Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
- Climate change. Even a cyclical, natural (although I personally doubt we are entirely unconnected to this) change in climate could, and is predicted by scientists, to flood many current coastlines and create unlivable temperatures in a large portion of our food-producing areas globally within 20-50 years. Where will all the people go?
- Overfishing. A vast portion of this world receives food from our oceans. At current fishing and consuming rates, bluefin tuna is predicted to be seriously endangered or extinct within 3 years.
- Dead zones in the oceans. Run off of industrial waste, pesticides, fertilizers, and oil have created these areas of rot in our oceans. They are only getting bigger, and they probably aren't going away.
- Impending fresh water wars. This is already becoming a problem but it's off the radar. Most folks don't think about it, unless you're one of the hungry ones because the country upriver from you dammed off your local river to irrigate crops for their own people. Fresh water is, like food and air, something nobody can live without. Ever.
- The logistics of feeding an exploding population. The so-called "Green Revolution" helped our planet produce enough food (theoretically, anyway) for the population at that time. Since then, our global population has grown and continues to do so. Can the increased application of more chemical fertilizers and more pesticides bump production up significantly in the coming years? Particularly when larger and larger portions of the population are demanding their rights to a heavy meat diet such as what we have in the US? Are the only people who get to eat going to be the ones who have money?
- Excessive use of petroleum-based fertilizer and pesticides that are depleting the soil. Organic food and farming is making a comeback, but it is slow going. Agribusiness has found efficient ways to produce food (less satisfying and less nutrient-rich) but these methods will, in time, turn those fields to dust, unable to grow anything. Returning organic material to the soil by means of composing, instead of throwing it into a landfill, will help replenish the soil and ensure that it lasts for many more years. Livestock manure plays a part, too, along with proper crop management. But these are too time consuming and expensive to be seriously considered by big food production complexes.
- Deforestation. In the name of progress, more and forests and farmlands are being razed and contributing to soil depletion. Trees and plants "exhale" oxygen and "breath in" CO2. Humans and animals do the opposite. Symbiotic relationships don't survive when one side of the equation is seriously depleted.
- Loss of community. Humans are social animals. We need interaction with others; not the same for everyone, but very few folks wish to live in a vacuum, and even fewer can do it and stay sane. People still have communities and support systems today, but instead of relatives that live with you and neighbors you interact with, these connections can be far flung and hard to reach, making communication less frequent and not face to face. Not feeling as a solid and known part of your own local community, I think, fosters a kind of "renter's mindset" instead of "owner's mindset" regarding local issues, needs, and goals. It also practically ensures that a few people fall through the cracks, such as elderly, lonely folk dying because they don't have enough to pay for air conditioning or food, or children who are molested or neglected because everyone was too busy with their own lives to notice what was happening, or cared.
- Loss of a sense of collective responsibility. Maybe this should be a part of #8, but my point in this case is more corporate responsibility. If a legal creation of words can participate as a citizen (and that is where we are headed, don't you doubt it) then it also needs to follow basic tenets of humanism - and how that falls between pleasing stockholders and marketing lethal products (cigarette, anyone?) is a moral issue everybody has to answer for themselves. But unrestricted greed has already threatened to push the global economic train over the edge, yet no accountability has been demanded by the real people, you know, the ones who actually breathe air and eat food.
- A belief in entitlement. Many developing countries are desperate to achieve the standard of living enjoyed by the US and other established nations. Unfortunately, a finite amount of resources is difficult to dispense globally. Especially when those who have don't wish to change their lifestyle to help accommodate the ever-increasing numbers of people who feel they, too, deserve to live like us.
- Reliance on finite fossil fuels. A finite material cannot, ultimately, provide unlimited growth. To believe such is a delusion of incredible scale. To assume that technology (powered, of course, by this same finite fuel) will step in at the last moment and provide us with a different cheap and prolific energy source is, in effect, betting the future of the next generations on a game of roulette. Don't our children deserve better than that?
- People in power doing everything they can to maintain the status quo. Let me state this more bluntly - this very small percentage of the population already possesses most of the wealth (which means access to resources), and yet keep grasping for more and more, with less and less for the remainder of the world's population to share. Or maybe they would rather we all fought over it?
- A "throwaway" mindset. Don't fix it or even build it to last, throw it in the landfill and buy another one! It would be almost impossible to keep a vacuum or blender for 20 years these days anyway, because the models and parts change yearly so these items HAVE to be replaced, instead of getting repaired. The manufacturer (and the retailer) make more money when you replace an item rather than buy a part or two to fix it. This is an aspect of capitalism that promotes waste and does not encourage companies to build machines with the quality needed to ensure they will last for a long time.
- Many people no longer know how to survive with0ut the myriad of services our society has in place. This includes, among others, food preparation from raw ingredients, grow your own food, service your own machines/tools, build a shelter, ensure your water is drinkable, dispose of your own waste (organic and trash) properly.
- Unsustainable mindset. All people need limits. Certainly, I don't hold myself up as able to resist things I want as compared to things I need as often as I should. But I can state definitively that awareness of the true cost (in labor, excessive resource use, and fairness) of how much everything I use in my life helps adjust my thinking more and more.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Posted by: glenister_m | December 17, 2009 6:33 PM
In one of David Suzuki's books he laments that if aliens were observing us they would have to conclude that we were an insane species.
- if we hunt a food species faster than it can reproduce, it will go extinct and can not be used as food in the future. Yet this is what we are doing to fish and other aquatic species we depend on
- we need clean air and water to survive, yet we contaminate both by dumping our wastes into them (eg. exhaust, sewers, pollution, etc.)
- we are aware of health/environmental problems, (eg. ozone layer, global warming, pollution, smoking, etc.), but will actively resist stopping the causes until we are forced to
- we are aware that exponential growth is unsustainable in any form (eg. population, crops, finances - we live on a finite planet), yet we continue to act as though it can be although that logically leads to our own destruction
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
UPDATE: (I am rather late with this) Apparently Seed decided to yank the Pepsico blog after their bloggers started leaving in droves....good call, but the damage was still done. Is this the beginning of a new era of science and reporting? Well, heck, conflict of interest doesn't seem to apply to Wall Street, so why anywhere else:?
"Instead I think people just need to suck it up because taking responsibility for supporting the true costs of your lifestyle, whatever that lifestyle is, should not be morally optional. As has been pointed out, this doesn't mean that everyone literally has to garden (that's just an example for the purposes of illustration, like pickles) but that specialization in our economy and our ability to externalize costs has gotten way out of hand. So it's so interesting to read this b/c I've been trying to figure out how to express this idea. It's a really really hard thing to say to someone. It is nearly impossible for people to hear and they react strongly b/c this idea competes directly with the powerful ideologies of capitalism and the American dream."
Sharon's original post can be found here.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Saturday, February 13, 2010
Fiction? Or really going on?
Poisoning the people and planet...all to make a buck or produce luxuries?
What a crock. Accountability is a lost art, is seems.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I'm not surprised the conservatives are affronted by the movie Avatar. As to why, well, I'm quite sure it wasn't exactly the story itself - it's an old story that has been told many times before. I don't think it was special effects, either - a thick, verdant forest, awe-inspiring vistas, and the Na'vi themselves who are lean, fit, and graceful - surely these things didn't provoke the wrath of the right-wingers. Nope, I think what makes them so fired up about this movie is the reflection they see of themselves. Rapacious, black-hearted greed, the arrogance of thinking superior firepower equals higher morality, and the belief that they have a God-given right to take what they want, regardless of the cost in lives. Not a pretty picture - not one I would want to see when I look in the mirror. Of course they aren't happy with this production, and no doubt aghast at the popularity it is enjoying. Yet this image of soulless corporate imperialism is ingrained in the global view of our country.
However, there are many here in the United States who also see this, and despair that our path has led us here. Giving unfeeling corporations the power to ravish and annilate in the name of progress, with no mercy or compassion for those whose lifestyles depend on the land that holds those resources we desire is just another step on the path we chose when our ancestors first laid eyes on this lovely continent.
Is is possible to change our ways? Can we teach ourselves to rein in that urge to possess, to acquire, to destroy in the name of progress? Why is it that our comfort and luxuries seem to rank much higher in the grand scheme of things than cooperation, sharing, and simple respect for ways of life that are different from our own?