Tag Archives: environment

Mine Eyes Have Seen My Shadow!

2 Feb

Image

 

In honor of Groundhog Day I went outside and saw my own shadow…and it was shivering!… So I went back inside. This told me that it is still winter! And I’m sure that’s what the poor marmot in Pennsylvania is thinking every time those silly Punxsutawnians take him out of his home and hold him in the light of a freezing day.

We have some strange and weird commemorative days in our calendar and I just had to look this one up.  The 2nd of February was once (and I’m sure still is) a Christian holiday traditionally known as Candlemas. It is also known as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin, and the Meeting of the Lord.

According to the gospel of Luke, Mary and Joseph took the baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days  after his birth to complete Mary’s ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn, in obedience to the Law of Moses. When they got to the temple the Gospel also records that they encountered Simeon who had been promised by the holy spirit that “he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ”

So once upon a time 40 days after Christmas Simeon saw the baby Jesus… and today, 2 thousand and some odd years later, a groundhog sees his shadow and then Spring comes!…eventually…like it always does.

Really the whole thing was and is about the celebration of light and it’s return. The days are getting longer and that’s always a good thing especially in times when electricity hadn’t been encountered yet. And metaphorically speaking Jesus is also known as the “light of the world” and his birth is often viewed as the shedding of light upon the human soul and condition…So let’s celebrate!

I have no idea why all of these religious icons and ideas have all been replaced by cute animals, parties and jolly old elves etc…but isn’t it curious that many pagan celebrations and festivals which began with the worship of earthly places and deities in the pre-Christian era morphed into religious holidays and the celebration of personal icons during the advent of Christianity and now thousands of years later have morphed again into celebrations of cartoon-like characters, who seemingly have nothing to teach us except that we should have a party and buy things.

Speaking of which, we now celebrate the Superbowl at this same time of year, a truly pagan festival  which commemorates the end of the barbaric football season and the thankful return of the light of baseball, a truly civilized sport of Spring, warm weather and safely returning home.

So…Happy Imbolc, Candlemas, Groundhog Day and Superbowl Sunday!

Some things just never change…even though they always do.

Climate Mockery II

20 Jan

A view of the hotel and clubhouse with the 18th green to the right at the Trump International Golf Links Doonbeg.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a six-mile-long barrier of man made islands with retractable gates to protect New York City from flooding at a cost of around 119 billion dollars. The project would take 25 years to complete but a finalized proposal  won’t be presented to Congress until 2022.  Some experts however, fear that with the expected sea rise do to global warming the massive proposal will be too little too late.

But President Trump, upon hearing of the proposal to save the largest and most famous city in his United States tweeted this:

Besides global warming and sea rise is a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government and not something for any US citizens and cities to worry about, right?
Meanwhile… our President has appealed to the Clare County Council in Doonberg, Ireland  to allow his resort and golf club to build a line of two low, concealed seawalls on the landward side of a public beach to prevent storm waters from eroding three holes of his golf course. One wall will be 2,000 feet long and the other 840 feet long.

In his first application in 2016, Mr. Trump cited “global warming and its effects,” including rising sea levels and water erosion, as reasons for the wall,  despite his statements calling global warming and climate change “a total hoax.” He later submitted a second application without the mention of global warming which was approved in late 2017.

Thank goodness I suppose. Otherwise we might think him to be some kind of…

Hypocrite?

I’m also guessing that his wall in Ireland will be a beautiful wall that will be pleasing to the eye and most pleasant for the citizens of Clare County to look at… and not at all like the “foolish, unfriendly and terrible” wall that his US Army Corp of Engineers will plan to build.

So New Yorkers get your “Mops and Buckets” ready!

And Maybe while you’re at it you can also…

Eat Some Cake?

 

 

Climate Mockery

11 Jan

Image result for greenland ice melt

It’s now 2020! And After a summer of record temperatures in the Arctic scientists say Greenland’s ice sheet experienced its biggest melt, losing 197 billion tons of surface ice to the ocean — equivalent to 80 million Olympic swimming pools.

Temperatures are rising all across the planet. Weather patterns are changing. More and more animal species are in danger of extinction. Birds and bugs are disappearing. Our garbage and waste products are piling up all over the world and the oceans are filling with plastic debris from sea to shining sea.

And Australia is on fire…

Meanwhile:

President Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign store now sells: Trump-branded plastic straws. And The description of the Trump straws is not subtle about the message the merchandise is meant to send. “Liberal paper straws don’t work. Stand with President Trump and buy your pack of recyclable straws today,” it reads. “Make Straws Great Again.”

A video that went viral last year of a marine biologist helping to remove a plastic straw from a sea turtle’s nose brought attention to the issue of plastic waste and specifically to the use of plastic straws…A recent study estimated that there are about 7.5 million plastic straws strewn on America’s beaches, amid 35 million tons of plastic pollution produced worldwide every year, about a quarter of which is dumped in rivers, streams and the oceans.

As a result many communities and businesses have begun to ban the use of plastic straws altogether. In the US, the west coast cities of Seattle and Malibu, near Los Angeles, have declared war on straws, while statewide bans of the items are being considered in California and Hawaii…and Many countries are even moving to phase out plastics in various forms.

 

But if you are a supporter of President Trump and the Republican Party then for just 15 dollars you can purchase a 10-pack of  red straws with Trump’s name “laser engraved” on them to show that you just don’t care about plastic waste. In fact his supporters so far don’t care to the tune of more than $856,000 in sales… since last July!

The success of the plastic straws – which the campaign says are recyclable (as is most plastic already) – is likely due to the hope of riling liberals, or anyone who is not keen on clogging up landfill, oceans, or the noses of turtles everywhere…with plastic straws.

Besides, President Trump has said that the US has bigger environmental problems than straws… And sadly, he has been addressing those problems by the way, by slashing and/or eliminating environmental regulations and protections on just about everything throughout the United States.

Now I know that we live in a free country and we all have the right to say and do as we please. And if you don’t think that our environment needs any special taking care of or that 8 billion people living on a planet that once had none, cannot in any way shape or form have any impact on how that planet behaves, then you are entitled to your opinion.

But do you really have to mock the rest of us who do? And mock the planet that you live on too? Really?

40% of America is now on board with tossing your soda cups, straws and cheeseburger wrappers out of your speeding car’s window while laughing and cavorting in your front seats as you wave your middle finger in the rear view window at Mother Nature… whenever the feeling moves you?!

Really? Remember when being a Litterbug was a bad thing?! Doesn’t anyone have grandchildren… who they love anymore?

I know that you won’t be around when they will have grown up to be the age that you are now. But if you were, what would you say to them?

“We did it for the straws? Plastic Straws were fun! Plastic Straws were wonderful! Plastic Straws were a necessity!

…You?… Not so much”…?

 

Carefree Highway

26 Apr

Photo of a busy highway/interstate

It’s Earth week and I’ve been repeating/updating some of my Earth Day blogs from previous years and here is one that I wrote 4 years ago…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 a sojourn across the state of New Jersey not too long ago…

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 (remember those days?)  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 2019, having finished 1 long and grueling war in the Middle East, engaged in another and continuing a third that’s already lasted 18 years!! And yet we are still held hostage by the fear of terrorist groups cutting off our oil supplies. So we now 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.

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 now live in a truly material world… and have no intention of going 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.

Our planet is alone and finite…an island in a sea of endless space, with only about 240 miles of surrounding air for us all to breathe… The Earth is Over 7 billion humans strong, living and breathing and polluting each and every day, with still many, many more polluters to come… And a mere 56 billion polluting land animals are killed every year to sustain us.

So who needs a “Green New Deal” when our president is growing more popular and killing it every day with cow fart jokes at his pep rallies? 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 that time…

Mercy, Mercy…Us

23 Apr

Image result for global warming

It’s the day after Earth day, 2019. 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 48 years ago and after 50 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 2019, oil slicks and oil spills are still a common occurrence and when they occur they occur in amounts greater and greater each time and 49 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 more than doubled that number and the Earth now has Over 7 billion 700 million human residents with a total world population of 12 billion predicted by 2050…we should reach 8 billion by 2022.

So, what have we accomplished with our 48 Earth Day celebrations since the debut of Marvin Gaye’s ecology anthem, almost 5 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…In 2017, President Trump disbanded a federal climate panel whose task was to evaluate the National Climate Assessment. In 2018, he created a wildlife protection panel composed mostly of trophy hunters and politically connected donors to hunting groups. And the Trump administration has rewritten the mission statement of Department of the Interior, and has promoted the deregulation of fossil fuels through the Environmental Protection Agency.

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…

Hot Pants!

That’s How We Do: Juxta-Posers

7 Feb

Just thought I’d repost this from a few years ago after listening to Lawrence O’Donnell today and The POTUS yesterday speak about Socialism and how we (The USA) will never, ever be a socialist country in any way shape or form…

Today I took a drive to the Philadelphia airport and on the drive home, thanks to major construction and the worn out, pot-holed, crumbly highway, I was forced to a crawl just as I passed the relatively new South Philadelphia Stadium Complex. Where the Philadelphia Phillies, Eagles and Flyers play.

I couldn’t help but notice how shiny and new and spectacular the stadiums looked…however I also couldn’t help but notice that the names on the stadiums were Citizens Bank Park Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field and The Wells Fargo Center. And I also couldn’t help but notice that the surrounding neighborhoods were about as shiny and new and spectacular as the interstate highway  that I was traveling on.

And that got me to wondering…Why do we almost always put sports stadiums in the worst parts of big cities where then millions of people have to travel from the suburbs to spend millions of dollars to watch millionaires play? Probably you’ll say it’s so we can get all of that money that is being spent back into the cities…but that’s just not the case

Most if not all of these stadiums are financed by the crumbling cities themselves rather than by the wealthy teams and owners and financial institutions that have their names on them. And even though banks like Wells Fargo and  Citizens bank and Lincoln Financial pay millions for the naming rights, when you consider the recent trillions of dollars spent by the federal government in bailing out these banks then just about all of the money spent on these ballparks comes from…the citizens…not banks.

 That’s just plain crazy.

Many politicians and proponents of these publicly financed stadiums argue that new stadiums bring new jobs and economic expansion but when new sport stadiums are financed with public money, all research has shown that the population is actually worse off economically than before the stadium.

In fact arenas and stadiums rarely live up to the promises teams, owners, and city politicians use to justify their construction. Cities are often left holding unsustainable amounts of debt because the economic development that is promised never shows up, and as a result, other services that provide more benefit to taxpayers like new roads and bridges and jobs and boring things like that are slashed to pay the bills.

Which when you think about it is insane.

Almost 40 years ago my home state of New Jersey borrowed $302 million to  construct  the Meadowlands and was supposed  to pay off the bonds in 25 years. Today because of refinancing, and redirecting funds for other stadiums the authority that runs the Meadowlands owes $830 million…on a stadium that was just torn down.

That’s nuts!

Did you know that according to a new study from Harvard: when public-private partnerships are used to build such stadiums, taxpayers finance more than three-quarters of the investment, with teams and owners picking up just 22 percent of the tab…And every NFL franchise is today worth over 1 billion dollars!

It’s so ridiculous that it’s unbelievable!

And while our cities and infrastructures are crumbling around us we are cheering ourselves up by yelling, screaming and cavorting in the midst of abject poverty on urban oases as green as the piles of cash we spend there, named after banks that wouldn’t lend us a dollar under the very same deals and interest rates that they broker to build these coliseums.

Shouldn’t we  really be building these monuments to fame and fortune in the places where they belong like Beverly Hills, Wall Street and Fort Knox?

It’s so ridiculous that it defies explanation…

But after all…that’s just how we do…isn’t it?

 

Nothing Really Matters. Anyone Can See…

26 Jan

This man is United States Commerce Secretary, Mr. Wilbur Ross.

“The United States Department of Commerce is the Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with promoting economic growth. … This organization’s main purpose is to create jobs, promote economic growth, encourage sustainable development and improve standards of living for all Americans.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said recently that he doesn’t “understand” why federal workers who haven’t been paid in weeks are going to food banks during the ongoing shutdown and that he doesn’t see why thousands of unpaid federal workers have been relying on food banks when they could just take out loans from, you know, money banks.

Now Mr. Ross has a net worth of about $700 million dollars so he should know a lot about having money but probably doesn’t know a lot about how easy it is, or hard, to go to your local bank and take out a loan, when say, you only make 15 dollars an hour…and are quite probably 699, 999, 000 dollars short of 700 million!

But be that as it may Mr. Ross also added this “I know they are (going to food banks) and I don’t really quite understand why. So the 30 days of pay that some people will be out, there’s no real reason why they shouldn’t be able to get a loan against it, and we’ve seen a number of ads of financial institutions doing that. These are basically government-guaranteed loans because the government has committed, these folks will get back pay once this whole thing gets settled down. So there is really not a good excuse why there really should be a liquidity crisis now. Now true, the people might have to pay a little bit of interest, but the idea that it’s paycheck or zero is not a really valid idea.”

So once again he seems a bit confused as to why a government employee wouldn’t get a loan or why he/she might be hungry but did you notice what he said at the end there?…In The part I highlighted?

He said that they are going to get paid eventually and everything they are owed. As in the US Government is not saving any money with this shutdown. The government is just screwing with their workers! Why? Because! That’s why!…Remember when you were a kid and you played that game because you really had no argument to make?

Well, apparently the rich bastards who run our country think they are playing a game too. And the people who work for them are just pawns, peons, serfs or whatever. And can’t they just get a loan and eat cake for chrissakes?! Why do they have to get so pissy about missing a paycheck or two? It’s only money and We’ve got important governing to do!

“You’re talking about 800,000 workers and while I feel sorry for the individuals that have hardship cases, 800,000 workers, if they never got their pay — which is not the case, they will eventually get it – but if they never got it, you’re talking about a third of a percent on GDP so it’s not like it’s a gigantic number overall.”

They don’t count anyway! If we’re talking money here, we’re just talking about 1/3% of the GDP so who cares? 800,000 workers not getting paid? We have millions and millions and millions of workers in this country, most of whom get shitty pay anyway so, I mean like, Hey! Can I get a piece of that cake here too please?!
And if we are really talking just numbers, according to US Customs and Border Protection, apprehensions on our nation’s southwest border totaled 396,579 for all of 2018. So if 800,000 is an insignificant number of people to Commerce Secretary Ross, the original Mr. Money-pants, then how insignificant is a number less than half that amount?  How much of an impact can fewer than 400,000 immigrants crossing our southern border have on our GDP? 1/2 of 1/3 of a percent?! Even I know how insignificant that is because that’s the interest I get on my money at…the money bank!

To wit: We need a wall to protect us from the insignificant demon hoards at our border? Really?? It might as well be made out of little children’s building blocks for all the good it will do and for all the relief it will provide to those gullible, angry, hateful, naive and childish enough to believe that their great white fathers care about protecting them… from their own imaginations!

The joke is on you, me, everyone. There will never be a wall. It’s all an imaginary game being played by infantile old white men who live in an alternate fantasy world where for them…all is in abundance. And for we frightened peons, “Are there no benevolent bankers? Are there no dollar menus?”

Now let me get back to my counting! Do you know how long it takes to count to 700 million or 3 billion or 10 billion even?! Oh wait! Ha! Ha! Hee! Hee! I’ve forgotten who I’m talking to…now run along like good little children and go find that cake!

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