Featured

Jeff Rumbaugh for Governor of Wisconsin 2018

      It is time for love to negate hate. It is time to rethink the political agenda as we move into dangerous relations, both abroad and here our country, as well.  Suddenly, some of our closest allies – Canada, Austrailia, Germany, France, and our now alienated neighbor Mexico – are wondering if they can trust The United States.  Today, our international good will is burning hot. Our President is a strange and angry man, who strays further and further from democracy and closer to war, with Scott Walker right behind him on the campaign trail to this day.  Wisconsin will not be run by the will of the Koch brothers, or fall in line with our current president’s treasonous, shameful and dangerous leadership. There is no room for doubt about climate change. It’s time to work together to keep Wisconsin beautiful and full of spirit. It’s time for real compassion and serious change.

It’s time for Jeff Rumbaugh.

 IMG_7686

        Photo by Maya Fairchild.
Featured

A Better Wisconsin in 2018

IMG_0292

Sister Bay, WI.

Greetings fellow Wisconsinites! Welcome to an adventure that Scott Walker could never take you on – a journey of prosperity and kindness, one where we, as citizens of this great state add to our democracy and not dismantle it. We keep hearing about a lack of leadership within the Democratic Party, and Republican officials who will not stand up to our current President. I have an innate ability to care for others, to lead without discrimination or judgement. If elected Governor of Wisconsin, there will be no lack of leadership or inability to challenge the anti-American administration. I respect our environment, and will work to improve the quality of our inland lakes and rivers, and also work together with the other Great Lakes states and Canada to keep Lake Michigan healthy and clean. I promise to advocate for the elderly and our disabled brothers and sisters. I believe in health care for all as a universal right. High school students in Wisconsin who have worked hard and proven themselves academically should be able to attend community college for free, as an investment in American society and economic progress. It is my hope that our citizens and our farmers can come closer together to enhance our knowledge of how food goes from seed to shelf, and look for ways to step away from certain types of pesticides that can be harmful to humans and the environment. Our current Governor has saddled our state with enormous debt, but an alternative exists. There is hope for our future, and if elected Governor of Wisconsin, I will bring that hope to our state and our country like no other candidate. Please visit my Facebook page and follow my Twitter account for more information and updates. Thanks for your support!

In solidarity,

Jeff

Stances

Below you will find my views, including those on components of this campaign, but also stances on broader issues. This list will quickly become more comprehensive as the campaign moves forward, so keep in touch! Please contact our campaign for further information regarding these stances, and to share your concerns about how to improve Wisconsin.  You can also find additional information about this campaign on our Facebook page, Jeff Rumbaugh for Wisconsin. This election is about survival. In the wake of the dynamic and threatening advances made by Mother Nature, and with empirical evidence showing there are more to come, as a species, we must act faster than ever to combat Climate Change; we must ready Wisconsin for a stable and prosperous future!

ENVIRONMENT

  • Rebuild Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources. 

    • Protect inland waters.
      • Monitor phosphorous and nitrogen levels.
      • Maintain and improve fish populations.
      • Work with Farmers to:
        • Make small decreases in cattle herd sizes to reduce threat of manure.
        • Develop and enhance the use of Manure Digesters and other related technology.
        • Coordinate and share information on best practices regarding manure use and disposal.
      • Work proactively with wastewater treatment facilities.
    •  Fight Invasive Species: Emerald Ash Borer, Asian Carp, Quagga & Zebra Mussels, and the Round Goby.
    • Protect & monitor endangered and fragile species:
      • Revive the Honey Bee population.
        • Replace Neonicotinoids with bee-safe biopesticides by exempting said biopesticides from Wisconsin state sales tax
        • Roadside planting of bee-friendly flowers and flowering trees
      • Gray Wolf on the Endangered Species List.
      • Revive Blanchard’s Cricket Frog population.
    • Return “Wisconsin Natural Resources” magazine to bi-monthly status.
    • Oversee and maintain public lands.
    • Monitor and study ungulate herds and other creatures in Wisconsin to maintain and foster healthy populations.
    • Issue and oversee applicable licenses and documentation.
  • Protect the Great Lakes.

    • Work with communities along Lake Michigan & Lake Superior.
      • Help coordinate Adopt-A-Beach and other localized clean-up programs.
    • Establish closer ties with concerned American and Canadian elected officials, industrial entities, and Great Lakes advocacy groups.
    • Exercise utmost caution when assessing requests for water extraction.
    • Seriously consider vetoing existing or pending water extraction.
      • Waukesha
      • Foxconn
    • Utilize available technology to remove different types of waste.
    • Study and maintain fish and other aquatic populations.
    • Make decisions using science-based empirical evidence.
  •  Tax Industrial Polluters.

    • Create revenue for the DNR and also public school funding.
    • Force businesses to adopt environmental best-practices.
    • Reinstate the Mining Moratorium.
  • Outlaw Fracking.

  • Respect and engage with Tribal Elders in applicable discussion and decision-making processes.

RECYCLING, PACKAGING & WASTE

  • Modernize (as needed) and maintain existing facilities.
  • Provide tax incentives to businesses creating and marketing eco-friendly packaging and re-useable containers.
  • Continually assess ways to move away from and reduce the use of plastic.
  • Make varying increases in the number of trash and recycling containers across the spectrum of Wisconsin’s park system.
  • Work with businesses and consumers to reduce waste.
  • Tax industries (when applicable) who are not utilizing post-consumer waste materials.
  • Integrate scientific applications in helping to break down materials already in land fills.
  • Integrate the study of plastics, recycling, and waste management into the public education curriculum.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD

I will keep Planned Parenthood’s doors open in Wisconsin.

  • I believe in a woman’s right to choose.
  • I believe Planned Parenthood is an important part of society.
    • Over 90% of the services provided by PP include:
      • Education about safe sex and STDs
      • General health care
      • Pregnancy testing & services
      • Patient education
      • LGBT services
      • Birth control
      • On-line care
      • Men’s and women’s services
      • “Spot On” app for women to track their menstrual cycle
      • Approximately only 3% of PP services actually involve abortion/abortion referrals.
    • PP’s main goal as an organization is to prevent unwanted pregnancies altogether.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

  •  Body Cameras.
    • Body cameras are proactive in that they:
      • Increase the likelihood that justice will prevail.
      • Serve as a form of checks and balances.
      • Accrue valuable footage that can be used to train future cadets.
      • Can work in tandem with cameras on police vehicles.
  • Additional/Enhanced Training:
    • Terrorism.
      • Explosives.
      • Review urban layouts.
    • Mental Health.
      • Increase awareness of mental health conditions.
      • Connect with psychiatric and community support networks.
      • Increase the potential for safe interactions between civilians and police.
  • Community Integration.
    • Public School visits for Q&A sessions.
    • “Police Academy”-style educational programs for interested students (6-8).
  • State Troopers. 
    • Ready to assist other states in times of need (not fossil fuel corporations).

MARIJUANA

  • Full legalization of cannabis in Wisconsin.
    • Eco-friendly industry.
    • Utilizations:
      • Medicinal.
      • Agricultural.
      • Recreational.
    • Decrease number of inmates jailed for minor drug charges.
    • Large-scale economic boost for the state.

FOREIGN POLICY

  • Diplomacy should be employed whenever possible.
  • Against building a wall between the border of the United States and Mexico. 
  • Continue to build positive relations with Canada.
    • Commerce.
    • Environmental Concerns.
    • Access routes/transportation concerns.
    • Communication.
  • Build greater ties with China and other SE Asian nations.
    • Expand markets for the Wisconsin cranberry.
      • Food/Food products.
        • Cookbooks.
        • Jellies/Jams/Sauces.
        • Beverages.
          • Teas.
          • Juices.
          • Alcoholic.
      •  Homeopathy/health-related.
  • Repair, rebuild and improve our relations with allies and other countries.

MILITARY

  • Against nuclear weapons. 
  •  WI National Guard.
    • Ready to assist other states and territories in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Close Guantanamo Bay. 
  • LGBT soldiers proudly serve without stigma.
  • Women can assume all combat duties. 

FIREARMS

  • This campaign is about Gun Safety, not Gun Control. 
  • Finding a symbolic means to express the desire for safety on both sides. 
    • Guns in the hands of mentally unstable individuals threaten all members of society.
    • “Agree on Three” (#AgreeOnThree) IS the gesture.
      • All firearms subject to a three-day waiting period solely in the name of safety.
        • Prevent the mentally unstable from carrying out violence on a whim.
        • Individuals who are familiar with firearms and respect the capacities of firearms understand the danger of such a tool in the wrong hands.
        • Anti-gun advocates realize that any change has to start somewhere, and Agree on Three is much better than current legislation.
        • Not a solution, but symbolic enough to finally admit the ultimate concern for safety on both sides of the issue.
  • Firearms should be registered with the state.
    • Promote justice.
      • Help prevent gun owners from being incriminated in scenarios where a firearm is stolen.
      • Assist law enforcement with investigations.
  • Investigate the effects of lead bullets used for hunting on the environment and humans.
    • Particles/fragments from ammunition found in game.
      • Children under six and pregnant women at greatest risk to lead exposure.
    • Toxicity factor as opposed to other types of bullets.
      • Copper.
      • Bonded.

SUPPORT NET NEUTRALITY

  • Stymying the use of the internet based on class misrepresents freedom.

CIVIL RIGHTS

  • Support Affirmative Action.
  • Against the Death Penalty.
  • Support gay marriage.
  • Support Equal Pay.
    • Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
  • Voting
    • High School students become registered to vote upon graduation.
    • Individuals automatically registered to vote when renewing their drivers license.
    • Voting districts redrawn accurately by independent GAB.
    • Anti-gerrymandering legislation.

 

Rethinking Our Landscape

When we, as Americans, consider the American Dream, it is often associated with a house, a two-car garage, driveway, and perhaps a lush green lawn. While grass lawns are common in some corporate and urban areas, many suburban homes are surrounded by them. We as Wisconsinites can choose to make our voices heard when addressing climate change, not only at the voting booth, but by foregoing (or at least in part) the timeless notion of a lawn. We as Wisconsinites can help preserve and utilize water more effectively in different ways; we can reassess our notion of landscaping by redefining the build of a turf grass-based lawn model to reflect today’s era.

raised-garden-bed-front-yard-gardenxcyyxhcom-front-yard-garden-raised-l-480f22e3449c0215

There are somewhere around 40 million acres of lawn in the lower 48, according to a 2005 NASA estimate derived from satellite imaging. “Turf grasses, occupying 1.9 percent of the surface of the continental United States, would be the single largest irrigated crop in the country,” that study concludes. Conservatively speaking, American lawns take up three times as much space as irrigated corn. The authors mapped the entirety of the nation’s turf grass. You’ll notice that it’s basically a population density map of the U.S. — where there are people, there are lawns.

legal-hero

If you’re someone who has the time and interest in transforming your lawn from turf grass to a vegetable garden, or an expanse of wildflowers, those would equate to a more logical use of water versus the unclear bounty of turf grass. However, if you’re not able to make time or not interested in the aforementioned ideas, one could simply comprise their lawn of stones, or at least partially, instead of turf grass. Little to no maintenance with a yard of stones, no need for extensive sprinkler sessions, and time spent mowing will also be given back to you for those of you who mow your lawns. Creativity is not frowned upon.

desert-landscaping

There are some measures to conserve water use by lawns. Mow higher, avoid excess nitrogen as warm weather approaches, limit traffic over the lawn, improve turf rooting, control thatch and soil compaction, and avoid pesticide use on drought stressed lawns. Although transforming one’s turf grass yard to one of raised gardens or stone would mean no need to mow. A decrease in the usage of lawnmowers will result in a concomitant decrease in the usage of gasoline and oil that fuel the grass cutting machines.

As Governor, I will not attempt to create a mandate revoking one’s freedom to have a turf grass lawn or anything of that nature. What I will do is work with communities and look for interest in such projects. Just as some cities in Wisconsin have residential composter units available, perhaps materials to be utilized in landscape transformations could be made more accessible. While the purchase of bottled water is often the talking point on like issues, I believe strongly that we should ask questions that reveal other avenues of water consumption in our society that could be addressed. I believe climate change is real, and that 2018’s Gubernatorial election in Wisconsin is about survival. With that in mind, I believe it is important to reassess our traditions of landscaping, and more importantly allow the American Dream to adapt as an image and in practice as well to reflect today’s era.

 

050-dry-river-bed-front-yard

Public Safety

Mother Nature is sending humanity a message. Hurricanes, tsunamis, tropical storms, earthquakes, flooding, raging forest fires, are all part of this unprecedented dispatch. The world’s major cities, like New York, Tokyo, and Los Angeles, are significantly below sea level, years of concrete on top of concrete pushing these crowded houses down into the Earth. The oceans are rising. Although Wisconsin is not in danger of a tsunami, Wisconsin is exposed to flooding, tornadoes, and could face increasingly large power outages. Other potentially dangerous variables exist as well, some that we may not be able to take into account at the moment. With this being said, if elected Governor of Wisconsin, I propose that we make modest transformations to public libraries throughout the state, so that they can serve as “emergency checkpoints” for all citizens in the event of such emergencies.

21314667_1774643289495348_8544099090138644147_n

Since its creation, the Wisconsin Public Library System has clearly expanded with a geographical framework in place. Libraries are proportionally separated from each other, and appropriately inlaid amidst populated areas. As you can see from the map, the public library system is already well-defined. All branches are aware of one another’s locations; some staff may already know their colleagues at other library locations. There is already a state-wide on-line system that connects all of Wisconsin’s public libraries, “LINKcat”.

Consider that our public libraries already contain computers, phones, fax machines, internet, knowledgeable staff (if present), and a wealth of information within. There are also vehicles, such as box trucks, that are operated by the library system to transport books and materials about the state. It is likely that many of the branches will have bi-lingual staff members (if present). It is definitely possible that certain conveniences (like the internet) will be unavailable, nonetheless I believe it is still important to note them as potential resources in a time of need.

Some libraries might not need to be transformed or even utilized in this capacity, while others would likely require some type of remodeling. In a time of need, the homogenous essence of libraries helps define a pre-designated location that can be easier to find and recognize.  In the wake of climate change, and for the overall safety of all Wisconsinites, I advocate for having a certain degree of readiness, a certain degree of foresight when it comes to realizing the dangers before us. There are water towers amongst us. Imagine the time when those are actually tapped into. We will wish we had taken some such measures in the wake of a natural disaster or other scenario of significant impact. Imagining the need for such preparation is a bit overwhelming, but implementing a strategy for the health and safety of our communities, establishing these “emergency checkpoints” ahead of time, is yet another important symbol of the shared interests of all Wisconsinites, interests that actually bring us together:

22228342_1786355398324137_6477068595442921145_n22279675_1786355444990799_1883295985324019763_n22154470_1786355361657474_9140077510427159314_n22228670_1786355368324140_7541047148088470512_nZ0wC1_kcpEx_wisconsin-map-0070609882123

I am a strong advocate for public libraries, and despite these proposed changes, as Governor, Wisconsin’s public libraries will maintain their natural roles in our society, and continue to flourish within those roles.

Art. The New Job Sector.

Ahead of us lies a larger and ever-changing workforce, technology. Robots and Artificial Intelligence cannot be stopped by borders or travel bans. We must begin to redefine America’s workforce, where traditional gender roles will be challenged and then inevitably break down. Within a few decades, a substantial amount of vocational opportunities will be jobs that only humans can perform, such as: nursing, childcare, music, hospice care, service, and art. In this instance, both the private and the public sector can participate in enabling the field of art to absorb new waves of displaced workers, with small business interests behind them. Companies that employ art projects, can receive tax incentives and take on an incredibly wide range of innate and unique projects. In turn, art takes it’s effect on the human mind; offering a more appealing and sensational environment whose expressions could also prove to be a substantial investment in Wisconsin’s important tourist industry, which provides millions of dollars in revenue for our state each year. Wisconsin’s workforce must regenerate itself in part through an eco-friendly expansion of the tourist industry.

d4a808168a9fadcc64aecbbcfbd2980e--urban-street-art-urban-art

Herein lies the problem with Wisconsin’s current Governor’s escort, the Taiwanese-based Foxconn Corporation. The Foxconn deal that our Governor has brokered for Wisconsin will indeed “bring jobs” to the areas where these factories are located. However, within a relatively short period, more and more of these positions will be filled by robots. This assurance of wide-scale employment is conveniently occurring just close enough to our Governor’s bid for re-election and will appear to pan out in the short run. Perhaps Foxconn will attempt to adapt, to maintain or create different types of employment for humans, but robots never stop working, make no demands, do not need time off or require benefits. Other fields such as construction and transportation will offer less and less human employment. Where do these workers go? Not entirely within the field of art by any means, but a push for a burgeoning art industry must be an option on a larger scale than Americans have ever known, to realize a truly malleable economy.

3fb7b6ce7ba5e630aab838c5396063ff

Businesses, especially in more urban areas, can truly benefit from the unorthodox and unique qualities that a once-bare three story brick wall brings now that it is emblazoned with some type of memorable stigma. “Al Johnson’s”, for example, a famous Swedish restaurant in Door County, has a grass rooftop, where goats actually munch on the dark and lush green grass that coats the entire slightly vaulted roof top. Once you see the exterior, you will never forget the restaurant. I have always enjoyed driving through tunnels on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago that feature artwork within them. I once saw a Cajun restaurant with a whole side of the building featuring a giant sax player from shoulders to waist, a woman dancing alongside, music notes floating about, and delicious food in front of them. The artwork featured within this post is collectively from Janesville, Green Bay and Milwaukee, and can be expanded on around these most heavily populated areas. San Francisco, a major tourist attraction, features artwork about the city, some in unusual places.

21-Creativity-Explored

The promotion of such a commercial art in our society, in our more densely populated areas, can prove helpful in filling the inevitable void of jobs lost to automation. I picture a team of artists or artist composing the design based on the need of private or public demand, then it is realized by a much larger team, who don’t have to have college de-grees in art to help apply design and structure. I believe we need to make major societal changes, ones that can no longer be scoffed at or dismissed. Wisconsin should be exacting it’s revenue and sustenance from creative, climate change-friendly agricultural expansion, utilizing best practices in doing so. In addition, Wisconsin can flourish even more so from our tourist industry. I would rather see our economy derive more revenue from these types of sources, and create jobs within them (however diverse they may be individually), as opposed to investing billions of dollars into a documented polluter like Foxconn, who holds little promise for jobs twenty years from now and will leave a scorched and lifeless stretch of pavement behind. Wisconsin needs a variety of new endeavors to survive, to rewrite the want ads of yesterday. Projects are not limited to paintings or murals, but could be intertwined with public works or types of renovation, for example. Art, while only providing a portion Wisconsin’s new economy, must be included in the market.

Lead

25-Pictures-of-Garbage1-1024x682-2

Pictures of Garbage

Jardim Gramacho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Featured in the 2010 documentary Waste Land, Brazilian-born artist Vik Muniz travelled to his native home to photograph and document the numerous workers at the world’s largest landfill, Jardin Gramacho. With Muniz’ assistance, the workers created a series of enormous self-portraits from the millions of recyclable items they recovered during their daily picks of Jardin Gramacho. The project was intended to offer the workers new perspectives on themselves and their communities, which are plagued by poverty and dangerous working conditions. A percentage of the proceeds from the sales of the portraits are returned to the workers, and Muniz and the filmmakers of Waste Land have donated over $200,000 to the workers’ cooperative, including payment to those who posed for the portraits..

Sources:

NYTimes.com
WastelandMovie.com

 

Colony Collapse Disorder & The Revival Of The Endangered Honeybee In Wisconsin

Honey-bee-losses-slow-over-last-year-Survey-finds

Thanks to Egyptian drawings depicting ancient beekeeping, we’ve long known that humans have worked with bees for thousands of years but we didn’t know just how far back our relationship with bees went. The ancient Egyptians used honey for a multitude of purposes including as a sweetener, a gift for the gods and an ingredient in embalming fluid. These winged agents of life are interwoven into the history and the survival of the human population. Honeybees help pollinate 90% of the world’s major crops, but their population has been in decline for several years. This deterioration has led to the honeybee being placed on the Endangered Species List (ESL) on March 22, 2017 – the first bee to be listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Honeybees are required for pollinating many crops, ranging from nuts to vegetables to fruits. This furry insect is necessary for the human and the animal diet. Having such a creature on the ESL is frightening, and not addressing the situation is even more frightening. There are ways of working to revive the honeybee nation, and Wisconsin should take part in these strategies and nurse humanity’s most precious insect back to life.

stufftoblowyourmind-podcasts-wp-content-uploads-sites-24-2016-03-tearsofre-featured

The main cause for the decline in the honeybee population is the widespread use of certain types of pesticides that act as neurotoxins to this endangered insect. Collectively, a group of pesticides known as Neonicotinoids are the culprit when it comes to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a terminal condition for hives. Neonicotinoids are often used for widely popular crops such as corn and soy, but in no means limited to those varieties. Although some pesticides are sold as dusts or wettable powders, today, seeds are being  sold pre-coated with these formulas, so they accompany the plant as it grows upward, or systemically in nature. Seed coating is the biggest factor driving increased use of neonics; it’s a “one and done” deal. This range of pesticides, the most common being: Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Imidacloprid, Thiacloprid, and Thiamethoxam, are derived from the chemical structure of nicotine, and are designed to attack the nervous system of below-ground pests such as grubs, borers & maggots.

Farmers want as much security as possible when it comes to crop yield, and will take these extensive measures even if there is a lack of empirical evidence to support the need for neonics. The insect that is the true recipient of this sub-lethal exposure is the honeybee. Plants from neonic-treated seeds don’t just carry the poison in their leaves and stalks; they also deliver it in a bee-attracting nectar and pollen. In addition, when these crops are harvested, tainted particles have been documented as traveling as much as 100 meters from the field, but the distance could be greater. Neonicotinoids cause a range of effects on bees: vomiting, agitation, wing paralysis, uncoordinated movement, and arching of the abdomen similar to the sting reflex. In addition, behavioral disruptions can occur, such as: reduced foraging, disorientation, impaired memory and learning, and a shift in communication behaviors.

While giants of the Agro-Industry, such as Syngenta and Croplife America, claim that the link between declining bee population and proper use of their products has not been made, it has been proven that these pesticides do indeed harm bees. Early in March of 2017, the U.N. Food & Pollution experts issued a severely critical report on pesticides, arguing that it was a myth that they were needed to feed the world, and calling for a new global convention to control their use. Neonicotinoids have been directly linked to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Some bees are unable to return to their hives after being infected due to behavioral changes or death, others might return, but with the powder still attached to their bodies.  These ferocious pesticides have been found in varying degrees in honey, a global commodity and important resource for the human race.

I propose beginning with widespread roadside planting in Wisconsin of pollen-rich plants such as: Spring & Summer bulbs, Annuals, perennials and biennials. Certain types of fruit trees and Maple trees among others, also serve as agents of growth. An expanding beekeeping industry will enhance the Wisconsin economy. Planting pollen-rich trees happens to take on two roles within this campaign, in that to combat the Emerald Ash Borer, more trees will have to be planted to offset the degradation of the Ash tree population. Hence, more opportunities for bees to thrive, and also redefining our ecosystem, bracing for the potential disappearance of this incredibly populous tree. Roadside planting, aimed at attracting the honeybee, will also create a new air of color for all to enjoy, including the many people who visit our State each year as tourists.

images-6

Most importantly, if elected Governor of Wisconsin, I will ban the use of Neonicotinoids in the Badger State.  The dangers incorporated in their use are far too serious to allow these toxins to remain available. In 2013, the E.U. placed a partial ban on the use of these pesticides. A recent report in 2017 by Etymologists in the Journal of Applied Ecology documented data from yield trials that showed no benefit from these insecticide seed treatments. Mass amounts of bees can fly through endless fields of crops containing lethal doses of insecticide, and then spread out through the state. Unable to properly communicate, perhaps paralyzed, the bees do not return to their hive and Colony Collapse Disorder ensues.

Because our planet is home to some 20,000 species of bees which fertilize more than 90% of the world’s major crops, we have no other choice but to ban neonics. The U.N. warned in 2016 that 40% of invertebrate pollinators – notably bees and butterflies, risk global extinction. These toxic chemicals can also end up in our fresh water supply, as runoff from the fields. Having this glorious insect on the ESL is frightening, and not addressing the situation is even more frightening. There are ways of working to revive the honeybee nation, and Wisconsin should take part in these strategies and nurse humanity’s most precious insect back to life.

beekeeping

 

 

\

 

Education and Public Curriculum

Automation continues to come our way in unceasing waves. Automation cannot be detained at a border. Some Americans are convinced that the major impetus for tightening our stance on immigration is protecting jobs that would otherwise be filled by actual citizens of the United States. The reality is that automation, not immigration, represents a far greater danger to many jobs we consider as employment in today’s era.

_84293855_robotfactory.gif

Many types of labor-oriented jobs, such as factory work, continue to be usurped by technology. With the advent of driverless vehicles, commercial transportation will become automated. Construction jobs will also be victim to widespread loss of employment. It is easy to dismiss these pending realities right now as impossible, improbable, and certainly something some of us reading this won’t see in our lifetimes. Although within a decade or two, this redefining of the job market will be felt. How can society adapt? We must face the fields where humans are needed: art, music, nursing, care taking, childcare, areas where empathy and concern are the qualifications – ones that are unfulfillable by robots.

I believe strongly in public education, and think that commercializing this facet of our society under the auspice of the “teacher accountability” mantra would be shortchanging the youth of America. I think there is room for discussion regarding teacher performance, and am open to finding some type of middle ground with others regarding the topic. To me, the exposure to diversity, to differences, and the proactive elements of socialization that can occur in our public schools outweigh the proposed advantages to capitalizing on education. With this in mind, I believe the changes that need to be made in Wisconsin’s education can be found elsewhere. Addressing the concerns of today and tomorrow should become part of our public school curriculum, one way to help our economy adapt, a way to allow humanity to survive.

While engineering, technology, artificial intelligence, and the diversity of associated academia should maintain a forefront role, I believe the impending alteration of our economy allows for other subjects to enter the public curriculum in a more direct fashion, such as: nursing, care-taking, insects (with an emphasis on pollination), waste, climate change, and facets of agriculture. Many public school courses are labeled with broad topics such as “biology” or “math”. Labels can be rethought. As Wisconsinites, I believe that reconsidering the traditional role gender plays in our job market is critical, and one that won’t be easy by any means. Curriculum reform in a public school setting is one avenue to sustaining human survival, a way to rethink and approach gender-specific employment at a younger age where such a transformation could potentially have a greater success of taking hold in the long term. The educational issues at hand today are far from being addressed when solely defined by the broad line of being either public or private. Instead, I believe the prudent question is, what do we need to know to survive tomorrow?

international-space-station-captures-new-footage-hurricane-harvey

 

 

Bearberries – An Eco-Friendly Industry

53d92e41322dc.image

In the mid-1600’s, Settlers in America coined the term “Bearberries” after seeing the voracious appetite bears had for the cranberry, nature’s robust ruby. The Cranberry is a slender, trailing North American shrub, cultivated in the northern United States, Canada, and Chile. Often associated with the holiday known as Thanksgiving, this fruit represents much more than a sauce. The cranberry, like Wisconsin’s 100% Pure Maple Syrup, is an unmistakable grab at the global pallet (otherwise known as state pride). Although at times victim to overproduction, the cranberry industry has expanded and created new products and markets which help protect its commercial vulnerability. In 2014, the USDA estimated that Wisconsin’s cranberry harvest of 5.39 million barrels (approximately 100L) accounted for 60% of our nation’s total production of 8.57 million barrels. Maintaining and expanding Wisconsin’s flourishing cranberry business is a study in embracing the science behind a warming planet, and the unpredictable gorge of the open market.

Cranberries are grown on 21,000 acres across 20 counties in Wisconsin. The sand and peat marshes in northern and central Wisconsin create the ideal growing conditions for cranberries. During the early 1890s, the summit of the Wisconsin cranberry industry shifted to the Cranmoor area, just west of Wisconsin Rapids. Later developments took place in the Black River Falls, Warrens and Tomah areas, followed by cranberry farms in northern Wisconsin, primarily around Manitowish Waters, Eagle River, Spooner and Hayward. The cranberry industry is continuously growing.

53d92f944c4e5.imageCranberries grow on vines in sandy fields, and when ready for harvest, water is pumped over them. The tiny air pockets located within the vines force the berries to the surface, allowing for their cultivation. 

The fruit was initially only sold fresh, then it became a popular canned good with potential for wider distribution. Various smaller businesses began marketing it as a juice, eventually forming the conglomerate known as Ocean Spray. After passing through these phases, other companies and markets began to flower: compotes, jellies, for use in sauces and dressings, as an ingredient for cooking and baking, as a healthy snack, part of your favorite martini, and as a welcome stalwart of human health with capacities to fight chronic disease. Some of Wisconsin’s cranberry farms have gift shops and allow for tours. Other countries, including China, have visited our state to purchase some of the nation’s finest bearberries with the design to introduce it’s flavor into Chinese cuisine. An increased demand for health-conscious products in China has also brought buyers to our state, and the demand for health-conscious products is rising around the world. The cranberry is our official state fruit, but is that a label without weight in today’s era?

With the unmistakeable advent of global warming, industries within Wisconsin such as the cranberry and maple syrup (that can thrive alongside nature without destroying it permanently), demand greater examination. Although there may be temporary benefit to Wisconsin’s pending deal with the Foxconn company, it may also serve as a badge of merit to pin on one’s self in time of election. Right now, in the midst of climate change and deep divide within the people of Wisconsin, the courting of this corporate juggernaut only pushes the wedge deeper. The Taiwan-based Foxconn has been found to be a sinister polluter in other Asian countries, most notably China. If ground is eventually broken to allow for this enterprise, Wisconsin must be ready to acknowledge that Foxconn will need massive volumes of water, water from Lake Michigan that will have to be treated because it is exposed to many potentially polluting chemicals like cadmium, copper, zinc, chromium and benzene (an industrial organic solvent) in making it’s LCD screens. The inevitable gift of toxicity and the grandiose waste of fresh water is what Foxconn means to Wisconsin. Other businesses, as well as homes and schools will surface about the factory area as a result of this temporary “boost” to the economy. However, present and future generations will confront poisoned water, a profound farewell to the magical Great Lakes and our inland waters, then become saddled with an inability to afford repairing the beauty of the Badger State and it’s precious fresh water.

Meanwhile, water reclamation and at-farm green energy sources are becoming increasingly prevalent at cranberry farms. One important danger about harvesting cranberries (like many other crops), is the use of pesticides. The application of pesticides on cranberries has the potential to pollute larger bodies of water outside the marshes. Certain pesticides are also harmful to the bee population, who are attracted to the cranberry’s small, dark pink flowers. The recognition of the dangers of pesticides used in farming is widespread; the need to promulgate the plight of our world’s most treasured insect, dire. Increased investment in a renown family industry of Wisconsin is certainly not the only approach we can pursue to meet our needs in today’s climate, rather part of a broader artifice that does not include summoning corporations needing to deplete our resources and poison our land to thrive. Businesses can certainly be courted to relocate in Wisconsin, but elect me as your Governor, and we’ll look for new recipes – together!

Cranberry Harvest 2006 037

_

“The quality of life on a cranberry marsh is wonderful and it’s a wonderful place to raise a family and have that closeness of raising a product that is healthy for the consumer.” ~ Nodji Van Wychen, Owner, Wetherby Cranberry Company (founded in 1903).

*During her interview in 2012, Mrs. Van Wychen noted that her favorite cranberry recipe is simply dipping a berry in melted caramel.