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Posted by: atowhee | March 24, 2019

HOW BAD IS IT, REALLY?

I went shopping yesterday: avocadoes present, fresh lasagna in the deli, grapes from Chile.  I went home thinking what an historical bubble this moment in time really is.  Fifty years ago there was brief season for a fresh avocado.  You wanted lasagna you made it or went to an Italian restaurant.  Now it comes fresh or frozen nearly everywhere in the US outside of Podunk, Wyoming.  Back then grape season coincided with the growing season in California.  Period.
We are changing the planet, pretending there is a consumer paradise with only the cost of admission. But our species is deliberately and arrogantly destroying the earth on which we depend for survival.  Eventually no amount of profit will profit any of us.

US life expectancy is dropping now…thanks to Perdue pharma, drug abuse and guns (thank you, NRA and gutless pols).  A cynic might smile and say that’s not bad news…too damned many cars on the highway anyway.  I would counter by saying that early deaths rov society of wisdom, experience and community.

Those recent floods in the Midwest are a preview of coming attractions, not a unicorn.  Even if you want to pretend that climate change is fifty to 75 years off, like the recent EPA official testified to Congress, we should not be  building and living in flood zones.  Think of all the wasted wood and metal and glass and cement and plasterboard and… it takes to replace at that washed away stuff.  Don’t think about  all the toxic material washed downstream.

One end of the political spectrum in the US is giddy to see that we are now the world’s leading petro-kingdom, producing more oil than…anybody.  Of course, the petro-chemical industry has both immediate and long-term costs…like those occasional disasters of fire or shipwreck or hurricane-induced spills.  Recent fires in at Houston chemical storage facility created an atmosphere of chemical smoke, then led to releases of myriad ugly compounds into the nearby waterways.  Oh yum…but think of all the profits.  And the company involved has little to worry about…their lawyers will handle the lawsuits and Texas does not bother to enforce air pollution regulations, not does the EPA now run by fossil fools.  So closely aligned are “regulator” and regulated that oil executives have been recorded laughing about their close allies in power in D.C.

It seems in this nation we are willful in our demolition of the future.  That GM plant that closed in Ohio was making small , efficient cars.  Who cares?!  Gimme that six wheel pick-up or an SUV the size of a school bus!   Drive, baby, drive, while we drill, baby, drill.

While we consume our way toward oblivion, biodiversity is imperiled.

One group that we are really hurting sharks, those with fins…while our profit-driven system only continues to heap rewards on the those two-footed sharks who are lords of digital stock trading, futures, hedge fund investments and off-shoring of money and shell corporations.  Tax-free wealth is now a global industry from Jersey Island to Cyprus and beyond.

Spoiler alert: do not read David Wallace-Wells’ The Unihabitable Earth, Life After Warming if you’re looking for escapism or a homily to the greatness of man or god.  For some harsh reality, it can’t be beat.  Samples:

Four billion people…already live in regions facing water shortages at least one month each year.

Los Angeles County–Since 1919 when the county began keeping records of is fires, some areas have burned eight times.

More than six hundred million people live within thirty feet of sea level today.

Some long-range forecasts indicate 200 foot rise in sea level is possible, prehistorically this has happened before on this planet: At just 170 feet [rise] more than 97 percent of Florida would disappear, leaving only a few hills in the Panhandle, and just under 97 percent of Delaware would be submerged, Oceans would cover 8o percent of Louisiana, 70 percent of  New Jersey…

Cities submerged at that level include: New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Providence, Houston, Seattle, Baltimore, Sacramento.  New Orleans and Miami, of course, would go in the first fifty feet of coastal flooding.

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