff are almost always heavily biased against the public interest and in favor of those who want a financial gain; those they are required to regulate or limit. Staff normally meet with corporations and lobbyists daily during an application which can sometimes involve hundreds of hours. In dramatic contrast, government staff rarely, if ever meet with the public or public interest groups on the same issue. Lobbyists explicitly use this familiarity to gain huge gifts or "concessions" for their financially interested clients.

Once way to expose this bias is by contrasting the number of meetings and the duration of meetings with both sides. .

Revolving Door Management

Where government officials are offered a job in private industry to make decisions favorable to corporate profits. When they resign or retire they are hired as executives in the precise industry they were just "regulating."

One local example is Brian Foucht who as a "Planner" overseeing Clint Eastwood's Canada Woods subdivision for Monterey County, was offered a job by Clint Eastwood's land use lawyer - Tony Lombardo. Foucht left the County and is now employed by Clint Eastwood overseeing the same Canada Woods project.

In the most corrupt political times, corporate executives are appointed to government positions, specifically making policy decisions on the business they just "left" even though they retain significant financial interests in the business they are "regulating."
 

Right to Harm

There is no Constitutional right, explicit or implied, to harm another person or their property. Yet the US EPA persistently allows pesticides to be used which  they admit can kill one person in a million.

Right to Lie, (one-sided)

Even when a developer or their $250 per hour attorney is caught repeatedly doing extreme violence to the truth with whoppers - they have no damage to their reputation and their project approvals are never penalized. (also see Lying by Omission)

"I'm a politician, and as a politician I have the prerogative to lie whenever I want." - Charlie Peacock on why he lied about writing Bill Clinton a check.

Yet politicians and the media consider an unpaid public interest advocate's reputation permanently worthless if they ever misstate a single fact even faintly. 

Right to Influence Government Decisions (See List of Rights) 

Our US Constitution explicitly acknowledges your right to "petition the government for a redress of grievances" in the First Amendment. This relatively unknown right (overlooked by most law schools) is 500 years older and much stronger than your right to free speech. Among other things this powerful right protects you from SLAPP suits.

Right to Safety

California's Constitution explicitly gives each of us a Right to Safety. There is no similar explicit provision in the U.S. Constitution.

Risk Assessment (or "License to Kill") (vs. Alternatives Analysis)

See Alternatives Analysis

Safe

 Doublespeak. An intentionally ambiguous term used by DREGs to defend their activities when science shows real risk of environmental harm from their logging, chemicals, or development activities. "... phthalate manufacturers maintain that the chemicals have been thoroughly tested and are safe." even though phthalates are feminizing men. 

You can often eliminate this dodge by asking either "what criteria are you using?" or "would you volunteer your children to test this chemical?"

Science

Science is the methods of testing phenomena, and the body of knowledge resulting from the testing. Science only includes phenomena which can be repeatably observed or measured. It does not include beliefs, myths or opinions.

Scientific Method

How claims of fact are tested as true or false. First, a claim must be testable and not ambiguous. Second, testing must repeatably result in virtually identical supporting evidence.

Selective (or Selection) Cutting

Doublespeak for Logging. A new term management for logging where the forester first selects a forest then cuts it down.

A pseudoscientific facade implying that somehow not removing all the trees (only the biggest and healthiest) means logging does not harm a forest. 

Silviculture

Doublespeak. The process of turning a forest into silver. A pseudoscientific facade implying that somehow using science means logging does not harm a forest. Similar to "let me extract your bank account scientifically."

Smart Growth (or Sustainable Development)

Doublespeak and an Oxymoron. Smart Growth is never ending growth which irreversibly harms our environment at a slightly slower rate. See Sustainable Development.

Soils

Consisting of minerals, organic matter, water and air, sometimes a million years old, soils are a vital link in our food chain. Without soils there can be no plants for animals or us to eat. David Brower was fond of saying "We have to stop treating soils like dirt."

Soil Amendment (DoubleSpeak)

Hazardous waste put into fertilizer and applied on food crops. Extremely toxic waste including arsenic, lead, cadmium, beryllium, mercury, barium, chromium, selenium, uranium, titanium, aluminum, pesticides, atrazine, 2,4-D, incinerator fly ash and dioxins. Some of these highly toxic wastes are sold for use as road de-icers.

Special Interests

Doublespeak. A derogatory term used mainly by DREGs, and sometimes unwittingly by public interest advocates, this term's primary value is to confuse public interests with financial interests. Public Interest advocates do not gain money by protection of our environment, human rights or democracy, but financial interests simply never advocate for something unless they will make money from it. (See Financial Interests)

Species

Generally when two individuals of the same species procreate and produce fertile offspring. This definition works well for animals and many plants; not as well for some fungi and microorganisms.

Species Area Law

The smaller the habitat, the fewer species the habitat will support.

Spin

An extremely misleading avoidance and selection of words and facts to inflate one's argument.

See Doublespeak and Lie

Sprawl

Sprawl is when lots of new housing is built outside cities in rural and wildlands - spreading pavement and irreversibly obliterating wild habitats. Stopping Sprawl (typically with "Smart Growth") unfortunately means accepting and accomodating growth by putting growth in cities rather than putting more housing, and allowing subdivisions, in rural and wild lands. Stopping Sprawl does not mean no growth. 

See "Why Smart Growth Isn't"

Staffocracy (coined by HOPE's own Terrence Zito in 1994)

Dictatorship by bureaucrats. When unelected bureaucrats make, or overwhelmingly influence, a government policy or judicial decision. Sometimes staff refuses to follow policy decisions made by elected officials; also known as insubordination. (See Discretionary vs Ministerial Decisions) There is a strong tendency for elected and appointed officials to allow so-called 'expert' or "professional" staff to make decisions the electeds do not completely understand.

Stakeholder

Doublespeak. Aka Steak-holder or snakeholder. A person with financial, personal or money interests as opposed to someone advocating only public interests. One who gets a financial benefit from the outcome, almost always to the detriment of our environment. Corporations, for example, by law have no interests except profit maximization; they actually can be sued if they don't pursue maximum profits. (See Financial Interests)

Public Interest representatives are typically only token participants (they rarely, if ever, constitute a majority of a committee even though they represent a majority of the public and public values) if they are invited to "stakeholder meetings" at all. Contrast that with voting - where the public make a majority of the decision makers.

Stakeholder (value and democracy avoidance) Group

An anti-democracy group formed specifically to eliminate and avoid the values and advantages held by the public voting on issues. 

Because corporations, businesses and bureaucrats can't vote and often oppose the public's wishes and values, DREGs create Stakeholder Groups so they can make a playing field biased against the public will and the public good. 

Streamlining (see Efficiency)

 Accountability Removal. Doublespeak intended to hide increased environmental destruction.

Sustainable

Capable of continuing indefinitely. Sustainable Living does not irreversibly harm our environment. (See Carrying Capacity and Emergency Edict).

Sustainable Development (or Sustainable Growth)

Doublespeak and an oxymoron. Sustainable Development is a self-canceling phrase which irreversibly harms our environment. See Smart Growth

Substantial Evidence

This judicial standard of review is the opposite of the "Fair Argument" here giving extreme bias to a government agency. All a government has to do to comply with this law is to provide "substantial evidence" and a rationale that their decision is not outrageous. A judge is essentially required to ignore all evidence the public presents to the contrary.

Synergetic Impacts

Synergy is when two actions cause more types of impacts than either of the two individual actions can do separately. For example - a man and a woman can do a lot of things separately, but neither can make a baby alone. Even a thousand men (or a thousand women) cannot make a baby - without the other sex.

Sometimes two actions together can cause third (or fourth) environmental impacts that neither could have caused individually. 

Forest clearcutting damages an ecosystem, but if the soils are not completely lost it might be restored over the course of hundreds of years. Grazing cattle in the same forest harms the soils and removes understory, but the large trees can survive grazing for a few years.

However, synergetic damage occurs when an area is first clearcut then grazed with cattle. Clearcutting removes most of the biomass and subsequent soil erosion can take an ecosystem to the brink. If cattle then graze all the seedlings, and trample the remaining soils they amplify erosion, can cause complete loss of soils. Without soils, recovery of the ecosystem can take thousands of years, even if invasive plants do not permanently change the ecosystem dynamics. (See Cumulative Impacts)

Taking (of Endangered Species)

Killing or otherwise harming or harassing an animal or plant officially on an Endangered Species list.

Taking (Property Rights)

When a government takes ownership of, or restricts all 100 percent (not merely 95%) of economic use of private property.

Tragedy of the Commons

Garett Hardin's famous essay (first described by William Forster Lloyd) explaining how a pasture managed as a "commons" will be overgrazed beyond sustainability because the costs are shared by all, while most benefits are reaped by the greedy.

Tyranny

"Unrestrained exercise of power; unmerciful rule." New American Webster Dictionary 1972. While it is possible to have a benevolent dictator, there is no such thing as a benevolent tyrant.

Voluntary Law

Law without penalty - "directory" not mandatory. The only type of law even reluctantly allowed by DREGs. Just like criminals, they fight bitterly to prevent any law with criteria or enforceable teeth. Law libraries are filled with evidence that voluntary laws do not work.

Watershed

All the land surfaces which contribute water flow to a single river or stream. Ridgetops define watershed boundaries. Our Carmel River watershed encompasses some 255 square miles.

Watershed Council (Courtesy of Jim Britell)

A novel political construct which allows a local community to replace the enforcement of Federal Environmental Protection laws with children's innocuous high school science experiments. 

"Sometimes used to expedite placing law enforcement authorities and resources into the hands of environmental criminals. Also used to camouflage public agencies' and officials' lobbying with public funds in contravention of statutes forbidding such practices. "

Welfare Ranching

Subsidized ranching, typically grazing, on federal lands.

Winning

When a DREG makes a decision which avoids, stops, delays, or minimizes some intended environmental damage; or when they admit to causing, or contract to restore, a damaged habitat.

A desirable, yet almost wholly unfamiliar, goal for most environmental protection activists. This unfamiliarity often causes them to lose or give away everything. (See Negotiation)

Wise-Use Movement

Polluters, Developers, Resource Extractors and Governments (DREGs) hidden behind a facade of "ordinary people."

Zero-Waste

As nature does, leaving no waste products after production and consumption. In commerce this means all packaging and means of production are 100 percent recyclable.
The Australian state of Canberra has adopted a policy to be a zero-waste state by 2010.

Zoning

The categorization of a city or county into areas where certain activities are allowed and prohibited. Declared constitutional by the US Supreme Court in 1926 in a case brought (and lost) by the real estate industry (Village of Euclid vs. Ambler Realty.)

(More definitions on Jim Britell's "Devil's Environmental Dictionary")

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