Monday, November 7, 2011

Alternative Energy Can't Come Soon Enough

(Creative Commons Flickr image by ricketyus)

This past week I was struck by the massive amounts of startling environmental news that definitively fell into the 'bad' column. I'm not one of those doom and gloom environmentalists who loves to remark that the family vacation you took last year to Italy was a catastrophe for the environment on a scale previously unknown to mankind, but boy, as long as you had fun then that is what's important. Those people are a drag to say the least and can be real judgmental douches on their best days. But some serious shit is going down all at once that makes fossil fuel and nuclear energy look like a poor choice, and consequently bolsters the argument for supporting an alternative energy push, like pronto. And then there were a few things from the political world that just made me spit out my tea when I read them. These tidbits can all fall under one long unruly heading: 

Eight reasons why alternative energy needs our support, and two reasons why you should do some research before you ever cast a vote:

  • A three-eyed fish was caught in a lake near a nuclear plant in Argentina. This lake is where the plant happens to pump its hot water.
  • Findings recently published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine report that people living in areas of heavy pollution have a 20% increased chance of death from lung cancer than those who live in less polluted areas.
  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is preparing to release a report that links extreme weather events to climate change and predicts a significant rise in such events.
  • Two coal miners died in Centerville, Kentucky after a wall collapsed onto the truck they were driving.
  • A recent report from the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety details how the Fukushima reactor meltdown resulted in the largest nuclear contamination of the sea that has ever occurred.
  • The freak Halloween snowstorm caused a barge to capsize off the coast of Rhode Island. An oily sheen is now visible on the water in Narragansett Bay.
  • 350 tons of oil have already spilled into the ocean near New Zealand’s North Island, with more leaking every day as efforts to stop the leak from a freighter run aground have failed. Over 1,000 dead birds and counting.
  • Attention coffee drinkers and chocolate lovers!  A recent study shows that the effects of climate change are threatening major cocoa and coffee bean crops. This threat is real enough that Starbucks has sent a guy to Washington to sound the warning bell.
  • A leading presidential candidate did a 180 degree turn (something he is famous for) and decided that ‘We don’t know what’s causing climate change’ even though just four months ago, right here in New Hampshire, he stated that humans were at least partly responsible.  This same ill-informed fellow recently called green jobs an illusion, using a debunked and erroneous study to support his statement, while conveniently ignoring the 64,000 green jobs created in the state where he recently served as governor.
  • Another current presidential candidate called the catastrophic Deepwater Horizon oil spill an ‘act of God’ that could not have been prevented, even though studies and reports show that, indeed, it could have been, had it not been subject to a corrupt and toothless regulatory process. Among other things, this puts in question his ability to read a newspaper or do a Google search.
(Here are a few news items that do not strictly fall under the above heading but merit a mention).
  •  A prominent physicist, spurred on by ‘Climategate’ and partially funded by deep-pocketed climate change deniers, set out to definitively determine whether climate scientists were presenting accurate data when they posited that the world is warming. Turns out, they were. His findings matched those of the supposedly biased scientists who connected climate change to human activity. This should have been big news, but it wasn’t. While ‘Climategate’ reverberated around newsrooms and talk shows for weeks on end, this story, vindicating the scientists’ findings, has made nary a ripple. Hard to believe that the ‘mainstream liberal media’ we hear so much about didn’t trumpet this from the rooftops.
  • An upcoming movie based on Dr. Seuss’ ‘The Lorax’ has reportedly been denuded of its environmental and social message and instead offers the same old schlock to our kids, missing a chance to impart a relevant lesson for today’s times. Danny Devito is the voice of the Lorax. 'Nuff said.

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