Tag Archives: ecology

Share

18 Jun

verb: share; 3rd person present: shares; past tense: shared; past participle: shared; present participle: sharing
     1. have a portion of (something) with another or others.
Anyone who has spent any time in a classroom knows that the most important skill for children (and teachers) to learn is how to share. A classroom has a finite set of resources which not only include books and pencils and papers but also space and patience and feelings etc. Humans have personal internal resources as well as external ones and learning the concept of sharing with others, as opposed to what we all inherently realize as the selfishly clever concept of “all for me”, is an important and indispensable tool in the quest for making ones way in the world.
Without the concept of sharing, selfishness, then argument, then chaos will soon overtake the classroom. All educators know this and all children eventually do too…
It seems to me, that we 7+ billion humans here on the Planet Earth today, are going to need to embrace this concept in greater numbers and with greater vigor if we are going to survive the depletion of our planets resources. We are running out of just about everything these days. If you listen to the scientists and the scientific community (those of you who believe in such things) then soon, within the next decade or two, we will run out of clean air, clean water, fish, bees, polar ice, non GMO seed, animals in the wild, rain forests, social safety nets like pensions and savings…at least as far as there being enough to satisfy and meet the needs of most of the people who we share this planet with.
Then what happens? When 3, 4 or 5 billion people out of the 9 billion people on Earth have none of those things mentioned above what will all of those human beings do? And what will all of the others who still have access to some or many resources do?
Is that when the sharing will begin? Better that we begin the process now…not that anyone is listening…at least not in earnest. For most politicians these days the word “share” is a dirty one. But when the going gets tough it will be tough to not want to close the door on those who have nothing and hoard what we have left. I am supposing that the citizens of the USA don’t have 300 million guns stockpiled in their homes…for nothing…at least nothing friendly.
The 20th century saw our planet and human population nearly consumed by wars of domination. In the centuries before, we nearly succumbed to periods of mysterious disease and/or great famine. The 21st century may see wars based not upon the domination and usurpation of other people’s lands and resources but rather wars based upon the defense of resources…wars of implosion, if you will….
We humans like to think of ourselves as creatures of the divine, rather than of the Earth, as we think animals and crops and fish and oceans are. But we have seen how animals who deplete their ecosystems and habitats behave, and we know what happens after that… And it ain’t pretty. When the time comes will we listen to the angels of our better nature and call upon our “divine” spark and that most divine concept of “share and share alike”?
I do hope so, because as far as anyone can tell, our resources and our time, are starting to run near empty.

The Future is…Plastics!

1 Apr

I remember when I was very young most things came in bottles or cans or were wrapped in paper or cardboard. My dad would buy a crate of soda for family consumption every now and then and the sodas would always come in large glass bottles that he would clean and re-crate when finished so that he could return them to the store for the deposit, which he would in turn use to purchase more soda…and let me tell you, those sodas would last for a long time. Back in those days you opened a bottle of soda and shared it with the family. There were no sodas for guzzling individually. That was just too much soda for one person at one sitting…and as we all knew, not the healthiest thing for children, teeth and dentist bills.

But then sometime during the sixties something happened and I remember seeing advertisements in the stores announcing what “Everyone had wanted and had been waiting for!” And it was finally here! No deposit, no return, plastic bottles! What a modern convenience for a modern world! Except I had no idea who had been hoping, waiting and praying for no return plastic bottles. Glass seemed just fine to me, but there we all suddenly were. Guzzling sodas of all sizes and shapes and throwing away the bottles. How convenient! How modern! How…just what we asked for?

And before long everything was encased, bottled or surrounded by plastics, or some such derivative of petroleum, even food. And it’s gotten so bad these days that I often have to resort to the use of a hacksaw or blasting caps to extricate whatever new thing I have bought just to get beneath the plastic it’s wrapped in!

Anyway, fast forward 50 years and we now have more than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 metric tons, floating in the world’s oceans, causing damage throughout our entire food chain, from large plastic pieces that can strangle large animals likes seals and turtles to smaller pieces that can be ingested by fish and then fed up the food chain, all the way to humans.

There are plastic bags and plastic bottles and plastic pieces of all shapes and sizes cluttering up our oceans and landfills all around the world. There is even the now famous “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” the size of Texas…yes, Texas…the state!!…hovering somewhere out in the Pacific Ocean along with 4 other giant plastic patches scattered about the rest of our world’s oceans and seas.

And researchers say that things are just going to get worse because…oh you know…we are increasing the production of throwaway plastics! Of course we are! Which takes me back to that grocery store sign that I wondered about oh so many years ago…”It’s just  what we’ve always wanted”, isn’t it?”

But on the bright side, okay, dim side, we now have recycling! Unfortunately despite my efforts to push the big blue can to the curb every other week, we only recycle 5% of the world’s plastic crap every year. So plastics are winning. But not to worry because on the flip side of this horrific ecological story is the even darker fact that if we keep on fishing our oceans and dumping our plastics the way we are fishing and dumping them now, (You know for profit) scientists say that by the year 2050 there will be no fish left to choke on the plastics… anyway!

Which is just what I’ve always wanted isn’t it?… because I don’t like fish! Nothing personal mind you. They just taste fishy to me… But sadly, the 3 billion people in our world who rely on fish for their major source of protein and sustenance will be rather put out, along with the fish of course, who together just might be facing the all too familiar, and all too plastic, fate of: …no deposit…no return.

Go West Young Man…and Bring Water!

22 Mar

Bridge over Lake Oroville, CA

California has one year of water left in its reservoirs!

NASA data reveal that total water storage in California has been in steady decline since at least 2002 and groundwater depletion has been going on since the early 20th century. And even though Nevada, Oklahoma and Texas also have patches of “exceptional” drought, along with areas of Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Georgia experiencing abnormal drought, California has been the hardest hit.

But this once again is just science so we Americans are forced to take it all in with a grain of salt, even though salt may be the only export to come out of California in the future rather than the 99 percent of artichokes and walnuts, 97 percent of kiwis and plums, 95 percent of celery and garlic, 89 percent of cauliflower, 71 percent of spinach, and 69 percent of carrots that California sends to the rest of us in the lower 48.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/files/2012/08/aquifers_archive.jpg&w=1484

But as this map above shows there are still a lot of fresh watery places left on Earth. It’s just that most aren’t anywhere near the dry places so perhaps we humans might think about getting busy building a few more water pipelines around the world so we could at least get some water from where a lot of it is, to the places where it mostly isn’t…but wouldn’t you know what we fight about most is where we’re going to build all of our new oil pipelines. Oh well, you know what they say, “Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink…so give me cheap gas for my car and I can drive to the store and get some.”

When you think about all of the energy that we use to get water into bottles that are made of plastic, which is created from oil, which we then discard into our oceans and landfills, where they will exist as monuments of pollution for eternity…well, it kind of boggles the mind doesn’t it?

Anyway, California and other places where severe drought has persisted, have no real contingency plans for how to replace water during extended droughts like the one California is experiencing now, and especially not for a dreaded mega-drought that might last years longer, but hopefully won’t… So what to do?

In the past, droughts have always ended when the rain finally returns…And that, spiritually and scientifically speaking, is apparently still our best and only plan.

Living in a Material World

20 Mar

https://i2.wp.com/resources.yesican-science.ca/trek/scisat/final/images/earth_atmosphere.jpg

Every now and then when I go on long highway drives I have a revelation. I’m Not sure if they are in any way prescient or prophetic…hopefully not, but here is my revelatory story from today’s sojourn across the state of New Jersey.

As I was driving down the highway at 75 MPH I noticed, while glancing into my rear-view mirror, an angry old man flashing his lights and gesturing for me to get out of the way. I was already traveling at 10 miles per hour more than the legal speed limit but I also noticed that as far as the rest of the traffic was concerned, I was a slacker! So I pulled out of his way only to find myself in front of a young woman talking on her cell phone who was rapidly gaining on me and looked as though she was prepared to go right through me if she had to.

Yikes! I was now pushing 80 MPH and still cars were passing me and weaving in and out of the traffic created by other motorists who thought that traveling in the 70’s was pretty damn fast…

And speaking of the 70’s I remember living and driving in the 1970s when the speed limit of the land was 55 MPH and set there as a way to save gas and oil and curb our need of foreign oil. And we were also concerned about pollution back then and the ecology and the ecosystems of our planet, or at least we said we were. We seemed to be trying. And we had hostages in Iran, and OPEC was ruling the day and we needed to change our dependence on oil and fossil fuels…

And now here we are in 2015, just having finished 2 long and grueling wars in the Middle East and threatening to start another! We are still held hostage by the fear of terrorist groups cutting off our oil supplies. And we bust open every inch of the earth on our own homeland in an endless search for more fossil fuels for us to waste on our highways, in our wars and with our modern devices of leisure and convenience…while the vast majority of us no longer even believe that any of this is doing any great harm to our world. And even if some of us do, it does not seem to affect our participation in the madness of it all. 7 billion humans strong, living and breathing and polluting each and every day, with still many, many more polluters to come.

Traveling at 80 MPH, it would only take us about 3 hours to reach the end of Earth’s atmosphere…all around our planet… about the distance from North Jersey to Washington D.C…that’s it. 3 hours of air and then you would be driving off into space and hoping that your car’s air conditioning would save you while you try to turn around. Of course it wouldn’t because the guy behind you would be flashing his lights and honking his horn while yelling at you to get out of the damn way…plus the air conditioning thing wouldn’t work…but you knew that, right?

But I digress, because I believe my true revelation was that we all live in a material world and have no intention to go quietly into that good night. Unless some scientists come up with a way to save the planet from ourselves and then get the dumb asses in Congress to believe them, rather than take Big Corporate’s money and continue to commit global suicide, I fear none of the rest of us will care nor take the time to pay any attention to what’s going on around us to see our own end approaching.

Sooner or later this planet is going to shake us all off like a bad cold…or not. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…that is if any of us plan on paying attention at the time…

Mercy, Mercy, Me

24 Apr

It’s the day after Earth day, 2014. Earth Day has become an annual event, celebrated every April 22, when events are held to demonstrate the support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.

In 1971 Marvin Gaye wrote a song entitled Mercy, Mercy Me and subtitled (The Ecology Song) in which he sang about the sad state of affairs that the Earth and the human condition found themselves in and how, on the Earth of 1971, “Things ain’t what they used to be”.

That was 43 years ago and after 45 Earth Day observances in which the world has come together to support and rally for environmental protection across the planet… how is the Earth doing?

In his song Marvin Gaye asked the question: Where did all the blue skies go? Today in China the sun hardly even shines and in its largest cities the morning sunrise is broadcast over giant televisions in efforts to cheer the population as they begin another workday. Smog alerts and air quality announcements are common in all major cities throughout the world and who among us can say that allergies and breathing ailments are not known to exist within ourselves or our families.

Mr. Gaye next lamented the oil slicks that could be found in the oceans of 1971 along with the fish contaminated with mercury. Today, in 2014, oil slicks and oil spills are still a common occurrence and when they occur they occur in amounts greater and greater each time and 43 years later we are still using oil and fossil fuels in increasing, not decreasing, amounts, while new and more imaginative ways for digging, sucking and fracking these substances from the planet’s very core are being pioneered each year and even as debate continues over whether or not we should invade our national parks and coastlines in the search for more and more.

As for fish and the oceans? Temperatures are rising, corral reefs are dieing, the ice caps are melting and fish are disappearing while plastic debris and garbage is replacing plankton within the fish food chain. Mercury continues to be a problem contaminant and tuna, perhaps the world’s most famous fish, are so contaminated with mercury that the FDA recommends no more than 1 can be ingested per person each week. And now many scientists predict that the oceans may be without fish all together by the middle of this century.

Radiation and air, water and ground contamination from nuclear power plants was a worry and concern back in the 70s and the subject of Mercy Mercy Me‘s next refrain, but back then the nuclear industry was promising safer standards and designs and yet years after this song was produced the very real scare of a melt down at 3 Mile Island occurred in 1979 in Pennsylvania. Then a real melt down happened at Chernobyl in the Ukraine in 1986 and then again in Fukashima, Japan in 2011. Radioactive debris from that disaster is still in our oceans today yet many of our politicians are still championing nuclear energy as the panacea for our future…and safer… energy needs.

Mr. Gaye then concluded his song with lyrics that discussed the over population of the world in 1971, a year that would see the greatest percentage of population increase in the world’s history, and the great strain that mankind was putting on the planet Earth with a world population of almost 3 billion 800 million inhabitants… Today, we have almost doubled that number and the Earth now has 0ver 7 billion 228 million human residents with a total world population of 12 billion predicted by 2050.

So, what have we accomplished with our 43 Earth Day celebrations since the debut of Marvin Gaye’s ecology anthem, over 4 decades ago? Have these Earth Days been rallies to help raise awareness of the Earth’s plight and our complicity in its demise along with the sharing of a process for us to change our ways… or have they simply been a series of going away parties? A way to pay lip service to ourselves and our late, great planet Earth while we continue to pursue our ever more increasingly decadent and deadly ways?

Well, the only thing we can say for sure is that the most prophetic line of Mr. Gaye’s song was it’s first and it still rings true for each and every year that passes into the next…

Things sure ain’t what they used to be!

In fact, they are decidedly worse… and the only ones among us who could even believe it to be otherwise are oddly enough, Creationists! How ironic for this to all be part of an intelligent designer’s very intelligent…plan?

But just to brighten your spirits, I will leave you with a bit of 1971 trivia that is perhaps even more prophetic and of greater irony than Marvin Gaye’s Mercy Mercy Me, the Hot Soul Number 1 Single on Billboard’s charts that summer… for what song did it replace at the top of the charts?…And you climate change deniers will just love this…

James Brown’s… Hot Pants!

Hey-uh!                                                                                                                                                                                            Ooooh! Bring it home!
One more! Hit me! Aaay!
Bring it home! Bring it home!
Oh uh! Bring it on home
Bring it on home…

 

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