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E-M:/ LET'S TAKE BACK THE SKIES FROM THE WEATHERMEN!



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Enviro-Mich message from joonmck <joonmck@gateway.net>
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Dear EMers, 

"You don't have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind blows" Bob
Dylan, folksinger

Today's (March 3, 2001) Lansing State Journal "Weather Report"
announces, "Rain drenches Gulf states." Above the headline sit the
photos of four middle-aged men in suits, the "Skyteam meteorologists"
from WILX TV 10.  Under the "Five-day forecast it announces that today's
Lansing weather will be "mostly cloudy. High in the mid-30s." Beside
that prediction sits a puffy gray cloud.

But I look outside my window and see streaming yellow sun with barely a
cloud in the sky. The outside temperature feels in the 40s and joggers
and birds are fritting about. Think I'll take a walk (work off some of
that WORKPLACE MOBSTER job stress)!

"Weather: the discourse of reactionary time." Alex Cockburn, Journalist

Don't you think so? Look the above forecast is 1) wrong for today, 2)
emphasizes a rainstorm a thousand miles from here; and 3) serves as a
promotion for the lads from channel ten, where you can get a 10-minute
stomachfull of techno-smalziness and STILL they shaman folks often get
it wrong. But there's no accountability and there's not SHAME in the
cultural shamans. In fact, many stations are EXPANDING coverage of the
weather…..

Why???

"The function of weather is to REASSURE you that all is right with the
world, the "Skyteam is patrolling the heavens and any potential invaders
are being closely tracked. It's 11 o'clock prayers. All is right with
the world as you lay your head upon the pillow." Brian McKenna,
Environmentalist, anthropologist 

The weatherperson is our mediator with NATURE. And boy do they miss
much! Let's imagine that the  weatherfolk really covered the NATURE in
all it's political diversity. Let's imagine that she covered it like
Rachel Carson. Let's imagine the role of the weatherperson was to
enlighten and not just put us to sleep.

What might be included? HHHMMMMMMMMMM….

Here's ten things I'd include as an environmentalist:

1) If it rained an inch I'd inform folks that 21.7 million gallons of
raw sewage just overflowed into the Grand River

2) If the Lansing Board of Water and Light was fined that day for
exceeding its permit on toxic releases, I'd inform folks that the Board
was the 16th (I'd double check the real number!) most polluting facility
in Michigan this year discharging (let's say) 400,000 tons of sulfur
dioxide into the community that year.

3) If there was flooding along the Red Cedar, I'd tell folks that MSU
has too many roads and parking lots in the area (i.e. impervious
surfaces) that had contributed to the flooding.

4) If neighbors had notices a strange smell by the GM plant, I'd share
the results of the Ingham County Health Department's environmental
survey which reports that urban area dwellers are twice as likely to
think their neighborhood's air in foul than elsewhere.

5) Plus, I'd end every newscast with a gust spot by the REAL Naturewatch
folk, like Norris Ingles with the Journal. Wouldn't it be nice to know
that the red salamander had just come out of hibernation that day?

I ask you all to contribute your ideas to this list!!!

Don't you think that this approach would be more interesting and make us
all LESS ALIENATED?

In Solidarity,
 
Brian McKenna, Ph.D.
Environmentalist,
Anthropologist &
Public Citizen
 
"If there are connections everywhere, why do we persist in turning
dynamic, interconnected phenomena into static, disconnected things?"
            -- Eric R. Wolf, Anthropologist (1923-1999)


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