View From Downwind

The Butterfly Effect

By Monte Bright January 20, 2019

Once long ago a beautiful and rare butterfly lived in a very remote valley far from cities or farmlands. This valley was surrounded by mountains that were so rugged and inaccessible even hunters would never go there. The flora and fauna were left to live as nature intended.

The butterfly was incredibly beautiful with red, yellow, orange and blue spots that created a pattern when it spread it's wings which looked like a face designed by nature to frighten off potential predators. That is all but one predator.

It lived its life cycle as any butterfly, fluttering from plant to plant pollinating the flowers as it collected nectar for its food. Until one day a man came into the valley.

This man walked from one rock outcrop to another chipping away pieces of rock and placing them into small bags, which he carefully labeled. This man stayed for several days, then disappeared.

A few weeks later loud explosions, roaring engines, and screeching of bulldozers sounded through out the valley. The voices of men could be heard hollering at each other so they could be heard over the loud noise as they carved a road through the mountains and into the valley. Next came the drilling rigs. Ten in all, set up in different locations.

Little did the butterfly know that underneath the valley floor was a rare earth metal. This metal was a very important metal that was used in the manufacture of electronic devices that people used to twitter.

Then one day a large group of people marched down the road carrying signs that said "SAVE THE BUTTERFLY". Most were carrying electronic devices which they were using to twitter to those who supported their cause, "#SAVE THE BUTTERFLY". They never communicated with or tryed to reason with those who disagreed with them.

Leading these protests was an organization called "Save The". They went into court and filed an injunction against the mining company to prevent it from mining in this Valley because it would destroy the only habitat this butterfly needed to exist.

It looked as though the court was going to side with Save The But with billions of dollars at stake the mining company could not allow that to happen. So they came up with a solution. They offered an out of court settlement where they would set up a trust account of a million dollars which Save The would administer on behalf of the butterfly. This was the perfect solution for the mining company. Save The readily agreed and took control of a million dollar trust account. The mining company was allowed to mine the valley unfettered. The butterfly had no use for a million dollar trust account did not know that business dealings were happening on its behalf. The butterfly went extinct.

This story is a fiction, but the reality is very similar and equally brutal. Downwinders are very much like this fictional butterfly. Every day someone else is diagnosed with cancer while advocacy groups and NGOs raise money.

While work does get done at the grassroots, the professional activists move in and insert themselves between the grassroots activists and the media cameras. They use the grassroots work to suck up all the foundation grants like bottom feeding scavengers living off the dead and dying. Leaving the grassroots activists to pay for their work out of pocket from their low paying jobs.

Like the butterfly in the story downwinders are too often exploited. If downwinders wish to prevail, they must take flight and work for themselves.