Archive for the Risk & Fear 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.

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When It’s All Said and Done, I Want It to be Over: Final Blog Post

Posted in Natural Disasters, Post-Apocalypse, Risk & Fear, Uncategorized on April 28, 2010 by cjreevesii

As I sit here writing my last blog post, I am reminded of all of the others that not only I, but my classmates have written before. A various range of genres flooding my thoughts, but all pertaining to one specific subject: eco- collapse. During my time in this class I have learned a lot about what makes our world go round, and if I may correctly say, what will eventually make it stop turning altogether. However, after everything I have learned from this class, two questions continue to pop in mind. Is the earth really going to end? If so, why are we trying to stop it? Although I understand that we as humans are selfish and would love to preserve our time spent controlling every possible element of the earth we can, I myself think that it would be better to let the earth die.

Now I know what you’re thinking. Why would anyone want the earth to die? Surely that would mean the death of all mankind dying with it. Well, I will tell you why. After much reading (thanks professor Ray) and discussion on what direction our planet is heading, I have determined that the conclusion is not good. Surely after all of the war, pollution, extinction, deprivation, death, global warming, natural disasters, (and the list goes on) the earth will be a ball of flames, born anew out of ashes, spinning without us. Although this may seem a bleak and out willful future, I believe it will ultimately do the earth more good to continue without us. Honestly, it’s no secret that we humans have done nothing to help restore the balance in the world. More accurately, we are almost always the cause of any bad thing happening on the planet, and sadly we do not seem to see the error of our ways.

Alan Weisman, the author of The World Without Us, gives us an astounding realization of our behaviors when he says “Every four days our population raises by 1 million. Since we really can’t grasp the effects of the numbers, we will crash and burn just like other species have done in the past.” It’s clear to see that from our own destructive ways we are harming the planet more every day. Would it be so much of a stretch to think that we humans could have one act of selflessness and ‘take on for team earth’? Surely we all know that the earth can go on without us. I would even venture to say that it will do quite better without human influence misguiding its path.

Well, from my perspective, when it’s all said and done, I want it to be over for us humans. Although I am eager to see just how many other share my opinion. Weisman seems to think that no matter what (even if the human race becomes extinct) we will never truly leave the earth alone. He ended his essay (which I will leave you with as well) with these last haunting lines. “Or even one day-long after we are gone, unbearably lonely for the beautiful world which we so foolishly banished ourselves- we, or our memories, might surf home abroad some comic electromagnetic waves to haunt our beloved earth.”

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…

“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

                                                                                                    

 

Charles’s Job Part III

Posted in Climate Change, Natural Disasters, Risk & Fear with tags , , , on March 31, 2010 by Conor

As the warmth from the water has loosened up his joints, so also did it loosen his memories allowing them to fall back into the vaults of recollection. He opened his drawers and stared down at his clean clothes.

“How about we mix it up today. I’m thinking, gray.” He reached down and picked up one of his three identical shirts, each the color of cigarette ash. As Charles pulled it over his head he walked into the observatory. Every time Charles walked into the observatory, he felt like he was walking onto the bridge of the Enterprise. There weren’t any windows, but three enormous screens covered the walls opposite the entryway. The monitor to the far left was on, but was completely blank, showing only black. The center monitor was cut neatly in half, the lower section a mottled blue, white, and gray, while the upper section was a roiling, gaseous, dark gray and black. This monitor was currently viewing the glacier that sat just above the bunker and also the sky just above it. The far right monitor showed a view of stumps, all black and jagged. Acres of hills covered with these ashy, sharpened shadows of a once lush environment, like the short bristled hair of a cancer patient in remission. He went to the station for the far left screen and selected input four. Instantly the black vanished, replaced by a frothy expanse of water, as dark and ominous as the sky it shared a horizon with. This was the window through which he had watched, fifty years ago, as the four horsemen rode down from the sky upon their flaming frozen chariot. Death decimated the denizens of Earth, from Dijon to Denmark, delivering devastatingly destabilizing vibrations directed through every diameter of the Earth destroying foundations and felling buildings. Pestilence’s particles flew ‘round the earth perforating lungs, plunging people into paroxysms of sputum spewing coughs. Famine salted our earth by shrouding our Earth, fumes and phosphorous flying furiously, full-blown and unfurling from France to Fairbanks. War was late. War drug its well-worn heels, wielding its great weapon of wanton opportunism and willful wasting of life and blood.

The comet, christened Iblis by the astronomer who spotted it and plotted its course, lived in the Haley-family of comets, and was pulled out of the Oort Cloud and towards the inner solar system. Since Charles had been locked down there, he’d had a lot of time to study up on his astrophysics. While he couldn’t do the math, the theories (outside of black holes) made enough sense. Yet, as much sense as it made to him, on all his computer projections and actual data recorded by satellites and scientists in the months afterwards, the chance of it still haunted him. Some passing asteroid, or transient astral body had to swing through the Oort Cloud and pull Iblis out of that silent riot of ice and stone in quiet space to come hurtling into the solar system. While traveling in, slowly moving towards the largest gravity well (Sol) it had to not hit a single other planet, or meteor, or asteroid, or space alien, and transect the orbital path of the Earth at the perfect moment to smash into Europe and hit the special reset button that gets bumped into every few million years. As far as Charles could tell, no one had ever bothered to calculate the odds. For that he was grateful.

The astronomer who discovered Iblis contacted NASA to let them know what he had just learned. In 13 months the planet would be changed forever. Some special group, some committee in some sterile room with calculators and computers and chrome and cold lighting decided that it wouldn’t be possible to save a community of full-grown people. That this cold committee, trained not to feel but only to think, could only guarantee the survival of one grown man for approximately 60 years. That was when they began to build his compound.

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.