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Overpopulation In The 21st Century - Part 27
Multiple Pollution Vectors - Metal, Chemical, Petro

By Frosty Wooldridge
This continuing series brings you, a concerned American, more information on what this civilization faces and what we can do to change course toward a viable future for our children and all living creatures.
"Peak Oil is a great threat to our way of life, and Richard Heinberg is one of the world's best-known writers and analysts of the subject. In Peak Everything, Heinberg gives us a series of provocative essays about the profound individual and global implications of Peak Oil." Dr. Albert A. Bartlett, U. of Colorado
Peak Everything: Waking Up to a Century of Declines By Richard Heinberg, New Society Publishers,   ISBN-10: 086571598X ,   ISBN-13: 978-0865715981, www.postcarbon.org; www.richardheinberg.com
While Americans pretend to be concerned about pollution in its many forms, they fail to 'do' anything about it with any meaningful levels of effectiveness.
Example: Americans toss over 70 percent of recyclable bottles, cans, plastic and glass containers into the trash. They toss enough glass, cans and bottles to fill up two Empire State Buildings every week. Google it if you think I'm kidding.
Example: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, larger than the size of Texas, features 3.0 million TONS of plastic floating out in the Pacific Ocean. It runs from 10 to 60 feet deep. It kills millions of marine creatures. It grows by 2.5 million more containers tossed into the oceans every hour by humans. Another 46,000 pieces of plastic debris float on every square mile of our oceans.
"Pollution is no different," said Heinberg. "We humans have polluted our environments in various ways for a very long time; activities like the mining of lead and tin have produced localized devastation for centuries. However, the problem of widespread chemical pollution is relatively new and has grown much worse over the past decades."
A look at cancers and nerve disorders exploding around the United States validates the chemical pollution syndrome.
"Many of the most dangerous pollutants happen to be fossil fuel derivatives, pesticides, plastics, and other hormone-mimicking chemicals or the by-products from the burning of coal or petroleum-nitrogen oxides and other contributors to acid rain," said Heinberg.
Heinberg does not mince words as to the many sources of pollution. War creates horrific pollution factors. As you read in the first part of this series, we dumped countless millions of tons of mustard gas and radioactive waste into our oceans from 1945 to the present. Humans do not understand their predicament.
"War might at first seem to be a problem independent of our modern thirst for fossil energy sources," said Heinberg. "As oil grows scarcer in the post-peak environment, further wars and civil conflicts over the black gold are almost assured. The use of fossil fuels in the prosecution of war has made state-authorized mayhem far more deadly. Most modern explosives are made from fossil fuels, and even the atomic bomb-which relies on nuclear fission or fusion rather than hydrocarbons for its horrific power-depends on fossil fuels for its delivery system."
Heinberg warns us that fossil fuel continues to be the key to human survival, and in order to stretch it to feed 6.8 billion humans, we need to start conserving it with greater purpose. Once it's gone, it's all gone!
We need a methodical, planned and steady conversion of farming to non-fossil fuel methods of crop production. That would allow Mother Nature chance to recover such things as healthy soils and vibrant nitro-fixing bacteria.
"If we are all in various stages of waking up to the problem," said Heinberg, "we are also waking up from the cultural trance of denial in which we are all embedded. This awakening is multi-dimensional."
It needs to be faster than presently happening. I hope this series creates conversations in coffee shops, offices and school rooms. Politicians must enact laws and policies dealing with energy, water and population stability. We do not enjoy a lot of years to 'put action off' if we hope to hand over a sustainable civilization to our kids, much less the rest of the world.
Again, what actions do you take to ensure we avoid adding 100 million people to the USA within the next 25 years?
Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents - from the Arctic to the South Pole - as well as six times across the USA, coast to coast and border to border. In 2005, he bicycled from the Arctic Circle, Norway to Athens, Greece. He presents "The Coming Population Crisis in America: and what you can do about it" to civic clubs, church groups, high schools and colleges. He works to bring about sensible world population balance at www.frostywooldridge.com He is the author of: America on the Brink: The Next Added 100 Million Americans. Copies available: 1 888 280 7715

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