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Author Topic: Pollution  (Read 42248 times)

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AGelbert

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He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #31 on: January 18, 2014, 03:40:53 pm »
Letter from Beijing: Pollution turns out to be great leveler in China’s capital

January 17

By Stuart Leavenworth

McClatchy Foreign Staff


BEIJING — Even before the sun started to rise Thursday over this megalopolis of 21 million people, I could sense it would be a miserable lung day. The apartment where my wife and I were staying seemed smoky – even though we don’t smoke. Out the window, the lights from nearby skyscrapers were enveloped in a gray cloud.

When the sun rose, it was obvious – Beijing’s “airpocalypse” had returned. I could barely see the 4th Ring Road, the freeway that hums with cars and trucks just 100 yards from our building. Checking an app, I saw that particulate levels in Beijing had soared above 670 micrograms per cubic meter, or about 26 times higher than the World Health Organization considers safe.


China has many challenges, but air pollution is one that, if left unaddressed, will surely trip up its economic growth, kill its people and derail the Communist Party’s policy of “opening up” to the world. Tourism in Beijing has dropped from a year ago, at least partly because of worldwide publicity about smog. A recent study estimated that the average life expectancy in North China had dropped by 5.5 years because of air pollution generated by coal power production.

Last year, Beijing-like bouts of smog spread across the eastern and northern parts of the country, smothering cities such as Shanghai, whose residents thought they were immune. Wealthy Chinese now regularly schedule “lung-cleaning trips,” with Thailand’s Phuket Island and Indonesia’s Bali as top destinations, according to Chinese tourism authorities.

It is not as if China doesn’t recognize the threat. The government says it has pledged to spend $1.7 billion yuan ($281 million) by 2017 to tackle air pollution. Local governments have closed factories, fined polluters and even closed freeways on days when the smog is dangerous or “beyond index.”

The official position is that the problem is caused primarily by weather inversions, auto emissions and coal burning (industrial and residential), and all that is true. Yet as a country where there is little rule of law, China has no comprehensive system of monitoring, permitting and regulating sources of air pollution. Unlike most environmental agencies in the United States, it can’t track a pollution problem back to its source or sources and correct it.             



On Thursday, I noticed the recommendation by the U.S. Embassy in China that people stay indoors and avoid any strenuous activity. But I didn’t have that option, and neither did millions of other working people here. I had interviews lined up on stories, and properties to inspect in our search for a permanent apartment. And so I set forth to the subway, wearing my N-95 face mask for the first time during our first week in Beijing.

By the time I reached the central business district and started exiting the subway, I felt dizzy. I grabbed the handrail to steady myself. I drank some water, felt better and then walked a few blocks to where I was meeting my assistant, Tiantian. By then, my mask was already speckled with soot.

As the day went on, the pollution decreased, but I could feel the effects of the cumulative exposure. My chest felt heavy, my throat was raspy and my nose was runny all afternoon. I walked through Ritan Park, where elegant older women were dancing, some wearing face masks.


I have little doubt that China will eventually clean up its air, and little doubt the government could accelerate the cleanup with a sustained commitment.

Yet China and elements of its state-controlled media still suffer from denial when it comes to air pollution. Last month, during a major smog bout outside of Beijing, a story on the website of China Central Television listed five benefits of the air pollution problem:

1. It unifies the Chinese people. 

2. It makes China more equal. 

3. It raises citizen awareness of the cost of China’s economic development.

4. It makes people funnier. 

5. It makes people more knowledgeable (of things like meteorology and the English word haze).


I feel more equal already.  



Leavenworth became McClatchy’s Beijing bureau chief earlier this month. Email: sleavenworth@mcclatchydc.com; Twitter: @sleavenworth

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/01/17/4759268/letter-from-beijing-pollution.html#storylink=cpy

Agelbert NOTE: The fossil fuelers in China have the same problem they have all over the world; they CANNOT envision a world where GDP growth DOESN'T track fossil fuel burning growth. With that attitude, the only GROWTH industries they are going to get are CANCER treatment and pollution filtering devices.

China's leaders are willfully blinding themselves simply because they BELIEVE in the "glory" of predatory capitalism and KNOW GOD DAMNED GOOD AND WELL that the smog will kill the poor and middle class who can't afford protection FIRST. This is EXTERNALIZING costs on STEROIDS. It is DIVIDING the people, not "unifying" them.


They will learn, as we will, the HARD way. Reality is a **** for these ORWELLIAN circular logic bull**** artists. Fossil fuels are POISON, not prosperity. But the death worshippers at Wall Street are probably salivating at all the profits to be had from the face mask and anti-pollution filtration equipment on the cars and houses of the wealthy! After, all, THEY are the ony ones that COUNT because THE RICH, being such HARD WORKING (i.e. money grabbing) folks, can afford the COMFORT (i.e. survival of the "fittest" -> meanest, cruelest, conscience free bastards) that fossil fuel caused GDP GROWTH (i.e. pollution poisons) REQUIRES.   


January 2015 MKing Corporation outdoor clothing style catalog for the Chinese people that COUNT *

Newest luxury back pack mixes Oxycontin with oxygen for a "spiritual" experience while watching giant traffic jams through your megapixel IR viewer. 



*Raising visor in photo is for demonstration purposes only and  is not recommended outdoors. Raising visor outdoors may result in coverage cancellation of the Executive Golden Parachute Viper Cradle to Grave Comprehensive Total Coverage  Health Insurance Plan. 

MKING APEX PREDATOR CLOTHING LLC All Rights Rapaciously Reserved.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 09:43:12 pm by AGelbert »
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2014, 08:59:06 pm »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtrF4QAVjyM&feature=player_embedded

Quote
What You Can Do Right Now


Our “disposable culture” has left a trail of destruction, in terms of both environmental and human impact. >:(  There is no one single solution to the waste problem. But you can do your part by taking steps to reduce your waste, recycle, and repurpose what you can. The average American produces 4.5 pounds of garbage each and every day. Surely, most people can find ways to cut that down considerably, without going through too much trouble. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

•Compost your food scraps and yard waste: A simple bin in your backyard can greatly cut down on your landfill contributions while rewarding you with a natural fertilizer for your soil. See “Composting Made Easy—Even for City Dwellers” to learn more.

•Reduce plastic use: Purchase products that are not made from or packaged in plastic. Use reusable shopping bags for groceries. Bring your own mug when indulging in a coffee drink — and skip the lid and the straw. Bring drinking water from home in glass water bottles, instead of buying bottled water. Store foods in the freezer in glass mason jars as opposed to plastic bags. Take your own leftover container to restaurants. Request no plastic wrap on your newspaper and dry cleaning.

These are just a few ideas — I’m sure you can think of more.


•Recycle and repurpose what you can:Take care to recycle and repurpose products whenever possible. This includes separating paper, glass, and plastic for recycling. Give clothes or gently used household items to charities, and frequent second-hand stores instead of buying new. Make use of online sites like Freecycle.org that allow you to give products you no longer need away to others instead of throwing them away.


Here are some ideas for what to do with more hard-to-recycle items:

◦Appliances: Salvation Army or the Steel Recycling Institute can help you out with these (see recycle-steel.org).

◦Compact fluorescent light bulbs: Your local Ace Hardware, Home Depot and IKEA store will recycle them. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also lists recycling facilities across the US.7

◦Eyeglasses: Your local Lion’s Club or eye care chain may collect these for redistribution to people in need. Many eyeglass stores offer drop-off boxes as well.

◦Tennis shoes: Nike’s Reuse-a-Shoe program8 turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring.

•Choose reusable over single-use: This includes non-disposable razors, washable feminine hygiene products for women, cloth diapers, glass bottles for your milk, cloth grocery bags, handkerchiefs instead of paper tissues, an old t-shirt or rags in lieu of paper towels, and so on.

•Assist Recovery: Return deposits on bottles and other plastic products, and participate in “plastic drives” for local schools, where cash is paid by the pound.

•Support local “greening” efforts: Support legislative efforts to manage waste in your community; take a leadership role with your company, school, and neighborhood.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/18/unwasted-documentary-recycling.aspx
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #33 on: January 23, 2014, 06:15:19 pm »
Mushrooms Used for Bioremediation to Clean Pesticides From Oregon Waterways

Beyond Pesticides  | January 23, 2014 3:15 pm



Putting ideas into action, an Oregon-based restoration nonprofit group, Ocean Blue Project, is harnessing the power of mushrooms to clean up pesticides and other pollutants that plague Oregon and national waterways. Yes, mushrooms.

Pleurotus ostreatus, the oyster mushroom is edible.  ;D
These oyster mushroom have the filtering potential to break down oil, pesticides and harmful bacteria.

The test project launched Sunday, Jan. 19 on the banks of Sequoia Creek, a tributary to the Willamette River. Using recycled burlap bags filled with used coffee grounds, straw and yellow oyster mushroom spawn, the purpose of the unusual potpourri will be to harness the extremely effective filtering capabilities of mycelium.

A kind of root system for fungi, mycelium demonstrate a wide variety of biological powers, from breaking down oil, pesticides and harmful bacteria to acting as natural pesticides against some of the most problematic pests.

Paul Stamets, a leading expert on the power of mushrooms and former speaker at Beyond Pesticides’ National Pesticide Forum in 2006, has a word for the natural properties of fungi to fight human-made pollution: mycorestoration. As Mr. Stamets explained to Discover Magazine in 2013, “Oyster mushrooms, for example, can digest the complex hydrocarbons in wood, so they can also be used to break down petroleum byproducts. Garden Giants use their mycelia to trap and eat bacteria, so they can filter E. coli from agricultural runoff.”

Richard Arterbury, president of the Ocean Blue Project, agrees. Mr. Arterbury explained to reporters at Corvallis Gazette-Times, that the technique could potentially be a low-cost way to use biologic processes to reduce pollution in waterways. Mr. Arterbury thinks the project has huge potential. “If you put enough of these bags by the Willamette River it could potentially change the river,” he said.

Pesticides in Water

And change is needed not just in Oregon. Waterways in the U.S. are increasingly imperiled from various agents, including agricultural and industrial discharges, nutrient loading (nitrogen and phosphorus), and biological agents such as pathogens. Pesticides discharged into our nation’s rivers, lakes and streams can harm or kill fish and amphibians.

These toxicants have the potential to accumulate in the fish we eat and the water we drink. As pesticide use escalates and waterways and drinking water become increasingly polluted with unregulated contaminants like pesticides and other toxicants, low-cost and natural alternatives for restoring waterways are desperately needed.

Discussing innovative new practices and alternatives to address pesticide contamination will be just one of the many exciting topics at this year’s 32nd National Pesticide Forum, Advancing Sustainable Communities: People, Pollinators and Practices. Please join Beyond Pesticides, Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides and Portland State University’s Institute for Sustainable Solutions April 11-12, 2014 in Portland, OR, to help communities everywhere make strides in reducing pesticides and moving communities everywhere towards a more sustainable future. 




Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY and WATER pages for more related news on this topic.


http://ecowatch.com/2014/01/23/mushrooms-bioremedation-clean-pesticides-waterways/
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #35 on: January 26, 2014, 03:41:26 pm »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GyiIBY6GO1Q&feature=player_embedded
Drilling for oil may someday, due to global biosphere damage caused by it, be the new and improved ROOT OF ALL EVIL 
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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Taters Ain't what they SHOULD BE...
« Reply #36 on: January 27, 2014, 04:32:01 pm »
Quote
Little Elise wanted to see vines grow from a potato, but after trying for three weeks, she figured something was wrong. Then she experimented with an organic potato. Watch out!

This sweet yet profound video is perfect for sending around to anyone who still thinks conventionally grown produce is REAL food.

Video (2:32)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=exBEFCiWyW0&feature=player_embedded
This Video should be FRONT PAGE NEWS all over the internet and the WORLD!
WHY? Because it has ALL the ingredients of TRUTH from someone who is innocent and is merely looking out for human society with science, not agenda based, methodology to satisfy her curiosity.

Her observations then confirm one more link in the predatory capitalist, conscience free, Big Ag MO that makes the agricultural profit generating COMMODITY (instead of what it's supposed to be - a human health improving tuber) a scourge on human health and a HIGH YIELD - LOW NUTRITION - CHEMICALLY LACED - CROP (i.e. heavier because it forces the potato to put all its energy into starch instead of vines    ).

   = Big Ag

Please pass this on. The cancer you avoid may be your own.   


He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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Roundup is Ruining our health
« Reply #39 on: February 04, 2014, 07:47:23 pm »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_AHLDXF5aw&feature=player_embedded

New Research Fuels Roundup Weedkiller Toxicity Concerns    :P  >:(


February 04, 2014

•Increases in reactive oxygen species 
•Increases in nitrotyrosine formation 
•Increases in superoxide dismutase activity 
•Increases in glutathione levels



http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/02/04/roundup-glyphosate-toxicity.aspx
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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Re: Pollution
« Reply #40 on: February 21, 2014, 06:07:03 pm »
Air Force aircraft returned from Vietnam identified as postwar source of Agent Orange contamination

From 1971-1982 Air Force reservists, who flew in about 34 dioxin-contaminated aircraft used to spray Agent Orange and returned to the US following discontinuation of the herbicide spraying operations in the Vietnam War, were exposed greater levels of dioxin than previously acknowledged, according to a study published today in Environmental Research.

    

"These findings are important because they describe a previously unrecognized source of exposure to dioxin that has health significance to those who engaged in the transport work using these aircraft," says lead investigator Peter A. Lurker, PhD, PE, CIH, an environmental engineer with many years of experience evaluating environmental exposures in the Air Force.

During the Vietnam War, in an operation known as "Operation Ranch Hand," approximately 20 million gallons of herbicides, including around 10.5 million gallons of dioxin-contaminated Agent Orange, were sprayed by about 34 C-123 aircraft. These aircraft were subsequently returned to the US and were used by Air Force reserve units between 1971 and 1982 for transport operations. After many years without monitoring, tests revealed the presence of dioxin (also known as TCDD). All but three of the aircraft were smelted down in 2009.

The Air Force and Department of Veterans Affairs have previously denied benefits to these crew members. Current policies stipulate that "non-biologically available dried residues" of chemical herbicides and dioxin would not have led to meaningful exposures to flight crew and maintenance personnel, who are therefore ineligible for Agent Orange-related benefits or medical examinations and treatment.

Researchers estimated dioxin body burden using modeling algorithms developed by the US Army and data derived from surface wipe samples collected from aircraft used in Operation Ranch Hand. They compared estimates with available guidelines and standards and discuss the implications with respect to current Air Force and VA policies.

These models suggest that the potential for dioxin exposure to personnel working in the aircraft post-Vietnam is greater than previously believed and that inhalation, ingestion, and skin absorption were likely to have occurred during post-Vietnam use of the aircraft by aircrew and maintenance staff. The estimated dermal and oral exposure exceeded US standards. The estimated airborne contamination exceeded the only available (German) standard.

"Our findings, the results of three different modelling approaches, contrast with Air Force and VA conclusions and policies," concludes senior author Jeanne Mager Stellman, PhD, Professor Emerita of Health Policy and Management at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York. "The VA concept of a 'dried residue' that is biologically unavailable is not consistent with widely accepted theories of the behavior of surface residues. Aircraft occupants would have been exposed to airborne dioxin-contaminated dust as well as come into direct skin contact, and our models show that the level of exposure is likely to have exceeded several available exposure guidelines."



 Explore further: Agent Orange linked to skin cancer risk

More information: "Post Vietnam Military Herbicide Exposures in UC-123 Agent Orange Spray Aircraft," by Peter A. Lurker, Fred Berman, Richard W. Clapp, Jeanne Mager Stellman. Environmental Research, published online on February 21 (Volume 130, 2014), DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.02.004

 


Journal reference:  Environmental Research search and more info




http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-02-air-aircraft-vietnam-postwar-source.html#nRlv
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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The Onion takes on Monsanto
« Reply #42 on: February 27, 2014, 04:11:15 pm »
The Onion takes on Monsanto



By Holly Richmond

Quote
Agricultural biotech giant Monsanto unveiled its latest strain of genetically modified corn Wednesday, claiming that the new, hardier seed yields 400 percent more litigation against small independent farms than the company’s previous GMO products.
  ;D

http://grist.org/list/the-onion-takes-on-monsanto/
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

AGelbert

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Suffering Oceans Get Biggest Donation Ever From Bloomberg
« Reply #43 on: February 28, 2014, 06:57:51 pm »
02/28/2014 02:25 PM     

Suffering Oceans Get Biggest Donation Ever From Bloomberg

SustainableBusiness.com News

Former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's foundation is making the largest philanthropic donation ever to help the world's oceans, specifically to reform fisheries management.

 Over the next five years, Bloomberg Philanthropies will donate  $53 million to nonprofits Oceana, Rare, and EKO, which will simultaneously attack persistent problems that plague our oceans and are leading to collapsing fish species across the world.

 Under the Vibrant Oceans Initiative, the three groups will focus on boosting fish populations in Chile, Brazil, and the Philippines, which better practices would revitalize 7% of the world's fisheries. Models developed there will hopefully turn into policies that can be applied to many other countries.

There are three major causes of overfishing:

•Industrial fishing is too big - ships can catch twice the fish that exist in the ocean! Inadequate or nonexistent quotas allow species to be depleted to the point where they can't recover  >:(

•industrial bottom trawling, dynamiting and cyanide fishing, which destroy complete habitats  >:(

•bycatch - capturing many unintended species including sea turtles and dolphins.
  >:(

"The good news is that marine ecosystems can rebound relatively quickly if caught in time. The factors that led to mismanagement must be addressed now to replenish fish populations and to help meet the dietary needs of a growing global population," says Bloomberg Philanthropies.   

These problems have been known for decades but have yet to be resolved. With over 80% of the world's fisheries either exploited or threatened, Oceana will work with national governments on policies that reform industrial fishing practices, such as science-based quotas and bycatch.

 Because 12 million local fisherman catch roughly the same amount of fish, Rare will simultaneously help local governments and coastal communities implement sustainable small-scale practices. One reform will be to offer exclusive fishing rights in exchange for creating marine preserves as California, Australia and Costa Rica have done.


 EKO Asset Management is developing an investment model where private capital can reward fisheries that transition to sustainable practices.
 

With the oceans reeling from absorbing much of humanity's carbon emissions, reigning in pressure on fish and their habitats is one of the few ways to make a difference. As climate change advances and it becomes harder to grow food on land, a healthy fish population could make a huge difference.

 Bloomberg Philanthropies has made the same $50 million commitment to end the reign of coal with the goal of shuttering a third of aging coal plants by 2020 in the US. Their other big environmental initiative is $20 million to help cities tackle climate change through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.

Another emerging threat to oceans is mass industrialization of deep sea ecosystems as people figure out how to mine for minerals there. "Without international cooperation with a focus on 'deep-ocean stewardship,' deep sea mining will follow the destructive examples set by commercial fishing and offshore fossil fuel operations, say scientists.

 Incredibly, a group called the International Seabed Authority has already issued 19 prospecting licenses to governments and private companies.  >:(

Graphic of  Marine Preserves in Northern California at link:

http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/25552
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

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In “The Sixth Extinction,” Elizabeth Kolbert reports from the frontlines of a dying world :(

By Grist staff

The New Yorker writer and acclaimed author Elizabeth Kolbert has a penchant for depressing topics. Her 2006 book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, helped push climate change into the mainstream (with bonus points for not mincing words in the title).

Now that climate change is safely keeping most of us up at night, Kolbert turned her pen to another big bummer: the sixth extinction. We’re currently losing species at a rate of 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than unassisted nature wiping out the occasional newt. While humans weren’t responsible for the last five mass extinctions, our fingerprints are all over this one. Yep: We collectively have the force of an asteroid when it comes to erasing species (high five, guys!) and for the most part, our response has been classic Urkel.

Kolbert dropped by the Grist office to chat mass extinctions, climate inaction, and whether there’s any hope (short answer: no. long answer: probably not). Here’s an edited and condensed version of our conversation.

Q. How much do scientists attribute the current wave of extinctions to climate change versus things like deforestation or chemical pollution or invasive species?


book coverA. The fact of the matter is that there are probably, right now, no extinctions that can be directly attributed to climate change. But there are many extinctions that can be pretty directly attributed to invasive species. So if you are just chalking things up, invasive species definitely have a big place.

But people trying to looking into the future with things like modeling — which may or may not be correct, but we won’t necessarily be around to see it — tend to project that the climate is going to become a major driver of extinctions over this century, for all the obvious reasons.

Q. How do we stack up in the extinctions? Like, wow, the Permian extinction is way better, but we’re better than the Chicxulub crater. Are we close to being the best extinction?



A. Well, that’s an unanswerable question, but I will say that I’ve now had several very serious scientists say to me, “We cannot rule out an outcome like the end Permian extinction.” If that ain’t sobering, I don’t know what is.

Q. We’re No. 1?

A. The end Permian extinction was almost certainly caused by a huge CO2 release, and no one is quite sure from where. And the scope of it was quite enormous.

We’re not there yet, but if we burn through everything, I think we could get there. Are we capable of getting there? These are questions that no one can answer at this point.

Q. It wasn’t until the late 1700s or early 1800s that the concept of extinction was even thought about. What process led to that discovery? We now know that there have been five extinctions to date, so a lot has occurred in 200 years in terms of our awareness.


A. As Europeans colonized North America and South America, they found a lot of fossils. One of the major finds was in the 1730s by French soldiers who were going down the Ohio River. They come to this site in what’s now Kentucky and they find mastodon bones, which they shipped to Paris.

Mastodons are interestingly weird because they have tusks like elephants, but teeth like people. So they were very confused by this. People actually speculated that they were two animals that had died, like a hippo and an elephant. Since they didn’t even have this concept of extinction they couldn’t really get their minds around it. (Thomas Jefferson was quite convinced that Lewis and Clark were going to find mastodons.)

People played around with it for a long time until this French naturalist, who’s sort of a main character in the book, came along. [Georges Cuvier] made this (what we would consider) not very scientific observation that if these animals were out there, we would have seen them already, so they were gone. He made that logical leap of faith. And he was right! He was the first person to really theorize extinction.

Q. There have been five extinctions, and each time Mother Nature has brought things back in a different direction — so can’t you see some hope in that? It may not involve humans.

A. If you take the really long view, yeah. Really long. Super long. People make this point about the planet. Well, the non-living planet will be fine. Even most microbial life will be fine, and what are we worried about? Vertebrates? People have said to me, “If the dinosaurs hadn’t been done in, we wouldn’t be here.” That is most certainly true, yeah, but it did take 66 million years, and for a while if you’d been around — I wasn’t there — it would have been pretty grim.

The end Permian didn’t do in life on Earth, and we will not do in life on Earth, but I think most people have a hard time seeing that — something that not even their most distant descendants will be around to see — as a hopeful thing. Geologists take that sort of view.

Q. On the scale of bummed-outed-ness, which one of your books caused you to be the most depressed? Your previous book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, is probably one of the most important books written on climate change to date, and really helped introduced the topic to a whole new range of readers.


A. For Field Notes, I interviewed a lot of the country’s top climate scientists, and they all agree that [climate change] is a pretty clear and present danger to human society. And yet, we can’t seem to come to terms with that at all. So it seemed to me that a species that can’t even do the sort of things that seem to be called for, for its own self, is that species really going to do the things called for everything else on the planet?

It’s maybe a little bit of writerly vanity — you say, OK, I’m going to put this out there and it true and it’s going to make a difference. The same year that my book came out, An Inconvenient Truth came out. It had a huge impact, but — what happened? Nothing happened. So I was already pretty bummed out, I guess.

Q.  You visited different natural places around the world. What was your favorite thing that you encountered?

A.  I’d say the most astonishing place I went was the Great Barrier Reef. I got to go to this very tiny island — the islands on the Reef are built out of the reef, the height of a table, basically, they’re very low and they’re all made out of coral — and they’re spectacularly beautiful. This tiny little research station was on this island. Going out on the reef — you know, you see nature movies and stuff — it’s even better than the nature movies. Unfortunately I don’t dive, but even just snorkeling was amazing. You never have access to that on land, you never see that many different living creatures. Even if you were in the middle of the Amazon, you’d just see leaves! But when you’re looking underwater, it’s just spectacular. And as you know — I was out there with a bunch of scientists studying ocean acidification — the prognosis for reefs is really, really grim.

Q. You also write about some efforts to save species. Could you share some of those?


A. I happened to go to the San Diego Zoo, where they have a very impressive conservation program. I was there to see something called the “frozen zoo.” It’s just a bunch of vats of liquid nitrogen with cell lines from, in many cases, highly endangered animals and, in one case, an animal that doesn’t exist anymore, a Hawaiian bird. The idea is pretty much what it sounds like: You have these cell lines, you’re going to keep them alive forever, and eventually people are going to figure out how to resurrect some of these species. Or maybe if you don’t want to go quite that sci-fi, we’ll take the cell lines, we’ll do a DNA analysis, we’ll try to figure out why this population is having trouble.

They took me to see this bird named Kinohi, one of the last Hawaiian crows. He’s “reluctant to part with his genetic material,” let’s put it that way. He had been taken from this breeding facility on Maui to San Diego, and he is ministered to by a PhD physiologist who is trying to, let’s say, pleasure this bird, so that he will give up some sperm, so she can artificially inseminate a bird back in Maui. When I visited he had not yet, you know, come through. She was literally preparing to try again — I don’t know if it has ever worked, I should call her.

That was really, to me, emblematic of this crazy situation we find ourselves in. We’re incredibly smart, we’ve figured out how to freeze cell lines and quite possibly bring back extinct animals — we’re willing to pleasure crows. And yet, the Hawaiian Islands are called the extinction capital of the planet — it’s an absolutely devastated ecosystem. Many, many birds are extinct already; those that aren’t are just clinging to existence. Those forces are not changing and, in fact, things are getting worse. There used to be no mosquitoes in Hawaii; there are now mosquitoes. They carry avian malaria, and as the climate warms, avian malaria is moving up the slopes so that even these refugees species that are high on the mountains are increasingly not there. A lot of birds are in terrible trouble there.

All of these things are happening at once and, once again, they’re all true. People are devoting a lot of time and energy and love to trying to preserve these species, and meanwhile the world is increasingly screwed up. So that is how I end the book: They can both be true; it’s not one or the other.

http://grist.org/climate-energy/in-the-sixth-extinction-elizabeth-kolbert-reports-from-the-frontlines-of-a-dying-world/
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

 

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