Enviroweb is the blog by a aquatic and environmental scientist Eugene Macri on all aspects of the environment,science, ecology, health, educational science and the politics involved. ©2006 All Rights Reserved E. Macri. Permission to reprint or use electronically as long as credit is given and we are notified.


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Everyone Wants to Be A Scientist!: Part 1

Everyone wants to be a scientist, or that's the way it appears these days. These would-be scientists include a great cast of unlikely characters including Rush Limbaugh, Ron Bailey, Jonathan Adler, Michael Crichton, and from the left Robert Kennedy Jr. Part one will explore one of these so called scientific geniuses, in this case Robert Kennedy Jr. I have personal experience with RFK Jr. because he, Riverkeeper Inc., and Waterkeeper Alliance filed a federal law suit against me and my start-up nonprofit The Last Riverkeeper (www.lastriverkeeper.org). RFK Jr. is the darling of the left and most of the media. The problem is that he spouts out as much misinformation as some of the people on the right. Unfortunately, the media who are scientifically illiterate seldom properly question him or anyone else on his rants.

Kennedy Jr., Riverkeeper Inc., and Waterkeeper Alliance filed a lawsuit against me over trademark infringement over the generic noun river keeper (or riverkeeper). Kennedy Jr. basically took over Riverkeeper Inc. when Robert Boyle the founder and most of the board quit after a dispute with Kennedy Jr.. It appears RFK Jr. hired a convicted environmental felon as one of their chief scientists! Boyle who did most of the original work on the Hudson River along with the fishermen in the area is still bitter to this day. Kennedy Jr. appears to take credit for most of what Boyle and others started. The organization once had a scientific bent but appears to be more interested in litigation and fundraising than using science to protect the river since many scientific organizations now do most of the studies and funding for these studies on the Hudson. Kennedy Jr., Riverkeeper Inc., and Waterkeeper Alliance have over 120 so called franchises of their so called Riverkeeper Inc. Some of them do some good but I would ask for a complete inspection of their lack of scientific work in many of areas, and I wonder what they actually do in benchmarking and protecting their waters. I have no problem with some of the work Kennedy Jr., his lawyers and even some of the Riverkeeper Inc. franchises have done but it appears Riverkeeper Inc. and Waterkeeper Alliance overall maybe more interested in being a platform for speaking engagements (which RFK Jr. is highly paid) and other political functions. Kennedy Jr. and crew hired tobacco lawyers and tried to sue corporate hog farms in the South under the RICO act. They got blown out. Perhaps using scientific studies would have gone a long way to fighting these conglomerates instead of legal sleight of hand.

To show you just how sad this is, type these word individually into google or yahoo search: riverkeeper, river keeper, the riverkeeper etc. How many hits did you get! River keeper (riverkeeper) is a generic noun! It's part of the fly fishing tradition of Europe. It was brought to America before these people were even born. The word has been around for hundreds of years. Boyle first trademarked the word in around 1982. Most of the fly fishing community just yawned because Boyle was respected enough no one thought it would come to this. Boyle got the name riverkeeper off of the late, great fly fisherman and writer Dr. Ernie Schwiebert. Schwiebert popularized the term again in 1980 when he wrote the book Death of a Riverkeeper. Schwiebert told Boyle then, it was a generic noun and anyone could use it. Schwiebert who was a friend of mine passed away unexpectedly in December. He was a great angler and a great person. A more learned man you would have never met. He wanted me to fight this to the end, and I am trying my best. Schwiebert was ready to testify and was extremely upset that the word riverkeeper would be hijacked! (For the complete story of this mess go to: www.lastriverkeeper.org.)

Some of you may be thinking why these people would sue a scientist and a nonprofit. Yes, that is the question but the answer is right in front of you. And it's not probably about the trademark Riverkeeper which is I believe without merit. Follow this train of thought. First of all, no one is going to confuse Riverkeeper Inc. with The Last Riverkeeper. Kennedy Jr. and his lawyers believe everyone knows who Riverkeeper Inc. is! Nothing could be further from the truth. Most people even in the environmental movement don't know who Riverkeeper Inc. is! There are two reasons for this: 1) they are not widely known compared National Wildlife etc. because they tend to be localized on the limited 120 franchise they have. Some people who belong to these franchises didn't even know they were affiliated with Riverkeeper Inc. 2) the damn word is so generic it is not brandable! There is no intellectual property in stealing a generic noun and saying you invented it and now owns it. Furthermore, once a generic noun...always a generic noun! Everyone in marketing knows if you are going to trademark something you don't choose something generic! You pick a novel or made up name and then you brand it to stop it from becoming generic! The word riverkeeper or river keeper is part of the fishing and fly fishing heritage of the world. Only a bunch of lunatics like Kennedy Jr. and his Waterkeeper Alliance would believe that once this common generic word was trademarked it became unique!

But I don't think this is about the trademark as much as the sound coming from the word riverkeeper. RFK Jr. and his organizations want the center stage for fundraising and for speaking etc. They don't want anyone speaking or telling the truth especially in these areas because someone might ask, "Is Kennedy Jr. misinforming everyone!"

As an example, remember when Katrina hit. Kennedy Jr. went on one of his rants and stated that if the Kyoto Protocols would have been in effect this basically wouldn't have happened. Here's the link on the Huffington Post(www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-f-kennedy-jr). The problem is that whether the protocols were in effect or not would not have made any difference. The reason for this is Kennedy Jr.'s lack of understanding of science. Whenever someone presents you with data (especially mounds of data as in global warming) ask yourself three questions: 1) who gathered the data 2) what instruments or models did they use and were they calibrated properly 3) did governments or someone else control the way the data were gathered or measured? I've worked in the environmental area over 30 years and I can tell you that these three questions must always be tested. To put it bluntly remember Macri's Rule of Data: In Most Cases Environmental Data are overly Optimistic! It's human nature to do that! Furthermore, most of the protocols were watered down from the original models. Also, China, India and all other nations must be included for any of this to have a chance of working.

Today you are seeing a growing number of climate scientists saying exactly that, and we must act quickly in a more aggressive manner than the protocols. Few media outlets challenged Kennedy Jr. on this misinformation. But he was fodder for the right-wing bloggers who wait for this kind of stuff. It reminded me of when the same RFK Jr. stated on one of his ventures to the Midwest that corporate hog farms were more of a threat than Osama Bin Laden! I may be able to understand in some small way what Kennedy Jr. meant by this statement (I don't have time to go into it now) but do you think the average American who hears this, then writes Kennedy off and anyone who speaks on the environment as nuts!

But the hypocrisy of RFK Jr. is legendary including his beating on everyone who drives an SUV or a pick-up truck while he flies in private jets (an SUV in the sky)! Or perhaps the money he makes from his family's oil stocks while attacking the oil industry (they need to be attacked but one would think you wouldn't be investing in them)! Or how about his work against the windmills off the coast of Cape Cod (it seems his family owns property there) so much for alternative energy as long as it's not in my back yard!

Robert Kennedy Jr. is not a scientist. He constantly misinforms the public on a variety of topics to engender his political bent. He is doing more damage than good. He has polarized many groups including those that we need (such as sportsmen's group who should be on the side of clean water, land and air). He wants only one sound coming from the word riverkeeper and that is his own voice but when only one voice his heard no voices and no truth are heard. If he wanted to be a scientist he should have gone to the university to be one, instead he pretends he's one, and the media and others have let him get away with it. He's a lawyer? There are lots of lawyers and many claiming to be environmental lawyers. I know a few who actually are. Some people refer to him as an Eco-Activist? What the hell does that mean? That's not a scientist. Anyone with an IQ over 12 should realize as a species we should all be Eco-Activists or we will perish. It's about time scientists started to speak out. I have had enough of boy Kennedy and maybe some you have too.

Many people and even some scientists may be enamored by the Kennedy mystique. I am not. Kennedy Jr. and his groups want to control their image and their message to control what the public thinks. In my opinion they are no better than the idiots in the White House. They are all cut from the same cloth. Little rich boys who want to control the world. As someone once said, "War is too important to be left to the Generals." And environmental science is too important to be left to the rich who want to misinform and control, whether they are on the right or the left!

Eugene Macri


Blogger JS_VP said...

The new mission of Riverkeeper has now been established, and it is party planning.

The erstwhile mundane reality of actually cleaning up waterways has been reduced to a minor theme well-nigh forgotten in a new entertainment entity, like a new rosebowl, or a new mardi gras, with a task set much more comfortable for its participants..... Skiing in Canada, going to a big apres-ski bash, and being televised on the red carpet, instead of mundanely limiting ones self to vistas of cruddy brownfield shorelines, floating trashbags, and sewer outlets.

The local mules of this big-hair, big-teeth, Big-TV enterprise, environmentalists, and their original environmental tasks, sit abandoned ,to unpaid college interns, and phones that seldom ring ,while the new frontline becomes the TV sound stage, and chi-chi events destined to live long after every river, stream, and bay is long cleaned, no longer needful of these embarrassing glitzy hijinks being supposedly connected to them in some way.

Face it, this event is bigger than environmentalism.

Thus does celebrity life ride on the back of real life, needing it only as an excuse for another party. One can only wonder about the jetfuel burned, the slopes trampled, the streams fouled, the animals killed & roasted so the Baldwins can get videoed looking relevant. (Note that the event was outside the USA., snubbing Bush's Fourth Reich, no doubt.)

Lake Louise Celebrity Event Sets New Record
More than $900,000 was raised for environmental protection at January’s Celebrity Sport Invitational at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise in Canada. This is an all-time fundraising record in this event’s 20-year history, and a new benchmark for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s Waterkeeper Alliance, whose mission it is to protect waterways around the world.
Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, Dan Aykroyd and Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden were among the dozens of Hollywood celebrities who joined Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at the star-studded event. Many of the stars competed in fun and competitive events at the Lake Louise mountain ski area such as snowshoe and toboggan relays and a dual giant slalom ski race.
The majority of the money was raised during a dynamic live and silent auction in the Chateau’s new Mount Temple Ballroom where some items fetched as much as $25,000. Other celebrities at the illustrious event included Lyle Lovett, who played a lively concert at the Saturday night gala with his 15-piece Big Band, TV-star Larry David, Joe Pantoliano of The Sopranos, Richard Dean Anderson, Donna Dixon and former astronaut, Buzz Aldrin.
As a result of overwhelming enthusiasm and appreciation for the Canadian Rockies expressed by celebrity guests, negotiations are underway with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts to see the event return to the area in 2007. A one-hour television feature produced by FOX is expected to air in February and March on major US networks.

2:55 PM

Blogger Gene M. said...

Yes, I know too bad the media and so many in the environmental arena don't realize this.


3:21 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eugene sounds just a little bit bitter. It would have helped your case if there was less petulant bitching and more facts to back up your points.

10:50 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr./Ms./Mrs. Anonymous,

Check out the link. Let us know if you found enough 'facts' about your buddy Bobby Jr.

10:07 AM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home