Archive for the Nuclear Apocalypse Category

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…

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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.

Isn’t Modernity Funny: Environmental Risk and Crisis

Posted in Nuclear Apocalypse, Rhetoric, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 11, 2010 by jessicabarranco

Have you noticed that you don’t really flinch or even notice the things people say these days?  Have you ever zoned out a discussion about the end of the environment, the end of the world as we know it?  Imagine going about your daily life knowing that you are part of the environmental problem, but not doing anything to stop it.  Sure you are “recycling” that radioactive soda can, and you safely “disposed” of your CFC infused Asthma Inhaler; but did you even notice that it was radioactive(Nuclear Scrap), or that the CFCs are depleting the Ozone layer?  These issues, among countless others we encounter everyday, are weighing down our response to potential risk.  How can we address each and every environmental problem, when there are so many to deal with?  It is only human to find the constant drone: “we’re killing the earth and we’re all going to die” environmental rhetoric pretty funny; wouldn’t you say?

So what’s going on here?  Society is becoming desensitized to the idea of risk and environmental crisis.  The availability of environmental information and awareness can be found in politics, daily life, academic study, and yet people are sucked into a game of beating the odds and surviving the apocalypse.  Environmental thinkers are no longer interested in finding the solution to the problems, and perversely gamble nature’s resources against capitalist systems.  Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon bet that as natural resources are used up, the price will go down due to the scarcity created as they are used up.  Well, as the Simon/Ehrlich Bet goes, the capitalist system does not reflect the availability of resources  in the environment.  But why has the environment become a mockery?  Consider Ulrich Beck’s, Politics of Risk Society:

In terms of social politics, the ecological crisis involves a systematic violation, or crisis, or basic rights, and the long-term impact of this weakening of society can scarcely be overestimated.  For dangers are being produced by industry, externalized by economics, individualized by the legal system, legitimized by the sciences and made to appear harmless by politics.  That this is breaking down the power and credibility of institutions only becomes clear when the system is put on the spot.

So basically, the environment is being researched, processed, and served on a daily news platter with a side of antienvironmental thought to go with it.  What else do you want on the menu, Environmental risk is found in almost every aspect of daily life.  From contaminants in drinking water to the chemicals found in the shirt you are wearing, you can’t exactly claim that you didn’t know the environment was a risky thing to interact with; now could you.  As much as we adapt to our environment, and learn to cope with the contaminants we encounter, are we just settling with current conditions?  Frederick Buell suggests that we should not only be aware of these risks, but that we should embrace the current environment as kin, “…to consider intimacy, nurturing, education, caring, embeddedness, embodiment, exposure, and vulnerability as crucial aspects of environmental as well as social-human, experience.” (207, From Apocalypse to Way of Life)  If we can embrace the earth and the biotic systems within it, maybe we can stop laughing, and address all of that built up ecological karma we’ve been hoarding. (Buell, 194)

I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm

Posted in Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Nuclear Apocalypse, Popular Culture, Post-Apocalypse, Risk & Fear on March 9, 2010 by coolaccordionest

June 2031

Remy’s iWatch buzzed causing her to open her eyes to the blistering sun.  Falling asleep under the old gazebo wasn’t the smartest idea due to the dangers of the creatures and the weather.  Then again, neither was living alone.  Granted, that wasn’t much of a choice these days in the first place.

She picked up her backpack, making her way towards the flat.  Walking slowly, she thought back on her dream.  These days it was the same thoughts playing over and over.  The memory of when the global crisis warnings where just warnings and not reality, right before they really started to kick into effect.

The droughts, dust storms, and sweltering heat caused by global warming had been the start of it.  In school, she had learned about the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s but by the time the modern day dust bowl set in, no one could take anything from history.  It was already too late.  Overpopulation started to really effect the world causing famine, even worse pollution and very little pure drinking water.  Mankind continued to break the world with its nuclear waste and genetically modified organisms.  The question then became how long could we play God?  Now the Earth was rebelling against its people and there was nothing they could do to stop it.

Remy remembered her mother talking about the environmental protests to save the Earth before it was too late.  The main thought was it was a government hoax to keep people in line.  Even celebrities who promoted the cause couldn’t help.  People were too stubborn and it was them and only them that could have prevented the mess Remy still found herself in.

Remy opened the door to her flat, walking into the biohazard arctic entryway.  She took off her clothes leaving them wash bin and hopped in the shower.  Because of the massive amount of pollutants in the air, she had to be careful to keep her apartment clean and free from anything that might make her sick.  She had to stay here to take care of Ruby, her chocolate lab, and see how the world would end up.

Remy dried off, put on clean clothes and entered the flat.

“Hey Ruby.  How’s my girl?”  Ruby’s soft coat rubbed again her hand.  “I should have let you go with me.  You could have kept me from falling asleep. That could have been really bad.”  Ruby’s sorrowful eyes replied back to Remy with a yes.  The lab was her only companion and sometimes the only thing that kept her sane.

“Let’s get us some food and update our Facebook status…. Not like there’s really anyone who cares to know.”  Ruby barked.  “I know, terrible joke.  I’m trying to stay positive.”

She walked to the kitchen looking in the pantry for something other than Spam.  When they said that food would last a nuclear fallout, they weren’t lying.  Looking down at her iWatch, she scrolled through the music selection.  Just like Billie Holiday, she had her love to keep her warm for a long time.

The Crazies: effective biohazard containment

Posted in Nuclear Apocalypse, Popular Culture, Risk & Fear on March 4, 2010 by rcspray

So this weekend I watched a strangely apt movie: The Crazies. The plot line of this fantastic remake is basically this: Government plane transporting biological weapon crashes in the marsh that the town of Ogden Marsh (http://ogdenmarsh.com/) uses as its water source. Rather than warning the citizens of the danger, the government waits until the townspeople start going murderously crazy to contain and shoot – everyone. After this mass genocide is over, the government deals with the remaining toxic contamination by NUKING the city (which is in the middle of farmland Iowa) and writing it off as a mild chemical explosion from a nearby plant.

Welcome to Ogden Marsh, Iowa. The friendliest place on earth.

This movie deals with three themes of this week’s reading: the responsibility of the government to warn citizens about the affects of chemicals, nuclear radiation (always an effective way of stopping another manmade, rapidly mutating toxin – superheat and irradiate) and the perception of risk.

The very idea that the government is shipping biological weapons across American soil and not even bothering to notify the citizens when something goes wrong makes our skin crawl, though as Rachel Carson points out toxic chemicals are used everyday (especially in farmlands), and everybody sees it as the norm – not even questioning whether massive food production is so important we have to poison ourselves and the environment for it.

And then they set off a nuke and downplay it, like an inverse Three Mile Island.  I’m especially fond of the idea of minimizing the effects of one manmade chemical with another, but isn’t that often the way we deal with it? (Like the fact that you can get cancer from radiation, but then you go into radiation treatment, never really made sense to me). Is the effects of one toxin better than another? And what about the effects of compounding toxins, which Carson deals with in her selection? (I want a sequel where the blood-crazy infected of The Crazies combines with the cannibal monsters of The Hills Have Eyes)

this +

this = awesome(ly relevant)

But see, in The Crazies, all this happens in the space of three days. It is a single disaster that drastically effects everyone involved (you’re either dead or two surviving heroes). The risk is very real and undeniable, whereas the effect of everyday toxins is not only slow but unacknowledged.