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The Environment: Corporate America's Sacrificial Lamb

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A sacrificial lamb is a metaphorical reference to a person or animal sacrificed (killed or discounted in some way) for the common good.   In the human survival sphere of thinking, it is a depletion or negation of an element or organism in the global realm that is considered necessary to support the further existence of the human race.   In terms of the environment, it is the purposeful destruction of nature that is deemed necessary for the preservation of the human species through the use and manipulation of its components to ensure survival.   The reality is though that this destruction is not necessary for the common good and only serves to further the profit margin of the corporation itself.


The environment is our support system; the provider of our food, our fuel and our very existence.   It provides the resources to run our factories, our homes and our businesses.   It is the holder of not only the amenities we need to survive but also the shelter to protect our families.   It seems only fitting that some refer to this ecosystem as our Mother Earth.   Unfortunately, with the level of destruction incurred by the past and present quest for the resources to support our growing population, we are quickly approaching an environmental tipping point.


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The reality of this "necessary" destruction had not been recognized by a large percentage of Americans until BP Oil drilled a gaping, oil spewing hole in the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.   Before then, it was only those black-listed environmentalist groups like the Sierra Club or Greenpeace that spoke openly about the ongoing devastations.   These groups were of course, quickly discounted as extremists but now, with the growing numbers of those outside the ranks of environmental protection becoming more aware of the issue, the call for tighter corporate restrictions and energy resource responsibility has begun to escalate.


Many argue this type of damage incurred by resource allocation is necessary to supply our common energy needs and by not taking these risks we are at the mercy of foreign interests' further controlling our economy and our dwindling industry.   The sacrifices we make to our health and that of the environment are the only way to ensure our survival.   Although this may be true in some limited respects, the complete release of corporate responsibility guarantees the irreparable destruction of our environment.  

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Trumping the aforementioned oil drilling debacle in the Gulf and many other spills around the Globe, one the greatest threats to our American environment today is mountaintop removal mining for the collection of coal; a resource that provides America with 50% of its electrical needs.   This type of mining is one where great stretches of land are clear cut and the tops of mountains are literally blasted off to get to beds of low sulphur coal.   The debris, which consists of all the remaining rocks and soil saturated with sulphurous coal dust and iron, is dumped in nearby valleys and streams.   Largely based in the central Appalachians of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee, this process has polluted numerous water sources and left those people who depend on that source in a situation where their health has become jeopardized.


Clarencetine Mullins, a resident of Pound, Virginia told me the following about the situation in her town which is located near a site utilizing this type of mining:


"When I was young we had reservoirs in different places along the Mountains in the hollows where spring water would collect.   Even in the worst drought we had a clean source of water. When the stripping started, it changed the water table and polluted the spring water with a lot of sulfur and iron. If you washed your hair or clothes in it well, let's just say we all had that magical Boehner glow. Tea was a green color and our sinks and tubs stained with an orange glow.


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No one dares to drink the water in the Mountains anymore for fear of what is in it.   Instead, we pay for chlorinated water from the town for drinking.   First you have to boil the stuff, let it sit over night, then run it through a filter pitcher before you can have a decent drink of water."


This is the end result of supplying America's fuel needs through continuing corporate irresponsibility at the expense of the people.   The real injustice is that it is being allowed by our government; those people we have entrusted with our protection.

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Steven Forrest is a Project Architect living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Currently, he is working to implement Green Building initiatives in several communities across Florida. Given the current situation in America and the continued (more...)

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