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Archive for the ‘Water issues’ Category

From Lester Brown, an important movie: Journey to Planet Earth — Plan B: Mobilizing to Save Civilization —  http://video.pbs.org/video/1864227276

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If the current American government, the Obama Administration, is serious about increasing the number of people with ‘green-collar’ jobs, they ought to start by initiating a massive reforestation/afforestation plan which is organized on a local/county basis.  More Americans also ought to be trained in forestry and related environmental fields instead of ones which are mostly useless or even harmful to society such as banking/usury, paper-pushing, unnecessary legal jobs, etc.

A nationwide reforestation/afforestation plan would be rather simple to do, and it would also employ very many Americans who are currently unemployed and/or underemployed.  Trees ought to be replanted everywhere possible in an organized and methodical way.

Trees help to control the loss of vital topsoil to erosion, and they also preserve water/moisture in soils.  Additionally, trees absorb excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and use it to produce oxygen (which is of course a necessity for human existence).

Deforestation causes droughts — believe it or not, the trees and other natural vegetation of a region often ‘interacts’ with the localized atmosphere to produce rain, humidity, and other beneficial weather patterns. Thus, when you cut down most of the trees in an area and clear the land for houses, parking lots, shopping centers, skyscrapers, factories, etc, the land will eventually become a desert or semi-desert if trees are not eventually re-established in to the habitat.

Did you know that much of Italy, Spain, and North Africa used to be heavily forested back a few thousand years ago in ancient Greek/Roman times and of course long before that? Now widespread desertification has occurred in many areas of those countries since the ancient inhabitants of those areas often cleared the land of trees (to make room for farmland, pastureland, and towns/cities) and thus a lot of the rain eventually left those areas as a result of the loss of vegetation.  Over time, incessant winds (which were once mostly blocked by trees or other vegetation) have loosened or blown away the topsoil which also became increasingly dried out from the sunlight beating down on it constantly due to the lack of a forest canopy to protect it from getting sun-baked on a daily basis during the hotter months.  Whenever it rained heavily a lot of topsoil was washed away due to the lack of trees and associated vegetation, the roots of which once served to hold that precious topsoil in place.  Thus, over a period of centuries after an area had been deforested, entirely new deserts or semi-deserts were formed where once lush forests thrived.

The USA and other nations ought to learn from the catastrophic mistakes of past civilizations instead of repeating them.  I propose that a nationwide program of reforestation/afforestation is needed in order to make sure that we do not slowly turn large swathes of North America in to a desert-like environment in the coming centuries due to irresponsible and unsustainable levels of deforestation.

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Water is of course the most precious and vital resource on our entire planet.  It is the basis of not only human and animal life but all other forms of life found on Earth as well.  Nevertheless, this most crucial of resources is being overused, polluted, mistreated, and mismanaged by nearly every country on Earth.

Though water is a renewable resource, it has obviously not renewed/refreshed itself quickly enough to keep pace with the population growth which has occurred in the past few centuries (but most especially in more recent decades).  There is increasing freshwater depletion and pollution occurring all over the world; pristine ancient aquifers are being almost totally pumped dry for agricultural use as well as for industrial purposes, while at the same time we are ignorantly dumping much of our wastewater right back in to the fragile water cycle and causing enormous environmental damage as a result.

Many major rivers and lakes are not only being massively and perhaps even irreversibly polluted, but we are also over-damming many of them and thus horrifically interrupting the crucially important water cycle.  There is also massive waste of much-needed freshwater happening all over the world.

Additionally, as we continue to pave over more and more of the Earth’s surface in the name of ‘progress’ we are clearly preventing the natural replenishment of many important underground aquifers (due to the fact that water is unable to seep through concrete and recharge groundwater), which will certainly have extremely dire long-term implications.

Similarly, our oceans are becoming more and more polluted and overfished than they already have been in the last century.  Pollution and overfishing (in the oceans, rivers, lakes, streams, etc) has already led to the total extinction of a large number of aquatic species.  Raw sewage is wantonly and routinely dumped in to the oceans all around the world.  Industrial and agricultural chemicals/poisons run-off of factory sites as well as farm fields, and then funnel into many rivers which often have their terminus in the world’s oceans.

For example, many sailors as well as scientists have noted that a disgusting man-made ‘island’ is floating far out in the Pacific Ocean – this ‘island’ is composed entirely of human garbage and is approximately the size of the U.S. state of Texas.

Appalling and inexcusable damage has already been done to the world’s vital water resources, and it will likely take centuries if not millennia for the Earth’s water to return to a healthier and more sustainable/natural state.  Unfortunately, the situation in regard to water resources is likely to get worse as the human population continues to grow and increasingly overstrain the already fragile, interrupted, and badly damaged water cycle of our planet.

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I. The Current Human and Environmental Crisis: A Call to Action and Overview of Major Problems

II. Population and Demographic Issues
a. Overpopulation and the resultant overstraining of vital resources

III. Water: The Basis of All Life on Earth
a. Increasing freshwater depletion/pollution
b. Massive wasting of valuable freshwater
c. Ocean pollution and overfishing

IV. Soil: The Foundation of Human Civilizations
a. Topsoil loss: widespread erosion and soil mismanagement
b. Soil contamination/pollution
c. Over-farming/soil exhaustion
d. Over-reliance on fertilizers/pesticides/chemicals/etc

V. Food: Everyone Has To Eat
a. Very unstable food supplies
b. Industrial agriculture/factory-farming is cruel to the inhabitants of Earth (both humans and animals) and is entirely unsustainable
c. The widespread loss of knowledge regarding food production due to overdependence on automation and machinery for food production

VI. Air: We All Breathe
a. Air pollution
b. Weather/ozone problems: climate change/global warming, etc
c. Deforestation: the collapsing lungs of our Earth

VII. Living Patterns: They’re Going to Have to Change…Drastically
a. Unsustainable overconsumption/waste
b. Social (dis)organization is reaching near-anarchic levels in some countries
c. Widespread disconnection/alienation from nature is fueling nihilism and other pathological behaviors

VIII. Energy: It’s What Makes the Modern World Work
a. Soiling our own nest: too much dirty energy (oil, coal, natural gas, etc)
b. Increasing depletion of oil/nat-gas/coal/etc: peak oil?
c. Widespread energy inefficiency/waste

IX. Transportation: Moving People and Stuff Around
a. Increasingly obsolete transportation networks for the current (and still growing) world population
b. Fragile, polluting, and unsustainable supply chains for necessary resources and consumer goods

X. How Long Does Humanity Have to Start On a More Sustainable Path?
a. Is so-called ‘globalization’ sustainable or even desirable?
b. The danger of over-contentment, procrastination, neglecting to act, and general human laziness
c. The specter of regional, national, or even global collapse/disintegration

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The Human Sustainability Plan (THSP)

OUR EARTH

PERSISTENT PROBLEMS – SOME SOLUTIONS – INACTION IS IMPOSSIBLE

It is increasingly difficult to deny that humanity is spiraling out of control on multiple levels.  As such, this website seeks to offer commentary on and possible solutions to the current socio-environmental crisis.

I particularly seek to provide a gathering place for links to other websites and/or pertinent research resources which are focused on the modern ‘green/sustainability movement,’ human/environmental sustainability, environmental conservation/protection, all aspects of environmental science, ecology, enviro-economics, ecopolitical issues, natural resources, simple living, agrarianism, localism, and a myriad of other related topics.

If you know of more good websites, books, or any other sources of information pertaining to environmental topics please put them in a comment here or in another post so that I can take a look and then possibly add them to the links section of this website if they prove informative and helpful.

Also, please don’t be shy in terms of criticizing the ideas contained on this website, as well as correcting the grammar, word usage, and/or stylistics of my writing if you catch mistakes.  Any and all criticism is very helpful and is fully welcome here.

I’m adding the entire categorical structure of this website to this particular post (see directly below) so that readers can get a sense of what topics this blog will focus on.

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