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Forum Post: The West's Coming Tragedy of the Commons

Posted 9 months ago on March 14, 2014, 2:56 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
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The West's Coming Tragedy of the Commons

Friday, 14 March 2014 10:33 By Sheila D Collins, Truthout | Op-Ed

http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/22414-the-wests-coming-tragedy-of-the-commons

The severe droughts now affecting California and the Colorado River basin suggest that we may be at a tipping point in our ability to continue to manage the water systems that are needed to power agriculture and support Western development. According to The New York Times, many experts believe the current drought that is drying up the Colorado River "is only the harbinger of a new drier era in which the Colorado's flow will be substantially and permanently diminished." Already, the drought in California is threatening the state's water supply - a harbinger of the enormous conflicts that are now on the horizon - conflicts between states and regions, urban residents and farmers, developers, farmers and environmentalists. With global warming now reducing the Sierra snowpacks, whose runoff has been irrigating the country's breadbasket, we could be facing rising food prices and even food shortages into the future. It is within the realm of possibility that we could see - even in the United States - the kinds of conflicts that are roiling parts of the developing world.

How is it that we have allowed a significant proportion of the nation's food supply to be located in a region that is part semi-desert and dependent on irrigation? Why have we allowed one of the fastest-growing regions of the country to depend on a water source - the Colorado - that historically received little rainfall and for whose use there has been little coordinated planning?

It is not as if we were not forewarned. As early as 1878, John Wesley Powell, the one-armed geologist and Western explorer and the second director of the US Geological Survey, submitted a Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States to Congress. The report contained a careful survey of the rainfall patterns of all the land from the middle of the Great Plains to the Pacific Ocean, the land Powell termed the "Arid Region." Powell concluded that only a minority of this land received enough rainfall each year to support agriculture and warned that "many droughts will occur; many seasons in a long series will be fruitless; and it may be doubted whether, on the whole, agriculture will prove remunerative." If these lands were to be cultivated, they would have to be irrigated. Such irrigation, he proposed, would require enormous amounts of capital and would have to be carefully managed to prevent the kinds of conflicts over scarce water that are now becoming apparent - the classic dilemma of the "tragedy of the commons." Powell's revolutionary proposal was that the irrigable lands be divided into semi-autonomous hydrological districts, structured around local water sources. Communities sharing a common water source were to be entrusted with the responsibility of its use and were to set up cooperatively managed and funded governing systems. Powell was also concerned that forests be managed cooperatively. "If they permit the forests to be destroyed, he said, "the source of their water supply is injured and the timber values are wiped out."

The role of the federal and state governments in Powell's scheme were to be supportive of these locally managed water and forest systems. States would provide courts for the adjudication of disputes between districts as well as inspection systems, while the federal government would "allocate land to the watershed districts; classify its use, and retain ownership only of non-irrigable lands."

Powell's scheme resonates with the bioregional proposals of some modern environmentalists and his governance scheme with the democratically managed common pool resource projects that the late Elinor Ostrom and her colleagues at Indiana University promoted in developing countries. Prescient as Powell was, his proposal did not resonate with the lobbyists for the railroad industry or the land speculators who turned the "arid region" into a frenzy of chaotic development that would later result in the Dust Bowl. Nor did it resonate with the timber barons who would strip the country's forests, leading to the floods that devastated the country in the 1920s and 1930s.

If Powell's development plan had been implemented, as shown in a map he created, state boundaries yet to be drawn would have resembled the boundaries of watersheds instead of the arbitrary boundaries that exist today. According to Donald Worster, Powell's biographer, if Powell's ideas had been adopted, "We would not have, any of our huge federal water projects. And we certainly would not have had anything like the massive urban growth that's taken place in the West." Worster's certainty has been challenged by John Lavey, who thinks that our human penchant for growth and technological development would probably not have resulted in the limits to growth Powell's proposal implied. Yet it is helpful to think of how our country might have developed had we heeded this knowledgeable Cassandra, if only as a means of encouraging us to imagine how we might do things differently.

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[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 9 months ago

Limiting agriculture to cooperatively managed water districts might have led to retention of the small family farms that once dotted the greener parts of the country, producing food for local use. We would certainly not have committed a major portion of the nation's breadbasket to a single region like the Central Valley of California that has a historically weak rainfall pattern. Nor would we have developed the giant agribusinesses that dominate the Great Plains and are dependent on huge irrigation systems that are rapidly depleting the Oglalla Acquifer. As our breadbasket dries up, the call of locavores for locally produced and consumed food becomes more pressing.

In the 1930s, as the country began to suffer from the cumulative effects of failing to heed Powell's warning, a similar concern with watershed-centered development re-emerged. This time it was the president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who carried the banner. In a campaign speech in 1932, Roosevelt recognized that the country suffered from the lack of planning. "We cannot review carefully the history of our industrial advance without being struck with its haphazardness, the gigantic waste with which it has been accomplished, the superfluous duplication of productive facilities ... the profligate waste of natural resources." Faced as president with floods of biblical proportions, the loss of one-sixth of the country's topsoil and the decimation of seven-eighths of the country's forests, Roosevelt argued that planning for sustainability was a national problem and that it would have to involve the federal government in ways that even Powell had not envisioned. To that end, he proposed the creation of a series of watershed districts throughout the country whose development would integrate water power, flood control, forestry, conservation, reclamation, agriculture and industry. The Tennessee Valley Authority was to have been the first of seven such projects. Also recognizing that the country had achieved a level of development and scientific knowledge more complex than that which Powell had confronted, FDR suggested that there would have to be multiple intersecting planning jurisdictions based on both the developmental needs of the human population and the mix of environmental issues that characterized different areas of the country.

The urgency of moving in this direction had been undergirded by a report of the Great Plains Committee on the Future of the Great Plains that was issued in August 1936 and was to be the basis of legislation for the new Congress. In an admission that the country had failed to heed John Wesley Powell's findings, the Report stated

A trip through the drought area, supplementing data already on record, makes it evident that we are not confronted merely with a short term problem of relief, already being dealt with by several agencies of the Federal Government, but with a long term problem of readjustment and reorganization. ... A new economy based on conservation and effective use of all the water available is called for. Intelligent adjustment to the ways of Nature must take the place of attempts to "conquer" her.

In a related matter, on January 12, 1937, Roosevelt sent to Congress the report of the President's Committee on Administrative Management, which he had appointed the year before to consider means to improve the administration of the executive branch. Among other things, the report recommended the establishment of a permanent national resources planning board to plan the development and use of the country's resources, and the creation of a department of conservation to administer the public lands and parks and the conservation laws. To prepare the necessary legislation, the Congress appointed the Joint Committee on Government Organization and on June 23, 1937, Senate Bill 2700 was introduced, embodying some of the committee's recommendations.

Roosevelt urged the Congress to "get on with it." Alas, Congress did not get on with any of it. As a nation we seem prone to ignore the lessons of history or to learn from those who have most to teach us. John Wesley Powell's proposal for a United Watershed States of America went nowhere, as did FDR's call for national resource planning. Despite enthusiastic support from the AFL, the CIO, farmers' groups and Congressional liberals, Roosevelt's National Resources Planning Board did not become a vehicle for the coordination of sustainable resource planning districts. A report issued by the board in January 1943, though, focused more heavily on planning for post-war economic security, called for a program of conservation and improvement of agricultural, range, forest, recreational and wildlife lands as a "substantial part of a post-war program of public and private construction." The NRPB, however, was abolished by Congressional conservatives in August 1943, just five months after it had issued its report. No department of conservation was ever established. The logical successor - the Environmental Protection Agency - was only recently elevated to "Cabinet level" status, a somewhat ambiguous designation, and there has been scant attention to planning ever since. We are now beginning to reap the whirlwind.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 9 months ago

Warning Signs: How Pesticides Harm the Young Brain

Friday, 14 March 2014 11:52 By Susan Freinkel, The Nation | News

Driving along Highway 101 through California's Salinas Valley, it's hard to miss the fact that you are traveling through one of the most bountiful farm belts in the country. No matter the time of year, it seems, green fields unfurl toward the mountains that flank the valley, and crews of workers are stooped in the act of picking. Some unique alchemy of air, soil and climate exists here to create a place where dozens of crops flourish, from artichokes to zucchini. Growers plant red and green lettuces side by side in rows so they can be picked and packaged directly as ready-mixed salads. Eighty percent of the country's leafy greens come from the valley, thus its longtime nickname: "America's Salad Bowl."

For all the natural blessings, that bounty also depends on pesticides—more than 8 million pounds of them in 2011. Farmland is expensive here, which puts the farmers under constant pressure to keep increasing their yields. So they rely on an ever-evolving chemical arsenal to fight weeds, insects and diseases in order to grow the blemish-free produce that consumers want to buy. Pesticides are so deeply ingrained in the way agriculture is practiced here that people scarcely notice the noisy helicopters spraying the crops, or the warning signs—complete with skulls—posted in the fields after they're treated.

Maria (she asked that her last name not be used) has been a farmworker in the valley for twenty-three years, since her parents moved the family from central Mexico in search of jobs. Her husband is also a farmworker. Now 38, Maria has worked in the fields picking produce, among other jobs. Even when she's not working, she's never far from the fields. They edge the roads she drives. There's a vineyard a stone's throw from her front door. Maria always knew she was in contact with pesticides; sometimes the smell burned her nose or left her with a headache. But she didn't pay it much mind. Many farmworkers figure that poco veneno no mata—a little poison won't kill you.

Then she started having children.

http://truth-out.org/news/item/22482-warning-signs-how-pesticides-harm-the-young-brain

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 9 months ago

Indigenous Voices in Climate Activism: Autonomous or Subjugated?

Monday, 17 March 2014 09:50
By Sara Santiago, Truthout | Op-Ed

http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/22466-indigenous-voices-in-climate-activism-autonomous-or-subjugated

Over the past few years, the climate fight has been predominantly fixated on a single piece of symbolic infrastructure, the Keystone XL pipeline, whose recent environmental impact statement from the US State Department has set the stage for a green-lighting of the project.

As activism heats up in response, environmental organizations are likely to pull out all the stops to prevent tar sands extraction and shipment, including growing more powerful connections with both potential and already established allies. In particular, mainstream environmental NGOs and First Nations have increasingly worked in solidarity and aligned with one another in the past year.

As environmentalists built their strategically structured campaigns on KXL and climate, indigenous peoples continued their historic fight for the environment on the basis of sovereignty and self-determination, with recently mounting voices. Just a little over a year ago, Idle No More (INM) mobilized around Chief Teresa Spence's hunger strike in response to Canada's Bill C-45, and INM quickly grew into an international movement. Idle No More has put indigenous voices on the map.

Yet, we don't often hear indigenous voices in mainstream reporting on these issues.

In the United States especially, we are privy to the messages of immensely mobilized and savvy campaigners like 350.org, Sierra Club and Greenpeace, but indigenous voices are largely excluded from the mainstream debate. While in Canada the landscape is filled with a diversity of indigenous voices and communities, mainstream environmental NGOs have traditionally been - and remain - the loudest.

Land Rights: Litigation on the Rise

However, indigenous concerns and claims to sovereignty may be integral to environmentalists' end game, as land rights provide a legal basis to halt individual infrastructure projects and resource extraction. This year especially will be one rife with litigation to prevent tar sands development. For example, the Beaver Lake Cree Nation is collecting research on the cumulative impacts of tar sands on communities and the environment to "mount an unprecedented constitutional challenge against the Albertan and Canadian government on behalf of the entire nation." In the words of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) lawyer Larry Innes, "All litigation, all the time, is what I see on the horizon."

Treaty rights present a critical leverage point for environmentalists to meet their goals of stopping the expansion and development of fossil fuels and bolstering global and national climate campaigns. According to Clayton Thomas Muller, a prominent environmental justice and indigenous rights organizer, in a recent keynote speech to the Parkland Institute, the "indigenous rights base will be the legal basis to stop oil sands expansion. In the history of environmentalism in Canada, no major environmental victory has been won without First Nations people at the helm and a very sophisticated social movement apparatus backing them up, for the last 40 years."

So, treaty rights provide an opportunity for environmentalists, but what about exploitation of indigenous rights and voices?

Issue of (Mis)Representation:

First Nations present a multitude of voices, not necessarily a single, homogenous one that could easily be integrated into mainstream NGO campaigns. With requests spanning a range of approaches from resource development with consultation and conditions, or for no development whatsoever, this diversity may provoke fractioning in NGO campaigns, posing a challenge to those NGOs simply interested in integrating indigenous voices behind a single, clear ask.

But with whom indigenous peoples align (or do not align) is not the issue, as their voices are valuable in their own right. So often historically, and even presently, there have been conflicts between the interests of indigenous communities and major environmental NGOs that have sought to conserve lands on the premise that they are unpopulated, pristine wilderness.

In the Arctic, for instance, indigenous peoples hold a strong stance as Duane Smith, president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada, claimed in ICC Alaska's June 2013 newsletter: "We certainly have no need or appetite to invite environmentalist groups to come to the Arctic and do the work under their logos and on our behalf."

Is it not the indigenous communities who live, breathe and subsist upon the earth impacted by extraction who should have at the very least an active, equal say with corporations, governments and NGOs in what happens to the land on which their communities depend?

Hope in Meaningful Relationship Building:

The converging of First Nations and environmentalist activism poses a great threat to tar sands companies in 2014. Increasingly, these groups are acting in solidarity, with musician Neil Young's Honor the Treaties Tour directly supporting AFCN's litigation and groups like Rising Tide, 350.org and All Against Haul, uniting with indigenous communities like Nez Perce, Umatilla and Warm Springs in resisting megaload transit.

First Nations are smack dab in the center of resource development projects and should not be pushed to the periphery. It is therefore imperative that their voices be heard and communities be engaged meaningfully, beyond a letter of support or attending an event in solidarity. Ignoring First Nations insights and decisions and neglecting to include their stories in the extraction narrative is a disadvantage to all parties involved.

An organization may even consider Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) when engaging indigenous communities the way First Peoples Worldwide promotes companies, governments, researchers and NGOs alike. Through genuine and respectful engagement, a truly unified front is likely to emerge not just on tar sands, but on other issues like Arctic drilling, mining and deforestation, which impact communities and the environment on a global scale and demand thoughtful, nuanced engagement.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 9 months ago

Reporting on a World of Environmental Catastrophes - All in Just One Month

Monday, 17 March 2014 09:40
By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | News Analysis

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/22483-a-world-of-environmental-degradation-all-in-just-one-month

March 2014

When all the trees have been cut down, when all the animals have been hunted, when all the waters are polluted, when all the air is unsafe to breathe, only then will you discover you cannot eat money. - Cree Prophecy

Earth

One-third of all the organic farmers in the United States are now reporting widespread contamination by genetically modified crops. Over half of the growers have had entire loads of their grain rejected due to their having unwittingly been contaminated by GMO’s.

Speaking of frankenfood, in Sri Lanka and South American, an herbicide developed by Monsanto, along with a phosphate fertilizer, are likely the causes of an epidemic of a mysterious kidney disease in the areas where rice and sugarcane are grown.

On the fossil fuel front, in Canada, large man-made lakes of oil sands mining waste are leaking into the Athabasca River, while "progress" is being made towards the building of two new giant pipelines that would rapidly expand Alberta’s tar sands project.

In Australia, it was recently revealed that the Australian "Environment Department" did not conduct an independent analysis of how much it would cost monetarily to dump dredged soil onto land before it granted permission to dump it on the Great Barrier Reef.

Given the ever-growing preponderance of our usage of electronics, all of us are morally obligated to look at these photos of Agbogbloshie, which was formerly a wetland in Accra, Ghana. Today, it is now the world’s largest e-waste dumpsite, where discarded computer monitors are used to build footbridges to cross rivers.

A new study has confirmed that a magnitude 5.7 earthquake in Oklahoma - one of the state's biggest man-made quakes - was caused by fracking-linked wastewater injections.

Water

Even the depths of the oceans are now at risk.

Two and a half miles deep in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, mining companies are looking for ore deposits needed to keep feeding the industrial machine and continued production of "smart" phones. The number of companies looking to mine the pristine ocean depths has tripled in recent years, and the deputy secretary general of the International Seabed Authority had this to say of the ramping up of movement toward destroying ecosystems we hardly understand: "The amount of activity has expanded exponentially."

Never mind that the rapacious machine that runs upon exponential growth has quite possibly already driven Anthropogenic Climate Disruption (ACD) past the point of no return, making short-term human extinction not out of the realm of possibility.

Like the rest of the planet, the oceans are being mined, drilled, dredged, polluted and irradiated.

Examples of this abound, but here are just a few.

The state of Alaska now wants the federal government to remove endangered species protections for humpback whales, so as to remove a hurdle for companies that want to explore the Arctic Coast for oil. Given that the Obama administration has provided no evidence that the president will make a decision that would prioritize environmental protection over corporate profit, humpback whales are in trouble. Even the Supreme Court is doing what it can to protect the major emitters of greenhouse gases.

The lunacy of Alaska’s decision comes into even clearer focus given the fact that this year’s Iditarod sled dog race is facing a minor problem - not enough snow.

A new study led by NASA researches shows that fresh water flowing from rivers into the Arctic Ocean is having a powerful impact on the extent of sea ice cover, since the warm water discharges accelerate the melting of sea ice near the coast. This melting also has a wider climate impact: It creates more open water, which is darker than ice and thus absorbs more heat from sunlight, further accelerating planetary warming.

Not surprisingly, in the Gulf of Mexico, dolphins that were exposed to BP’s oil and dispersants from what remains (to date) the largest marine oil disaster in US history, are suffering from a host of maladies, including lung disease and adrenal problems.

A new study published in Current Biology shows that small fragments of plastic waste are damaging the health of lugworms, which happen to be a key cog in the marine ecosystem.

A massive die-off of oysters and scallops off the coast of British Columbia has fishermen and seafood salespersons deeply troubled. Ocean acidification, a direct result of ACD, is suspected as the cause. Further south, Brazil’s shellfishing communities are now blighted by industrial pollution. "There’s this chemical product in the water," fisherwoman Edinilda de Ponto dos Carvalhos said of the phenomenon. "It has no smell, but it kills everything."

Off the coast of South Africa, 4,000 penguins and hundreds of seabird nests were oiled when a fishing trawler carrying approximately 2,500 gallons of diesel fuel ran aground less than three miles from the Betty’s Bay Marine Protected Area.

Back in the United States, a recent oil spill closed down a 65-mile stretch of the Mississippi River that included the Port of New Orleans. The Mississippi, of course, flows into the fragile marsh, where 90 percent of all the organisms in the Gulf of Mexico spend some part of their lives.

Drinking water problems continue to grow all over North America.

People in Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, are trying to stop the state from spreading sewage sludge on soils. The state calls the sewage sludge "biosolids" and says it will enrich the soil and improve the overall health of the land and animals. The people are complaining of the stench of the sewage, in addition to the fact that it is making them sick.

Speaking of feces, factory farms of pigs are poisoning Iowa’s drinking water, due to the fact that millions of pigs are jammed into overcrowded barns across the state. While they are being fattened for slaughter, they are also breeding superbugs, which can find their way into the groundwater.

Meanwhile in Delaware, the water quality of the creeks, rivers and streams running through the state is so bad that little of it is even considered healthy. In fact, 94 percent of the state’s rivers and streams are so polluted, fish are unable to thrive. Humans are even told not to swim in 85 percent of them.

In West Virginia, the January chemical spill that contaminated drinking water for 300,000 West Virginians around Charleston garnered immense media coverage. However, most Americans remain unaware of the fact that many people in rural West Virginia living in places outside the reach of the spill had already been living without drinkable tap water for months, and in some places, years due to contamination from the mining industry.

Of course the rapacious march for ever more oil drilling continues apace, with prospectors now hoping to find their next big gusher in south Florida’s fragile Everglades, whose wetlands are habitats for more than 60 threatened and endangered species, along with the fact that they play an integral role in providing around 7 million residents in south Florida with their drinking water.

As the industrial growth society continues its destructive trundle of consumption and pollution in the name of increasing profit for next quarter’s financial statement, the signs of ACD continue unabated.

Low-lying countries are, of course, already losing land to rising oceans, with even greater displacement coming soon. A recent report shows that Indonesia will likely lose an estimated 1,500 islands to rising oceans by the year 2050. But before that happens, likely by 2030, the country’s International Airport, which serves the capital, will be completely under water. In fact, Jakarta, with 40 percent of its land below sea level, is sinking and will see all of its northern districts turn into lakes by the time the airport is under water.

[-] 1 points by LeoYo (5909) 9 months ago

The flipside of rising seas is increasing drought and/or flash floods on the continents.

In northern India, the once massive Tawi River used to flow through the city of Jammu so powerfully that residents had to take boats to cross it. Today, the river is barely knee deep for most of the year and has turned into a dumping ground for untreated city waste.

Ongoing research published recently in the journal Nature Climate Change shows us that the number of days with extreme heat will continue to increase even when the overall average does not. And, disturbingly, it is these days of heat extremes, not the average daily temperatures, that matter most when it comes to impact on wildlife, farming and humans.

Another recent report forecasts California’s climate to continue to become hotter and drier, aside from occasional torrential rains and flash floods. The state will continue to get less and less water from an ever-decreasing snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, and the Pacific Ocean will continue rising and consuming the state’s coastal areas.

Weather extremes, the new normal due to ACD, are visible daily around the globe.

Malaysia, a country that usually brings to mind tropical rainforests and beaches, now finds millions of residents having to ration their water due to a scorching drought.

Sri Lanka is also in the midst of an extreme heat wave and accompanying drought. Fears there continue to mount as increasing power cuts and interruptions to the country's water supply due to low reservoir levels worsen.

The flip side of this part of the climate coin is deluges of rain and the flooding that comes with it.

Residents on Caribbean islands hit by massive storms over Christmas are still struggling to recover, as are folks in the UK, who have recently experienced the worst flooding in the history of the country. A recent study brings no solace to UK residents, as it shows that the frequency of severe flooding across Europe is set to double by 2050, a phenomenon which will bring a fivefold increase in annual economic losses resulting from flooding.

Australia can expect the other extreme, as the recent State of the Climate report by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology shows the country being hit by even more extreme heat and high fire danger and the southern regions of the country drying up. The report says these trends will only continue to accelerate as the planet continues heating up and that the projected increase in the number of extremely hot days is underlined by the fact that there were more extreme heat days in 2013 than in the entire 1910-1940 period.

This is particularly bad news, given that the current drought in Queensland is officially the worst and most widespread on record, with 15 more districts and shires in Australia recently declaring drought.

A coal seam gas project in Australia has contaminated a nearby aquifer with uranium at levels 20 times higher than those set by safe drinking water guidelines.

Regarding the oceans, ACD has advanced enough already that even the ocean dynamics of Antarctica are being disrupted, according to another recent study. The report cites the example of a massive ice-free region the size of New Zealand, which used to be a frozen part of the ice blanket of the southern ocean surrounding the ice continent, but has recently disappeared from the region.

Meanwhile at the other pole, new research shows that the Arctic sea ice season has been shortening by five days per decade, due to the formation of sea ice being delayed by warming weather. The study, which appeared in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, indicates that the Arctic Ocean is absorbing more of the sun’s energy in the summer due to shrinking ice cover, and this is leading to the delayed appearance of the autumn sea ice.

[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 9 months ago

Air

Is it not amazing that humans construct massive cities, populate them by the millions, then live amid pollution so intense it kills us?

Beijing is perhaps the best example, being the worst-case scenario of countless smog-choked cities around the planet. Scientists have deemed the air there to be so bad the place is "barely suitable" for living. Last year’s monitoring of Chinese cities showed that more than 95 percent of them failed to meet environmental standards.

Air pollution from coal already kills over 1,000,000 people per year in China, and in vast swaths of the country, life expectancy is already reduced by at least five years.

In fact, Chinese scientists now warn that the entire country’s air pollution is so bad that it resembles a nuclear winter that is even slowing the photosynthesis in plants, which of course will be catastrophic to the country’s food supply for its massive population.

Amazingly, the Chinese state is deploying drones that will spray chemicals into the smog, causing it to solidify and fall to the ground, as part of their "war on pollution."

In Australia, residents in the Latrobe valley are protesting because smoke from a nearby coalmine fire has blanketed their area for several weeks, bringing the town to a standstill and turning the town into a "national disaster" since the pollution reached levels more than 22 times above the recommended safe levels, triggering a health alert.

Then there are the other ongoing, unintended consequences.

Researchers recently found an ancient "giant virus" that was, emphasis on "was," buried deep within the Siberia permafrost. The virus had been previously untouched for more than 30,000 years, but now has been revived. Scientists, of course, blame ACD and "industrial activities" for bringing this and other potential pathogens to the surface.

Another pathogen, the West Nile virus, is now expected to increase in incidence, also due to advancing ACD.

Warmer temperatures are also now causing malaria to spread to new altitudes in the African and South American highlands, traditionally havens from the disease, scientists say.

A doctor in the United States is now proclaiming that ACD constitutes a public health emergency, because it is causing an increase in asthma, hay fever, ADHD, blue baby syndrome and gastroenteritis.

Fire

Radiation from the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster is being tracked, and a recent study shows radioactive cesium from the Japanese plant reaching the Pacific Coast of North America by April.

Fukushima remains on the forefront of many folks’ minds because it is an ongoing disaster, and its direct impact on our health is obvious. However, we tend to forget how much radiation has already been bombed into the oceans.

Those who have been bombed, however, haven’t forgotten.

Residents of the Marshall Islands recently marked 60 years since the United States dropped a hydrogen bomb on the Bikini Atoll, causing islanders to be exiled from their homeland. Islanders, rightly remain too fearful to go back because of the nuclear contamination.

The United States conducted six nuclear tests there in all, leaving hundreds of forgotten victims among the islanders to live with ongoing health effects and painful memories of loved ones lost from radiation exposure.

Closer to home for those living in the United States, "significant construction flaws" in some of the "newer" double-walled storage tanks at Washington state’s Hanford nuclear waste complex could lead to additional leaks of some of the worst radioactive waste at the most contaminated nuclear site in the country.

Not to be outdone, the only nuclear waste repository in the United States, located in Carlsbad, New Mexico, has an ongoing radiation leak. But that has not stopped the brilliant minds running the repository from pushing to obtain even more nuclear waste.

Japan is struggling with ongoing radiation problems, as more than 500 tons of radioactive waste from Fukushima that is being stored in Tokyo is threatening residents.

Shockingly, all of this ongoing pollution and dramatic evidence of ongoing ACD are happening amid what US and UK scientists recently described as a brief slowdown in global warming. Everything you’ve just read is occurring despite the planet being in the midst of a "pause" in a longer-term trend of increasing temperatures, according to Britain’s Royal Society and the US National Academy of Sciences.

Their joint announcement added that the current "slowdown" in the pace of global warming since a peak in 1998 "does not invalidate our understanding of long-term changes in global temperature arising from human-induced changes in greenhouse gases."

Yet, there remain those who have chosen to remain willfully ignorant of ACD and ignore the evidence from around the globe that is slapping us in the face every day. Those folks aren’t likely to believe the pedantic scientific data produced by sophomoric institutions like Britain’s Royal Society or the US National Academy of Sciences.

Hence, they are also unlikely to believe anything that comes out of the "progressive" and "left-leaning" US Pentagon, which just released its 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review Report, which states:

"Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing and severe weather patterns are accelerating. These changes, coupled with other global dynamics, including growing, urbanizing, more affluent populations, and substantial economic growth in India, China, Brazil, and other nations, will devastate homes, land, and infrastructure. Climate change may exacerbate water scarcity and lead to sharp increases in food costs. The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies and governance institutions around the world. These effects are threat multipliers that will aggravate stressors abroad such as poverty, environmental degradation, political instability, and social tensions - conditions that can enable terrorist activity and other forms of violence."

Every single piece of information you’ve just read is only from the last month.

This is what catastrophic ACD looks like.

This information may lack the dramatic background music and thrilling scenes that would accompany the Hollywood blockbuster movie that many in the United States might expect advancing ACD to look like. However, it is real. It is happening right now. And it is time for all of us to pay attention.

Copyright, Truthout.

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23961) from Coon Rapids, MN 9 months ago

The flipside of rising seas is increasing drought and/or flash floods on the continents.

( Edit ) Ironic - as rising waters reduce the available land - the deserts increase reducing available liveable land and flash floods reduce the safety/livability of remaining arable land. Deniers paradise?

Edit -> NASA: Civilization headed for collapse

[-] 1 points by DKAtoday (23961) from Coon Rapids, MN 9 months ago

The West's Coming Tragedy of the Commons

( Edit ) The coming tragedies are North South East West - GLOBAL.

Edit -> Always has been global - we just didn't realize it at the time as we were not as well informed about world wide happenings until fairly recently in history.