(Note: many links in this post give notes and quotes that can be read by hover-over. Full information is available by clicking the link.)
What do Fukushima Daiichi and a small community in the bayou country of Louisiana have in common?
Each is the location of an unfolding “impossible” environmental disaster of “unthinkable” toxicity to earth, earth’s waters, and to life – including of course – human.
At this time, neither disaster has knowable solutions. Each disaster presents disturbing questions to which the only response seems to be, “Oh, we never thought of that.”
(Who are ‘we’ and why aren’t we thinking!)
“What could possibly go wrong when miners, frackers, and drillers re-shape the geology beneath our feet? Talk to the evacuees of Bayou Corne, Louisiana”
“Bayou Corne is the biggest ongoing industrial disaster in the United States you haven’t heard of. In addition to creating a massive sinkhole, it has unearthed an uncomfortable truth: Modern mining and drilling techniques are disturbing the geological order in ways that scientists still don’t fully understand.
“Humans have been extracting natural resources from the earth since the dawn of mankind, but never before at the rate and magnitude of today’s petrochemical industry.” Excerpts from Tim Murphy on Bayou Corne sinkhole, Mother Jones, August 7, 2013.
- See Murphy’s Mother Jones article for background and developments of the Bayou Corne hydrocarbon industry-related sinkhole. The sinkhole appeared about 1 year ago an acre or two in size, is now at least 20 acres, with much larger surrounding ‘subsidence area’. A containment berm failed (has been repaired) but remains vulnerable as bubbling gasses, hydrocarbon contaminants, subsidence and sinking continue.
- Continuous current Fukushima details (daily updates, begun August 10, 2013) here: radioactive contaminates pouring into ocean.
- While taking note of these two situations, keep in mind exploitation of Alberta’s tar shale underlying boreal forest. Activity presently centered at Ft. McMurray, Alberta along Athabaska River (Arctic O. watershed). if XL pipeline is approved, mining and processing activity will expand across a region of forested Alberta said the size of Florida. Click here for information, maps, and photos on bitumen (tar) mining, toxic processing and full-scale forest devastation already underway in Alberta.
- We’ve many institutionalized environmental decision making bodies, along with resource extraction corporations, that depend on large-scale industrial exploitation of earth resources. Some of these are very, very powerful. Before reading on ‘disappeared’ worrisome Chernobyl findings below – take note of powerful ‘corporate vested interest’ manipulations to approve the XL Keystone pipeline – November 2011, here. (Recommend reading entire article for full sense of ‘vested interest’ behind the scenes pressure.)
- It’s important to wonder whether we’re really informed on ‘recovery’ in regions most affected by Chernobyl, (see here, and here).
I had to dig deep to find anything on Chernobyl but reassurance – there’s much of that, (reassurance). One reason finding ‘unhappy’ news about Chernobyl takes digging may be due to a problem with press releases on nuclear health and environment realities.
At least two critical public information sources of worrisome Chernobyl news have ‘disappeared‘ in the last some months.
United Nation offices of the World Health Organization, (WHO), are ‘legally’ subservient to UN offices of the IAEA, (International Atomic Energy Agency). This is not ‘secret’, but also is not made clear to public.
The IAEA is mandated to promote nuclear development; WHO is mandated to attend to health risks. Given subservient relationship, WHO is not free to research and reveal all radiation related health concerns.History of the imbalance of authority, including some official recognition of controversy about WHO’s autonomy here.
‘Disappeared’ worrisome news related to Chernobyl #1: Click here to read remarkable reference with extensive direct quote excerpts from a ‘disappeared’ Dec. 2011 Bloomberg article..
‘Disappeared’ worrisome news related to Chernobyl #2: I’ve not been able to re-find on YouTube a Swiss journalist’s video coverage of a key meeting between WHO and IAEA on a Chernobyl issue permanently debilitating, sometimes deforming, and sometimes deadly, health damage due to ‘chronic low-level radioactivity exposure‘. I’ve viewed the Swiss journalist’s news documentary several times but not in the last few months – it seems now unavailable. The journalistic technique was ‘straight’ – mostly ‘what the camera and microphone gather’. There was minimal to no journalist commentary. The documentary was strongly revealing of a political-economic nuclear industry struggle vs worrisome testimony and data collected by Russian medical scientists. One IAEA official eventually spoke of his resistance to the medical science community’s worrisome findings of severe health risk due to chronic low level exposure: “If these findings are treated as worthy or valid – the last decade of my work, and the book I will soon publish – will be ruined.” (Totally paraphrased from my memory – not a direct quote.) The IAEA perspective prevailed -some WHO medical researchers and physicians were close to tears.
- Further to a list of extreme harm to biodiversity due to scope and pace of our exploitation activity – add the BP Gulf of Mexico explosion and spill. Related food industry and human community struggle to recover from the BP disaster, (keep ocean critters in mind – they’re not necessarily ‘recovered’ either). Gulf spill on health issues here; on economy (focus on shrimp) here.
- Appalachian watersheds, forest, habitat, human and animal reality – here and here. Information focused on habitat here. On watershed, water pollution here.
- Honeybees? – here.
- Niger Delta – here.
- Ocean acidification – here. See also research findings Aug. 25, 2013, on whole ocean life consequences here.
- CO2 and methane emissions? – most of us are aware of human contribution to climate change. (I appreciate the controversy that other, larger, factors may be at play and yet unidentified, but given what we’re wreaking all by ourselves, I think the argument over ‘human cause’ is foolish at best.)
I’ve not tried here to explore all current un-healed environmental disasters that put life at risk.
- (Another in the US is at the Hanford plant;
- and of course – there’s always fracking to keep in mind).
I think it’s safe to say – multiple on-going and unhealed environmental disasters exist. See map below identifying biodiversity hotspots in the US only – presumed ‘sizable’ at least; date of map unknown, appears fairly recent.
If we allow ourselves to include ‘small scale‘ (a few hundred or thousand gallons of toxic A, B, or C here and there, dumped or spewed) – then I believe right here, right now, as I write and as you read, the tally is ‘uncountable‘.
I think it’s also safe to say that unless we humans shift our commitment to stewardship, there are more of these disasters to come. They will be dramatic, or ‘chronically toxic’, or both – (first the dramatic event, followed by on-going chronic threat and damage.)
If everyone who owns even a small piece of land were to subject it to exploitation and trashing at the scope and pace we deliver to large regions of the earth, we’d have better understanding of earth’s need for stewardship.
We’d quickly begin to appreciate scope and pace is a critical factor in rapidly accelerating and accumulating damage. It is possible for us to overwhelm earth’s natural restorative processes.
That we can overwhelm earth’s natural healing processes, and that we may be well along in practices that do so, is also suggested by Tim Murphy in his Mother Jones article, referenced and quoted above. Murphy says: “… never before, at the rate and magnitude of today’s petrochemical industry.”.
If earth itself, and all life on it, could speak to us, it best might say two words to humanity:
Earth to Industrial Humanity : “Back Off!!!“
(Can we? Can we ‘back off’ our destructive mega-scale projects and uncountable uses of toxins at home and in communities? Can we high consumption types and wannabes discipline our wants to reduce exploitation that destroys? Can we imagine and build an economic system that doesn’t force or coerce people to own, operate, and work for projects that threaten the very earth that supports us and all life?)
My Best -MaggieAnn
See also – new post, August 14, 2013: Dead Zones in Gulf of Mexico; Great Lakes; Chesapeake Bay.
See also – “Earth Care – Stewardship” and “List of on-going environmental disasters, national and global”.)