Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Environment. Show all posts

Wednesday, 2 February 2022

COVID and Plastic Waste

Where Is All That Plastic Going?

Recently a relative was sent to hospital for non-COVID related issues but while there, he was tested for COVID and the test was positive. This is very common.

What I found more interesting were his observations on just what is happening inside our hospitals today. I am fortunate not to have stayed overnight in hospital for my own care since I had my tonsils out as a child. However while visiting and supporting others I have stayed overnight. Besides how difficult that was for me (nowhere to recline; too many noises; no food etc.) I was able to observe all the activity.

At the best of times before COVID, staff were overworked. It made me realize that I could never be a nurse. I also appreciated our free medical program in Ontario, Canada. Even in normal (without COVID) times there is a tremendous amount of waste produced in hospitals. Much of it is filthy and/or contaminated. Safe disposal is a problem.

Now the problem must have increased exponentially. Every time a nurse had to attend to this person, even to change an IV or remove a bed pan, they had to totally "suit up" with new PPE (personal protective equipment). This can include gloves, masks, goggles, gown, face shields for starters. Most of this is plastic or rubber.
We already have an immense problem disposing of plastic. Much of it still goes into the ocean.

So where is all of this additional material going? Considering all hospitals across the modern world the problem is immense. This is just the disposal problem. Imagine the cost!

If anyone out there knows the answer please reply. Hopefully land fill or the ocean is not the answer.

#thebrewsterblock

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Will a Big Bang also destroy Life on Earth?

The Destiny of Planet Earth

I am a layperson not a scientist, or priest. Still I have always seen the ultimate demise of our planet coming in one of three ways. To me they involve simple common sense.

The first two involve the same appreciation of the universe or cosmos as I have expressed in the past when addressing life on other planets. The number of heavenly bodies is so huge we can't even appreciate it. If you can grasp in your mind what trillions of trillions means you are ahead of me - by light years!

My simple view is that any other heavenly bodies we have viewed via telescopes always seem to be round and desolate. Let's ignore asteroids and meteorites. Our planets and more distant bodies all look spherical with barren surfaces of possibly rock or dust, usually marked by lots of craters. I am not aware of any that are a cube or any other geometric shape. This alone indicates to me that they all had a similar beginning, whether big bang or something else.

If this is true then I have to assume that many if not all of them also have a similar structure to Earth's including a core of molten lava under extreme pressure.

So here comes catastrophe number one. Look at what happens to surrounding lands when a volcano erupts for a long time. Molten lava covers everything in its path. Volcanic dust does something similar. The result looks like the surfaces of the other planets. Could life and vegetation have existed under their dust and rock prior to the big one? If Earth's core finally exploded in many places over a short period we would all be buried in ash and water. Earth would now resemble the moon or Mars.

The second is very similar. It is already generally accepted that a huge collision with Earth occurred millions of years ago which wiped out the dinosaurs and many other forms of life. That could certainly happen again, and if the fracture of Earth's crust were severe enough, the result would be the first scenario - buried in lava, dust, and water in addition to the effect of the shock.

We can not do anything about either of these. Sorry, but prayers won't save us. This is also why the third demise is even more tragic - no pathetic.

Yes folks, in this one we destroy ourselves. Transgression number 1: The atmosphere and the environment are indeed changing. Much of the existing habitable land will be under water. This is the same land we need to grow food.

This adds to Transgression number 2. The population is forever growing and there will be fewer places to live. History surely proves to us that in such a situation there will be war and genocide on a massive scale. It's is pure survival of the fittest or might is right. People will literally be fighting for their lives. When the war becomes international, the nuclear option will be used. That will lead to a different but still  uninhabitable world for man. Maybe the dinosaurs will return hundreds of millions of years thereafter.

We can do something about the self destruction. When are we going to start?

Hopefully today's youth are a lot wiser than their ancestors.

#thebrewsterblock

Monday, 6 September 2021

Can Biden be a True War Time President?

More World Problems to Solve

On August 7th I wrote a piece "Problems for the World to Solve" - together. Read that one if you have not. This is a continuation.

The prime reason for our runaway environmental problems including the melting of the ice caps, fires, and super storms is that the world's leaders, both political and business, have ignored them - just kicked them down the road for the next generation. In fact this is primarily business leaders because they usually control the politicians.

Why do they stall? It is simple. Super, super rich people - the one percent - who live so lavish lifestyles we can't even imagine them, are by and large selfish. Not all are but most. Do auto executives really want to get rid of petroleum powered cars? Do oil execs want them to ? Do bank execs really want to teach people not to use credit to buy things they want rather than need? Do politicians really want to make the ultra rich corporations and their execs pay their share of taxes when those same entities finance political campaigns?

What individual really needs to be a billionaire let alone a multi-billionaire?

Let's go back to the title. Trump claimed to be a War Time President. Really? His administration did finally get industry to ramp up production of things we vitally needed to battle COVID. Good for him and those businesses. For the sake of our future, don't stop now.

In conventional wartimes Presidents and Prime Ministers - even dictators - got big industry to do some amazing things. Plants were halted and converted into making planes, tanks, and munitions. Women who traditionally did not work outside the home went to work making all of those things. Remember Rosie the Riveter? Luxury items were put on hold and vital foods were rationed to feed troops.

So why can't these business leaders who were capable of rapid development of aircraft and ships do the same again? We ARE in another war to save this planet. Stalling again will commit our own offspring to disasters only a few generations away. Is the lavish lifestyle really such a personal priority that you are willing to see your grandkids suffer?

Here is the list from August 7th:

Cars: Eliminate petroleum powered ones
Plastics: Eliminate or vastly reduce its use while ramping up ways to re-use and re-cycle it.
Drinking Water: Develop inexpensive ways to convert ocean salt water for those who have no drinking water.
Food: Build more giant greenhouses and stop eliminating farmlands. Develop more proteins from plants.
Energy:We need more clean energy that people can afford
Shelter: China is building multi-floored apartments in one day!
Clothing: Many have none or only one or two garments.

As mentioned, the COVID pandemic provided another example of what can be done in a hurry when lives are at stake. Now how about:

Harnessing the tides. This has begun in some places. The amount of energy available is virtually limitless for our purposes. Use it to power electrical generating plants.

Sunlight: Use focused sunlight through huge convex or parabolic mirrors to boil water (or other liquids?) which then power steam driven electrical generators.

Meat: This is a tough one but cattle create a lot of atmospheric gas. We love our beef but we would probably be better off without it. The land could be used for crops which are more healthy than beef. I now drink soy milk which I prefer and it has more vitamins and minerals by percentage than regular milk from cattle.

Population Control: This is even more controversial than eliminating beef but the world's population expansion is a huge problem. Limits on offspring per couple would help immensely. China has tried this but is considering its reversal. Until some of these other problems are solved it might be a good thing to press the pause button on an ever expanding population. If not mandated, then incentives could be offered.

International Aid: Surely in the long term helping 3rd world countries with education, equipment to grow crops, purify water, and build rudimentary shelter is cheaper than trying to overpower countries with war and military force? The problem is getting international bodies to cooperate.

Pay for Public Resources: Finally my favorite. This really gets those super rich mentioned above very up tight. Several administrations say the rich should pay their share. They don't. Usually the means is going to be income tax - and it should be. But there are other ways.

Living in a home over a certain size per resident should cost a high premium for electricity; gas; water; and property size. The same applies to vehicles and boats with huge engines for sheer enjoyment. The idea that since they "earned it" they should be able to have these things can no longer be justified. In many cases they did not - their parents or grandparents did. Many hard working people can't afford basic food OR shelter.

However the big one is that most of the huge corporations formed by individuals use immense amounts of those same resources to run those businesses. Some are manufacturing and resource processing plants; hotel chains; airlines and shipping to name a few. These businesses all utilize public resources paid for by you and me: electricity; gas; water; roadways; airports; maritime ports; liquid and solid waste. We pay for it but they get to deduct it as expenses thereby NOT paying the requisite proportion of costs to build and maintain all of that infrastructure. Meanwhile we can not deduct our paltry amount of electricity, gas, water, sewage etc. to run our homes.

THAT should change. The businesses will say that if such expenses can not be deducted, then prices will rise. They will. But then other businesses will find ways of becoming more efficient and competitive. Somebody has to buy their products or services.

Saving the planet is indeed a war. Super rich people are in the best position to wage it without becoming more rich in the process. Some very rich people have already given back to the society that made them rich and still are: Bill Gates; Warren Buffet; Ted Turner; Many celebrities too numerous to mention are also giving back.

The super rich I have in mind make the net worth of most celebrities pale by comparison. 
Cough up guys. You will help restore the the American Nightmare to the American Dream.

#thebrewsterblock

Monday, 17 May 2021

The Graduate and Ocean Pollution.

Benjamin Braddock was seduced by Mrs. Robinson and... ?


Once again readers are probably looking at today's title and wondering what I am smoking. There is a link folks. For those old enough to have seen this great movie when they were themselves about the age of Ben (Dustin Hoffman), see if you can remember. Someone else took him aside for a little talk.

Mrs. Robinson gave him the most famous "talk" and also a look at one side of women he might not have seen before. However she was helping herself as much as Ben.

I was watching a documentary on ocean pollution. They were trying to capture a seal ("Buckethead") in order to remove a plastic ring from a bucket which had become stuck around his neck. It also featured underwater shots of the terrible amount of floating plastic in the ocean. Sometimes people are the lowest creatures on the face of the planet.

Remember yet? The actor was Walter Brooke who played Mr. McGuire. I had to look this up but I remembered him saying one word. I also remembered how beautiful Katherine Ross was as a young bride.

At a graduation party where everyone was so proud of Ben (Dustin), Mr. McGuire steals him away to have a quick word. When alone he says 'I only have one word for you - you listening Ben? One word - PLASTICS.' Ben is silent and puzzled. The idea was that there would be a great future in plastics and Ben should consider a career choice in the field.

What a future. Plastic is one of the most widely used man-made substances - it is in everything. One problem - there is no viable way to get rid of it. It is ruining our oceans and our bodies. No doubt though, many Mr. McGuires have made fortunes on it and still are.

Welcome to the Industrial Revolution. Like all revolutions, something gets out of control other things are unintentionally destroyed.

#thebrewsterblock






Katherine Ross

Thursday, 1 April 2021

George Floyd Continued...

Could This Have Saved George?


There is one thing that I have not heard in all of these proceedings which might have saved George Floyd's life - perhaps not but as we have heard many times - what if?

Now that we have all seen the videos, after the first officers arrived to investigate the fake $20 bill, they went to George's vehicle. It seemed pretty obvious to all that he was indeed high on something. He even admits to "hooping".

Why then didn't the officers simply arrest him for driving under the influence? Even though he was not in motion, he had been driving the vehicle and was in control of it when they demanded that he exit the vehicle. Surely this was a more serious charge. Passing a $20 whether intentional or not wasn't going to put others in harms way. Driving that Mercedes while apparently high put many people in danger including himself and other passengers. They could have charged him with both.

It seems to me in most places under these conditions that would have been the first priority - some kind of sobriety test to get him off the road. The first officers would not have seen him in the store but we did and he was acting abnormally. Once in custody they could have addressed the fake bill charge.

I know it is hindsight investigation but this should have been the focus of the first two officers. If George had been informed that he had to get out of the vehicle to demonstrate his sobriety he might have been more inclined to do so since he, like most people, probably thought he was OK to drive. Then Chauvin might not have been called.

Something else to consider
...

#thebrewsterblock

Sunday, 28 February 2021

Climate Change and Very Nasty Consequences


Where will the new Atlantis happen?


This is not an academic question. The only difference between the mythical (?) underground city and today's reality is that today the water is coming up to meet the city and not the other way around. If the polar caps and glaciers keep melting the way they are this meeting has to happen. Bury your head in the sand about this and soon it will also be under water.

Perhaps a climate expert - not an armchair denier - could answer something here. Let us assume that mankind and its nations finally get their acts together and convert to all renewable energy with very minor carbon and other types of emissions. By the time that happens most of the glaciers and a lot of the polar ice will have melted. So if - and that is a BIG if - average temperatures start to fall again will the polar caps increase in size or just slow down their disappearance? If they grow will the coasts start to emerge again?

One thing seems certain to me - when the glaciers have gone they will not return just because average temperature falls. That is like using all the ice cubes in your freezer and hoping that tomorrow you will have more cubes in the trays without filling them (assuming no ice cube maker). Glaciers took millions of years and one or more ice ages to form.

I am going to buy Bill Gates new book on the subject. Say what you will about him he has the IQ to understand this and suggest solutions.

This is my biggest concern:

We already know that obscenely rich and powerful people can be very greedy. Add a total lack of sympathy for others and an American gun mentality and you have a very bad climate indeed. What happened on January 6, 2021 is nothing. Imagine all of the most expensive houses on coasts - everywhere - being totally useless under several feet of water even if you can still see part of them. Millions of former inhabitants will be looking for the best places to live elsewhere. How will they get that existing real estate? The same way nations have in the past - war. They will attack people, and TAKE the land and houses they want. If they succeed WE will probably be looking for a place to live.

I won't be around to see this - nor will Bill Gates. It is sad but millions of others in our generation don't seem to care. As long as they live their rich greedy lives contributing to the problem it will be left to others - their kids and grandchildren.

#thebrewsterblock

Monday, 30 November 2020

20 Years of Prison time for Dumping Garbage on the Roadside


Littering at its Worst. People are Disgusting.


OK. That title was designed to grab your attention. If you got this far, it has. The question now is, are you one of the disgusting guilty parties?

The other day I was walking with a friend during this COVID time to get some fresh air and exercise. He lives just on the border between our city and its open country. The road we took has a railway line crossing it five minutes into the walk - north of our city. The area is covered by trees and bushes. Right after the RR tracks, it turns 90 degrees west and there is another lonely stretch of uninhabited scrub plus farmland.

Because there is some room for parking at this railway crossing, there were a couple of families letting their kids play and wander away from the car but safe from the tracks and trains. What they could not avoid however, was the pile of green garbage bags - some now ripped open - dumped there by some scum of the earth citizen.

As we walk we are always amazed at the crap we see in the ditches and on the edges of pastures also dumped - usually at night - by deplorables. One day I saw an entire wooden rowboat rotting and pushed off a trailer to sit in the ditch. There is construction waste; household waste; paint cans; batteries etc.

Almost all of these things are picked up by municipal garbage collection provided by the city. If not, there is a recycle and "dump" facility within ten minutes where the fees for most peoples' loads are very reasonable - a few dollars. I use it all the time.

Forget any argument that times are hard and they can't afford even those few dollars to dispose of items properly. They can apparently afford the vehicle and gas needed to do the illegal dumping. For many, the proper site is closer.

I personally know others who on a daily basis - when they travel to their morning coffee shop - bring the last day's worth of household garbage which they place in any available commercial bin or waste bin. Usually it is the one beside the coffee shop meant for breakfast paper bags and coffee cups or the local Walmart etc. where larger bins might exist. They are too lazy to store this stuff like everyone else in a bin at home until their collection day.

We hear all about saving the planet; environmental change; global warming etc. but what chance is there for accomplishing any of that when we are surrounded by lowlifes who don't give a rat's ass about the personal level items I just mentioned.

Cheap. Lazy. Selfish. The list is much longer to be sure.

If you think you are not included, when was the last time you spit out your chewing gum on a street or sidewalk or tossed your cigarette butt in a similar manner? Didn't want it cluttering up your car? The bin was too far to walk?

Thanks for making our world just a little more hopeless. Oh yes! Please walk your next shopping cart back to its carrel. Don't leave it in a parking spot - probably mine.

#thebrewsterblock





Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Environment Doomsday and Smart Phones

Don't Text and Step Outside Your Door


How many times has it been said not to text and drive or not to use your phone and walk? The danger should be obvious but apparently to some it is not. They drive right into oncoming traffic or walk into a pole (or oncoming traffic).

What is the connection with the environment? Just one of attitude.

Ignore the advice that we have to do something now to save our planet and some day you will step out your front door - while texting - and right into the rising water. It will be too late to fix, but what the hell, you can take a picture or record it. You might even go viral like the water swirling around your feet.


The Brewster

Thursday, 6 December 2018

The Truth About Pollution and it Stinks

It is all in your mind - Literally


Sometimes the truth sucks and this is one of those times.

I maintain that it is not the cars or the smokestacks or the industry waste that is ruining our world's environment: the air we breathe; the water we drink; the food we eat; and the nature we enjoy. WE are the polluters. The buck stops here.

Just like any problems which we want our governments and regulators to solve, we are willing to approve and back whatever is proposed - as long as it affects those other guys and not us. Go ahead and cut the budget but I still want my piece of the social pie. Tell everybody else to buy smaller cars or take the bus but I still need my 300 horsepower muscle car or truck to get to the supermarket or drive to work - by myself. Let those guys drink city or Britta water but I'm sticking to my bottled water and the 365 - ??? plastic bottles of waste that I generate all by myself every year. So what if a few fish swallow some of them?

OK I hope you get my point.

Many years ago despite a huge amount of protest and pushback, the idea that smokers can't pollute the air in public places finally took hold. I don't know what percentage of people used to be smokers so pick any - 50%. The point is that a certain percentage of the population eventually won out over the others through a combination of legislation and common sense.

Here are 10 things for starters which it seems to me involve even larger percentages of the population than those smokers meaning more of us are the guilty parties. Now if we could only manage to convert enough of them to match the percentage of the non-smokers back in the day, imagine what could be accomplished with the holdouts! Most smokers - albeit begrudgingly - finally respected the new rules and attitudes and for them it was indeed a big inconvenience. Surely a similar result could be accomplished with some of the following:

1. Stop drinking bottled water - completely. Companies banned tobacco smoking - do the same here. It should only be permitted for humanitarian and rescue operations. FIlter your own and carry a re-useable bottle.

2. Ban fossil fuel engines of a certain size in passenger vehicles. Permit them only for commercial vehicles, public transportation; industry - like bulldozers; agriculture; military and emergency vehicles; commercial flights. For the rest go four cylinder maximum until electric takes over. Yes I just kissed many jobs goodbye.

How am I doing so far? I can just hear the groans.

3. Stop the "sport" of racing any fossil fuel powered vehicles including boats, monster trucks etc. It will cost some jobs - a few paying millions to drivers and organizers - but a relatively small number.

4. Crack down - REALLY crack down - on those vehicles which are permitted to use internal combustion engines but are spewing smoke and other pollutants.

5. Shut down industrial polluters. This is probably the toughest because they always buy their way out and once again WE the purchasers of their products and services will be inconveniencing ourselves!

6. Completely ban all retail plastic bags for groceries etc. Paying a small fee for them did very little.

7. Ban ridiculous packaging. Plastic should be at the top of the list. This problem should improve as retail stores disappear and more product is delivered since much of the hard shelled stuff is to inhibit theft. Also direct shipping from manufacturers should require less packaging. There will be less displaying of large inventories of products on the shelves of stores. Just package and send.

8. Litter. There are countries in which it is a crime - ethically or by law - to litter. Like smoking, this is a cultural change. One of the best in my opinion is a ban on spitting out your chewing gum. I still can't accept that so many people do this. Anyone caught littering on video should pay severely - no court time required or allowed. (added thought: all gum manufacturers should provide wrappers for disposal as part of the packaging even though I might be violating my own #7. They would still have to be dropped into a litter box.)

9. Households. Turn off anything electrical that you are not using. This is a no-brainer.

10. I don't know much about managing forestry but surely for every tree taken one or more should be planted. Perhaps this is already in place.

There are many, many more that any of you could name. I simply wanted to test the waters and provoke some thinking. How much are you willing to sacrifice?

To summarize we could all cut the crap - or at least some of it - if we took action ourselves.


The Brewster







Sunday, 29 July 2018

If Mother Earth Could Talk

"Are YOU from the Same Planet as ME ?"

I suspect that today or some day soon Mother Earth or Mother Nature (don't know one from the other) will say or probably shout something similar. It might be followed by "Give your heads a shake!"; "Wake up and smell the stench"; "Give me a break - PLEASE!"; and more than likely multiple "What the F_ _ K's". Who could blame her?

Who gave humans the right to destroy so many of the other living organisms on the planet we all share and to mess up the planet itself the way we have?

Denying that climate change is real is right up there with maintaining that Earth might very well be flat. I think that one has been pretty much put to bed by satellite shots of - a round Earth! Unless you doubt the validity of every one of those videos or photographs, let's assume the earth is not flat. We have seen its shape with our own eyes.

Therein lies the problem with those who maintain that things like global warming; the melting of the polar caps; the disappearing ozone layer; increasing levels of carbon dioxide etc. have all been repeated many times in history. SHOW ME THE SATELLITE SHOT! Studying drilling samples, exposed layers of rock etc. is not the same as photographic evidence such as the many shots of our round earth . I hate to borrow this term but this is all "Fake News" -  theories of Geologists and other scientists.

The problem with any such argument is that millions or billions of years ago billions of humans did not exist. (OK - how do I know? You got me!) More importantly neither did all of our industrialization with its pollutants pouring into the air, onto the land, and into the oceans. When someone tries to compare today to a period before any of us existed it is a classic case of comparing apples to oranges.
There is no reliable evidence - just a lot of theory. What there IS however is common sense:
  • Would you climb to the top of any modern industrial chimney and breath in its gases? Why not? 
  • Would you consume food grown in the middle of an industrial waste site? Why not? 
  • Would you drink water known to contain waste from the same site (remember Erin Brockovich.) Why not?
Modern society has been doing all of those things on a trickle basis over hundreds of years. Millions of years ago this simply did not happen - unless an entire industrialized society also disappeared with the dinosaurs. Maybe the dinosaurs had steel mills and automobiles?

Most plants do not grow in the dark. They require sunlight. Block the sun with industrial pollutants and … what's going to happen? Hello?

Most living organisms need water to live. Pollute the crap out of that water and … what's going to happen? Hello?

Most freezers need some kind of insulation to maintain their temperature - a lack of heat at least. Let the heat in and … what's going to happen? Hello? Anything frozen melts. Try it sometime if you don't believe me.

Cut the crap. The only people who deny global warming and all the other damage we are doing are those who make millions from industrialization - in all of its forms - the ones who just don't give a damn about future generations. Oh yes - and their paid politicians. They didn't exist millions of years ago either - I hope.




The Brewster