The 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez disaster has brought critical new evidence that petro-pollution is destroying our global ecosystem.
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The third anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown in Japan confirms that radioactive reactor fallout is doing the same.
How the two mega-poisons interact remains largely unstudied, but the answers can't be good. And it's clearer than ever that we won't survive without ridding our planet of both.
To oppose atomic power with fossil fuels is to treat cancer by burning down the house.
To oppose petro-pollution with nukes is to stoke that fire with radiation.
In September, the first round of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's latest report confirmed yet again that global warming is accelerating and that human activity is the cause.
On March 31, it reported on additional ecological impacts ranging from compromised food systems to harm done a wide range of critical living networks.
The core problem is "global weirding," an escalating, unpredictable ecological instability. "A breakdown of food systems," the loss of low-lying cities, ocean acidification, the death of coral reefs, the decline of critical land-based flora and fauna, and the decimation of critical ecosystems are all part of an increasingly poisonous package. The idea that somehow more CO2 will yield more crops is counteracted by the toll taken by temperature spikes and the loss of certain insects, combined with the increased predations of others -- and much more we simply do not understand.
There are always dissenters. But at Prince William Sound in Alaska we see the consensus on warming joined by yet another global terror: petro-poisoning.
A quarter-century after the 1979 Valdez disaster, Exxon and its allies are sticking with their "see no evil, pay no damages" denials.
But the hard evidence shows a wide range of local sea life has failed to return. Residual oil is still globbed along the shoreline.
And, in what NPR has called a "Eureka moment," scientists have confirmed that the "long-lasting components of oil thought to be benign turned out to cause chronic damage to fish hearts when fish were exposed to tiny concentrations of the compounds as embryos."
The impact is confirmed by parallel heart problems reported by Bloomberg to tuna harmed in the Gulf of Mexico's far more recent 2010 BP disaster.
If the petro-toxics from these spills can do such damage to larger fish, what are they also doing to all others that occupy this ecosystem? If trace poisons spewed 25 years ago are still ripping through the embryo of Alaskan fish, what must they also be doing to the starfish, the krill, the phytoplankton, the algae and so many other microorganisms?
It's long been known that the particulate matter from burning coal over the centuries has killed countless humans.
But what, in turn, is all that doing to the global ecosystem and all its even more vulnerable creatures, warmed or otherwise?
Harvey is a lifelong activist who speaks, writes and organizes widely on energy, the environment, election protection, social justice, grass-roots politics and natural healing, personal and planetary.He hosts "California Solartopia" at KPFK-Pacifica and "Green Power & Wellness" atprn.fm. (more...)