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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 4/13/09

How can you kill a planet and still live on it?

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Documentary movie review: part 1 of 2 parts

As human beings continue their destructive rampage around the planet, they find themselves facing accelerating dilemmas on every continent.  No one can deny quickening traumas facing humanity in the 21st century.  Humans spew billions of tons of toxic air into the atmosphere while they plasticize the oceans, cut down the forests and tamper with nature’s environmental balancing systems.

A full third or two billion people lack adequate drinking water daily.  Over 3.0 billion humans suffer from malnutrition.  Over 18 million human beings die of starvation or starvation related diseases annually.  Rainforests burn away and thousands of species suffer extinction annually.  A laundry list of humanity’s assaults on Mother Nature encompasses 27,000 square mile dead zones in the oceans at the mouths of major rivers to three million ton floating plastic dumps swirling in the Pacific Ocean known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”

In the last few years, this planet commenced speaking to us in ever sharper language with her displeasure of our actions.  She hurled “Hurricane Katrina” at the United States.  She’s breaking up the ice at the Arctic and the Antarctic.  She will double her annual human starvation death rate in years to come.  Mother Earth shrieks louder with each passing year, “You’ve got a choice. You’re messing up my surface. You can fix it or I can fix it for you. If I fix it, I will toss everything you’ve created away…including you humans.”

In the most important, brilliant and electrifying documentary film of the 21st century, “Blind Spot” by Adolfo Doring, Randal Wallace and David Gill--they conduct interviews with men and women studying human impact on this planet. Those educators introduce humanity’s stark future if we continue on our current path. I urge every U.S. Congress politician, governor, mayor and citizen to take an hour to watch, and then, take action.  I especially urge someone to bring this video to Barack Obama for personal viewing.

In the last 100 years, the human race grew its numbers six times more than in 1900.  It added six billion people in the blink of a century.  How?  Oil, coal and natural gas increased humanity’s ability to produce more food that allowed more population.  It’s known as the age of energy, yet that age slips quickly into our rear view mirrors.   For those arrogant enough to think that energy won’t be a problem, I offer you the reality of our limited water supplies to be just as dangerous!

Richard Heinberg, author of Peak Everything, said, “We face a completely different way of living.  In the past, machines took care to make food.  We’ve gotten used to it. Oil impregnates everything in our lives.”

Lester Brown, author of Plan B 3.0, , said, “Oil is the life line of the global economy, but reserves are shrinking and declining.  Peak oil could happen next year or within five years, but it’s going to happen.  It will change our world radically. It will change everything we do.  When historians write about it, they will refer to it as Before Peak Oil and After Peak Oil.”

Dr. Ted Caplow, energy expert, said, “The energy crisis becomes the food crisis because biofuels compete with food production.”

Dr. Roscoe Bartlett, research and development, said, “We’re good at responding to a crisis, but not preventing it.  To mitigate consequences, we should have started 20 years ago.  We shouldn’t wait until we’re in the crisis.”

Dr. Albert Bartlett, author of Getting Malthus Right , “In general, people are inumerates, which means they are illiterate in terms of their understanding of peak oil.  Societies have grown beyond their ability to produce food.  It’s common sense that we should prepare for peak oil but this society rejects any actions.”

As I watched several of the world’s top experts educate in this movie as well as the visuals that complimented their dialogue, I sat mesmerized at their certitude and veracity.  At the same time, I had seen with my own eyes through my world travels most of what they discussed.  I witnessed firsthand the ‘dead zones’ around the world in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea and off the Yantze River on the coast of China where humans spew so many chemicals into the ocean that most life cannot survive.  I’ve breathed the toxic air over Mexico City, LA, Shanghai, China, San Paulo, Brazil and elsewhere.  It hits home more when you’ve seen what most cannot see.

Dr. Joseph Tainter, author of The Collapse of Complex Societies, “Societies become complex beyond what can be sustained.  When I see the U.S. society, I see decaying infrastructure, high military costs; solving problems in the short run do not solve the problem. We face loss of standard of living as well as social and political unrest.”

Dr. William Catton, author of Overshoot, “We haven’t noticed that humans are more numerous and more voracious. We changed from the species “homo sapiens” which means “man the wise” to “homo colossus” which means “too big an impact or race of giants.”

Richard Heinberg, author of Peak Everything, added, “There’s nothing normal going on in America today. Fossil fuels are finite and we’re drawing down that stock at a phenomenal rate of speed.  This is the most serious problem to face the human race since we became humans.”

We consume, devour, gorge and destroy just about everything in our path.  Americans burn 20 million barrels of oil daily. Worldwide, 84 million barrels daily!  Every added American destroys 12.6 acres of wilderness habitat to support his or her life.  We add 3.1 million humans to the USA annually. Within 26 years, we expect 100 million added which translates into 1.26 billion acres of destroyed habitat. We might call ourselves “homo gargantuan consumptous.”

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Frosty Wooldridge Bio: Frosty Wooldridge possesses a unique view of the world, cultures and families in that he has bicycled around the globe 100,000 miles, on six continents and six times across the United States in the past 30 years. His books (more...)
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