- Politics and Social Issues»
- Environment & Green Issues
Post Tipping Point
A flood of what has been hidden is coming to light and its a mega-mess.
The Earth is Dying
The problem with oil goes back a long time; for over a century. Though it started with the use of the internal combustion engine, it really took off with the advent of plastic, when it became the standard for wrapping and gadget making. Look around! Plastic is everywhere. Everything that is packaged, like most food, that is made as a consumer item to bodies on cars, siding for buildings and even our clothing is plastic of one type or another. Plastic has been around for almost 70 years in various forms. Almost all of it winds up in land-fills. Recently, a bit of it has been recycled, but it is far too little, too late. We are all responsible for the throw away society that see plastic blowing in the air on a windy day, piles of it everywhere and huge patches of it floating in several regions of the Pacific Ocean that easily dwarf the BP oil spill in the Gulf.
Perhaps the most ruinous tactic of all to ensure profits come rolling in is the practice of planned obsolescence. This tactic is an extension of what is typical of war. With other means to gain profit drying up as the limits of the planet are reached, capitalists resort to building in a fall-apart factor in the products of manufacture. In addition, new features in a particular item, obsolete predecessors in short order. Consumers, driven by never ending advertising and “being up to date” for that competitive edge over others, keep lapping them up. Products manufactured with a fall-apart component will disintegrate even if just sitting on the shelf. Workers are compelled for reasons of mere survival to manufacture such garbage. A mere century ago, things were made to last, and did to come down to us in the time-line of history as antiques. Today, he end result is mountains of hazardous waste like hundreds of millions of tires, oceans contaminated with mercury and huge floating mats of plastic refuse, huge piles of non-recyclable electronic garbage that has fallen apart or been made obsolete by being out dated by a newer version. Yesterday’s most desirable electronic gizmo is today’s landfill! In short, it is impossible under profit driven economies to be green and concerned with the preservation and continuance of the biosphere. We live in a closed ecosystem, but behave as if the earth was just a tiny part of an unending open system. When the biosphere is finally ruined in total, not even the richest of the bourgeoisie or oligarchs would be able to survive. Of particular note in the scenarios of ruin, are the disasters of 535 AD and its aftermath and the ruin of the Easter Island culture prior to the arrival of the Europeans. These are actual historical occurrences, scientifically verified, within the memory of contemporary society. After AD 535 it was written by an Asian King that “Ten thousand strings of cash and fine gold cannot cure starvation.” In a ruined planet, no one can survive. Even the richest will live like the poor, too poor to even survive!
We now live in a planet wide garbage and sewage dump of planned obsolescence filth all encouraged by the use of fictitious value on the legalized larceny bank financing plan at loan shark interest. Five distinct regions exist in the Pacific Ocean where plastic of all sorts has accumulated that has killed hundreds of thousands of sea-life individuals annually. The plastic filters up through the food chain until we ingest our own garbage. These chemicals interfere with bodily processes that lead to cancers and biological based sex confusion. In addition, the filth is spewed into the atmosphere, causing global dimming and massive crop failure, causing mass starvation and food riots world wide, which were met with extreme prejudice. Landfills contaminate the land and groundwater that ends up in our drinking and bathing water. Most business in the world follows no environmental standards as this subtracts from profit. As a result, people wind up having to deal with these poisons by breathing them, drinking them and eating them. It is a fact that the bodies of some people are so polluted that they have to be handled on death as a toxic threat by a Hazmat team. They have found that these bodies do not decompose like those that are not polluted. Pollutants also come in the form of drugs, pesticides, growth hormones, anti-biotics and preservatives. The average body today contains some 85 known carcinogens and a lot more that are unknown in effect. We are being deliberately poisoned from all directions, making us a nation of stupefied half dead zombies, most of whom are susceptible to strange new infections such as Morgellon disease, which is a strange one indeed.
On top of this horrific mess is the deliberate use of chemicals upon domestic populations and in the modern theatre of war. Immediate things that come to mind are uses of Agent Orange in Vietnam, and depleted uranium in Iraq. Less known are experiments of LSD used on domestic populations as an experiment to determine what kind of effect a mass disorienting and hallucination has in population control. The object was considered as a possible aerosol dispersal over the former Soviet Union. Morgellon disease is considered by some to be just the latest experiment using nano-technology as a population control. A sick population is profitable for the drug and medical industry and is a reduced threat for domestic violence, such as food riots and drug turf wars.
Anything that could reverse the course of damage has to go through tremendous obstacles in order to be implemented. Sometimes even this struggle is not sufficient to introduce new ecological friendly technology. The chief obstacle is that technologies implemented to prevent or reverse destruction to the biosphere are too costly and would eat up the capitalist’s sacred profits. Not only that, capitalism can't clean up its own mess because that too would eat up profits; so it is left to the masses to go green by bottle picking and recycling, often at their own expense and through green taxes. Green is also translated, “make someone else give up the SUV and walk, I still need mine”. The result is that the only way this happens is to wait for a mass unemployment to force the issue involuntarily upon the unfortunate. To avoid ecological restrictions at home, treaties are drafted by the bourgeoisie operating internationally so that manufacturing off shore can bypass environmental laws in regions where there are few or none. Thus interminable bureaucracy and stumbling blocks are in place to slow or stop such procedures. Lobbying by profit seeking interests is another block as are scientists who sing the tune of their capitalist bosses by explaining that there is no problem at all. So the messes of modern production like clear cutting harvesting of wild trees, drilling for oil in deep ocean water with little or no protection from accidents, over fishing, resource driven open pit and shaft mining and polluting factory production techniques are left contaminated. The noxious chemicals are dumped into the land, the oceans, and the atmosphere and now even in orbit around earth. All too often, when the consumer buys these products, they are wrapped in plastic that then finds its way into the oceans, the food chain and in our own bodies. Thus, plastic, made from oil, has in effect been an ongoing oil spill, emptying into the environment, long before the Shell oil spill that is still ongoing in Nigeria and the current BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Plastic takes a long time to break down, unless it is modified to bio-degrade quickly. Thus, it has been insidiously and furtively building up in its threat. That has manifested in reproductive changes across the gamut of the species, which is now threatening many sensitive species and is also causing alarming changes in humanity. The major oil spills are a sped up reflection of what has been furtively building for several decades. From plastic, that has poisoned the earth slowly, we arrive at massive spills of crude oil that act much more quickly.
But it does not stop here. Most fossil fuels wind up in the atmosphere. This is why we are looking down the barrel of the climate catastrophe howitzer today.
The Cause of Brown Clouds
Brown clouds form around "seeds" of soot, dust, chemicals, metals and other industrial material injected into the atmosphere. These clouds have been photographed and are literally brown in color, unlike their white and grey counterparts. The brown coloring results from a toxic brew of a wide spectrum of man made chemicals. The chemicals come from industrial smokestacks, oil wells, coal burning, sour gas burn off, burning biomass like trees from forest fires, natural and man made, automobiles, trucks, trains, ships and jets. Soot injected into the atmosphere from incomplete combustion, blocks incoming sunlight resulting in dimming below. Cities from Beijing, China to New Delhi, India are getting darker. Glaciers in the Himalayas and elsewhere, even as far as Antarctica, are melting faster and weather systems worldwide are becoming more wild and extreme. In part, this is due to the combined and unequal effects of man made Atmospheric Brown Clouds and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It is combined insofar as all developed and developing nations are involved. It is unequal because undeveloped regions like the wild Amazon basin are directly affected by the actions of the developed and developing nations.
Evaporating water rises into the polluted atmosphere and accumulates around all this material in the form of dust. It settles everywhere including on all the ice around the planet. The polluted ice absorbs sunlight and melts, contributing to quickening meltdown and coastal flooding.
These are among the conclusions of scientists from around the world who studied a more than three kilometre thick layer of soot and other man made particles in the atmosphere that stretches from the Arabian Peninsula to China and the western Pacific Ocean. This cloud drifts across the Pacific and impacts agriculture in Canada and the US due to something called global dimming. At the heart of the problem, global dimming is from 10 up to 25 percent and as the pollution spreads, global dimming worldwide is now set at 2 to 4 percent.
Soot and chemicals lead to the formation of atmospheric brown clouds around particles like black carbon soot that absorb sunlight, heating the air; and gases such as ozone which enhance the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide in the upper atmosphere. Globally however, atmospheric brown clouds may be countering or masking the warming impacts of climate change by between 20 and 80 per cent that many researchers suggest. This is because of particles such as sulfates and some organics which reflect sunlight and cool the surface of the Earth below. If the brown clouds were suddenly removed, we would all immediately feel the effects of global warming and the consequences of glacial meltdown worldwide due to an immediate worldwide rise of temperature of at least 2 degrees centigrade. With greenhouse gasses already responsible for about 1 degree Celsius rise in he world temperature, the added increase from brown cloud removal would set the rise to 3 degrees overall. The geological record indicates that 12,600 years ago, a rise in global temperatures of 5 degrees caused such a meltdown, that sea levels rose 130 meters (400 feet).
But it does not end there. These same brown clouds rain on the land and inject these same chemicals into the soil and this affects all agricultural production worldwide and in turn they end up in meat, grain, nuts, fruits and vegetables that we all eat and thus poisoning us. Some of these same chemicals go though a process of biological magnification and wind up in high concentrations in our bodies and endanger or ruin our health. Brown clouds contain a variety of toxic aerosols, carcinogens and particles including particulate matter of less than 2.5 microns in width. These have been linked with a variety of health effects from respiratory disease and cardio-vascular problems. This danger is shown in signs such as increase of asthma, bronchitis and weakened immunity, which threatens those with already weakened immunity whether from disease or chemotherapy. Further, reduction of sunlight interferes with photosynthesis and reduces food production substantially. With an expanding population, reduction of food will raise food prices and sharply increase starvation, riots and warfare.
We have already seen food riots in Asia because of food shortages that had as it cause, brown clouds formed from a combination massive pollution of the atmosphere, global dimming and changing of world weather patterns due to warming. If this persists, the problems all mentioned here will become more pervasive. In the context of a collapsed world economy, this will worsen the problems for ordinary people even more. What is needed is to cut back on the emission of these pollutants as well as green-house gasses, combined with a program of extracting the same from the atmosphere. Brown clouds are likely our last wake up call before it is really too late.
At the root of it all is our drive to produce for profit and the manipulation of the money supply. Little regard is given to disposal of wastes, no matter where they end up, whether in brown clouds, in the five great "Sargasso Seas" of plastic refuse in the entire world's oceans, radioactive wastes and ploughing of landfills into the ground under whole towns and agricultural areas. All of this is coming back on us with a vengeance and the time to correct it is now short.
The BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico
The continuing leaking of massive amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico is now washing up in the shoreline wetlands of the southern states of the US. To date, this is the worst oil spill, second only to the deliberately destroyed 500 plus oil wells blasted and set ablaze in Kuwait in 1991 that had global impact on the weather several years after. That war time effort took almost a year to bring to a halt. So far, the spill in the Gulf of Mexico has been spilling oil for just over a month with no end in sight as one attempt after another to stop it fails. The only “blessing”, if it can be called that, is that we are not yet in hurricane season, but the race to contain the leak ans stop it is a race against an uncertain clock. The current ecological disaster began when an exploratory rig exploded when an “oil gusher” was struck and ended in a blowout. Since then, the broken submerged tap has been pouring out oil into the sea, harming all wildlife that comes into contact with it and ruining all fishing in a wide region. Barack Obama has subsequently ordered BP (British Petroleum) to cover the cost of clean up and also to pay the equivalent of unemployment benefits to all who have been negatively impacted by the spill, which is a large number of people. The spill could conceivably bankrupt BP, but the costs are going to have to be enforced and BP is a significant contributor to the US political system. On that issue alone, it remains to be seen if BP will ante up. A brief history of events has already been covered.
“On April 20, 2010, a semi-submersible exploratory offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico
exploded after a blowout and sank two days later, taking with it eleven lives and causing a massive oil spill threatening the coast of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The rig is owned and operated by Transocean Ltd on behalf of BP, which is the majority owner of the oil field. The company originally estimated the size of the leak at about 1,000 barrels a day but later accepted government estimates of a leak of at least 5,000 barrels a day. On April 30, BP stated that it would harness all of its resources to battle the oil spill, spending $7 million a day with its partners to try to contain the disaster. In comparison BP's 1st quarter profits for 2010 were roughly $61M daily. BP was running the well without a remote control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations, Brazil and Norway, as a last resort protection against underwater spills. The use of such devices is not mandated by U.S. regulators. The U.S. Government gave the responsibility of the incident to BP and will hold it accountable for costs incurred in containing the situation. On May 11, 2010, Congress called the executives of BP, Transocean, and Halliburton to a hearing regarding the oil spill. When probed for answers regarding the events leading up to the explosion, each company blamed the other. BP blamed Transocean who owned the rig, who then blamed the operators of the rig, BP. They also blamed Halliburton, who built the well casing. Scientists have been requesting the right to monitor the amount of oil that is actually being released per day, but "'The answer is no to that,' a BP spokesman, Tom Mueller, said on Saturday, May 15. 'We’re not going to take any extra efforts now to calculate flow there at this point. It’s not relevant to the response effort, and it might even detract from the response effort.' Steven Wereley, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, analyzed videotape of the leak using particle image velocimetry and estimated oil flow rates at between 56,000 barrels to 84,000 barrels per day, or equivalent to one Exxon Valdez spill every 2.4 to 3.5 days. A second, smaller leak has been estimated to be releasing 25,000 barrels per day by itself, suggesting that the total size of the leak may well be in excess of 100,000 barrels per day and could possibly be one of the largest oil spills in history and the worst man-made disaster recorded.”
The admission that there are no regulations by the US to have automatic shut off valves installed makes the Obama government equally responsible for the disaster as such things were deregulated decades ago under the Reagan administration in a cost cutting measure for the oil bosses. The US is the only region in the world where such safety measures have been removed to boost profits. Meanwhile, as CEOs and government haggle it out as to who is to ultimately blame in all this, more and more oil gushes out, washes ashore despite miserable contaminant strategies and the hurricane seasons looms.
We have analyzed this kind of thing in 2006 by stating;
“...anything that promotes profit will be pursued with a vengeance. Historically this meant mechanization, lowering wages, ignoring safety and health questions, destruction of surpluses and warfare. Much of this continues today..... Capitalism is incapable of preserving and maintaining an ecological balance and a “green Earth” by its own inherent fault of profit gathering. It contains the seed of its own demise, and all else if permitted to continue to the destruction of Earth itself! Couple war with planned obsolescence and we have the example of the 1991 Kuwait oil fires that destroyed much in natural resources and created a local “industrial” winter in the region as more than 500 oil wells burned for almost a year. There is lots of political accusation as to who set them, but the destruction of resources and environment and manipulation of oil prices were the result. Environmental impacts were global with a significant increase in carbon greenhouse gases in 1991 (and a subsequent run on hot weather) and people reeled from price increases on everything as oil, or the lack thereof, determines the extent of capitalist profit.” The BP spill has caused many fires on the open water. It is unknown how many fires there are as access to the region is heavily restricted with threats of $40,000 fines, class four felony, and imprisonment for anyone who penetrates the security zone for any reason. If there are a similar number of fires as in Kuwait, then there is a double threat.
Meanwhile, Obama is “getting impatient” as a public relations gesture that is hoped to obscure the real issues still unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. But did this lead to any legal action against a capitalist organization too big to fail? No! BP CEO Tony Hayward was exonerated of any crime and then puttered around on the golf green and a sailing yacht while the states surrounding the spill are facing military intervention from US and Canadian forces that will enforce migration away from these regions and into FEMA concentration camps, where many Katrina victims still live.
One of the answers by BP is to use dispersant that are extremely toxic, the dispersant Corexit, in order to hide the true extent of the spill. Divers have found columns of oil nearly a kilometre tall and several kilometres wide in some cases. Some of this has already washed up and the hurricane season got an early start. Ominously, most of it is still at sea and is killing everything it touches and destroying the health of clean up crews. Some of the oil combined with Corexit has slipped past the Florida Keys and has entered the Gulf Stream and is making its way up the eastern coast of N. America and headed to Europe, due to wash up there on August 26th, 2010 to ruin fishing and lives there as it already has all along the Gulf coast.
People in the states surrounding the spill have witnessed oil rain, a strong stench of sulphur in the air, damage to all plants, wild and agricultural, dying pets as well as all species of wild life. People who live in the region are now suffering health problems from respiratory problems and internal bleeding. With the changing climate pattern on the face of the planet anywhere you care to look, only one conclusion can be reached. We have already passed a tipping point, maybe two or three and are now wandering in unknown territory at our collective peril. It is now clear that the old way is dying and what will come out of it all is by and large unknown. We do know that if we stopped oil and plastic use cold today, that it will take a few years for the climate to level off to a new and radical wildness. The earth will take anywhere from a century to a million years to reach the biodiversity that we saw in the early 20th, century.