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How Many Environmental Disasters Does It Take To Screw A Lightbulb in a Human’s Brain?

03/05/2010
chernobyl nuclear accident

pripyat, chernobyl nuclear accident

In the oily tide of the slick that’s spreading like an uncontrollable disease in the Gulf of Mexico at this moment in time, along with a long history of global ecological disasters, one question is starting to become very relevant globally at this moment in time:

How many ecological disasters does it take for us to wake up and make a concerted effort to change?  Will that lightbulb ever go off?

One striking and haunting message about changing our cruel & violent ways was put out in 1953, almost 60 years ago, was placed in the clever movie called “The Day the Earth Stood Still”.

 
 
 

Hope those aliens come to scare us into green!

A quick synopsis

:  an alien comes to our planet to warn us that if we do not stop our violence and unite as a planet to work with eachother, disaster will ensue.  He enlists the world’s greatest scientific minds, after being met with the typical ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ American military, to help spread the depth of his message and lobby the world’s leader to follow their leads.

Klaatu steps out of the spaceship and addresses the assembled scientists, explaining that humanity’s penchant for violence and first steps into space have caused concern among other spacefaring worlds, who have created a race of robot enforcers including Gort to stifle aggression. He warns that if the people of Earth threaten to extend their violence [in the wake of the atomic bomb] into space, then the robots will destroy Earth, adding that “The decision rests with you.” He enters the spaceship and departs.

Humanity’s ‘penchant’ for violence is most certainly not restricted to physical altercations amongst eachother.  It absolutely includes our constant need to take, rip out, cut, chop, drill, bore, steal, destroy, pollute our ecology systems globally.  Nature has endured an endless amount of tortuous human acts upon it. And in these instances, ‘accidental’ means intentional to me.

A List of Environmental Disasters I Learned About Today:

#1.  Oil Spills in our Oceans.  The BP oil spill in the Gulf happening right now on this day at this moment in time.  Labelled as the worst enviromental disaster since the Exxon Valdez.  Our oil dependencies have put our ecosystems at a critical risk point.

#2.  Oil/Chemicals Burning in our Atmosphere; Smog & Emissions. 

London’s 1952 Smog Disaster which started the Clean Air Acts.  It is reported that coal burning was so high that winter, the smog that formed only allowed a few meters of visibility at times.  The smog lasted from Dec. 1952 – March 1953, with thousands of related-fatalities.

The Kuwaiti Old Fires of 1991.  NASA reported (with satellite photos) in 2003 of the 8 months of continuous fires burning over 6 million gallons of oil per day.  The photos clearly show how black the sky was then and how much area it covered.  5% of Kuwaiti’s entire countryside turned into taracide.  The struggle to clean up continues today, and with approximately 300 oil lakes that formed that are now draining back into the sands, Kuwaiti’s water systems are in limbo enviromentally.

These are some extremes.  Now what about all those ‘unseen’ emissions – think about it in relative terms of how much industry is out there today.  With literally hundreds of thousands of factories with hundreds of chemical emissions flowing into our atmosphere each day,  multiplied by countries on a daily basis, multiplied on a yearly basis.   And then all of us humans breathing the second hand air.  And then the number of cars.  And then all the other additional things we use and make.  I can feel myself chocking as I write this, honestly.

Why change to green power is important

We need to clean-up.

Humans are dirty and need to clean up.  Humans are lazy and need to learn to take care of what they have.  Above all, many humans are greedy. 

It always seems like a race to do things faster, make things easier and sell at all costs – but for every disposible convenience we manufacture and use, there is a price or consequence that has been, is being and will be paid.  The consequences have been adding up over time and have been eroding us.

#3. Nuclear & Atomic ‘Accidents’:  Hiroshima. Three Mile Island. Chernobyl.  Nuclear and atomic wastes otherwise know as spent fuel remain dangerously radioactive for thousands of years.  Our thoughtless meddling is already secured in the future for thousands of years.  As indicated earlier, there is always a trade-off for such ‘breath-taking’ technologies.  Need more be said?

I must comment that after exploring only the few disastrous events I listed above, my search led me to an endless supply of links and information on even more. So I continue my own quest for knowledge to understand why I should be green in my own life.

According to Time Magazine online,  the top 10 environmental disasters are:

1. Chernobyl – Nuclear Power Plant Disaster, 1986:  nuclear fall-out reported larger than Hiroshima, thousands of kids suffering from thyroid cancer.

2. Bhopal, 1984 – 45 tons of poisonous methyl isocyanate (pesticide) accidently released into atmosphere:  thousands die within hours, 15,000 more dead within months, over 500,000 affected.  High level of variety of birth defects.

3. Kuwaiti Oil Fires, 1991 (see above).

4. Love Canal, 1978:  toxic industrial waste in the amount of 21,000 tons began to literally bubble up out of the ground, where it had been buried by a local company in the 40s and 50s.  The area was evacuated.

5. The Exxon Valdez, 1989:  10.5 million gallons of oil spread 500 miles of Alaska’s coastline.  With hundreds of wildlife casualties, it was the largest man made environmental disaster in U.S. history until perhaps now with the Gulf of Mexico.

6. Tokaimura Nuclear Plant, 1999:  accident in uranium processing plant in Japan caused the death of 2 and radiation exposure in hundreds.

7. The Aral Sea, R.I.P. 1960-2010:  Once a vibrant, fish stocked lake, the fourth largest on Earth (as big as Ireland!), now been depleted over 90% by Soviet irrigation.  Skeletons of ships now lie beaten by sandstorms and salt in this massive desert.

8. Seveso Dioxin Cloud, 1976: an explosion at an Italian chemical plant sent a cloud of dioxin into the air.  First animals began to die, and then residents began to experience many ill effects.

9.  Minamatma Disease, 1956:  industrial poisoning is the reason for many thousands of locals suffering and dying from the “cat dancing disease”.  Waste water pollution, mercury and heavy metals from a local plastics factory made their way into the fish/shellfish, part of the local diet.

10. Three Mile Island, 1979: nuclear reactor partially melts down in Harrisburg, Pa., US.  No casualties.

Perhaps in watching our oceans suffering uncontrollably with the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we might just for once in our lives, really consider what is best for all of us when we make decisions now and how our actions will effect lives in the future.

I had to change in my everyday life.  No one ever taught me about recycling.  Yet, I vaguely remember commercials with an Indian crying about alot of garbage around him.  And in the past few years, I have taught myself the habit of recycling and now it is part of my way of thinking.

Using green energy, products that are environmentally friendly and actually doing something, whether organizing a neighbourhood clean up crew to actively twittering or facebooking valuable green information & ideologies out there – are new ways of doing that we need to teach ourselves in spite of old habits and ways because it is socially right.

I don’t know what other kind of environmental disaster it will take for people to really give a damn, but let’s hope this is the last one & that there are people who still do give a damn.

Maybe it would take those aliens finally showing up to threaten our existence due to us threatening our own and beyond.

But what do I know?

Peace 🙂

Community Power Info?  Try Ontario Sustainable Energy Association

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3 comments

  1. on my ID*
    what to do???????????


  2. i want the subscription of my ID every time a disater occurs in any part of world (loss, impacts& etc)


  3. […] Forests left on comment on my news submission at an environmental website called Care2.com, “How Many Environmental Disasters Does It Take To Screw A Lightbulb Into A Human’s Brain?” which said, “Thanks for the article – Disturbing but informative and important. […]



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