Monday, October 27, 2014

The rich have a right to profit from polluting and killing the poor

I don't recall anyone ever suggesting that we should have the right to dump enormous amounts of toxic waste on the front lawn of one of the Koch Brothers or any other wealthy energy or chemical executive.

Or at least not in a manner that was intended to be taken seriously; although it is almost certainly said on occasion to point out the enormous hypocrisy in our current system.

For all practical purposes energy and chemical executives have a right to profit from polluting and killing the poor and it has been standard operating procedure for decades. There have been numerous studies or other reports pointing out the enormous inequity when it comes to the benefits from environmental destruction, which goes overwhelmingly to the wealthiest, and the costs, which goes overwhelmingly to those without political power.

If anyone were to attempt to make an argument that those that receive the benefits deserve it based on their merits because they work harder or do other things to benefit society it wouldn't take long before it flunked the laugh test or more importantly any rational test comparing the merits of the argument. The people that do most of the labor to produce products or mine energy are often the ones that pay the price in environmental destruction while the wealthiest rely much more on their political connections rather than their worth.

When enough people get together and protest the inequity the political and media response along with the response by the police only indicates that it is even bigger than most people realize; assuming people actually hear about it. The media and politicians routinely ignore the vast majority of the protests so most people never even hear about it, assuming they rely on traditional commercial media, which fortunately a shrinking percentage of the population is.

At best they might slow down the environmental destruction or in some rare occasions, where there is enough political power, and perhaps the upper middle class with enough money they might partially reverse the process; however when this happens the pollution is often increased elsewhere to compensate so there is little or no net gain.

Then, if they attempt to increase their chances of getting heard, after the consolidated media ignores them, the police arrest them for one trivial charge or another, usually trespassing or what they call disorderly conduct, although it is often much more orderly than the police or many of the allies of the energy companies.

The police, rarely if ever, open up an investigation to find out how many people are being killed by pollution and consider negligent mass homicide charges against energy and chemical executives.

No, I didn't mean that as a joke; this really would be justified if they actually investigated real crimes or things that should be considered real crimes.

If you're reading this then you probably already rely on alternative news outlets so you might not need back up do conclude that oil and coal executives are profiting off the pollution of the poor but here's a good article on it that is relatively recent anyway:

Low-Income, Black, And Latino Americans Face Highest Risk Of Chemical Spills 05/02/2014

The people who face the greatest threat from potential toxic chemical disasters are disproportionately low-income, black, or Latino, according to a study released Thursday by three environmental groups.

Compared to the national average, the 134 million people who live closest to U.S. chemical facilities are 75 percent more likely to be black, 60 percent more likely to be Latino, and 50 percent more likely to be poor, the study showed. The demographics of these areas — called “fenceline zones” — show a troubling “pattern of ‘environmental racism,’” among chemical and petroleum companies, the report said.

“The question now is: what will it take for government and industry to finally act to prevent disasters, and protect the communities and workers whose safety and security are unfairly and unequally put in jeopardy?” the report, said. It was written by the Environmental Justice and Health Alliance for Chemical Policy Reform, Coming Clean, and the Center for Effective Government. Complete article

This is just one of many studies to find similar results. It claims to do certain types of research for the first time, and I trust this is true; but others have provided additional types that go back decades.

However like the vast majority of these studies it either hasn't been mentioned at all in the traditional media or they only mentioned it briefly and quickly forgot it, while selling an enormous amount of propaganda ads, that won't stand up to scrutiny, which they don't provide, for the oil and coal companies.

Another report indicates that Half The Country Lives With Unsafe Air Pollution, American Lung Association Report Finds; but that was hardly reported either in the traditional press and there is little or nothing being done to address the problem.

Robert Bullard has also been reporting on this for decades and he has provided an enormous amount of evidence, including plenty listed below, to indicate that this is an enormous problem. He has been considered by some to be the father or "dean of environmental justice;" however this is probably only among those that are familiar with the environmental movement since the traditional media doesn't provide him with much if any coverage; and most people probably never heard of him.

I'm sure there is additional research to indicate that the worst of the inequity isn't even in the United States but around the world where our media doesn't even report about most damage at all unless it is really big.

This can't go on indefinitely as indicated by another study which has just come out:

Climate Change And Rising Violence Are Linked, According To 55 Scientific Studies 10/23/2014

According to a new review of 55 separate studies, there is a meaningful connection between climate change and human violence.

The working paper, put out by researchers with the National Bureau of Economic Research, is what’s called a meta-analysis: a study of studies, in effect. After going through numerous analyses of the relationship between climate change and violence in various settings, the researchers settled on 55 of the most rigorous pieces of work. They then evaluated the picture painted by those studies, and worked to amalgamate their findings into a single statistical result.

They looked at conflicts between individuals — “domestic violence, road rage, assault, murder, and rape” — as well as conflicts between larger human groups — “riots, ethnic violence, land invasions, gang violence, civil war and other forms of political instability, such as coups.” The end result? The researchers determined that changes in drought and rainfall patterns, but especially increases in temperature, all have a meaningful link to increases in both forms of violence. “We find that deviations from moderate temperatures and precipitation patterns systematically increase the risk of conflict, often substantially, with average effects that are highly statistically significant,” the researchers wrote. Complete article

Just because the media doesn't cover it doesn't mean that all these environmental disasters aren't happening. A handful of these disasters have eventually been reported and even made fairly wide spread news like Love Canal, PG&E as exposed by Erin Brockovich and Civil Action as portrayed by John Travolta; but the vast majority of disasters including the racial and class connection gets much less attention.

If a growing portion of the third world continues to become less inhabitable and a growing portion of the USA that can no longer be ignored then it is a matter of time before the political establishment has to address the problem one way or another.

Attempts by many of those with the most political power to describe environmentalists as terrorists clearly aren't inclined to help much. But fortunately the environmental movement is demonstrating how foolish these claims are and it is only raising more doubts about those that make these absurd claims, assuming the environmental movement has a reasonable chance to get their views across, which isn't happening in the traditional press.

There is a growing amount of evidence to indicate that if we can get past the overwhelming amount of political power of the energy companies then much more can be done to reverse this environmental destruction and a lot of it can be done without sacrificing quality of life like the following study:

We can provide power to everyone without a huge leap in emissions, study finds 10/20/2014

When we talk about international climate action, it’s often taken for granted that developing countries need room to pollute as they pull their citizens out of poverty. More than a billion people worldwide don’t have access to electricity, the argument goes, and getting them connected will require major development projects that will come hand-in-hand with significant new emissions.

But that might be a false assumption, according to a new paper in Nature Climate Change.

Shonali Pachauri, a researcher with the Austrian International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, finds that the world’s poorest people use so little energy at the moment that initially, upon being connected to the grid, they will not make much of a difference at all. Complete article

This study clearly doesn't apply to everything but a little basic sense indicates a lot of other things that can be done to reduce pollution without harming quality of life and often even increase quality of life. This includes increased production of Geo-transfer heating and cooling which can be done anywhere and it can be powered by increased amounts of solar panels and wind turbines which are less expensive than they used to be.

One of the most important thing that can be done to change this is to simply stop buying things that we don't need. A shocking percentage of the products sold in the USA are things that have been hyped up through deceptive ads that have little or not practical use and do nothing to improve the quality of life.

Unfortunately when corporations take a portion of the money they obtain fraudulently from consumers and use it for more deceptive advertising that speech receives much more protection than the speech of environmentalists that are telling the truth about these scams because they aren't passing on the cost of their speech to those that they scam.

Or to put it bluntly fraudulent corporate speech receives much more protection under the first amendment than sincere speech thanks to the perverted interpretation by the Supreme Court.

If this continues then a growing portion of our country and world will continue to deteriorate; and the longer this goes on the more difficult it will be to reverse the process assuming we don't pass a point of no return without realizing it.

Recently according to an article, Ludwigshafen explosion kills one, injures 26 in Germany. On several occasions when I have heard about disasters like these I have done searches to find out how many more have happened that weren't reported as widely and quickly found an enormous amount of additional disasters.

I have no doubt that if I did another search then many more would turn up including many in the USA; although there are probably more elsewhere; but they're less inclined to report it especially the USA media.

The following is some related material including the first two chapters of Robert Bullard's book "Dumping in Dixie" and additional material from him and others.

The SXSW kids are about to get schooled by Robert D. Bullard the dean of environmental justice 10/03/2014

Robert D. Bullard

Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality by Robert D. Bullard CHAPTER ONE Environmentalism and Social Justice

The environmental movement in the United States emerged with agendas that focused on such areas as wilderness and wildlife preservation, resource conservation, pollution abatement, and population control. It was supported primarily by middle- and upper-middle-class whites. Although concern about the environment cuts across racial and class lines, environmental activism has been most pronounced among individuals who have above-average education, greater access to economic resources, and a greater sense of personal efficacy.[1]

Mainstream environmental organizations were late in broadening their base of support to include blacks and other minorities, the poor, and working-class persons. The "energy crisis" in the 1970s provided a major impetus for the many environmentalists to embrace equity issues confronting the poor in this country and in the countries of the Third World.[2] Over the years, environmentalism has shifted from a "participatory" to a "power" strategy, where the "core of active environmental movement is focused on litigation, political lobbying, and technical evaluation rather than on mass mobilization for protest marches."[3]

An abundance of documentation shows blacks, lower-income groups, and working-class persons are subjected to a disproportionately large amount of pollution and other environmental stressors in their neighborhoods as well as in their workplaces.[4] However, these groups have only been marginally involved in the nation's environmental movement. Problems facing the black community have been topics of much discussion in recent years. (Here, we use sociologist James Blackwell's definition of the black community, "a highly diversified set of interrelated structures and aggregates of people who are held together by forces of white oppression and racism."[5]) Race has not been eliminated as a factor in the allocation of community amenities. Complete article

Dumping in Dixie: CHAPTER TWO Race, Class, and the Politics of Place


The cruel, increasingly usual prison punishment no one is talking about 10/06/2014

Ohio’s Clean Energy Programs Save Customers $2 For Every $1 They Spend

84,000 Lives Threatened By Sea Level Rise In New England

Congressman Denies Manmade Climate Change, Calls It ‘An Agenda-Driven Science’

Republican Bill Cuts Funding For Climate, Social, Economic Research By $160 Million

Oklahoma Will Charge Customers Who Install Their Own Solar Panels

California Regulators Decide Utilities Can’t Charge Solar-Killing Fees

The Denver Post’s ‘Energy And Environment’ Section Is Produced By The Oil And Gas Industry

Why Are 20 Far-Away States Trying To Block The Cleanup Of The Chesapeake Bay?

Bombshell: Study Ties Epic California Drought, ‘Frigid East’ To Manmade Climate Change

Not in My Backyard: Executive Order 12,898 and Title VI as Tools for Achieving Environmental Justice Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 What Is Environmental Justice?

Chapter 3 Title VI and Environmental Justice

Chapter 4 Environmental Justice Litigation and Remedies: The Impact of Sandoval and South Camden

Chapter 5 Alternative Dispute Resolution and Meaningful Public Participation etc. or go to and search for "Not in My Backyard: Executive Order 12,898 and Title VI as Tools for Achieving Environmental Justice" to get PDF

[PDF]Chapter 3 - United Church of Christ

PDF]Chapter 7 – Anatomy of the Urban Parks Movement: Equal .. The Quest for Environmental Justice Human Rights and the Politics of Pollution

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