FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

A Dripping Wet Chemical Planet

Photo by Scott MacIver | CC by 2.0

Each and every year an avalanche of toxic chemicals, amounting to 250 billion tonnes, drips over Earth, which, over time, will sanitize all life, turning the planet into a massive gooey glob that glistens dazzlingly orange, not vividly blue. Already, scientists categorize Earth as a “toxic planet.” (Source: “Scientists Categorize Earth as a ‘Toxic Planet,” Phys.Org, Feb. 7, 2017)

“Earth, and all life on it, are being saturated with man-made chemicals in an event unlike anything in the planet’s entire history,” says Julian Cribb, author of ‘Surviving the 21st Century’ (Springer International 2017), Ibid.

Nothing is spared. Mercury is found in Arctic polar bears. Honeybees are dropping like flies. Insect abundance is falling off the edge of a cliff, down 75%, which itself is an extinction event. And, drumroll please, Mt Everest’s snow is so polluted it doesn’t even meet EPA drinking water standards, absolutely true. Dangerous levels of arsenic and cadmium have been found in snow samples taken every 1,000 feet up, according to Samantha Langely-Turnbaugh, professor of environmental science, University of Southern Maine.

So, how does this affect the human species?

Well, for starters, man-made chemical emissions are, far and away, the largest human footprint on the planet. And, here’s the strange scary aspect: It’s one of the least understood or regulated. So, even though Earth is turning into a chemically soaked sphere above and beyond the wildest of imagination, according to UN Environment Program, most of those chemicals blanketing the planet have never been screened for health concerns.

According to WWF Global research, only 14% of chemicals used in largest volumes have the minimum amount of data available to make an initial basic safety assessment. Oh, well!

So, not only is the planet saturated dripping wet with chemicals, it is largely being done in the blind. Nobody knows for sure the upshot of the biggest most gigantic of all time chemical spray in all of history as toxic chemicals literally drip off the planet. Witnessed from outer space, aliens must be horrified. No wonder they haven’t landed.

Humanity could be at risk like never before but nobody really knows for sure how or why at the very moment when worldwide capitalism is cranking faster than ever before now that state-run capitalism is so popular and ingrained in Oligarch-Heaven Russia and Red Communist China. The upshot: Considerably more unregulated chemicals at the rate of 2,000 new chemicals released every year. That’s five (5) brand new chemicals soaking the planet every day. As a result, industrial toxins are now found worldwide in newborn babies. When will humans start glowing in the dark?

Meanwhile, medical science is increasingly linking issues such as obesity, cancer, heart disease and brain disorders like autism, ADHD and depression to the massively growing titanic volume of toxic chemicals dripping off the planet.

Notably, only recently, the global threat is coming to surface, for example, a recent landmark study of insects showing a 75% falloff of abundance over 27 years. That in and of itself is an extinction event! (See Caspar A. Hallmann, et al, More Than 75 Percent Decline Over 27 Years in Total Flying Insect Biomass in Protected Areas, PLOS, October 18, 2017)

Problem: People need insects a lot more than insects need people. Without insects 80% of plants will die. The plants are angiosperms, meaning they need pollination. Mass starvation ensues. There’s no way around it.

Now that the UN and the chief scientist of the UK have come out in protests of rampant peacetime chemical warfare lodged against humanity, it is all the more interesting, actually disheartening, to follow America’s leadership role in the wide, wide world of chemicals.

Beyond U.S. policy, here’s what the world, via the UN, says about pesticides: “The current assumption underlying pesticide regulation – that chemicals that pass a battery of tests in the laboratory or in field trials are environmentally benign when they are used at industrial scales – is false,’ say the scientists,” (Source: Damian Carrington, Environmental Editor, Warning of Ecological Armageddon After Dramatic Plunge in Insect Numbers, The Guardian, October 18, 2017)

What to do? After all, it’s claimed the world will go hungry without pesticide control. However, according to a UN study, it’s a myth that pesticides are essential to feed a fast-growing population, See:  “Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Human Rights Council,” UN General Assembly Thirty-fourth Session, Agenda item 3, Jan. 24, 20170, to wit: “Pesticides cause an array of harms. Runoff from treated crops frequently pollute the surrounding ecosystem and beyond, with unpredictable ecological consequences. Furthermore, reductions in pest populations upset the complex balance between predator and prey species in the food chain, thereby destabilizing the ecosystem. Pesticides can also decrease biodiversity of soils and contribute to nitrogen fixation, which can lead to large declines in crop yields, posing problems for food security… Despite grave human health risks having been well established for numerous pesticides, they remain in use.”
Try organic farming on for size and see if it fits and crop rotation and crop-cover natural farming techniques rather than industrialized chemically grown crops.
A recent New York Times exposé, “Why Has the E.P.A. Shifted on Toxic Chemicals? An Industry Insider Helps Call the Shots” (10-21-17), delves into details about toxic changes at EPA, figuratively as well as literally a real killer of a story.

When it comes to peacetime chemical warfare, the Trump administration simply gives the finger to both the UN and the UK chief scientist, and for that matter, all scientists. Who needs’em? The Trumpeters think it is just dandy, just great to loosen up the regs. “Cease and desist overregulation” is their mantra. Let the chips fall were they may, and stop the crazy over-regulation becuz it hurts making America great again. Indeed, the Trumpeters are pure fodder for the Sixth Mass Extinction. Just what Dr. Doom ordered.

Contrariwise, there are times when science verbiage makes common sense, a lot of common sense, for example: “Our data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event.” (Source: Paul R. Ehrlich, et al, Biological Annihilation via the Ongoing Sixth Mass Extinction Signaled by Vertebrate Population Losses and Declines, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 114, no. 31, May 23, 2017)

In other words “biological annihilation” is right around the corner. Isn’t that just great! Thus therefore and furthermore, ponder for a moment impending biological annihilation in the context of the Trump presidency.

But, thank heavens, in stark contrast to Trump administration officials obliterating EPA, the UN is on the warpath, warning of “catastrophic consequences” from use of pesticides, claiming manufacturers systematically deny any harm and use unethical marketing tactics. After all, it’s a $50B industry on a dollars and cents basis worth the risk to chemical manufacturers to hoodwink the public as long as possible. Legal fees are easily paid out of profits to defend lawsuits. According to the UN, 200,000 people die each year from acute poisoning, and who could possibly know of the numbers of cases of cancer or Parkinson’s or liver failure. Nobody knows, and therein lies the heart of the problem of “not knowing” what nobody knows (not a quote by Donald Rumsfeld).

It is worthwhile taking note that pesticides are found in honey around the world. Yes, honey, the stuff people like to spread on bread and eat, lots and lots of honey. Here’s a quote from Science Magazine, Pesticides Found in Honey Around the World, Oct. 4, 2017: “Insecticides are cropping up in honey samples from around the world, a new study finds, suggesting that bees and other pollinators are being widely exposed to these dangerous chemicals.”

No kidding, that’s exactly why insect abundance has plummeted by 75%. Nothing could be worse, other than a Trump nuke attack simultaneously on both North Korea and Iran. That would likely knock out the remaining 25% insect population. Then, who knows what?

More articles by:

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at rlhunziker@gmail.com.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
April 06, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
COVID-19 and the Failures of Capitalism
W. T. Whitney
Donald Trump, Capitalism, and Letting Them Die
Cesar Chelala
Cuba’s Promising Approach to Cancer
David A. Schultz
Camus and Kübler-Ross in a Time of COVID-19 and Trump
Nomi Prins 
Wall Street Wins, Again: Bailouts in the Time of Coronavirus
Dean Baker
Getting to Medicare-for-All, Eventually
Dave Lindorff
Neither Pandemic Nor Economic Collapse is Going to Be a Short-Lived Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
Capitalism in America Has Dropped the Mask: Its Face is Cruel and Selfish
Ralph Nader
Trump’s 7 Pro-Contagion Reversals Increase the Coronavirus Toll
David Swanson
A Department of Actual Defense in a Time of Coronavirus
Ellen Brown
Was the Fed Just Nationalized?
Jeff Birkenstein
Postcards From Trump
Nick Licata
Authoritarian Leaders Rejected the Danger of a COVID-19 Pandemic Because It Challenged Their Image
Kathy Kelly
“He’s Got Eight Numbers, Just Like Everybody Else”
Graham Peebles
Change Love and the Need for Unity
Kim C. Domenico
Can We Transform Fear to Strength In A Time of Pandemic?
Mike Garrity
Alliance for the Wild Rockies Files Lawsuit to Stop Logging and Burning Project in Rocky Mountain Front Inventoried Roadless Area
Stephen Cooper
“The Soul Syndicate members dem, dem are all icons”: an Interview with Tony Chin
Weekend Edition
April 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Omar Shaban
Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19
Rob Urie
Work, Crisis and Pandemic
John Whitlow
Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day
Jonathan Cook
The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus
Paul Street
Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Control of Nature
Louis Proyect
COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper
Kathleen Wallace
The Highly Contagious Idea
Kenneth Good
The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.
Andrew Levine
Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.
Ramzy Baroud
Tunisia Leads the Way: New Report Exposes Israel’s False Democracy
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the State-of-Emergency Pandemic
Matthew Stevenson
Will Trump Cancel the Election? Will the Democrats Dump Joe?
Ron Jacobs
Seattle—Anti-Capitalist Hotbed
Michael T. Klare
Avenger Planet: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?
Jack Rasmus
COVID-19 and the Forgotten Working Class
Werner Lange
The Madness of More Nukes and Less Rights in Pandemic Times
J.P. Linstroth
Why a Race is Not a Virus and a Virus is Not a Race
John Feffer
We Need a Coronavirus Truce
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”: the Ultimate Floating Signifier
Victor Grossman
Corona and What Then?
Katie Fite
Permanent Pandemic on Public Lands: Welfare Sheep Ranchers and Their Enablers Hold the West’s Bighorns Hostage
Patrick Bond
Covid-19 Attacks the Down-and-Out in Ultra-Unequal South Africa
Eve Ottenberg
Capitalism vs. Humanity
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 2: Panic On the Streets of Tehran
Jonas Ecke
Would Dying for the Economy Help Anybody?
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail