Monday, April 14, 2014


Or Burn, Baby Burn. 

Reading the background material for this reminded me just how fucked up our waterways were back in the sixties. It's better. But there's still a lot of work to do. And how soon we forget that Climate Change isn't the only problem out there. There's a local lake that's been contaminated with enough run off from an abandoned mine that it's been posted. Basically if you're even thinking of or might be pregnant or actually are pregnant don't eat the fish. Everybody else probably shouldn't either. 

Let’s discuss how water, the most common blessing on the earth can be turned into a poison or a threat.

Japan 1912. Citizens of the Toyama Prefecture began complaining of spinal and leg pains. As the symptoms progressed the pain became worse, bones could fracture while you were walking or even coughing, some showed symptoms of anemia and kidney problems. The cause was traced to waste water from the Mitsui Mining company discharged into the Jinzugawa River. The wast water contained cadmium contaminating water used for drinking and irrigation. The company finally agreed to some compensation for victims and to pay for cleaning up the contaminated farm land. Heavy metals don't just go away. They don't degrade. You have to go in and clean it up. 

Japan mid 1950’s. The first patients were discovered in Minimata in the Kumamoto Prefecture. Many of the early patients went insane. Other symptoms included numbness, impaired balance, tinnitus, tunnel vision, deafness and difficulty speaking. Symptoms varied from patient to patient. The worst cases included insanity, paralysis, coma and death. Sometimes within weeks.

 The cause was traced to manufacturing plant which produced acetaldehyde to produce acetic acid and vinyl chloride. A by product of the process is methylmercury. The untreated waste water was dumped between 1932 and 1968 contaminating Minimata Bay and surrounding Shiranui Sea. The mercury compound accumulated in the shellfish and fish. The seafood was eaten not only by the local people but found its way into the diets of cats, dogs and pigs. As of 2004 the responsible company had paid out over eighty million dollars with more on the way.

The Cuyahoga River in Ohio from say the 1860’s to the 1960’s. By the 1960’s the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland was probably the most polluted waterway in the country. A report from a symposium at Kent State described a river “covered with a brown oily film” “ large quantities of black heavy oil floating in slicks…several inches thick” “animal life does not exist.”

At least thirteen fires were reported on the river between 1868 and 1969. The worst was in 1952 that caused over a million dollars in damage to boats and a riverfront office building. The 1969 fire made the cover of Time and helped push the passage of The Clean Water Act, Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement and last but certainly not least; the EPA and the Ohio EPA. The Cuyahoga is a lot cleaner now but it’s no thanks to the people who look a river, lake or ocean and see a potential garbage dump.

Finally, the search for the missing Malaysia Air plane. The search has uncovered an appalling amount of floating garbage. Heaven only knows what’s sunk to the seafloor.

A self identified Christian wrote a preliminary review of Noah based on the script and I believe it’s worth it to quote him. Not all Christians believe this, and more and more are realizing that no matter how you candy coat it this attitude has been used as an excuse to destroy, not to build. 

“And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:28)
The Hebrew words for subduing the earth and having dominion are military terms of conquest. So, we see that man is to use his technological insights to forcefully harness the wild and chaotic forces of animals and the environment to bring them into good use. This is not a command to pollute or pillage the earth, but neither is it a subordination of man as a servant of the earth. The earth was made for man, not man for the earth, unlike pagan earth religion or environmental extremism, which claims that man is made for the earth, not the earth for man.” Brian Godawa Darren Aronofsky's Noah Environmental Wacko.  If you want to spend twenty minutes or so you'll never get back reading the whole screed go for it. 
There’s a lot I could say but telling me “the Bible says so” just doesn’t cut it anymore. The only response to that attitude is “NO” repeated loudly and as often as necessary.
Yeah, I know the first two examples come from a non Christian society. It just proves that when there’s cash on the line greed crosses cultural barrier so easily it’s scary.

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