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Archive for the ‘Humans vs. Planet’ Category

A Crude Awakening

Posted by A birch tree on June 21, 2008

One hour and twenty-two minutes of streaming video garaunteed to scare the pants off of you. Great stuff, very well done, but very, very disturbing. Just give it half an hour to hook you.

Peak oil is here. Sky’s fallin’, yo.

A Crude Awakening

Posted in Global Environment, Global Warming, Hard Facts, Humans vs. Planet, Political | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

“But the Earth is so BIG…”

Posted by A birch tree on May 28, 2008

Barf.

Ok, so there’s folks who believe humans had fuck-all to do with climate change. “Big Plant, Little Human!” they scream at the top of their CO2-emitting lungs. “CO2 is a trace gas!” they whine, over and over again, as if that particular combination of words had any meaning. “Cows produce more than cars!” they gripe, oblivious to the fact that it’s humans’ fault that cows are so ubiquitous as to be such a large provider of greenhouse gasses.

Over and over again, they cite “natural cycles” and Earth’s allegedly massive “self-correction” potential as rhetorical proof, minus any scientific backing, that humans are completely blameless for anything that may or may not be happening to the planet, so they can continue the devil-take-tomorrow approach to radical consumption ideology, guilt-free.

Question: How’s this part of a natural cycle? What does it say about the planet’s wonderous miracle-like ability to heal itself from humans’ paltry, negligible enviornmental effects that the ocean has become 30% more acidic since people have started pumping CO2 into the air like it was going out of style? The fact that you’d have to go back through 35 million years worth of ice cores and geological records to find a time when oceans were this acidic due to excess CO2 being dissolved therein is what? An unhappy coincidence? A fluke of timing? Just circumstantial? Shelled critters that have managed to evolve and live for the last twenty-million-and-change years without too much hassle have suddenly noticed their houses getting thin and brittle, and it’s just a very odd, very intriguing turn of events we’re totally not responsible for?

Well, what does it have to do with us, anyway? It’s just a few fish that’ll be screwed, not humans. You know, those completely useless fish like salmon and pollock…

Go on, deniers, try it. You know how many people with an IQ higher than GWB’s are taking you seriously right now? Wanna see what happens to that number when you try to blame oceanic acidification on cow farts?

Oh, and hey, remember those climate forecasts y’all keep saying are “chicken little”-like, or “doomsaying” or otherwise biased to give horrible results as quick as possible in order to serve as a vehicle for some insidious political agenda like… um… something? About how they’re too liberal, play fast and loose with big numbers, and are otherwise vastly inflated? Well, as it turns out, they’re actually too conservative. This wasn’t supposed to happen until around 2100. Surprise!

{Hat tip to Climate Ark}

Posted in Global Environment, Humans vs. Planet, Oceans | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Spreading Awareness of “Just How Hard We’ve Bitch-Slapped the Planet”, Oceanic Edition

Posted by A birch tree on April 5, 2008

From the “The Planet is so Big, We Couldn’t Possibly Affect it!” file:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/05/0506_040506_oceanplastic.html

So apparently we’ve got tons and tons of microscopic plastic particles floating around in the oceans, sucking up toxic hydrophobic industrial waste chemicals (in addition to the toxic chemicals they’re already made of), and releasing them into the digestive tracts of marine invertibrates, as well as probably causing all sorts of other sundry chaos we haven’t even thought to look for yet, and won’t think to look for until ten years from now we find it and go “Oops, didn’t think of that!”.

And, even scarier:

http://www.bestlifeonline.com/cms/publish/health-fitness/Our_oceans_are_turning_into_plastic_are_we_2.shtml

The North Pacific gyre contains an ocean of plastic twice the size of Texas, from surface to bottom. Moreover, it’s only one of five oces gyres with similarly depressing plastic dumps, making 40% of the total volume of our oceans consumed by nothing more than waste plastic. Leaching toxic chemicals into the oceans, creating vast marine dead zones, working its way into the food chain, and generally fucking with the environment in monumental ways.

PEOPLE! WAKE THE FUCK UP! THE OCEANS ARE 40% PLASTIC!

Jesus Christ on a bike! Next time I hear someone say anything even remotely like “The planet has these systems, see, that take care of itself and are all self-correcting and shit, so humans are so small and the earth is so big and complex that there’s nothing we could do to REALLY change, damage, or affect it. Have you seen the keys to my Hummer?” I may just have to haul off and kick them in the shins until they cry like a clubbed baby seal.

Some happy-happy-joy-joy quotes:

All sea creatures are threatened by floating plastic, from whales down to zooplankton. There’s a basic moral horror in seeing the pictures: a sea turtle with a plastic band strangling its shell into an hourglass shape; a humpback towing plastic nets that cut into its flesh and make it impossible for the animal to hunt. More than a million seabirds, 100,000 marine mammals, and countless fish die in the North Pacific each year, either from mistakenly eating this junk or from being ensnared in it and drowning.

Bad enough. But Moore soon learned that the big, tentacled balls of trash were only the most visible signs of the problem; others were far less obvious, and far more evil. Dragging a fine-meshed net known as a manta trawl, he discovered minuscule pieces of plastic, some barely visible to the eye, swirling like fish food throughout the water. He and his researchers parsed, measured, and sorted their samples and arrived at the following conclusion: By weight, this swath of sea contains six times as much plastic as it does plankton.

This statistic is grim—for marine animals, of course, but even more so for humans. The more invisible and ubiquitous the pollution, the more likely it will end up inside us. And there’s growing—and disturbing—proof that we’re ingesting plastic toxins constantly, and that even slight doses of these substances can severely disrupt gene activity. “Every one of us has this huge body burden,” Moore says. “You could take your serum to a lab now, and they’d find at least 100 industrial chemicals that weren’t around in 1950.” The fact that these toxins don’t cause violent and immediate reactions does not mean they’re benign: Scientists are just beginning to research the long-term ways in which the chemicals used to make plastic interact with our own biochemistry.

Most alarming, these chemicals may disrupt the endocrine system—the delicately balanced set of hormones and glands that affect virtually every organ and cell—by mimicking the female hormone estrogen. In marine environments, excess estrogen has led to Twilight Zone-esque discoveries of male fish and seagulls that have sprouted female sex organs.

In his opinion, the movie Cast Away was a joke—Tom Hanks could’ve built a village with the crap that would’ve washed ashore during a storm.

Posted in Global Environment, Humans vs. Planet, Oceans | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »