Tuesday, March 29, 2016

It Was Fun, While It Lasted.

"The water's getting hard to drink
We've mangled up the country side
The air will choke you when you breathe
We're all committing suicide
But it's alright
It's progress folks keep pushin' till your body rots
Will strip the earth of all it's green
And then divide her into parking lots

But there's nothing you and I can do
You and I are only two
What's right and wrong is hard to say
Forget about it for today
We'll stick our heads into the sand
Just pretend that all is grand
And hope that everything turns out okay"

Steppenwolf The Ostrich

"Well, I'm not a scientist." When a politician makes that statement you can almost bet the next words will be something along the lines of "so I can ignore scientists, overwhelming evidence, and scientific reasoning, and quote almost verbatim the words given to me by the insanely profitable multi national corporation that bought me my cushy government office." An outstanding addition to this list is the Mayor of Oklahoma City, who worked closely with oil companies to re-invigorate the city, when asked about the earthquakes rocking the state.

Recently the United States Geological Survey updated it's Hazard Map. Oklahoma is now as seismically active as California. Overwhelming evidence indicates that the process of fracture drilling for oil and natural gas, and the waste water it produces are the culprits. Estimates are 35 barrels of water for every barrel of oil produced by fracking. The water is injected back into the ground. In Oklahoma they chose the Arbuckle Zone for disposal. It seemed ideal, there was capacity for the waste and it was far from freshwater.

Sadly, it created stress on the carbonate rock formations. Further, it provided a lubricant between the existing fault lines. Two factors that were almost perfect combination, create stress and provide an outlet for relief along fault lines that had not moved in 300 million years. Unless you happen to live in Oklahoma. Then it becomes a little worrisome. 

It would almost be futile to try to count the elected leaders who have made the simple statement "I'm not a scientist" about climate change. If you are so certain the science is wrong why use such a blanket statement as defense? Why claim ignorance if there is readily available evidence to the contrary? It is a lot easier to deny a problem than to find a solution.

Not too long ago a few small voices linked immunizations to autism. Despite empirical, overwhelming evidence that immunizations save lives, thousands of lives, and no proof, at all that there was a link between  vaccines and autism, parents rushed headlong towards rubella, mumps, chicken pox, any number of illnesses that had almost been eliminated. The medical community was outraged. But, parents, or people, looking for a bandwagon are not too fussy.

The scientific community has overwhelmingly supported the technology to modify foods. Food that is more resistant to insects and requires less pesticide, crops that are better suited to drought,  but people will shake to their souls extolling the dangers of FrankenFoods. Yet, the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the US National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society, and every other respected organization that has examined the evidence has come to the same conclusion, these foods are as safe as foods from the original crop. They are just easier to grow, less likely to fail, and less expensive. In a world with an exploding population, an unstable climate, and shifting realities they may be the only hope for continued existence. 

"But, there's nothing you and I can do, you and I are only two". Next month I have my yearly physical with my doctor. If he tells me that my cholesterol is too high, I am going to tell him that it is fine, no need for concern, I am not a doctor, after all. My friends wonder why I am so pessimistic about the future of humanity. They only have to open their eyes.

Someday all of these chickens will come home to roost. Someday we will have argued our way into the next big extinction event. We will use ignorance as our ally, and indifference as our shield, and the race will perish. And nobody will be left to hear "I told you so." So, I will say it now.