Three Things: Colonialist Carrotage

[NB: check the byline, thanks. /~Rayne]

“What does colonialism have to do with carrots?” one might ask.

A lot — and an awful lot if you live in the U.S.

~ 3 ~

First, a bit of history which itself doesn’t have much to do with orange root vegetables.

130 years ago this past January there was a coup.

The last reigning monarch of the sovereign nation of Hawai’i was deposed by a bunch of white farmers – the guys who owned and operated sugar and pineapple farms on the islands, or the owners’ henchmen. They set up a provisional government composed of white guys who were the “Committee of Safety,” completely bypassing and ignoring the sentiments of the islands’ majority native Hawaiian population.

You’ll recall from your American History classes that a “Committee of Safety” was formed during the American Revolution as a shadow government. Groups later formed post-revolution with the same or similar names — a movement of vigilantism — but focused on protecting local white property owners’ interests.

Hawaiians had already been disenfranchised in 1887 when their king was forced to sign the “Bayonet Constitution” which removed much of his power while relegating Hawaiians and Asian residents to second-class non-voting status.

All because the Hawaiian islands were there and the sugar and pineapple producers wanted them.

That’s the rationalization. A bunch of brown people who had no army were stripped of their rights and their kingdom because white dudes wanted to farm there.

It didn’t help matters that the Hawaiian people had already been decimated by diseases the whites brought with them between Britain’s Captain Cook’s first foray into the islands in 1778 and the eventual annexation of Hawaii. As much as 85-90% of all Hawaiians died of communicable diseases like measles. There were too few Hawaiians remaining to fight off depredation by whites from the U.S. and Europe.

In 1993, then-president Bill Clinton signed a joint Apology Resolution Congress passed on the 100th anniversary of the coup, in which Congress said it “acknowledges that the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi occurred with the active participation of agents and citizens of the United States and further acknowledges that the Native Hawaiian people never directly relinquished to the United States their claims to their inherent sovereignty as a people over their national lands, either through the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi or through a plebiscite or referendum”.

None of that restores the sovereign nation of Hawai’i and makes it whole. It merely acknowledged the theft of an entire nation.

Am I a little chapped about this? Fuck yes, because my father’s family is Hawaiian and the land was stolen from them because the mainland U.S. wanted sugar and pineapples and the white dudes who stole it wanted a profit for little effort and didn’t give a damn about the nation of brown people who already existed on the islands. In contrast, Hawaiians like my family subsisted off the land and water.

They were merely collateral damage.

Happy fucking coup anniversary, white dudes from afar. You got what you wanted and more.

Hawaiians received nothing.

~ 2 ~

“But what does this have to do with carrots,” one might still be asking. “Is it the farmers?”

Yes, kind of — but it’s about the farmers’ attitudes.

Every single person who is not indigenous on this continent is on land which was already long occupied for thousands of years before whites arrived from Europe.

Much of this land is unceded territory, like the sovereign nation of Hawai’i. The rest may have been signed away in treaties, but get the fuck out about it being fair and equitable let alone fully informed and consensual, like the “Bayonet Constitution” King Kalākaua was forced to sign.

Here’s some 60 Dutch guilders, some alcohol, (sotto voce) some disease in exchange for the island of Manhattan. Fair trade, right? Such bullshit.

What’s even more bullshit is the argument some whites have used claiming indigenous people didn’t have a sense of ownership over the land. In a sense that’s true – many indigenous people felt or believed it was the other way around. They belonged to the land and to the forces of nature which made the land what it was, a holistic system.

This changes the concept of what a treaty entails, especially when both parties lack fluency in each other’s language and culture

(In Kalākaua’s case, there was no vagary; he was fluent in English and he knew if he didn’t sign the Bayonet Constitution the monarchy would be overthrown and the nation of Hawai’i would cease to exist.)

But who cared what those brown pagan savages thought? Even when they were converted to Christianity they were still brown and not perceived by whites as having legitimate rights to anything.

That included land and water.

This has pervaded white American history, that the people who pre-existed here were somehow not worth full consideration as equals. The attitude remains today when we talk about water and water rights.

The parallel thread to the marginalization of Native Americans and Hawaiians is the premise that white development should not ever be impeded (including development for its client states). If it needs something to expand and maintain itself, even if it exceeds its resources, it should simply be accommodated by whomever has the resources it needs.

So it is with the west and water.

I’ve read tens of thousands of words this since January about water and the western U.S., and so very little of it is concerned with the rights of the people who were first here.

Where are their water rights in all of this demand for more water for agriculture?

What set me off on this was a comment responding to my last post about carrots in which it was suggested water for the west should come from the Midwest/eastern U.S.; it wasn’t the first time I’d heard such balderdash.

As if the Great Lakes region should simply give water because it has so much and the west needs it.

Oh, and the west will trade energy for it.

Like trading an island for 60 Dutch guilders. Or trading a nation for the bayonet removed from the throat.

No. Fuck no.

This is colonialism — its unending grasping nature to take what doesn’t belong to colonialists because they need it.

Like islands to grow sugar and pineapples, they want lakes to ensure their profits, I mean, carrots continue to grow.

Or their golf courses, or swimming pools, or their verdant fescue lawns in the middle of the desert.

Never mind the Great Lakes isn’t solely the property of the U.S., but a shared resource with its neighbor Canada.

Never mind there are First Nations Native Americans who also have water rights to the Great Lakes, who continue to rely on those lakes for their subsistence, and who may also subsist on the waters outside of Great Lakes but in other watersheds

No. Fuck no. The American west can knock off its colonialist attitude and grow up. Resources are finite, defining the limits of growth. Apply some of that vaunted American ingenuity and figure out how to make do with the resource budgets already available.

People are a lot easier to move than lakes full of water, by the way.

~ 1 ~

“Okay, carrots may be colonialist when they demand more water than available,” one might now be thinking.

Yes. But there’s more. Another issue which surface in comments on my last post was the lack of a comprehensive national water policy.

This is has been a problem for decades; it’s come up here in comments as far back as 2008, and the problem was ancient at that time.

It’s not just a national water policy we need, though. We need a global policy in no small part because of the climate crisis. Look at California as this season’s storms begin to ease; the fifth largest economy in the world has been rattled with an excess of fresh water it can’t use effectively, which has and will continue to pose threats to CA residents. California is not the only place which will face such challenges. Super Typhoon Nanmadol last year dumped rain under high winds for days across all of Japan; while a typhoon is a discrete event, the size and length of Nanmadol are not unlike the effects of multiple atmospheric river events hitting California inside one week. The super typhoon hit Japan a month after a previous typhoon; imagine had they both been extended-length super typhoons.

Indeed, this is what has already happened in the Philippines before Nanmadol with Hinnamor.

This year has already seen the longest ever typhoon; Freddy lasted more than five weeks. Imagine a single super storm inflicting rain for that long in the East Asian region.

Depending on the level of development and preparedness, fresh water may be a problem during and after these much larger more frequent storms – not to mention drought and wildfire.

In 2010 the Defense Department’s Quadrennial Defense Review Report included a section addressing climate change:

Crafting a Strategic Approach to Climate and Energy

Climate change and energy are two key issues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment. Although they produce distinct types of challenges, climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked. The actions that the Department takes now can prepare us to respond effectively to these challenges in the near term and in the future.

Climate change will affect DoD in two broad ways. First, climate change will shape the operating environment, roles, and missions that we undertake. The U.S. Global Change Research Program, composed of 13 federal agencies, reported in 2009 that climate-related changes are already being observed in every region of the world, including the United States and its coastal waters. Among these physical changes are increases in heavy downpours, rising temperature and sea level, rapidly retreating glaciers, thawing permafrost, lengthening growing seasons, lengthening ice-free seasons in the oceans and on lakes and rivers, earlier snowmelt, and alterations in river flows.

Assessments conducted by the intelligence community indicate that climate change could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments. Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration.

While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world. In addition, extreme weather events may lead to increased demands for defense support to civil authorities for humanitarian assistance or disaster response both within the United States and overseas. In some nations, the military is the only institution with the capacity to respond to a large-scale natural disaster. Proactive engagement with these countries can help build their capability to respond to such events. Working closely with relevant U.S. departments and agencies, DoD has undertaken environmental security cooperative initiatives with foreign militaries that represent a nonthreatening way of building trust, sharing best practices on installations management and operations, and developing response capacity.

Water — whether potable fresh, rising oceans, changed waterways, ice or lack thereof — figured prominently in this assessment of growing climate threats.

The inaugural Quadrennial Diplomacy Report published by the State Department in 2010 likewise considered climate change an issue demanding consideration as State assessed diplomatic efforts needed to assure the U.S. remained secure.

The climate crisis isn’t confined to the U.S. alone, though; it’s a global challenge and in need of global response. We need not only a national water policy but a global water policy, and with it policies related to agriculture dependent upon water’s availability.

The price for failing to implement a global approach has long-term repercussions. Examples:

Ongoing conflict in Syria may have been kicked off before Arab Spring by long-term drought in the region;

• Violence and economic instability in Central America caused in part by drought and storms creates large numbers of asylum seekers and climate refugees heading north;

Sustained drought in Afghanistan damaging crops increases the chances poor farmers will be recruited by the Taliban.

Developing approaches to ensure adequate clean drinking water and irrigation of local crops at subsistence level could help reduce conflicts, but it will require more than spot agreements on a case-by-case basis to scale up the kind of systems needed as the climate crisis deepens, affecting more of the globe at the same time.

~ 0 ~

“But wait, what about the carrots and colonialism and conflict?” one might ask.

The largest producers of carrots are China (Asia), the United States (western hemisphere), Russia, Uzbekistan — and Ukraine.

The third largest producer of carrots attacked the fifth largest producer which happened to be a former satellite state.

That besieged state is the largest producer of carrots in Europe.

The colonialism is bad enough. Imagine if the colonial power damaged the former colony’s water supply, too.

51 replies
  1. Rayne says:

    This is not an open thread. Please discuss water, agriculture, immigration, and foreign policy here.

    • vietvet68-9 says:

      When I worked with a large corporate produce operation in AZ and CA forty years ago, cotton was really the king of acreage and water use. Global cotton production dwarfed the Southwest’s, but cotton farmers could compete only because of cotton programs focused on protecting (white) farmers from loss, and federal programs subsidizing inputs like water. Water rights have long been grandfathered to big ag interests, but the growth of urban voters and struggle for over-committed water resources will require imminent major adjustments. Tribal nations have some leverage to reclaim a few of their homeland prerogatives given the current upheaval. So, what about carrots? Some advice- buy local and get bunched carrots. They will almost always be fresher and more tender; sugars metabolize to starch when stored.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    You could spreckels a little sugar on those carrots, if you like.

    My introduction to the topic came from Imperial San Francisco, by Gray Brechin. Good read.

  3. earthworm says:

    every day i go to the GOES-East CONUS – GeoColor satellite view. everything west of the Mississippi basically is brown, and brown extends into Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio.
    the DoD assessments of over ten years ago are not woofing — these are serious, serious assessments about outcomes of misuse of the Continental US: mainly corporate agriculture, and other extractive industries that alter global moisture flows, but also with planet-wide implications.
    the cutting down of forests in every hemisphere that transpire moisture into global circulation is an aspect that is overlooked in favor of other aspects of climate change but one that will increasingly desertify our planet.
    the indigenous peoples who happened to be in the way of the grab for wealth may have the last bitter laugh, as they witness the “angst” of the colonial white populations, who are “replaced” by the victims of global corporatism, refugees from every kind of horror, knocking on their doors.

    [FYI – I deleted what looked like a duplicate comment. /~Rayne]

    • P J Evans says:

      Everythign west of 104W is usually brown, and it’s been that way forever. It’s a region that *should* be grazing land and not farm land.

  4. boatgeek says:

    Speaking of carrots, the orange kind that are most widely available in US supermarkets are lousy. This will surprise nobody who eats heirloom produce. Carrots originated somewhere between Iran and India, and were originally either purple or yellow. Those color carrots tend to taste better. They’re even better fresh from the garden.

    Insert rant about crappy tomatoes, Red “Delicious” apples, and cardboard peaches here. Corporate agriculture focused on appearance in a grocery store a thousand miles away has a lot to answer for.

    • Attygmgm says:

      Excellent post by Rayne. A whole new world to me, with another predictable history of exploitation.

      Years ago a restaurant owner observed to me that carrots from California taste better than those from other parts. I began to pay attention to state of origin and the observation has held up. But I will keep an eye out for other colors, none of which I have ever seen.

  5. LargeMoose says:

    We’re also allowing foreign countries to buy water rights here, grow and export crops, and use massive amounts of scarce water to do it. Saudi Arabia has been feeding US-grown alfalfa to cows in S.A. I’d read about this a while ago, and was reminded by your post.

    It looks like this practice might be stopped.

    This was news to me, and It looks like it’s been going on for a while.

        • Rayne says:

          And China exports garlic to the U.S. while Gilroy is flooded. There are going to be imports to the U.S. whenever we consume more than we produce and when we have crop failures.

          What’s stupid is the alfalfa situation because we have ample farmland for it here for our consumption if we’re not exporting it to places where they’re clearly paying no attention to their own balance of production and consumption.

        • rf_05APR2023_1807h says:

          And Turkish exports gutted Hollister’s & Gilroy’s apricot sector, which wasn’t failing or vulnerable to flooding. Exports made possible only through agricultural conversion of marginal lands vulnerable to desertification and relied upon by marginalized groups so

          [Welcome to emptywheel. Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Because your username is far too short it will be temporarily changed to match the date/time of your first know comment until you have a new compliant username. Thanks. /~Rayne]

    • FancynChicken says:

      Mike Duncan, one of my favorite podcasters wrote about the impact of climate change and the French Revolution.

      Climate change has played a part in human conflict going all the way back to the Bronze Age Collapse and the fall of the Roman Empire.

      As a student of history it is mind boggling to me that there are so many instances of climate change impacting conflict and yet governments seem to take this so casually, not to mention the fact that climate deniers even exist. Within 5 years the fight for water rights in the west are going to be all of our’s problem. Unbelievable the lack of urgency in dealing with it.

  6. LaMissy! says:

    Well worth the read: “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. The “braiding” of the title is apt, as the author synthesizes threads from botany, indigenous teachings and scientific ecological research. Wall Kimmerer was recognized as a MacArthur Fellow in 2022. She is an inscribed member of the Potawatomi tribe and holds a PhD in Botany from U of WI.

    I found I needed to read a chapter, let it settle, turn around its ideas, and then begin the next chapter. Quite readable, yet dense.

    Link from MacArthur Foundation:
    https: //

  7. pdaly says:

    What a great (and tragic) history lesson, Rayne. Amazing that it can all be connected thematically to the business of growing carrots.

    This talk about water makes me think of the ~2008 news stories about the George W. Bush family buying lang in Paraguay with access rights to the Guarani Aquifer.

    Fresh water scarcity also makes me recall the gleeful John Stossel rationalizing, as a libertarian, why it would be awesome for everyone for a storeowner to price gouge water in a disaster.

  8. Nehoa808 says:

    Rayne: well said, particularly about the theft of Hawaii as a nation.

    [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

  9. NickBarnes says:

    Note the spelling of “Hawaiʻi” preferred by indigenous Hawaiians. That’s not an apostrophe, it’s an ʻokina.
    There are also complicated political and colonial stories around the orangification of carrots (although apparently it’s not true that they were first bred by the Dutch).

  10. PeteT0323 says:

    Holy degrees of separation bat person…

    Talk about carrots – let’s talk about pineapples and defer bananas.

    My maternal Grand Mother was Bahamian. Granted her family settled the Bahamas likely from Wales and the whole white settlement of The Bahamas is yet another indigenous wipeout story. So, Rayne’s lineage to indigenous Hawai’i has more weight.

    None the less what do Kidwell, Thuston and Dole have in common? Glad you asked:

    The Queen started to use Crown Lands to promote diverse agriculture on small farms, which angered Kidwell and his ilk. Sanford B. Dole, a friend of Thurston, initiated a campaign to wrest control of the Crown Lands from Liliuokalani in August 1891, and 17 months later, Thurston led the overthrow that led to Hawaii’s annexation to America. Unsurprisingly, one of the first actions taken by the overthrowers was to take away the Crown Lands from the deposed Queen. John Emmeluth called for Liliuokalani to get deported, but he was ultimately overruled by his peers.

    Thus, the first shipment of canned pineapples that happened on this day in 1895 — just two and a half years after the overthrow — was not just a shipment of pineapples. It was the result of years of ruthless business competition and political conspiracy that left the remains of a Kingdom in its wake.

    While I do not have a citation, it is the case that the “fall” of Hawai’i and the pineapple imports from there eventually allowed (Dole to) undercut the price of pineapples such that it decimated that industry in The Bahamas.

    Oh and a comprehensive write-up of pineapples, Kidwell, and Dole – yes THAT Dole for whom I will not talk about Eisenhower, Central America, and bananas.

    • Rayne says:

      Yup, all that came after the Bayonet Constitution. But it’s like a disease — the haoles doubled down on farming sugar and pineapples in Hawai’i because they’d lost their crops in Puerto Rico due to hurricanes in 1899. Puerto Ricans immigrated with the farming to Hawai’i and then were denied citizenship though Puerto Ricans who remained in PR were granted citizenship.

      Colonialists’ sugar and pineapples fucked up multiple island nations; sugar was in no small part why slavery was so difficult to eliminate in the Caribbean and southeastern U.S.

  11. bcw says:

    Interesting exhibit on early colonialism in Yonkers, NY at the Philipse Manor which include some of the forged land deeds the Philipse family used to steal more land from the Algonquins and Mohegans. These groups had representatives to the local authorities but the judges were all the Dutch landed nobility.

    [Welcome back to emptywheel. Second Request: Please choose and use a unique username with a minimum of 8 letters. We are moving to a new minimum standard to support community security. Thanks. /~Rayne]

  12. Parker Dooley says:

    Terrific post, Rayne.

    Two books I have found epiphany-inducing:

    Beyond Growth by Herman Daly
    Environmental Accounting by Howard Odum

    Both propose ecological economic models that incorporate energy and resource flows that are ignored by neoclassical economists. Short message: You can’t escape the 2d Law of thermodynamics. Daly’s book is especially readable. Minimal math required.

  13. Fraud Guy says:

    I recall many articles in magazines (National Geographic among them) back in the 80’s talking about the coming water crisis in the West, and discussing many possible solutions:
    Massive desalinization plants
    Farming icebergs
    Piping water from the Great Lakes
    We knew.

    • Rayne says:

      It’s like the rest of climate change. We were told, we knew, and yet nothing happened, just more and more development.

      Though the solutions which never came to pass were more colonialist responses, so thank goodness they didn’t go through.

      The one issue we really need to visit is desalinization. If the theories related to the collapse of ocean thermohaline circulation are correct, we may need the salt to prevent a global catastrophe, injecting it into the circulation to prevent the collapse. Badly need to throw research money at this even if it’s geoengineering.

  14. Molly Pitcher says:

    Excellent and thought provoking post.

    There is a major push in the Bay Area to build more housing as fast as possible, and while I recognize that there is a housing shortage, I keep asking how are we going to fit all of these into the available water ?

    We have wiped out the drought, except for a tiny percentage in the extreme Northeast of the state, through an absurd amount of rain and snow this winter. It remains to be seen if we can handle the runoff from the over 200% of normal snow pack in the Sierras. The Southern Sierra is 306% of normal.

    I fear that this over abundance has pushed sustainability conversations off the table. People are very short sighted when it comes to making sacrifices and planning for unpleasant things.

    • khollenCA says:

      So I agree re: sustainability, water, and planning/development in general, but specific to the Bay Area and housing, I dunno. Water usage fluctuates from year to year, but overall, residential water use in California has been falling; in 2015, statewide urban water use was the lowest it had been since 1991 even though the 2015 population was about 10 million higher than it was in 1991.

      The link below has a bunch of documents including the “California Water Plan Update 2018,” which has the thing about the urban water use falling and some maps of water use by area. The Bay Area’s, relative to other regions in the state, looks pretty low, and that’s total use, not per capita.

      This, from USGS, also has a map of water withdrawal by county (data is from 2010) under the “Multimedia” section, and the counties around the Bay Area are relatively low compared to other counties (again, this is total, not per capita).

      Residential water use is somewhere around 11% of the total water usage, though again that fluctuates:

      tl;dr California has the highest water usage of any state, but I don’t think housing and population are the primary drivers of that. We do a truly terrible job of capturing the rainfall that we get (just multiple kinds and levels of failure there), and we grow a lot of thirsty crops in semi-arid desert.

  15. Chirrut Imwe says:

    Thanks for this post. I first became aware of the severity of these water scarcity problems in my 20’s (1980’s). It has frustrated me to no end since then that the US (and others) have been unwilling or unable to face this thorny issue. Having lived in the west my whole life, I have never understood why water providers did/do not charge consumers the true cost for the water they are providing – nothing like a hard dose of financial reality to shape behaviors and encourage conservation of this finite resource (some providers are starting to do this, but it seems to me that the amount I pay for water still does not reflect its true value). I get that this is a simplified view, but I do believe it would be helpful it everyday folks better understood the true costs (and impacts) that our patterns of water use have now and into the future.

    How this does and will affect migration is also under reported/appreciated. As climate weirding accelerates, hold on because we ain’t seen nothing yet.

    I recently finished “The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl” by Tim Egan (2006). A good read, though a tad dramatic. Thinking in terms of today, I have often wondered how things would play out if (when?) the water supply for any of the large population centers in the west dried up. I can’t really imagine whole regions of the US just depopulating, but it has happened before over the centuries.

  16. khollenCA says:

    Thank you, Rayne, this is a great article.

    I didn’t see it cited directly, but I felt like – maybe this is presumptuous of me, sorry – the case currently before the Supreme Court (I think it is US Dept of Interior, State of Arizona, et al v. Navajo Nation, but I also think I have messed up the name) might’ve been on your mind as you were writing this. I think a big point you make here is that this is our history, but it’s not history, it’s our present and our future, too; it never stopped. And it’s like, I read about this case, and it’s like something out of a history textbook, here is another example of the US blatantly screwing over First Nations Native Americans, except that it was two weeks ago, not two hundred years ago, that the US government argued, “Just because we forced you onto this land does not give you a right to this land’s water. Just because we’ve forced you to live here does not mean that here has to be livable.”

    I grew up in an agricultural area in California. It’s…quite something, that the land stolen from brown people is now made to produce off the backs of other brown people, many of whom (at least where I’m from) belong to Central American indigenous groups. It’s quite something that so much anti-immigrant rhetoric boils down to “we were here first,” but somehow this argument never seems to extend to those whose relatives really were here first, by however many thousands of years. And funnily enough, for some people, it apparently doesn’t matter how many generations their family has been in the US, they still aren’t afforded consideration as “real Americans.”

    It is much easier to move people than it is to move a lake. We’re not real great about it, though, when other people need to move because they can’t be where they are anymore, and we tend to draw our distinctions re: who the outsider is more and more narrowly.

    • khollenCA says:

      Forgot to add: one thing about all the rain that California’s been getting, when it rains, the farmworkers can’t work, and if they can’t work, then they don’t get paid.

      In my experience, the farmworkers tend to be very wary of accessing social services, because it has counted against them in the (very recent) past, and they of course don’t want to jeopardize their immigration status. It’s not supposed to count against them now, but they don’t trust it, and given how often things have been switched up on them, they probably shouldn’t.

  17. HWeinberg3 says:

    Ag is finding that native reservations, being reserved, have water rights senior to ag’s written ones because the reserved rights were never ceded to the colonists in the first place. Same for reserved treaty rights to harvest, the water to support the harvest was never ceded either so off-rez water rights are also senior to ag rights which only go back to when they were written which is well after any treaties were signed. This is being worked out in PNW and MT, I don’t think so much in CA or the SW

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  18. rattlemullet says:

    A great, great post, great links and this post should be headlines everywhere. Instead everyone is bottom trolling with trump. Thank you very much. The United States orchestrated genocide of the native population is under taught in class rooms today. Reparation for their stolen lands will dwarf the discussion of reparations for the Africans that were enslaved. Two good reads are, 1491 by Charles C. Mann, Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel. Americas war on the natives, blacks and the poor continue to this day. Sadly your post about stealing native Hawaiians lands has almost been lost to history. Hawaii from an environmental view point is argued to be the most alter environment on earth.

    Climate change is the existential issue for humanity and there is not a world leader I am aware of is addressing the issue head on. The climate change threat has no world wide leader. The loss of the worlds glaciers will truly exacerbate the earth water crisis sooner than most think. Scientific papers are being published about how glacier ice loss increase plate tectonic movements resulting in increases of earthquakes and volcanic activity. This known as glacial isostatic adjustment and the impacts will be increasing world wide as the ice melts. As the IPCC latest report states that the nations of the earth may be to late to act even we ceased all fossil fuel consumption. James Hansen testified in 1988 about climate change before congress warning that increased carbon was causing climate change. Follow by Michael E. Mann infamous hockey stick showing the alarming rise in Co2 emissions and his computer modeling predicting the effects of the same. His modeling as it turned out was too conservative. The 600 pound gorilla in the room is over population that gets very little discussion any more.

  19. Raven Eye says:

    This California water discussion pulled a memory out of the dusty shadows…

    In 1979 the California Governor’s Office published the California Water Atlas. The history of California is saturated with water issues and this book was notable for bringing a lot of historical and technical information together in an understandable volume (Stewart Brand chaired the Advisory Group). I stumbled across a copy in a used book store in Alexandria, Virginia, grabbed it, and gave it to my brother as a Christmas present. It is still talked about among those interested in the state’s natural resources AND history. Copies are rare, but UC Berkeley has digitized it and made it available:

    “The California Water Atlas, a key resource on a crucial issue for this state, is now freely available online. Produced by the California Governor’s Office of Planning and Research in 1979, this work features not only a massive amount of data but also a variety of innovative and effective visual presentations.

    “High resolution images of each page, as well as various resolution PDFs of the entire atlas, are available online from the David Rumsey Map Collection website. An online flip-book and other electronic versions (e.g., Kindle) are also available from the Internet Archive.”

    ht tp://w w

  20. Ed Walker says:

    Lake Michigan is across the street from my apartment. When we moved into this neighborhood several years ago the lake was about 14 inches below the retention berm. Over the next three years it rose about a foot. After a year or so it started dropping back to its earlier level. That’s a whole lot of water.

    We moved here because our daughter and her family are here, and one big reason they chose Chicago when they left the Bay Area was water. When I look out the window I see the offshore water cribs that provide our water. Over the last 30 years Chicago has built huge water handling ditches, cleaned up the Lake, changed our handling of surface water to deal with salt and oil from the streets, and more. We’ve been paying attention.

    This is a great city.

    • JVO says:

      I’m a Pure Michigan/Detroit guy and I love Chy-town and dislike its sports teams! If only the farmers of IL, OH, IN, MI, ON would do as much to stop the phosphate run off to the Great Lakes! Tick, Tick, Tick

    • theartistvvv says:

      Also, Deep Tunnel.

      My father’s best friend was a plumber and village inspector – he tried to persuade me to go into water law but at the time “riparian rights”, *etc.*, seemed a thing for the West, not so much the Great Lakes region.

      Also, I wanted to do litigation and trial work.

      • bmaz says:

        Lol, the lure of going to court daily and engaging judges and juries is strong. And I live in the west and was too stupid to not understand the value of water law.

        • theartistvvv says:

          I actually interviewed twice after law school with the state supremes (3, and then all) to be a PD but by the time they made an offer was making half again as much doing BI.

          Altho’ I just did a agg batt 5M bond reduction hearing last week – I lost it (as was predicted by the guy I was standing in for) – and the lure of that is strong.

          So strong that I’m gonna 2nd chair that trial and a murder trial with that atty later this year.

        • bmaz says:

          Excellent! Do it. And please, only after it is over, or innocuously, report in. Criminal trial law is not for most, but there is a LOT there that is really good to experience. Best wishes!

  21. GWPDA_RefusesToChangeName says:

    Rayne – a small, but perhaps not irrelevant point. When you say ‘All because the Hawaiian islands were there and the sugar and pineapple producers wanted them.’ you are correct. But. It is necessary to note, from both the perspective of US political reality of the late 1800s and imperialism generally, that the Hawaiian Islands were specifically targetted for possession by the US because they are, almost to the nautical mile, precisely the outside distance that a Naval ship could travel from the port of San Francisco without refuelling. Sugar and pineapple were nice – but the 1898 Spanish-American War gave the US control of those commodities in places other than Hawai’i. The location of the Islands was (and arguably remains) the key to the Pacific expansion of the United States, positioning the nation in anticipatory and ultimately definitive opposition to successive Asian Eastern expansion. There was a reason that after WWI Japan was ceded German Pacific territories and a very good reason that Japan held onto those territories as potential stepping stones in the chess game being played between the Pacific representatives of the Dutch, British, French and US empires.

    At least this is the history about which I instructed the senior command of USARPAC and INDOPACOM.

    • Rayne says:

      Okay, great, thanks for providing colonials’ rationalization for stealing my family’s heritage.

      Now fuck off where you came from because you have persistently refused to change your username.

      • GWPDA_RefusesToChangeName says:


        If you prefer to believe in fables, go ahead.

        I was never asked to ‘change my username’ – certainly not by this little blog, and not in 30 years of online participation. You would know that if you were paying attention.

        Bless your heart.

        [You’re done here. You’ve been asked repeatedly and been pointedly uncooperative. /~Rayne]

        • bmaz says:

          You are lying out of your ass. Both Rayne and I have not just requested, but demanded it. On not just multiple, but numerous, occasions. Do not, EVER, try to blow lies like that over the people here. We do not need you, or your nonsense. Also, take your “bless your heart” and shove it straight up your sanctimonious and misogynistic ass.

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