A Response

From One Film-Maker To Another
This is a response Anders made to a question from a film producer, who included Anders footage in her 2011 Klamath River public television documentary. To summarize, she asked Anders, after he sent her a link to his Hand That Feeds Us video clip, “can human food production and endangered species coexist?”

John Crawford would be the first to say we need to understand our environments.  What he is saying in regards to the Endangered Species Act is human nature acquires and develops science, chooses science to endorse while overseeing legal, mitigating and managerial implementation – interpretations.  A chain of humans are making decisions, at different stages with different intentions, and low-hanging fruit seems to always be chosen – this is human nature’s footprint.

Responses to The Hand That Feeds Us have been entertaining.  The general reaction is to revisit the Upper Klamath Basin Water issues and save farming. Many of these responses come from houses that sit on farmland that was paved over in the past three decades. No responses considered human nature as an issue.  In most cases it was an us vs. them, red vs. blue, liberty vs. oppression, private enterprise vs. government mentality.  Not one mention of “me” and “mine” – again, human nature doing what it does – accumulating natural resources.

The Klamath River Watershed issues impacting the Klamath Reclamation Project began in the late 1990’s when the Klamath River Basin Fisheries Task Force Technical Work Group hired Dr. Thomas Hardy, Professor of Hydrology at Utah State, to create “desk-top” water flow theories – Hardy Phase One flow studies. At the time, Hardy was contracted by the Yurok Tribe, funded by the Department of Interior, to develop water flow data for pending lawsuits to help the Yurok’s establish tribal water rights. Once contracted for the “desk-top study, he continued working for both agencies. The Klamath Reclamation’s 2001 water-shutoff was triggered by Hardy’s Phase One Flow studies. Not because of it’s validity but because it was the only existing water flow study in progress. In 2003 his yet to completed Phase Two study was held up, despite an outcry from tribal and fishing interests, because one of the original bidders was suing the federal government and accusing Hardy of using their proprietary data. It also was mentioned that it was possible the Depart of Indian Affairs didn’t want it released until a water rights lawsuit was settled. Whatever the reason it had little to do with endangered species. Hardy Phase Three Klamath River flow study was released in 2006.

The point to the previous paragraph was the 2001 Klamath Reclamation Project’s water shutoff was by default, find something to do and at that time an available theory – the Hardy Phase One flow study. This had nothing to do with the real problems. As example, nights within the Klamath River watershed have become warmer. In the past, cool nights allowed the salmon to recharge from lethal daytime water temperatures. This has nothing to do with water coming out of Upper Klamath Basin where the Klamath Reclamation Project diverts warm water from shallow Upper Klamath Lake. No one wanted to address issues like climate change because what can be done now to change warmer nights? Few want to concede that to keep salmon from migrating, if that could be, would require us to step back decades and reduce burning of fossil fuels. It would mean having a smaller population that uses less electricity and other natural resources. It would mean going slower and traveling smaller distances. Shutting off the Klamath Reclamation Project was an unnecessary and unproductive connivence, it was an act typical of human nature.

The story of how the Hardy flow studies came to be the ruling science would be a documentary fraught with corruption, manipulation and human nature – or am I being redundant?  The National Academy of Science, NAS, realized there were issues during their first meeting in October 2001 when Hardy presented data for Colorado trout as data for Klamath coho salmon.   Two years later a panel of 12 scientists, from around the country, confirmed that Hardy’s data was incomplete, suspect and certainly without merit to shut-down the Klamath Reclamation Project. There were major flaws concerning the 2001 water shutoff that should be addressed, and avoided in the future. The water shutoff had – has no effect on endangered species. and it, the Hardy flow studies, lingers.  It is still the far-reaching science of the land, trumping reason and law.  It divides friends, families, tribes, farmers, agencies, neighborhoods, towns, counties, states. This is what John Crawford, a long time member of Nature Conservancy, is saying.

Situations like the 2001 water shutoff need to be studied. There has to be better systems in place.  What would I have done?  I would find two or three stake-holders and ask them to pick a scientist.  A study fo action would have to be signed off by all three: scientists representing Yurok, project irrigators and U.S. Fish and Wildlife.  This would save money in future lawsuits alone.  This has been done before and should be added to the ESA as a working amendment. The cost for the three scientists should be borne by the Federal Government which at the time was paying for everyone’s legal expenses except for Klamath Project Irrigators.

The ESA issues in the Klamath River watershed has created more jobs than it terminated. This is little satisfaction to those who have lost their jobs – lifestyles.  Both you and I, the film-makers, benefited financially, along with thousands of others: media, legal systems, consultants, government employees, organizers and fund raising carpetbaggers have, and will, come and go. Meanwhile, salmon will continue moving north, leaving the Klamath River watershed, like most fish around the world, to follow migrating food stocks.  What did all the money buy? 
We need to be asking ourselves what can we do differently, yesterday is gone.

Here are some ideas about food production.
In a nearby neighborhood three property owners tore up their lawns and created one contiguous garden that now provides fresh vegetables to those along the street.  The garden-makers household water consumption has decreased.  The downsize is the food you grow is the food that you need not buy or benefit corporate shareholders, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

New housing should have earthen roofs for food production, water capture, heat repelling and exercise.  All of my time in my garden has never been work – it is exercise, entertainment, educational, stress-relief and productive.  This is a mindset.  I like myself the most when I am using my muscles and creative powers and not dependent on recreational products or infra-structural energy.  

Stop building detached single-residences on farmland. Build high-rise islands surrounded by farmland with a couple of sun-flooded floors, roofs and adjacent landscaping dedicated and engineered for food production.

On the corner of my street a neighbor is raising corn in “that” space between the street and the sidewalk.  He does not own this land but there he is growing food on city property.

Speaking of streets, it is telling to watch people cross streets.  Most are absorbed by headphones or smart phones in search of instantaneous in exchange for the surrounding moment.  Few look to see what is coming or going.  They are endangered individuals because they choose not to be aware of their surroundings.  The same could be said for society at large.

Another Anders Garden
The world human nature has known is changing. The future is challenging. The human population is growing, the desire to consume is growing. Frontiers are disappearing. Natural resources are growing scarce. What will we do?

Written by Anders Tomlinson. Narrated by Robert Ganey and Marti Krane. Video by Anders Tomlinson and Maia Hansen. Produced by Anders Tomlinson, Denver Clay and Robert Ganey. Edited by Anders Tomlinson.

©2013 Anders Tomlinson, all rights reserved.