Archive for the Environmental Security Category

“Here it comes!” “Global warming!” Ahhh!

Posted in Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Popular Culture, Risk & Fear on April 28, 2010 by jessicabarranco

After talking about security, and questions about fear and power, I wanted to share this link with everyone.  This is how I feel about the environment sometimes, so I hope that this episode of South Park will help answer any lingering questions about global warming.

Please enjoy!

Click on: Two Days Before the Day After Tomorrow

Episode 908 (Original Air Date: Oct 19, 2005)

A GLOBAL WARMING STATE OF EMERGENCY is declared in South Park. The world’s largest beaver dam breaks and floods the adjacent town of Beaverton. As the victims wait for help to arrive, everyone in South Park tackles priority number one: who is to blame? Only Stan and Cartman know who’s really at fault.

Rescue ME Blondie

Posted in Environmental Security, Popular Culture, War with tags , , on April 21, 2010 by jessicabarranco

Punk heroine to the rescue! Beware of blondes and lipgloss

Well, I can’t find the actual comic strip to post… but I did get a kick out of the movie!

Just wanted to pass it on.

T.M.I. (Too Many Issues) in Natural Disasters

Posted in Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Rhetoric on April 15, 2010 by Rita

This is my last blog and I feel somewhat slacking in my responsibilities. Yet, on the other hand, I am struggling with this week’s topic: Natural Disasters.

Don’t get me wrong, I know what Natural Disasters are and as you’re reading this I’m sure you’ve thought of at least a dozen recent Natural Disasters. I know that I could have inserted copious numbers of videos illustrating examples of this week’s topic but I felt it would be trite.

I have never been in a Natural Disaster yet, I can empathize with those who have and survived. Reading Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell and the article, “We Know This Place”: Neoliberal Racial Regimes and the Katrina Circumstance by Jordan T. Camp and the constant reference to Sunni Patterson’s poem, We Know This Place, I literally cannot grasp the topics discussed and I honestly do not understand where the authors are coming from.

An example of being unable to wrap my mind around these topics is Sunni Patterson’s relating how the citizens of the Ninth Ward (predominantly poor blacks) in New Orleans were mistreated after hurricane Katrina is in direct relation to the days of slavery. Maybe its my naive nature but I never thought of the issues raised by the authors.

A Natural Disaster is horrendous and we all realize that the media cannot and the vast majority do not report without an agenda or bias, so it is no surprise when listening or watching the news that only what has “shock value” and/or looks “good” on camera is reported on.

I don’t understand why these authors and the communities devastated by disasters feel/believe that their governments must rush in and save them. Is it actually written in any of the constitutions of the governments of the world?

I guess for me knowing how the U.S. government has behaved in the wake of Natural Disasters in this country and how it has treated it’s citizens makes it crystal clear that it cannot and should not be relied upon in a community’s time of need.

“Natural” disasters

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Natural Disasters on April 14, 2010 by rudweiser

It’s understandable that humans have always placed the blame of natural disasters on external forces completely out of our control. We can’t even begin to conceive the possibility that something so radical, something believed to be solely caused by natural cycles on Earth, could be triggered by human activity. It’s not only wrong to think we don’t play a role, but pure ignorance to not consider ourselves as a factor. Earth’s environment is incredibly fragile and can easily be manipulated through the seemingly smallest activities of humans (i.e. burning fossil fuels, introducing alien species, oil drilling, etc). The real trouble arises when we try to change the environment to suit our needs rather than adapting to it. As we try to manipulate it to conserve our current lifestyle, unforeseen consequences are inevitable as we change Earth’s natural ways.

Adapting to the natural environment or ourselves?

How about our on-going race to secure resources? Everything from mining, logging to solar panels and hydro-electricity are being utilized to capture energy and will be used more extensively as the population continues to grow. These are all unnatural and have adverse effects on the natural environment, another way of changing it to our needs.

Three Gorges Dam

According to National Geographic, the Three Gorges Dam could hold enough water that the weight could tilt the Earth approximately 2 to 3 degrees. What effects could this have on the climate? How this climate shift effect natural disasters?

It’s difficult for me to have an optimistic look on the future. We are the smartest organisms on Earth, yet we cannot figure out how to adapt like all other organisms. We’ve dug ourselves in so deep with trying to maintain our current way of life that we have made natural disasters unnatural. Complete restructuring of our political and economic systems to adapt to the environment is a utterly perplexing and seems altogether impossible, yet the only permanent solution.

Gotta get Mine

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Apocalypse, Rhetoric, Risk & Fear, War on April 8, 2010 by Taylor Manuel

Through exploring the connections between war and the environment, there seems to be an  overwhelming voice speaking to an escalation of conflict in the interest of securing increasingly diminishing  resources. I think that in carrying on discussion in this area it is important to note that though there seems to be an increase in such conflict, securing environmental resources and conversely using them in war has been an aspect of conflict from the very beginning of war itself. Though technology certainly magnifies the impact and feasibility of environment both as weapon and reason for war.

Geo-political interest in foreign occupation has become just as permanent as the basses we have established.

If securing oil and gas resources is the major motivation for military occupation and national security, why do we put boots on the ground in the name of “Democracy and womens rights”? I suppose the answer is an obvious one, but is securing access to dwindling resources not just? As selfish as it may seem. Not to mention, profitable!

Unrelated to this theme, its interesting to think of Natural disaster being used as a covert weapon. Both in  cause and or response.

Gordan J. F. Macdonald was a visionary professor in Geophysics. In 1968, he wrote a book entitled, “Unless Peace Comes: How to Wreck the Environment.” He writes:

Man already possesses highly effective tools for destruction. Eventually, however, means other than open warfare may be used to secure national advantage. As economic competition among many advanced nations heightens, it may be to a country’s advantage to ensure a peaceful natural environment for itself and a disturbed environment for its competitors. Operations producing such conditions might be carried out covertly, since nature’s great irregularity permits storms, floods, droughts, earthquakes and tidal waves to be viewed as unusual but not unexpected. Such a ‘secret war’ need never be declared or even known by the affected populations. It could go on for years with only the security forces involved being aware of it. The years of drought and storm would be attributed to unkindly nature and only after a nation were thoroughly drained would an armed take-over be attempted.

This strategy of covert war, coupled with the securing of resources and invasive population control presents an interesting dynamism…

Short Truth of War

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Uncategorized, War with tags , , , , , on April 7, 2010 by jessicabarranco

As nature triumphs over wilderness that has been devastated through war, society becomes enamored with the anthropocentric idea that through our actions, nature is given the means to survive.  People live in a constant state of war.  It challenges our assumptions that nature will succeed, regardless of how many people we kill, or how many are impoverished or living in degradation.  It seems that if humans can’t live there, it would be unexpected for any form of life to strive or even flourish.  Why is this the case?

War can be viewed as humanity’s natural state; poor, nasty, brutish and short (Hobbes quoted in Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology).  If the world’s greatest percentage of people fall under these categories of being poor, they must also entail the other qualities as well.  In the chapter on War and Peace, there are a number of civilizations that are in constant, militarized state of war.  In these areas, nature flourishes, even to the extent that in some places, tigers are remediating the clean-up of blood shed and death in combat zones.  “Tigers rapidly move toward gunfire and apparently consume large numbers of battle casualties.” (Environment, p. 230)  Naturally, wildlife is able to find a use for those we find disposable; the dead.  What nature has a hard time surviving is the constant pressure of incessant population growth.  Since we separate ourselves from nature in our mentality, we have this idea to digest: “The worst degradation is generally where the population is highest.  The population is generally highest where the soil is the best.  So we’re degrading earth’s best soil.” (Environment, p. 221)

What role does society play, if the idea of war is natural, and the thought that nature can survive this tension? Western society gives us the false notion that we are secure in our system of government, and that in times of need or chaos, it will step in to mediate the relationship between man and nature.  But at what point are we responsible for our individual role in this relationship?  It is wrong for us to assume that society is maturing in its knowledge of natural systems, and to instead, we should find the means for survival elsewhere.  I suggest an approach similar to Lauren’s ideas for survival from Parable of the Sower.

Civilization is to groups what intelligence is to individuals.  It is a means of combining the intelligence of many to achieve ongoing group adaptation.

Civilization, like intelligence, may serve well, serve adequately, or fail to serve its adaptive function.  When civilization fails to serve, it must disintegrate unless it is acted upon by unifying internal or external forces. (Butler, p. 101)

It is up to the individual to recognize his limits.  It cannot be guaranteed that those with the inability to succeed will be protected from the government.  It would be ignorant to wait for a superficial entity to have the answers in times of chaos, when this same structure struggles to unify its people under one system on a daily basis.  As Simon Dalby writes in Environmental Security, “the point is not simply that knowledge is power, but that knowledge and power are imbricated in each other in complex discursive formations…” (p. xxv).

“War can damn Earthly ecosystems to hell.”

Posted in Climate Change, Environmental Security, Natural Disasters, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized, War on April 5, 2010 by Rita

     I am honestly torn by my title statement, which was stated by Alan Weisman in, The World Without Us, because on the face of it, war does devastate and yet Nature (make me happy) finds a way. An example is the DMZ in Vietnam where land mines are spread far and wide. Agent Orange used quite liberally and yet flora and fauna are flourishing in this dangerous ecosystem~a safeguard from man, so to speak. Other examples are ship and plane wrecks in the ocean and how Nature adapts and assimilates to this by-product of war.

     Then just as easily, as tossing a coin in the air, you can find: images, stories, videos, documentaries etc showing and illustrating the devastation of areas like Iran/Iraq where Nature has been decimated, forced to oblivion, having had to give up because the organisms cannot thrive, let alone survive.

     Like stated in the class handout, War and Peace, it’s true that:                     

               “Overpopulation and ecological collapse in any one country or region burden the entire world community and the biosphere itself.”

and

“…in the long run, everyone’s prosperity depends on the health of the whole.”

     SO, HOW DO WE CHANGE OUR BEHAVIORS AND FIX THIS?

     Afterall, bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity!

     In closing,

                                                                         Love & Take Care,

                                                                                                     Me

                                                                                                    

 

What to believe? What to do?

Posted in Environmental Security, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 by rudweiser

On December 3rd, 1884, more than 27 tons of toxic gases leaked from a pesticide manufacturing facility in the Indian city of Bhopal. The gas spread to bordering communities, killing thousands and leaving 500,000 exposed. The Union Carbide Corporation based in New York never protected the people of Bhopal by knowingly sending untested hazardous technology there and not implementing an emergency plan for a potential gas leak. The company also withheld critical information for medical treatment. Today, the area still has no been decontaminated and still pollutes the drinking water. Very little compensation has been rewarded.

Sound pretty similar? The disaster in White Noise is almost identical to the one in Bhopal, India. The people had no clue of such toxic materials in the area, there was no evacuation plan (SIMUVAC), and the government didn’t have any treatment for such exposure. Not warning any nearby towns is the number one danger because people won’t be ready for such a disaster. But, possibly not granting the public this information was for the best. Certainly I’m not advocating people should die unnecessary deaths, but carrying on with life is much better than worrying everyday.

It’s frightening how much we trust the government with our health and safety. They can tell us whatever they like and because we don’t know any better, we take their word to be true. In White Noise, Jack ponders to himself, “In a crisis the true facts are whatever other people say they are.” If we don’t have any previous knowledge, we accept others facts to be reliable.

It’s frightening the world we inhabit today. We get the impression that we are protected because “The greater the scientific advance, the more primitive the fear,” when really it should raise the fear since technology is usually the cause of these disasters, especially when people handling these have little regard for the safety of the people around. I guess we’re in the hands of others.

So who or what can we trust?

Exxon has failed to clean up much of the oil. It still pollutes the beaches endangers wildlife

The Toxic Avenger

Posted in Environmental Security, Nuclear Apocalypse, Popular Culture, Post-Apocalypse, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized on March 24, 2010 by coolaccordionest

“Hurry up, Ruby. Come on, girl.”  Remy looked back at her chocolate lab wagging her tail behind her.  The red suns’ rays beamed down on both of them as they trotted their way towards the forest.  It seemed hotter than normal this morning.  Remy looked down at her iWatch, only 114 degrees.  She wondered why she felt like it was out of the usual.  It could have something to do with the massive amount of supplies she was carrying for those “just in case” moments.  Today she planned on walking towards the government building for more supplies and to snoop through their files.  It wasn’t if anyone was there to stop her.

The walk to the building was simple if you could easily find the pathway.  Even though the droughts had come and the people had vanished, the land had started to rebuild itself.  Certain areas of the Waverly city had become densely populated with huge forests. A small stone pathway made its way from the main city to the forest.  Once you got there a small path was barely recognizable.  Remy knew she had to be careful do to creatures created a decade ago.

Before Remy’s mother Susan passed away, she had informed Remy of the government’s undercover plan to alter animals with toxic waste. The toxic waste used was left over and created from the decades when humans still believed it wasn’t completely harmful.  People had always laughed at the stereotypical ideas of two-headed cows, things like “the flukeman” from the x-files, villains such The Joker and heroes like the Toxic Avenger, but now the government’s undercover chemists and biologists where making it a reality.

In 2019, a group named SCAMM (Scientists Creating Advanced Mutated Mammals) started working on a program called Project Skyscraper.  Their idea was to use toxic waste in certain doses to mutate mammals creating a race of super species making them potentially faster, stronger, and generally better than before.  This project started off using mice and rabbits, testing them in minute doses.  At first the changes were barely recognizable.  The rabbits could hop a little bit faster and the mice could carry heavier loads.  The scientists started to get impatient with their project therefore testing bigger animals like dogs and cats on much higher doses.  Not only did the animals become incredible strong and fast but their senses also drastically increased.

After finding this out, the next step for the scientists was to start human testing.  They figured that humans would have the same results as animals but they were wrong.  The first tests in low doses worked out fine, increasing health and wellness.  The scientists had the idea of turning these “doses” into pills to sell to the general audience. The pill was labeled Zoodacliftin (zoe-da-cliff-tine) and was sold for $300 for a bottle of 20.  The idea was to take one pill a day but as humans are, they started to over dose on the pills.  The effects became the opposite.  Everyone over dosing would get weaker and weaker, their senses going out of wack.  Quite a few people became blind, stopped hearing and smelling and even some lost the ability to talk.  When the people started to take a stand against the government, the government blamed the pharmacist saying it was wr0ng and unmoral of them to try and play God.  This brought up an upraise.  Not only were people dying of the drug, but now the war it caused.

Ruby barked towards Remy.  “Hold on, I’m coming, I’m coming….” She looked through the last bit of trees. Sure enough, Ruby had informed her that she was there.  The sign above the door read “Waverly Government Building.”  Remy opened up the door which let out a huge creak.  She slipped inside shutting it fast after Ruby entered.

Pat pat pat pat.

Remy turned quickly, hearing a set of footsteps.  Ruby growled at the darkness.   “Ssshhhh girl!” she whispered.  She brought out her gun and flashlight, pointing both in the opposite direction. The outline of a man turned towards her.

“Hello?” the voice in the darkness called.

A Society Preoccupied with Risk and an Economy Unable to Think Past the Length of its _____….

Posted in Environmental Security, Popular Culture, Rhetoric, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on March 11, 2010 by Taylor Manuel

It’s becomes a difficult dichotomy when the same risks that emerge in society are fed to us by mega-corporations in a globalized economy. As Beck and Buell point out, the knowledge of risk is available only with the tools of education and income, as well as the ability to avoid some of those risks. How are we to know what is safe to eat, drink, wear, and use when we put our faith in the companies that make them, to make sure they are, and they aren’t? Even when we have federal organizations like the FDA who are suppose to filter things like this. Its scary to think that even corporations whom we think to be healthier and more environmentally”friendly” are sued for human harm i.e. Odwalla. Who are behind these companies which we think to be from local farmers and on another level then the other products on the shelf? Well in the case of Odwalla its Coca-Cola, the Nike of the beverage market! Or what about Monsanto and the rBGH in Milk? ” Does a Body Good.”

Sadly the list goes on. Mega-corporations are taking over both production and advertisement, essentially controlling consumption. There are but a handful of organizations that own the media and their monopolizing grip continues to tighten.

We are a nation of democracy, but few of our powerful structures are such. The structure of military and of these corporations are not conducive to democracy, they are hierarchical structures in which he have no say.  Mega- corporations don’t respond to the voices of the polis, nor do they respond to the voices of government. These corporations more often then not would rather pay the fines they are issued in order to continue serving their short term interest rather then change their ways. It was recently estimated that the world’s top firms are responsible for $2.2 Trillion in environmental damage, but can you really put a price on that? And do consumers know the externalities of their purchases when they go to buy a T-shirt, or a cup of coffee? Let alone the the impact of public policy and goods: water and waste.

We can’t help but live in a risk-society, it is and will be a part of our daily lives forever. But how do we live as safely as possible in the face of giants? Risks are folded into every purchase we make by the companies that make them and we rarely will know what those are. We demand alternatives yet even those become corporatized, or are not as safe or environmentally friendly as we assume. Someone may become a vegetarian thinking that it is a safer and healthier and or environmentally responsible diet, but where does the soy you eat come from? What was done to the land to make room for those soy bean fields, and what do you think happens when animals start grazing on them? They shoot them, or they die from the toxicity of herbicides : )

Illegal deforestation to make room for soy field in Brazil

So what are we to do? I don’t know I just know things are messed up, and information and knowledge about the companies behind the labels we buy, is the first step to any form of change, though acquiring that knowledge is becoming more and more difficult, with companies attempting to skew their brand logos images and company mission statement more favorably i.e. Green-washing

If you care to laugh in the face of this… %^$%#