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Thursday, January 5, 2006

Just Plain Fun?

Posted by on January 5 at 15:05 PM

The Seattle Times, which just finished running a very good series on the effects of global warming in the arctic region, today offers this cheery endorsement of snowmobiling in “pristine” Chelan County: It’s “Just Plain Fun.”


Hmmm. Just plain fun? Really?

Most snowmobiles are powered by two-stroke engines which dump 25-30 percent of their fuel unburned out the tailpipe. The air pollution from these dirty machines is so bad that Yellowstone Park Rangers now wear respirators to protect themselves. The piercing noise of snowmobiles can often be heard throughout our parks; studies show that these machines can be heard 90 percent of the time in Yellowstone. And snowmobiles harass and threaten wildlife. Even when restricted to approved and maintained trails, snowmobiles can push bison, wolves, elk, and moose, even the bald eagle, out of their preferred habitats.

Perhaps some of the above information should be mentioned in The Times’ “If You Go” box? As in, “If you go snowmobiling in Chelan County, be sure to enjoy dumping 25-30 percent of your fuel unburned out of your tailpipe, and make sure you notice how that piercing noise harasses wildlife!

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Dear Rural Americans--The fun you enjoy harms the environment! Please in future enjoy less harmful fun like cutting down entire forests to build cities filled with bars and clubs and specialty coffee shops. Thank you for cooperating!


Urban Americans



Trees, forests and wildlife are all just getting in the way of future Wal*Mart parking lots anyways.

whatever - this is the best post eli's ever put on the slog

?? Best post how? Eli posts awesome posts all the time. This one, in addition to being irritating and curmudgeonly, features a total of three sentences of his own writing. You're obviously a fun-hating zealot.

Clearly cutting down trees to build cities with bars and clubs and specialty coffee shops is considerably less harmful, per capita, than "the fun they enjoy" polluting some of our last wild spaces. Density is an environmental good, doof.

Agreed that density is an environmental good, no doubt. But the fact remains that snomobiling is a non issue and this is just like Eli's big bitch-whine about boating last year. Liberals often derive a feeling of superiority by pissing all over fun or other people's fun, even when it doesn't matter, at all.

Fact: Lakes Washington and Union are eleventy times cleaner and safer than they were twenty years ago.

The only true environmental good would be if we all just dropped dead tomorrow. Every moment you live on this earth, you are leeching resources away from it--whether you do it by burning electricity by listening to your iPod, or snowmobiling, it's happening. Accept it. Action on climate change and habitat destruction will only happen if the urbanites and ruralites accept that, as humans, they are sinners all, and unite to mitigate their pernicious effect on Eden.

Hey Whatevers, this is from that site I linked to:

A snowmobile driven for an hour can emit as much pollution as a car driven for a year.

So, compare that to urban forms of recreation (biking, running, even driving a couple of hours to go skiing) and you see the basis for a critique of snowmobiling. The point is to compare apples to apples... or recreation to recreation. (Not rural recreation to urban coffee shops.)

When you do a comparison that makes sense, clearly some forms of recreation are more destructive than others.

But what's more damaging to the environment? Alienating potential allies of the environmental cause by criticizing their recreational pursuits.

Rural folks--hunters, fishermen, and even loggers--care about open spaces, if for different reasons that urban folks do. The point is to preserve the open spaces, not argue about who uses them better. When wildlife start dying because the food chain is bollocksed by global warming, or urban sprawl overruns a forest, the argument will be forever moot.

True, effective action on climate change will require bipartisan compromise, and this will never happen if Democratic environmentalists alienate Republican NRA types over an issue as utterly insignificant as snowmobiling.

I like the fact that you can only eat fish from lake Chelan "at most once a week". That was on the tele the other night and I thought to myself,"if you can only eat it at most once a week, why the fuck would you eat something that toxic in the first place?".

Back to the media critique, this is typical of the Seattle Times reporting on the environment. Last fall they had an excellent series on the science behind global warming and why many people don't believe it is happening. In the series they squarely laid part of the blame of the issue on the media themselves. In the media pursuit of "fairness", they often put counter views on global warming into articles without mentioning that the counter views come from people whose tests are faulty (and have been debunked) and whose salaries are paid for by industries contributing to global warming. The editor of the Seattle Times wrote a very favorable column praising the article and touting his paper's responsible, investigative reporting.

The following week the Times ran a story on global warming sourced from the Washington Post. In the article a counter view was reported. The view was reported by a person exposed in the previous Times article as being funded by Exxon and whose "science" has been debunked.

When I wrote the Times about this, they apologized and said that they couldn't possibly be consistent in their reportage due to compartmentalism in the divisions of the paper. Grrr

The point on snowmobiles is well taken yet .. Seth has a good point. Snowmobilers, hunters, people who use the rural land care about preserving it. There is plenty of room - and we as a country can afford it - for 'pristine nature preserves' and 'using the woods for fun and recreation.

Douchbag says "Fact: Lakes Washington and Union are eleventy times cleaner and safer than they were twenty years ago."

Err, try forty years. The beach closures (due to lumps of human shit washing up on Mathews Beach and elsewhere) that led to the formation of Metro and the introduction of real sewage processing were in 1968.

And those problems are starting to reappear; Lake Washington is much dirtier now than it was in the 70s, and may even start seeing closures again soon.

But that's about sewage overflow, not gas. Boat gas isn't that big a deal in Lake Washington; in Lake Union, it is, but I'll bet the improvement has more to do with the gradual death of commercial boating (i.e. fishing) than anything to do with pleasure boats.

I'd like to add that the person in the foreground of that grainy photo looks like Mayor Gridlock.

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