Capitalism, Chris Hedges, Climate Change, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Corporate State, Ecological Overshoot, Endocrine Disruptors, Environmental Collapse, Extinction of Man, Inverted Totalitarianism, Mass Die Off, Professor Julian Cribb, Professor Paul P. Elrich, Rachel Carson, Regulatory Capture, Silent Spring
In my last post I juxtaposed the absurdity of the President speaking about the moral imperative of gun control, all the while the deadly effects of climate change have steadily mounted, promising to wipe modern civilization off the face of the Earth by the end of this century. Similarly, another insidious and seemingly invisible danger lurks all around us, constituting a much greater threat than firearms or numerous other dangers that society sees fit to launch high-profile campaigns against. Professor Paul P. Elrich has warned of man-made environmental toxins and their long-term effects:
We don’t know nearly enough about most of them [man-made chemicals] or how they might affect our health in the long-term, especially mixed together. There may be surprises ahead that we won’t like,’ said Professor Ehrlich… According to Professor Ehrlich, global toxification ranks with climate disruption and acute biodiversity loss as one of the world’s most serious environmental problems.
The Earth is a closed system and within that system
30 >400 million tonnes of man-made chemicals are produced annually by the chemical industry whose size is expected to triple by 2050. According to a study by Onstot and others, everyone alive today carries traces of 700 chemicals which have become ubiquitous in the environment and whose effects are poorly understood. Industrial capitalism’s dehumanizing fetish for technology along with its overriding concern for protecting profits has unleashed a growing flood of toxic pollutants into the biosphere.
Between 1930 and 2000 global production of man-made chemicals increased from 1 million to 400 million tonnes annually. – link
This toxic soup has been created in just the last 100 years and has embedded its poisonous fingerprints into the biological make-up of all living things on the planet. An article sent to me by Professor Julian Cribb provides some shocking numbers that describe the extent of industrial civilization’s toxic accumulation in the environment:
…The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, in a regular survey, finds certain industrial ”chemicals of concern” in the blood of 90 per cent to 100 per cent of the American population. The Environmental Working Group, a US non-government organisation, in independent tests reported the finding of 414 industrial toxins in 186 people ranging in age from newborns to grandparents. In a further disturbing piece of research it found 212 substances, including dioxins, flame retardants and known carcinogens, in the blood of newborn babies, who had been contaminated while in the womb. Tests from China to America to Europe have discovered industrial toxins in the breast milk of nursing mothers.
Groundbreaking Australian research has found even when dead and buried, people release their toxins back into groundwater and the environment, giving them back to future generations…
Just as the fossil fuel industry funds groups to confuse the public on climate science, so too does the chemical manufacturing industry hide behind the mantle of manufactured scientific uncertainty. What good is a system that hides the truth and circumvents government regulation, endangering and killing people so as to protect the agenda of profit-seeking corporations? Any social good touted by industry is negated or severely diminished from the environmental degradation and the damage to public health/safety of these unregulated chemicals. Increased cancer rates/deaths, multi-generational birth defects, and a collapsing environment unfit for human or animal habitation is not “progress” or “advancement”. As Chris Hedges would say, it’s the myth of human progress. Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, wrote about capitalism’s inability to self-regulate in the interests of public safety:
When a scientific society acknowledges a trade organization as a ‘sustaining associate,’ whose voice do we hear when that society speaks—that of science or that of industry? This is an era of specialists, each of whom sees his own problem and is unaware of or intolerant of the larger frame into which it fits. It is also an era dominated by industry, in which the right to make a dollar at whatever cost is seldom challenged. When the public protests, confronted with some obvious evidence of damaging results of pesticide applications, it is fed little tranquilizing pills of half truth…
…The major chemical companies are pouring money into universities to support research on insecticides. This creates attractive fellowships for graduate students and attractive staff positions. Biological-control studies, on the other hand, are never so endowed – for the simple reason that they do not promise anyone the fortunes that are made in the chemical industry. This explains the otherwise mystifying fact that certain outstanding entomologists are among the leading advocates of chemical control. Inquiry into the background of some of these men reveals their entire research program is supported by the chemical industry. Can we ever expect them to bite the hand that feeds them?…
At the rate we are fouling the Earth, trying to cover up our mess is becoming increasingly difficult: