Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Carbon Based Energy Threatens Ecosystem in Myriad Ways

It seems that every time I read the newspaper I find yet another article discussing the myriad ways carbon-based fuel is destroying our ecosystem.

What people don't seem to fully realize is that human's seat at the top of the food chain means they are likely to bio-accumulate the greatest amount of toxins over the long term.

Humans are bigger than bees, bats and frogs, which are all animals we know are experiencing population collapse due to environmental contamination.

Our size makes us think we are not vulnerable to the environmental risks bedeviling small animals.

That belief is a dangerous misconception for two reasons.

First, dose effects need not be linear. A small dose of some chemicals/radiation during critical developmental periods in a human embryo or fetus could have significant effects.

Second, humans have a very complex brain capable of amazing cognitive and social abilities. Even our capacity to think abstractly of 2 plus 2 is amazing. What makes us unique are these abstract cognitive and social abilities. Unfortunately, they are very vulnerable to disruption. 

I mentioned previously that the Director of UC Davis' Mind Institute claimed publicly that the scientists he works with believe that autism rates are rising and that the causes are environmental. Autism may be a symptom of our collapsing ecosystem.

Oct 24, 2012
Dr. Amaral, Research Director for the fine M.I.N.D. Institute at U.C. Davis, noted that the scientists he works and communicates with increasingly believe that rising autism diagnoses are a function of a real increase in cases, ...

I have two articles today that dramatize this collapse.

The first is an article covering a pollution trial over MTBE in New Hampshire. In 2003 the state sued 26 oil companies and subsidies for contaminating groundwater relied upon by 60% of the state population. The lawsuit is now reaching the trial stage.
Source: Lynne Tuohy (AP) NH Pollution Trial Ready to Start. The AZ Republic 12/30/2012, p. A5.

Majia here: NH would not be suing if the state didn't have very good evidence of the extent of contamination and of harmful health risks.

The problem of MTBE contamination is not restricted to this state, but is, in fact, widespread. I recall seeing a television program (60 Minutes I think) some years back in which MTBE toxicity was described in the following way: 1 cup  would contaminate as unsafe a drinking water reservoir the size of a football stadium.

So, it is probably safe to presume that drinking water all over the US has been contaminated with MTBE.

(additionally, our fresh water is being used for fracking - which is very water intensive - and it is being contaminated with fracking fluids and every other chemical and radionuclide approved by the EPA for injection into salt domes and dumped illegally).

The second article evidencing the environmental havoc wrecked by carbon-based fuel addresses the recent oi rig that ran ashore in an "Inhospitable, Environmentally Sensitive Region" (as described by Tom Fowler in today's Wall Street Journal p. B3).

Fowler's last sentence in this article reads: "France's Total SA said last year that the risks of an oil spill in environmentally sensitive areas such as the Arctic were too high for companies to continue drilling there."

The article states that Shell has spent $4.5 billion in permits, personnel, and equipment. It is unlikely to give up without a fight, even if it destroys the entire "sensitive region."

The New York Times also covers the story, providing details about the cargo on board: Breakaway Oil Rig, Filled With Fuel, Runs Aground in Alaska By Henry Fountain, The New York Times 01 January 13
[Excerpted] An enormous Shell Oil offshore drilling rig ran aground on an island in the Gulf of Alaska on Monday night after it broke free from tow ships in rough seas, officials said.
The rig, the Kulluk, which was used for test drilling in the Arctic last summer, is carrying about 139,000 gallons of diesel fuel and 12,000 gallons of lubricating oil and hydraulic fluid, the officials said....

Majia here: What ends up in the ocean will eventually contaminate seafood and potentially contaminate the land as evaporation from the ocean ends up as precipitation on land.

See Compromised Oceans Mean Compromised People here

Our heedless quest for energy may very well deliver our extinction as a viable species.


Dec 04, 2012
Below are two articles that explore two ways fracking is destroying our environment. The first concerns the role of fracking in producing massive sink holes that may contain dangerous waste. This first article also addresses the ...
Dec 05, 2012
A year-old Texas law that requires drillers to disclose chemicals they pump underground during hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” was powerless to compel transparency for EXP- F0173-11. The solvent and several other ...
Dec 01, 2012
[Excerpted] Ambient air testing by a certified environmental consultant detected elevated levels of benzene, methane, chloroform, butane, propane, toluene and xylene—compounds associated with drilling and fracking, and ...
Sep 25, 2012
Salt domes, as I understand it, are one kind of injection well. There are others. ... I had no idea that this is common practice and that EPA pollution emission standards do not apply to materials going into these injection wells.
Dec 12, 2012
I have been following the environmental impact of fracking and injection wells for some time and I believe they pose a direct, irreversible threat to the US water supply. No nation will survive long without access to fresh water.
Jun 21, 2012
ProPublica, June 21, 2012, Propublica [Excerpted] "Over the past several decades, U.S. industries have injected more than 30 trillion gallons of toxic ...

1 comment:

  1. mercredi 20 octobre 2010

    Vive le gaz carbonique !


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.