Tuesday, November 27, 2007

But We Don't Impact the Environment

Since the fallout of Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize (and by "fallout," I mean the sour grapes green envy wrapping itself around and enlivening the deniers of pollution and global warming), we've been treated to a gross swelling of the subcutaneous fart bubble that is the ignorance of right wing talk radio and others that claim - unequivocally - that we don't impact the environment and that to argue such is foolhardy.

In Time Magazine's report, "Peak Possibilities," it states that "In July 2006, the world's oil rigs pumped out crude at a rate of nearly 85.5 million bbl. a day" (current goal is 100 bbl. a day). To put this in perspective (at 42 gal/bbl), at peak, we were pulling the equivalent of 7 and a half Giants Stadiums - full to the brim - out of the ground. Every day. Even now, every three to four hours on this planet, we are extracting a Giants Stadium worth of crude. How does that not affect our planet?

But idiots still say global warming is a scare, that we're not impacting the environment.

I guess if we're taking, we should talk about putting back. And we put back like hell. But, again, we're going to need something of relevance to convey the staggering numbers. How about the Sears Tower? It weighs 440 million pounds or 220,000 tons.

Let's look at some numbers from Wikipedia on Pollution:
Millions of Tons of CO2 per year:
  • United States: 2,790
  • China: 2,680
  • Russia: 661
  • India: 583
  • Japan: 400
  • Germany: 356
  • Australia: 226
  • South Africa: 222
  • United Kingdom: 212
  • South Korea: 185

US Specifically from 1970 to 2006:
  • carbon monoxide emissions fell from 197 million tons to 89 million tons
  • nitrogen oxide emissions fell from 27 million tons to 19 million tons
  • sulfur dioxide emissions fell from 31 million tons to 15 million tons
So according to the previous numbers, the United States alone pumps 12,682 Sears Towers into our atmosphere. The top 10 polluters together pump 37,795 Sears Towers into the air.

And please do not forget to mention carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide. Combined, the United States pumps out 559 more Sears Towers into the air. Yes, those are even more dangerous - to us - than carbon dioxide, and that's the same air we breathe.

I know; it's hard. Imagine the Sears Tower in Chicago. Imagine it being launched into the air and dissolving into breathable particles. Now do that 558 more times: almost twice a day every year.

But we're not impacting the environment.

The numbers, even with the relative, real-world comparisons, are still hard to imagine, but what is very real and very apparent is that we're affecting our environment by pumping out of the earth and into the atmosphere at a terrifying rate. And we're breathing it in.

And we're still wondering what's causing increasing rates of breathing problems and disease as our medical establishment slowly rises to the concern. And that doesn't include the filth corporations are dumping into our water supply by error or effort, the hormones and antibiotics that are in our source water that aren't checked for in water treatment plants, and how those things affect the sad animal casualties of nonchalance and ignorance.

And there are still those saying we're not impacting our environment.

I guess my only question is one of threshold: what the fuck has to happen before some of these whackjobs will admit "Eh, yeah, maybe we're screwing something up."?

Maybe when they can't be connected in a Six Degrees of Corporations game?

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