Tag: environment

Don’t drink the water and don’t breath the air

I was about eleven years old when I heard Tom Lehrer’s song “Pollution“. I wondered if the pollution in America was ever that bad — and took some time to research my own question. Pollution in the Cuyahoga River was sufficiently bad that the sludge on top of the water caught fire (not just once, either … but once that received national media attention). Decades earlier, a toxic smog cloud killed a dozen people near Pittsburgh, PA. Not the only occurrences of either air or water pollution in the United States, but some of the most stunning.

Debate climate change all you want; debate human’s impact on climate change. Just forget about climate change – I don’t get how anyone thinks dumping coal mining runoff into the river is a good thing. Or spewing industrial waste into the air. I know people want to make money now … forgetting about compassion for others, maybe they think they’ll have enough cash to a clean environment at home. Work from home, home school the kids. Grow your own food. Raise your own animals. Grow your own cotton and make your own clothes. This is getting to be a LOT of work to avoid the pollutants you want to be able to eject into the environment. And at some point, you’re going to want to leave your biodome, right? Kid might want to go sleep over at a friend’s house? Your fav band is playing a few towns over? Medical problems require a specialist? Seriously, why can we not all agree that protecting the environment from industrial pollutants … yeah, it reduces business profits. Might even reduce opportunity / slow growth. But anyone who thinks unfettered growth is worth any price … please, take a holiday over in Beijing (where, please note, environmental protection is actually becoming a bit of a ‘thing’ as the results of unfettered growth are seen).

Save The Humans

I am continually astounded by people who think industry should have the right to spew whatever cocktail of toxic chemicals. Bully for you, you’ve got a load of cash and can just move somewhere else. Empathy for others aside, unless you are preparing your own biodome , eventually you are going to run out of “elsewhere”.

I remember reading an article from the American South-East coast somewhere – maybe a Carolina. A local law enforcement officer was discussing how voluntary evacuations work (or don’t), and he said the most effective tool he’d found was an indelible marker. Asked anyone who wanted to remain on site when a hurricane was headed their way to use his pen and write their name on their arm. So their bloated, floating corpse could be identified. Just writing your name is morbid, and a lot of people would start packing. But the mark served as a constant reminder of your poor decision, and people would clear out a few hours later too.

We need to adapt the same idea to environmental protection. Because, let’s be honest, the planet will still be here. A lifeless rock orbiting around the sun maybe, but short of vaporizing a good chunk of the planet … it will be here. I’m not sure what the equivalent of floater ID markings would be for creating un-breathable air or caustic water, but I suspect that type of save *you* approach would be far more successful than trying to engender concern for animals, plants, or grandchildren in people who obviously have no such concern.