Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thank You For Not Breeding

I haven't planted cleome in years - it is self-sowing, almost a weed now, and blooms until frost.

It was move-in day at Princeton. The enormous trees on campus are so thin they are painful to regard, but students and parents lugging suitcases, boxes, and furniture didn't appear to notice.

This is a redbud tree.

The leaves show the familiar discoloration of atmospheric poison. It's much worse than last fall and it seems unlikely a tree with this much damage can survive.

Princeton has large trees all around town as well as on campus.

The leaves of this large tree indicate severe stress.

Dogwood appear to be particularly susceptible.

Crepe myrtle used to be exclusive to the south, but with warmer winters they are able to thrive in New Jersey.

But not with the pollution.

Some trees are turning brown - others are showing fall foliage ahead of schedule.

Everywhere, the lawns and walkways are strewn with fallen leaves.

These dorms have wisteria vine climbing on the stone walls.

And the leaves are showing chlorosis.

Here is a story from the New York Times about contaminated water and the lack of EPA oversight.

This was my comment:

Invisible pollutants in water are mimicked in the air, to even more deleterious effect. Toxic chemicals from burning fossil fuels and even worse, biofuels, are breathed in by plants and animals.

The EPA and other government agencies are doing a disgraceful job of monitoring the poisonous gasses we are all being exposed to, causing among other effects, cancers, lung disease, asthma, and mass extinctions of vegetation - that would be trees, shrubs, annual crops, and every other component of our shrinking biomass.

And here is a very intriguing post to that article:

"I have a friend who is a chemist and he called his employer the Environmental prostitution Agency. He was regularly asked to change results. Being an excellent chemist he moved on as the problem was too large for him to tackle."

On that note, for levity, I will reproduce an exchange of emails between myself and the scientists at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research following my letter to them about ethanol and pollution:

Hi Gail,
Thank you for your interest in our research program at NCAR. We do our best to interact with USEPA and state regulatory agencies to ensure that the knowledge resulting from our research is incorporated into the modeling tools that they use to develop pollution control strategies.

I forwarded his reply to friends with this note:

awwww, isn't it nice this guy wrote back? I feel so much better now, I can totally relax, knowing EPA is incorporating NCAR data into their models.

One friend answered:

You would think they would get some better language in there.

Everybody knows that "We do our best..." is code for "We don't really care, we won't do anything, and we have no explicit instructions; but now that you mention it, we will put it on the bottom of the list and forget about it."

If they actually did ANYTHING they would be sure to detail what that might be.

To which I said,

I took at as bureaucratize until I got to the "cheers", then I thought it was snark.

Here's the relevant EPA report if you can make heads or tails of it:

Did you see the link paulm sent to CP?

so stupid, makes you think we'll deserve what we get. Or rather, we'll get what we deserve, because, why not?

Another recipient wrote back:

I think it's very important that the government continue to conduct assessments of each assessment before the need for an assessment is fully assessed.

The model first proposed by the Department of Redundancy Department should be adopted by all Departments to assure complete compliance with the standards propounded by the Bureau of Standards.

And the final ascerbic pronouncement:

Hmmm... looks like human population numbers will be self regulating.

Speaking of which, on a more lighthearted note, I found this website and heartily support the movement to reduce the human population (support means, I'm in favor of not breeding - but not totally ending the entire human population as a plague on the earth, forever. It seems to me there might be some number of people that could perpetuate the great gifts in our cultures that would simultaneously be enlightened enough to respect the teeming biodiversity that existed 200,000 years ago when people arrived and immediately started mucking things up.).

1 comment:

  1. Re: pollution.

    I've just started reading 'Eradicating Ecocide' by Polly Higgins. Again (ie having just recently finished it for the first time). This is a first for me: I've read books more than once, but this is the first time I've felt the need to read a book a second time immediately after the first reading.

    Read as 'I thoroughly recommend 'Eradicating Ecocide' by Polly Higgins. It may just provide a solution to the problem.'

    Re: the need to conduct assessments of each assessment before the need for an assessment is fully assessed.

    Are you familiar with the BBC series "Yes, Minister" (and the sequel "Yes, Prime Minister")? If not... enjoy :)

    Re: VHEMT.

    Repeat after me: "It's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small world after all..."


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