National Geographic Article on Global...

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Global Warming and Other Environmental Threats: National Geographic Article on Global Warming
Author: Anonymous
Sunday, September 05, 2004 - 12:41 am
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FYI

National Geographic just published an extensive article showing the effects of the current global warming trend. Unlike some studies, this article covers a wide range of climates - from the Anarctic to the Tropics.

See it in their September 2004 issue!

What is distressing:

1) The number of airplane / helicopter flights taken to write this article.

2) The amount of energy needed to maintain glacial cores at sub-zero temperatures, so we can study climate data from the last several hundred years - in hopes of an epiphany.

3) That most people believe science can and will save the day - by building a bridge between current energy consumption and future energy requirements.

4) The fact that the facts don't amount to much. Americans are content to drive 50 miles to work each day, come home to watch the idiotbox for a few hours (sitting in their air conditioned houses mind you), and then go shopping or powerboating on the weekends. Most will admit we are changing the climate, but stop themselves from following that trail.

I dunno. I sometimes think that we cannot prevent the impending collapse of our civilization. Is it inevitable, like the fall of the Roman empire? Nature has a means of rebalancing. Must it come to that? I think yes.

Right now our entire culture is based upon the automobile. Upon oil. Even those of us who like to think we are "environmentalists" or "ecofriendly" could not thrive without the current infrastructure of automobiles and trucking companies. We may be able to survive, but not thrive. Thriving is something that occurs in a community setting, not out in the wilderness.

Community based agriculture is very rare - and even where it is alive, it could not support the number of people present in those communities.

50 years ago people still had a sense of their surroundings. Food was predominantly local. Canning factories could be found in many rural towns. Most people had a backyard garden and a few chickens for meat / eggs. Grocery stores did not carry produce from South America. Supplies were often limited by season, by region, and by real economics.

We must go back to a different standard of living. A standard of living that is NOT based on ultimate human comfort. A standard of living that recognizes limits. A standard of living that is not based upon trade deficits, government budget deficits, and most favored nation status labels. A standard of living that does not provide Chilean grapes, packed in styrofoam crates, refrigerated, loaded onto cargo planes, freighted halfway across the hemisphere, so our appetites can be fulfilled.

We have to get back to an apple cider mentality.

It took over 50 years to lose the knowledge and wisdom that our grandfathers had. We cannot gain it back so quickly.

There are those who like to think that science will save us. It seems that the editors and writers at National Geographic believe this, otherwise, why study climate data, geological periods, and alpine plant retreat?

*We'll figure out how to produce more energy with less waste, foul by-products, and cost.

*We'll produce appliances and devices that use energy in an ultra-efficient manner.

*We'll even "mine" the current landfills. They are full of gold; we just don't know how to process the material.

So much of this is a thread-like hope in our future, because we don't have the answers today.

We are unwilling to change our current habits and appetites, so natural laws will change them for us . . .

This is a very winding post. You see that it comes from a troubled mind, one fraught with questions on how to live now, how to prepare for the future . . .

Blessings to you all!

Author: Larry
Monday, September 06, 2004 - 10:03 am
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Cheer up, Anon! Distressing news is abundant these days, but the little individual can make a difference. Joe Jenkins has generously given us a powerful tool for change. Composting humanure is a basic process that allows a person to take responsibilty for one's ecological footprint. Conserving water, preventing pollution, and returning valuable nutrients to the soil won't make the evening news or the cover of National Geographic, but can make one's life richer and more meaningful. Do what you can, don't worry about the rest.

Author: Anonymous
Monday, September 06, 2004 - 4:04 pm
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Why won't it make the evening news? If things get bad enough I bet it will.

Author: admin
Monday, September 06, 2004 - 7:43 pm
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The Pittsburgh (PA) Post Gazette ran a large article on humanure composting in Saturday's paper (September 4th, 2004).

You can view it here: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/04248/373164.stm

Joe Jenkins

Author: Larry
Monday, September 06, 2004 - 11:33 pm
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Thanks for the Gazette link, the reporter did a credible job exploring the psychological barriers to composting humanure. I hope readers aren't confused by the incorrect statement that composting toilets may include incinerating organic material.
In an earlier career as a pediatric psychologist I worked with many children who had problems with bedwetting and toilet training. Usually the difficulties were short-term and treatable. The broader cultural problem of fouling our collective nest and wasting precious fresh water is a tougher nut to crack. The flush and forget approach offers convenience at considerable economic and environmental cost, while the negative consequences are hidden/delayed. My guess is that a major paradigm shift will occur in the next 20 years as the feedback loop becomes shorter. When a toddler poops in his/her diaper, everyone present knows it's time for a change. Gradually, more adults will wake up to the impacts of "modern waste treatment systems," and hopefully discover that there is a better way to go.

Author: Anonymous
Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 10:35 am
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Poluted drinking water is not hidden.

Author: Anonymous
Tuesday, September 07, 2004 - 11:54 am
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In the post-gazette "the continual flow vertical system" at a Farms Nature Reserve has automatic watering & ventilation systems.It looks like it recycles humanure without carrying the pails & is safe to use on veg gardens. I asked if a home sized one is available. It looks like a step up from the flush one.

Author: Anonymous
Thursday, September 09, 2004 - 1:44 pm
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Thanks for the positive spin Larry! We are doing what we can, but too often our work appears to be a futile attempt.

Thanks for posting the newspaper article Joe. Pretty good write-up too, I thought. Noticed that Heartland woodstove in the picture. Do you guys use this year round, or just during the heating season? We heat with wood, but have not made the jump to wood cooking. We do without HVAC, but fear problems with woodstove cooking during the summer.

Sincerely,
The Downhearted

Author: Larry
Monday, November 29, 2004 - 8:13 pm
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This Global Warming thread has been idle for some time, prompting a few topical comments on the environmental value of composting humanure. One of the "hidden costs" of flushers just became apparent recently when research on the dead zone in Hood Canal (Puget Sound)revealed that 60% of the nitrates feeding harmful algae blooms came from nearby septic systems. As an oyster farmer, I pay attention to water quality issues. Shellfish are the canary in the mine, one of the best indicators of water quality in an estuary.

Washington State law requires its agencies and affected Counties to protect water quality for aquaculture, and fix the problems when harvest is restricted due to pollution. But restoration efforts are often too little and too late. I watched the past two years as the State Health Dept. revised and updated its rules for onsite wastewater treatment systems. Important changes include mandatory annual inspections of septic systems in shoreline areas, and setting effluent limits (with a monitoring requirement) for nitrate levels. Under these proposed rules there could be great incentive to use composting toilets, since most of the nitrates flow through the toilet. Big improvements in water quality could be achieved quickly and inexpensively.

Unfortunately, the tougher septic rules have been put on the back burner, thanks to the election of a new Governor (Republican, former developer). Looks like water quality and shellfish harvesting take a back seat to upland economic interests. But I hang in there stubbornly reminding various bureaucrats that composting humanure can be part of the solution to nitrate pollution. When the not-so-hidden costs of septic systems are eventually factored into the Developers' calculus, they may come to appreciate the value of composting toilets for resurrecting dead zones.

Author: saths
Monday, November 29, 2004 - 9:41 pm
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It's just a matter of time before they catch on.

Author: Larry
Thursday, December 02, 2004 - 11:14 am
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You're right on, Saths. Looks like they are catching on. Check out this summary of recent research on excremental pollution. Another good argument for composting humanure:
Fecal Wastes from Land Bring Infection to Marine Waters, Says Study
“Attention to worldwide pollution of the coastal marine environment has focused primarily on toxic algal blooms and pathogenic bacteria that multiply in nutrient-rich waters. However, massive but unseen amounts of feces from humans, their pets, and their domesticated animals are discharged, dumped, or carried in runoff, bringing encysted zoonotic protozoan parasites to estuaries and coastal waters. Here, they contaminate bathing beaches, are filtered and concentrated by shellfish eaten by humans and marine mammals, and infect a wide range of marine animal hosts, resulting in morbidity and mortality to some populations.” So argues a recent review in the journal Trends in Parasitology.

Author: admin
Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 4:07 pm
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Katrina's Real Name

By Ross Gelbspan | August 30, 2005, Boston Globe

The hurricane that struck Louisiana yesterday was nicknamed Katrina by
the National Weather Service. Its real name is global warming.

When the year began with a two-foot snowfall in Los Angeles, the cause
was global warming.

When 124-mile-an-hour winds shut down nuclear plants in Scandinavia
and cut power to hundreds of thousands of people in Ireland and the
United Kingdom, the driver was global warming.

When a severe drought in the Midwest dropped water levels in the
Missouri River to their lowest on record earlier this summer, the
reason was global warming.

In July, when the worst drought on record triggered wildfires in Spain
and Portugal and left water levels in France at their lowest in 30
years, the explanation was global warming.

When a lethal heat wave in Arizona kept temperatures above 110 degrees
and killed more than 20 people in one week, the culprit was global
warming.

And when the Indian city of Bombay (Mumbai) received 37 inches of rain
in one day -- killing 1,000 people and disrupting the lives of 20
million others -- the villain was global warming.

As the atmosphere warms, it generates longer droughts, more-intense
downpours, more-frequent heat waves, and more-severe storms.

Although Katrina began as a relatively small hurricane that glanced
off south Florida, it was supercharged with extraordinary intensity by
the relatively blistering sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of
Mexico.

The consequences are as heartbreaking as they are terrifying.

Unfortunately, very few people in America know the real name of
Hurricane Katrina because the coal and oil industries have spent
millions of dollars to keep the public in doubt about the issue.

The reason is simple: To allow the climate to stabilize requires
humanity to cut its use of coal and oil by 70 percent. That, of
course, threatens the survival of one of the largest commercial
enterprises in history.

In 1995, public utility hearings in Minnesota found that the coal
industry had paid more than $1 million to four scientists who were
public dissenters on global warming. And ExxonMobil has spent more
than $13 million since 1998 on an anti-global warming public relations
and lobbying campaign.

In 2000, big oil and big coal scored their biggest electoral victory
yet when President George W. Bush was elected president -- and
subsequently took suggestions from the industry for his climate and
energy policies.

As the pace of climate change accelerates, many researchers fear we
have already entered a period of irreversible runaway climate change.

Against this background, the ignorance of the American public about
global warming stands out as an indictment of the US media.

When the US press has bothered to cover the subject of global warming,
it has focused almost exclusively on its political and diplomatic
aspects and not on what the warming is doing to our agriculture, water
supplies, plant and animal life, public health, and weather.

For years, the fossil fuel industry has lobbied the media to accord
the same weight to a handful of global warming skeptics that it
accords the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
-- more than 2,000 scientists from 100 countries reporting to the
United Nations.

Today, with the science having become even more robust -- and the
impacts as visible as the megastorm that covered much of the Gulf of
Mexico -- the press bears a share of the guilt for our self-induced
destruction with the oil and coal industries.

As a Bostonian, I am afraid that the coming winter will -- like last
winter -- be unusually short and devastatingly severe. At the
beginning of 2005, a deadly ice storm knocked out power to thousands
of people in New England and dropped a record-setting 42.2 inches of
snow on Boston.

The conventional name of the month was January. Its real name is
global warming.

Ross Gelbspan is author of ''The Heat Is On" and ''Boiling Point."

Author: Anonymous
Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 2:59 am
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By the way, what would corporate strength be without the stock market? Wouldn't it be a completely different situation in that case?

Author: admin
Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 11:24 am
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Between the clowns in Washington DC and their propaganda network (Limbaugh, O'Reily, FOX, Coulter, Pat Robertson, Dobson, etc.) our country is in a sorry state of affairs.

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