The purpose of this page is to help us recognize just how wide-spread environmental destruction due to human activity has become by early 21st Century. It’s my contention that we now overwhelm earth’s capacity to repair and restore itself.
Earth cannot keep up with our pace and scope of two monumental forms of world-wide destruction: 1) our intensive “re-purposing” of natural earth spaces (habitats, watersheds, etc.) by tearing these up during mega-extraction processes and/or commandeering the ‘space’ for construction of everything from housing developments to factories, and 2) our massive application and/or spewing of toxins over the land and into oceans and sky.
In both 1 and 2, biodiversity is also lost. By choice (especially by corporate agriculture) and as consequence of ‘repurposing’ land and toxifying it, we reduce viable habitat for both plants and animals. Rich variations of species, both common and unique – which are essential to evolution and hold unrecognized value – are lost.
It’s also not easy to quickly locate a list such as this – in my thoughts, it would be even more ideal to have an interactive world map available on the web, with clickable info-dots for each of these. (Such a map is not in my skill set.)
My criteria for what shows on list is generally as follows; damage must meet one or more of these:
- (1) event must be from 1990 or later (have to have a cut-off!); exceptions for pre-1990 events if the impact remains ongoing.
- (2) industry-related damage rather than individual action.
- (3) animals or people are killed, injured, or displaced for at least 2 weeks.
- (4) ‘under radar’ continuous ‘lesser’ damage across time that greatly reduces viability of a particular region. (Example is devastation in Niger delta region.)
- (5) water or air ‘continuous damage’ that is difficult to assign to a ‘region’.
- (6) sufficient documentation of research or other professional investigation to validate, (give at least one link.)
Changes in this preamble and criteria may develop. I’m launching this page ‘off the top of my head’ to get it underway. This should be set up as a database but I don’t know how to do that for a blog page so will simply make a list. At this point, some items already listed are cited with no remarks or links – even so, I’ve included them because I know they belong on the list, and having them noted reminds me to find and post informative links.
To create some organization – I’ll separate by a few categories, with one ‘general’ for items too broad to easily categorize; or that fit a category I’ve not thought of.
If I have time, I’ll try to ‘clean up’ categories from time to time. Will peg each item to at least one link that gives additional information. Won’t try to be comprehensive – Items instead can be explored via independent browser search, (please post anything you’d like – items, links, etc. in comments!) As I have time I’ll ‘polish’ what I’ve got here, including links.
LIST OF ON-GOING TOXIC ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTERS, NATIONAL AND GLOBAL – 8 categories, ending with ‘General’.
Bold, underlines, italics below are mine. Some (many?) existing disasters such as the XL pipeline are likely to grow into much more devastating projects. For now – I’m going to add ‘Expansion planned‘ in bold to any where it may apply. – would put it in bold red but had some trouble in one case so sticking to black to be consistent for now.)
(This page is going to become a monster if I give items even brief excerpts from informative links. I still think a map system would be best. Will see how it goes … Aug 9 2013.)
FOSSIL FUEL RELATED – INLAND:
- Fort McMurray, Alberta – open pit mining across vast Canadian forested region for bitumen (tar shale), toxin impact on human and animal health; (impact ongoing). Huge Expansion Planned – possible land cleared and mined could be ‘size of Florida’. (Fairly comprehensive info here)
- Cold Lake, Alberta – part of the Alberta bitumen exploitation at some distance from open pit mining. 4 underground ‘well blowouts’ have been bringing human-liquified bitumen to surface and into watershed and lake since at least May 2013. Reports leaked July 2013 indicate considerable wildlife and forest habitat killed to date. No means yet to stop the flow; (Toronto Star). Star article summarized here. Excerpts from same links available here.
- Assumption Parish, Louisiana – toxic bayou sinkhole from collapse of salt-cavern storage; Sinkhole was 2-3 acres August 2012, is near 30 acres late July 2013, still growing. Large surrounding area also subsided and active underground earth/gases movement. growing. Continuous. (impact ongoing).(Info here) (also run browser search.)
- Appalachia, USA – mountain top blasting for coal mining; (impact ongoing). “highly destructive form of surface mining is disfiguring (and toxifying, destroying forest and habitat of) an entire region, the coalfield areas of West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, …” (Info here)
- Fracking – multiple locations in multiple nations. Desmogblog: “It is becoming increasingly clear that the unconventional gas boom is happening too fast, too recklessly and with insufficient concern for the potential cumulative impacts on our most critical resources – clean air, safe drinking water and a stable climate.“ (ongoing), Expansion Planned. From Sourcewatch: “As of 2012, only 4 of 31 fracking states have significant drilling rules.” (Info with map re US here and state by state info here and ‘laws and loopholes’ here) (Info here re global) (Info re global with US focus here)
FOSSIL FUEL RELATED – COASTAL:
- Gulf of Mexico – BP disaster Gulf of Mexico –
- Niger Delta – continuous, (impact ongoing) (1) May 2013 report: “… we talked to scores of women and men from communities impacted by oil spills.” // “…, the women in particular shared their anger, anxiety, fear, pain and hopes with us. …, being excluded from the process in the aftermath of oil spills compounded the damage they suffered from the events themselves.” //…// “Whenever an oil spill occurs – and there are hundreds (spills) in the Niger Delta every year …” and (2) May 2013: Senior Thesis, Julia Pitkin, Pamona College: “Oil extraction in Nigeria …extensive environmental degradation and health problems in …communities, particularly in the ecologically sensitive Niger Delta where nearly all of the oil extraction takes place.” // “The main environmental impacts …are ..spills, land use change, and gas flaring. Oil spills are very common … Cleanup ..often inadequate, resulting in loss of delicate ecosystems as well as fisheries and farmland. Large tracts of rainforest and mangrove ecosystems have been cleared or degraded …. Nigeria flares more gas per barrel of oil extracted than any other country in the world, contributing to global warming and creating serious health hazards for communities located near gas flares.”
- Amazon forest –
- Chernobyl reactor disaster, USSR. (impact on-going in terms of illness, disease, etc.)
- Fukushima reactor disaster, Japan (on-going)
- Hanford Washington, USA – continuous, (impact on water and health predicted to be ongoing)
MANUFACTURED TOXINS AND CHEMICALS RELATED:
- West, Texas – 2013, fertilizer plant explosion, (impact ongoing).
- Bopal, India – (impact ongoing).
- Vietnam – chemical weapons of war, (impact ongoing).
- Fallujah, Iraq – weapons of war and birth defects (impact ongoing)
- Megantic, Quebec – 2013 oil train explosion.
- Mayflower, Arkansas – 2013 pipeline spill.
Water – OCEAN (Non-specific region)
- Pacific gyre (plastic trash island and ‘microscopic’ bits from degraded plastic – both bring animal death). Continuous. (ongoing). Excellent ‘trash gyre’ information at Smithsonian Ocean Portal here. Partnership of science and public for ongoing research and solution info at 5gyres.org.
- Acidification (shell bearing creatures unable to thrive) Continuous. (ongoing). See new August 25, 2013 research report on multi-species impact here.
- Dead zones – Dead zones in Gulf of Mexico and Great lakes here.
Water – INLAND – rivers, lakes, etc that no longer support rich life.
- (They exist but are unknown to me at this moment – need to document and post)
ATMOSPHERE (Non-specific region)
- CO2 and methane emissions, including from warming, Continuous. (ongoing).
GENERAL: (Not Easily Categorized)
- Species losses/extinctions: Animal
- Species losses/extinctions: Vegetation