Gut Rumbles

August 31, 2005

quote of the day

I LOVE passionate missives such as this one:

You may sneer at wanting to to save the Amazon rain basin, but it is the lungs of our ecosphere and if you studied meteorology as thoroughly as you did chemistry, you might be willing to admit that what our government is doing in the war on some drugs, by poisoning hundreds of thousands of sq miles of that snake infested jungle with untested herbicides, has the real potential to turn this planet into a useless piece of rock like Mars.

Posted by Libby at August 30, 2005 09:13 PM

First of all, I didn't know that our ecosystem has "lungs." I DO, however, understand the process of photosynthesis. That's just another example of what pisses me off about environmentalists. "Gaia" is a woman, not a big rock hurtling through space. Gaia has lungs and a heart and she FEELS pain when we do something bad to her. SHE must be protected.

Second, the idea of the government spraying "untested" herbicides hither and yon is ridiculous. You can't market an herbicide unless it's gone through EXTENSIVE testing. I agree that spraying paraquat on marijuana or cocaine fields is disgusting, but don't tell me it's an "untested" herbicide. That just ain't true.

I don't claim to be a meterologist. Most of the people beating the Global Warming drum with a frenzy aren't meterologists, either. Just look at the esteemed "scientists" who backed the Koyoto Treaty. Most of them are sociologists, psychologists and even DERMATOLOGISTS. WTF do THEY know about climate change?

Plus, meterologists predict the WEATHER, and that's not the same thing as climate. Just look at a weekly forecast and see how accurate THAT is. Those same people who can't predict the WEATHER five days from now can tell me, with total confidence, that they know what the CLIMATE will be in 100 years? My ass.

Yeah, and there's the inevitable WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!! line--- if we don't change our ways, we'll turn this beautiful world into a barren rock like Mars. That's utter bullshit.

But bullshit works today. That's because too many people mistake bullshit for "science."


Two Russia scientists recently accepted the bet of $10,000 offered by some Brits. The Ruskis say the earth will cool, not by human activity, but from sunspot activity and they are willing to put money on it. Side bets anyone?

Posted by: Ivan Ivanovich on August 31, 2005 09:47 AM

You know, the problem with all this is, the people you are talking to (writing to) already agree with you - I do at least....It's the same thing with let's say, Fox News Channel....People that watch it are mostly conservatives and have the same views as Fox...The real idiots out there can't be reached!! They watch bullshit like CNN and listen to idiots like Al Franken. You know, the "mainstream media". I don't see any way to ever get the truth to these kind of "sheep". The real problem, however, is these so-called "scientists" getting all the face time on these LIBERAL, PINKO, TV and radio stations. Sure, they are a small handful of people, a rank minority, but the wheel that squeeks the loudest gets the grease. Therefore, we see these lamebrains getting this ridiculous message out to the masses that the world is coming to an end because of "Global Warming"......You got it right Rob...."MY ASS"......let me add to that....MY GLOBALLY WARMED ASS!!!! LOL!

Posted by: Buck on August 31, 2005 09:52 AM

I believe the earth is warmer (IF it is) because the sun is warmer. The fires on the sun are hotter than they've ever been. Our sun gets hotter, the earth gets hotter. No magic science there.

The eco-wackos think global warming is GWB's fault. I guess the Ice Age was GWB's fault too, right?

Posted by: Suz on August 31, 2005 10:01 AM

A question for Libby, what is the net production of oxygen by the amazon rainforest basin?

What is the primary source of oxygen for the planet?

By production, I mean the freeing of oxygen from other bonds, I.E. trapping carbon, breaking water and similar.

Look the answers up, they may surprise you. And will if you believe what the average environmentalist claims.

Posted by: Mythilt on August 31, 2005 10:15 AM

Fact is, we haven't been documenting the climate or the weather long enough to determine or predict ANYTHING. Anything "scientifically proven" any time longer than 100-150 years back is guesswork, at best.

Posted by: Surfie on August 31, 2005 10:33 AM

Blue green algae/plankton,from the ocean, is the primary source of oxygen for the planet.

Posted by: L on August 31, 2005 12:27 PM

Algae and plankton produce most of the oxygen in the world. Whales are the world's largest consumers of this plankton.

In order to save the world, nuke the whales.

Posted by: Grand Fromage on August 31, 2005 12:48 PM

Yeap, blue green algae.

and the net oxygen production of the amazon rainbasin is close to zero. This is in part because at night plants stop producing oxygen and start consuming it, and all that rotting vegetation on the forest floor also traps oxygen into CO2.

If you really want more O2 in the atmosphere, there is one sure way to do it, trap as much Carbon as you can in a non-free form....asphalt is good....

Posted by: Mythilt on August 31, 2005 12:58 PM

I gave you, hmm... anasazi, mayans, easter-islanders, norse-greenlands, rwanda... 5 examples of human societies destroying and overburdening their environments, and then collapsing. 5 examples, and all you did was concentrate on overblown GW estimates, and dihydrogen monoxshit (probably a planted comment by someone wanting to rant, the sourcesite was called "junkscience" for petesake).

The Mayans went, in less than 100 years, from an extremely complex and developped civilization of up to 14,000,000 to scavenging bands numbering around 30,000. And the ironic part is that the society that sealed its fate through deforestation and soil exhaustion now has its buildings covered in rainforest.

Nature'll survive alright, the question is whether or not we will. It's survival of the fittest, and if we're not "fit" enough to take care of our habitat, then we will not survive, atleast not at a very high standard of living.

Every example except one, Rwanda, was almost entirely isolated throughout its development, peak, and collapse. There were no outside factors, nations or invaders. The Norse did lose their supply line, but they gained the Inuit (who they refused to even acknowledge, except with the blade of a sword). If you think about it, all of humanity is increasingly becoming one society, one civilization, and as far as we're concerned we're completely isolated. There is no planet "B" if we screw over this one.

Posted by: William on August 31, 2005 09:44 PM

William. There's a big difference between politics and "destroying the planet" You show me ONE PLACE IN THE WORLD where people are starving because of lack of food instead of political oppression, and I MAY start listening to your simpering ass.

Posted by: Acidman on August 31, 2005 11:11 PM

A number of civilizations went under in Central/South America over the centuries, because they became too big for the area they lived in. There's a difference between that and 'destroying the rain forest, we're gonna die'.

And the Anasazi were largely, as I recall, whacked by a drought that lasted years.

Posted by: Mark on September 1, 2005 12:02 PM

damm this is a long post.

You're correct Mark, civilizations fall because while they've got less and less of their environmental resources, while reproducing more and more, leading to the point where the population's too much for the resources, and people start dying. They don't usually starve, but rather start wars and kill eachother back down to a sustainable level.The pattern's kinda like animals in nature, except we've got the ability to reason our way out of it.

The Anasazi had already been through several droughts, but they had always had enough resources and not-so many people until the last one came along. In fact, by 900 ad, the principle site, Chaco canyon, had a huge population but was producing nothing. What had originally been the most habitable place there had had all the trees cleared, the wildlife hunted, and the fields ruined by arryos (a form of erosion). So when the going got bad (1150ish), all the semi-productive outbound sites evidently stopped shipping them food, although they collapsed in due time as well (gone by 1250). The anasazi were set up, and had been for 200 years, for disaster, but we really can't blame them, for they had no knowledge or history from which to learn these lessons. We do.

A-man, Rwanda's an agricultural society, a bunch of subsistence farmers, which not only has a degraded environment, but gross overpopulation. They had (and are again approaching) over 600 people a square mile, and the average farm plot upon which they tried to live was .07 acres by 1993. The tragedy was set off by a political bid for power, but they just handed the people machetes and they started killing eachother. Not all environmental crises manifest themselves in starvation, although that is usually a major motivation factor.

Now to examine some of our own problems. An obvious one is oil consumption. Like the anasazi, we now import most of this resource, and though the situation is man-made, an act of nature, like the anasazi's drought, or in our case Katrina, can make it a crisis. Keep in mind most food production is dependent upon petrol.

Cutting down the Amazon (and the few other jungles, ie congo) presents the double-header of "where are we gonna get wood when it's gone?", and "where's all the co2 that's currently trapped there gonna go?"

There's soil erosion, valuable farming topsoil is now being lost to erosion at between 10-40 times the rate of soil formation, in forests its more like 500-10,000X.

Emissions are never good either, with a conservatively estimated 130,000 air-pollution caused deaths a year in the US, not to mention soil or water pollution.

The largest problem, and cause of most the others, is overpopulation coupled with per-capita impact. Not only is the world's population still expanding (while resources do inversely), but the the "third world" is doing its darndest to join the first world, and meeting with some success. The average "first world" citizen impacts the environment, through consumption, waste, etc., 32X more than a third world citizen. Thus economic success in China, India, and other places could very well constitute an effective 12 fold increase in the human impact on earth, and that our earth cannot handle.

So, past societies have gotten wiped out by their environmental problems, and there's 5 serious ones we've got. Still not convinced that we should keep the planet in good shape?

Posted by: William on September 1, 2005 08:44 PM

William, earth can handle anything we do.

WE may not be able to handle it, but earth can.

Posted by: Acidman on September 1, 2005 09:42 PM

Show me where I said we shouldn't keep the planet in good shape, at least as far as we impact it.

Yeah, we have more impact on the world than some poor damn peasant in a third world country. We also produce more, and by our better standards can better take care of the land; we can afford to. Go tell someone who's trying to make a better life by clearing some land to farm and/or ranch he can't because you don't like him cutting down trees; you'll be lucky if he only tells you to go to hell. Help him find a better way to improve things for his family, and he'll do it.

Earlier cultures often did tremendous damage to the area they lived in('in tune with nature' natives, anyone?). Hell, much of North Africa was trashed by goats and bronze axes. That doesn't mean the cycle has to repeat; we know some things they didn't. We can produce more from an amount of land than our ancestors would have dreamed possible, and handled right keep the land in good shape.

As to oil and other energy sources, there's plenty of oil, and from studies over the last few years it's not a static amount available, it's being created constantly. The problem is getting the enviroweenies to get out of the way so we can get to it. As cleanly as possible, which we can do. And don't forget nuclear power, pretty clean and handy except for the idiots who go into screeching fits at the sound of 'nuclear' or 'radiation'.

Oh, and wood is a renewable resource; unless you're stupid and cut everything down, you can get it over and over and over.

Posted by: Mark on September 1, 2005 11:43 PM

Sorry I'm late. I''ve been distracted with life stuff. Okay so I admit I was a little drunk and kind of strident with that post, but I've been blogging about the war on some drugs for three years now and I'm not making shit up. I've studied this problem. And with due respect to our host, our government is most certainly dumping untested herbicides on the coca fields of dirt poor Colombian farmers who are trying to scratch a living out a half acre of poor land. It's a form of Round-up with a surfactant that is to date, as far as I know, still unknown. Not only that but they deliver the payload at heights that indiscriminately distribute the spray over the legal crops and the water sources, not to mention the freaking peasants themselves. It would be illegal if they did it here. Kids get sick, skin diseases are rampant and these people are starving while they're caught between the US backed drug warriors and the 2 revolutionary factions that control the area.

The poison is also in the water table of the Amazon, one of the largest rivers on earth as I;m sure you know. This is the place where our rain patterns start. The sweat of the jungle is what's going to be raining on you tomorrow. It may come in minute quantities but that poison eventually lands here.

And it also stays in the ground of the most biodiverse piece of this earth. Some species adapt, ironically coca is one of them, but many will not and soon only GM seeds will grow in this altered soil. Before you know it, you've given up diversity for mono-culture. All it takes then is one crop failure and you're fucked.

No jungle, no sweat, no rain, no freaking oxygen. And whoever said, people can do what they want on their own land, the government doesn't own the land they're poisoning. They're just going after the lowest rung on the cocaine ladder. These farmers are just trying to feed their families and they grow the crop that brings the best return. They're still getting paid shit compared to what the manufacturers make for the paste.

And please, don't give me this crap about Gaia to discount my point. I'm no rasta-haired hippie leftie spacing around looking for the cause of the week. I'm a grammy who cares about leaving a habitable planet for her grandbaby .

Posted by: Libby on September 1, 2005 11:59 PM

"WE may not be able to handle it, but earth can."

Therein lies the point, I really care alot more about our survival than everything elses, but they're mutually inclusive. We evolved in to fit into earth's habitat, and if we destroy that habitat, we're screwing ourselves.

Mark, the third world's doing relatively no harm. It's first world consumers who are cutting down the jungles, not them, we're the ones consuming so much stuff. We don't need to tell the third world to stop aspiring to higher living standards, we need to "tell" the first to stop equating a higher living standard with so much waste, or else nature's gonna do it for us, in ways much less preferable than a little gov. regulation or taxes.

"Earlier cultures often did tremendous damage to the area they lived in('in tune with nature' natives, anyone?). Hell, much of North Africa was trashed by goats and bronze axes. That doesn't mean the cycle has to repeat; we know some things they didn't. We can produce more from an amount of land than our ancestors would have dreamed possible, and handled right keep the land in good shape."

Hell yes we can, but just as our potential for good has increased exponentially, so has our potential for bad. Bulldozers and chainsaws can do a helluva lot more damage than goats and bronze axes, to use a microcosm for the larger situation. The thing is, going ahead and combusting all the oil, cutting down the jungles, exhausting the fisheries, creating harmful emissions, all of these do not equate with keeping the land in good shape. And yet, when people speak up and say, let's sacrifice alittle bit now for alot later, they're shouted down as eniroweenies.

We're always finding more oil, but less and less more oil, while consuming more and more. It takes millions of years to create oil, and it is not naturally occuring (although I'll let you show me your source). Nuclear's great, so's wind, but I'm not seeing any US political action on either (whereas China's on a buiding binge).

Seems like we agree that the earth should be taken care of, just not how.

Posted by: William on September 3, 2005 12:19 AM

Libby, you do know that surfactants, SOAP, right?

And Roundup (glyphosate) biodegrades very rapidly on contact with the soil? And is not particularly toxic to humans?

But of course, that doesn't fit the template, does it?

Not that I am in favor of what is happening in Colombia, mind you.

Posted by: Desert Cat on September 3, 2005 01:15 AM
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