Environmental Apocalypse doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with any prophecies but that isn’t the point there is an enormous amount of damage being done to the planet and it could easily create a snow ball effect where things start getting worse at a much faster rate and it will be too late to stop it until there is an enormous amount of damage. This could lead to wars over dwindling resources and we could wind up with something similar to those post apocalypse scenarios like Mad Max or the Postman. If that does happen it is unlikely that there will be many if any heroes like Costner or Gibson to come along and save the day. This is the real world not Hollywood.
Like any other problem we need to find the cause of it and prevent it. Generally speaking this means we need to stop pollution and restore the damage that has already been done. This isn’t the only problem though the economic system and the control structure that created this problem also need to be fixed.
The easy part may actually be to understand how to stop pollution and repair it in fact that information is almost certainly already available to the public if they look in the right places. Simple things like using more efficient ways of conserving energy and clean renewable energy like wind solar and geothermal can be a very important part of the solution. There also need to be efforts to replace all the trees that have been cut down. Rivers and lakes need to be cleaned up and more importantly future pollution needs to be prevented. One of the most important things that needs to be done is that the public needs to be educated about conservation and they need to understand that if they continue buying things that are beyond their needs and things that are built in inefficient ways it comes at a long term cost that may be greater than the short term benefit. This doesn’t always mean that the public needs to go without in fact with new technology I suspect that there are already many ways that the Public can maintain if not improve their standard of living if they adopt more efficient ways.
The tougher part may be to challenge the current political system and the multi-national corporations that have an excessive amount of political power. This must involve exposing the way things are currently being done in many cases without the knowledge of the public and finding a better way of doing things in the future. In order to do this there has to be a massive public education project so that the public can understand how things are done and participate in the political system. In order to do this they need to understand the basic facts about any given subject. This means we need reform for the Mass Media in the long run. If we can’t get it in the short run then there needs to be a better effort to educate as many people as possible through other grass roots means.
The way the Mass Media portrays the economy you might get the impression that all trade is good whether the customer receives a good deal or not. In many cases the Mass Media is often promoting items that have little or no benefit for the consumer and they use a lot of hype to convince the public that they are getting something worthwhile. We need an economic system where the best interest of the consumer are given at least as much consideration ads the best interests of the corporations. In order to do this the public needs a better education about how the economy works. This means that corporate secrecy has to be reexamined. In many cases corporate secrecy often means they should have the right to prevent the public from knowing how much they are getting away with.
The public needs to have a better understanding of how much damage is being done to the environment in many ways. This can be done buy creating organized studies of just about everything and presenting it to the public in a way they can understand it. In many cases I suspect these studies may have already been done but they aren’t being presented to the public. This may be because the public is too dependent on the Mass Media for information and they have an incentive to hide it since they are collecting an enormous amount of advertising money from the corporations that are doing the pollution. In many cases the best thing to do is to provide organized lists of all the damage that is being done. If people had any idea how many oil spills there were around the world they would realize that the Exxon Valdez is just a drop in the bucket. This is just one example of how organized list could help educate the public. Other lists or studies could include lists of polluted lakes and rivers, studies to tell people how many rain forests have been cut down. Once people understand just how big the problem is they will be much more inclined to act on it. This will also require a great deal of organization to address these problems once the public understands them.
Addressing these problems can’t be done without massive political reform. The biggest threat may be the multi-national corporations who have too much power. This may not be what prophecies referred to but regardless it should be addressed. There needs to be a much better system set up to allow the public to participate in the system and control the elections. This needs to be done in an open manner. A good election reform would involve setting up a system where the public control the election process and handle it more like an interview process. Candidates for office should be required to fill out a job application which should be written by the public with input from expert on any given subject. This should involve questions about how the leaders would handle any given subject starting with the basics based on the most accurate facts available after they are scrutinized for accuracy. The fact that the leaders of our countries have been able to keep so many secrets is part of the problem. There needs to be a right to know for the public in order for them to have the information they need to make decisions.
Similar things can be done for other potential causes for Apocalypse or some threat that seems similar to it. These would involve organizing the information available on any given subject like famine or threats from tornados and finding the causes of these problems and preventing them or if that isn’t possible finding the best way to deal with them. For example a good agriculture system should be able to prevent famine but storm can’t be prevented so a good way to deal with them could be to build tornado resistant houses made out of concrete or the strongest material available so they will last.
If these things aren’t done it could lead to an increasing amount of desperation among the third world residences when they are deprived of the necessities of life including food water and a safe place top live. These are already recruiting territories for the so called terrorist organizations. This is because the people in these areas may not understand how the system is working but they do understand they are getting the short end of the stick so if the traditional leaders won’t address their concerns they may turn to the terrorists. It has often been said that some future wars may be fought over water not oil because the water in many parts of the world is becoming more polluted with the advancement of the global economy. Environmental protection is often only for those with political power. Those who don’t have it often have their homes destroyed and they no longer have incentive to try to get along with others in the world since others are clearly not concerned about their rights.
In order to address this and prevent a snowball effect that can’t be stopped there should be a much better effort to educate the public and set up systems of governments that are truly democratic and stick up for the rights of all instead of just those who have the proper education and know how to stick up for their own rights.
Update 9/3/2010: Blair mountain protest
The recent CNN special on Blair Mountain addressing the coal controversy was welcome in some ways however it has misrepresented some issues and ignored others which may be easy to recognize if you know what to look for.
One of the issues that has been misrepresented has been addressed well by this article from Mother Jones; it is about the fact that they have falsely presented it as a conflict between jobs and the environment. The problems with this is the fact that they’re not providing that many jobs with the mountain top removal project; and further more it seems to imply that this is the only opportunity the local people have to gain employment. The truth seems to be the fact that they’re using the local miners to advance the goals of the industry without providing them with much if anything in return. If the coal industry gets its way then they will continue to destroy the environment and when the few jobs the local people have run out they will finally have no choice but to realize that the coal companies have betrayed them and never intended to help them in the first place; however by then it will be too late. Clearly it would be a good idea to try to find some way to retrain the local people so that they could find some way of earning a living that doesn’t come at such a great cost to the environment and can be sustained in the long term; if they want to remain in the energy business they could find some way to manufacture clean renewable energy although that doesn’t necessarily mean that is necessarily what they’re best qualifies to do.
Another issue that is being ignored are the methods used to manipulate the local miners and the fact that they don’t seem to recognize the fact that they’re being used by the coal companies. In the special that showed on TV they had protester trying to protect jobs claiming to be “lovers of coal.” It is hard to understand why they would lvoe coal at all since it is very tough work, dangerous to their health and it doesn’t pay that well; however they may have been brought up in coal country where they’ve been led to believe that this is the only way they can earn a living. These lovers of coal seemed quite angry and emotional at the protesters who they considered outsiders and hippies as they marched by; in contrast the protesters were much calmer and spoke in a quit tone of voice. When asked if he was a tree hugger one of them said he didn’t think of himself that way. The difference between the attitudes of the two different groups was quite clear. The information available from this special wasn’t enough to come to final conclusions but it may be enough to come up with a reasonable explanation as to why they have behaved in this manner if you combine it with research from people that have studied early childhood upbringing and how it impacts attitudes later in life. The miners from the rural areas were almost certainly raised in an authoritarian manner that involves educating them by using corporal punishment from birth to teach them to believe what they’re told by their leaders, first their parents then later in life perhaps the government, military leaders or employers. This isn’t a gaurentee since there is insuficient research being presented to the public, including me, but it is a strog possibilty that this is part of the explanation for the behavior of the people that are standing up for the best interest of the mining companies even tough they’re not likely to return the favor.
The threat to the environment is of course the main problem but the psychology behind the behavior of those that are destroying it is a factor that has to be adressed if they’re going to suceed in reversing this threat. If they continue to spend more time fighting with each other then the evironmental damage won’t be stopped let alone repaired and this will steadily get worse. The politicians in both major from the most recent election in that state have taken a lot of money from the coal companies and they’ve both argued in favor of less regulation for the coal companies and allowing them to continue to do business as usual without attempoting to do much if anyhting to educate the public about different opportunities or to inform them that they may being misled by the coal companies. Another article from Mother Jones last year, and many others, indicates the political environment their during the election. Clearly all the contributing factors to this need to be adressed in the long run if this problem is going to be solved in the most efficient way possible. Many of these contributing factors also have an impact on many other important issues as well; which is all the more reason to adress them; some of my past blogs have partially adressed these contributing issues. This part of the reason I think we need to have an eductional revolution that would enable the public to implement election reform that enables the public to control the election process including the job aplications and interviews that potential candidates should be required to participate in in order to get their names on the ballot. Even if the members of the public do have control over the interview process they need to be able to control their emotions and recognize the methods that have been used in the past by the corporations and other people with political or ideological agendas. This is why more people need to understand how child abuse leads to indoctrination, bullying and additioanl violence. Educating the public could and should involve a public relation campaign for child abuse prevention. Many people may not see how this impacts the issue at hand imediately; however there are many other good reasons for this public relation campaign so even if many people don’t understand all of them we should do more to go ahead with it any way. This would be easier if the media was reformed but until that is done those that are sincere could do the best they can with the recources they have and set a better example for the mass media in the meantime. By doing this then they can do their part to make it clearer that we need media reform in the first place. If the sincere people can’t acomplish all their goals at once they can continue to do what they can one or more at a time. This could eventually lead to the major reforms we need including a possible truth and education commission of some sort.
Update 10/14/2011: The damage continues to mount from the environmental damage and in many cases when they have a disaster in one part of the world it receives little or no attention in other parts of the world especially in the traditional Mass Media. One example is a recent disaster in New Zealand, “Ship grounding creates New Zealand’s worst environmental disaster;” presumably for every one that the Mass Media reports or in this case someone comes across it in a more obscure web page there are many more that go virtually unreported to the vast majority of the public. There probably are some exceptions including this list of environmental disasters where they are being cataloged by an environmental group but they’re not widely publicized to most people.
Update 12/7/2012: Since this was first published the amount of environmental damage has only been increasing and the quality of the coverage on the subject in the traditional media has been decreasing. There is still some coverage of some of the issues in the traditional corporate media including a recent article about “Climate skeptics seek to roll back state laws on renewable energy;” however when these stories are published they receive much less attention than they might have in the past and the material on TV is much worse and it is saturated by propaganda disguised as public relation commercials provided by the oil companies about how they’re using clean technology to save the economy or how BP is standing up to it’s commitments. The article about rolling back clean energy laws clearly indicates that the oil companies aren’t sincere about protecting the environment at all but this hasn’t been repeated nearly as often as the propaganda pieces that have been bought by the oil companies and the oil companies also have much more influence with the corporate media thanks to all the money they give them for advertising.
It should be increasingly clear that if people want to get more reliable information they have to check with alternative media outlets like Democracy Now and 350.Org as well as many other alternative media outlet many of which I have listed on my list of alternative media outlets. Some of these outlets don’t have many resources but they do a much better job choosing their priorities and one of the things that they often do is compile lists of traditional sources and present them in a more organized manner with better emphasis on the highest priories which can be helpful for some people who are skeptical of alternative media outlets. Hopefully when they gain more popularity and are subject to greater peer review from sincere outlets more people will learn which of these alternative media outlets to trust more.
I have also reported more on how they haven’t covered many of the biggest stories on Natural Born Killers of the Planet; additional examples that have come to my attention since then include a dead dolphin that has turned up on the beach in New Hampshire and a story from last year that I didn’t even hear about the first time around about “Dead tuna washes onto Hampton beach.” This story also mentions 50 dead seals that washed up on the beach at about the same time which was above normal. It doesn’t mention the fact that a significant number of seals also washed up on the beach along a small section about five or six years earlier that was also above normal.
On top of that there is also Hurricane Sandy and a growing number of disasters including another one since then in the Philippines. This one may have been much worse but it gets less coverage in the United States because it happened to people with much less political power. These are just a small example of the increased number and severity of hurricanes that is already going on. By now it should be clear to those that have been watching alternative media outlets that a potential “Environmental Apocalypse” is already under way and it should be clear that the most powerful institutions can’t be trusted to address it properly. If this is reversed in the short term it will almost certainly be because the grass roots puts pressure on the establishment to finally act; but without more help they will have a hard time accomplishing that so it will be helpful to have as much support from everyone that is able; even if this just involves educating more people about the issues that are being ignored.
In the longer run it will be important to have major reform of the media to give people a more diverse set of views that cover the issues, some of which has already taken place as indicated by the list of outlets previously sited, as well as major Election Reform that enables the public to control the election process and ask questions of their choice as well as choose from candidates that they select not that are selected by the political establishment.