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Friday, September 9, 2016

Killing Our Planet

We are killing our planet.

Think about it. Our beautiful planet Earth -- the only known habitable planet in the solar system -- is under attack, not by aliens but by us, the supposed 'higher' life form, the 'most intelligent' life form, the only technologically advanced life form.

Our oceans, a source of food, a key player in the carbon cycle and driver of Earth's weather, have become garbage dumps full of floating islands of plastic and discarded fishing nets, the whale species hunted relentlessly under the guise of 'research.' 

Rain forests - sources of oxygen, medicine, species not yet discovered and thousands of known animal species -- are being clear-cut and plowed. Our great mammals -- elephants, rhinoceros, bears and wolves, whales and dolphins -- are killed for simply existing and for competing with humans. Rivers are filled with toxic chemicals and flooded with waste.

Species are now becoming extinct at a rate some 1,000 times faster than before humans overran the world. Why? According to a study by Mark Williams of the University of Leicester, England, "the extinctions are being driven by the effects of just one single species, Homo sapiens." Previous mass extinctions were the result of asteroid impacts and huge volcanic eruptions. Now there is just one culprit -- humans. Here is a link to the entire article:

Elephants and rhinoceros are facing extinction because Asians believe that rhino horn will cure cancer and/or make them more virile. In reality, rhino horn is made of the same stuff as our fingernails. And let's not forget the insatiable need, including among people in the US and UK, to possess those must-have trinkets and carvings of elephant ivory. Hunting of endangered lions, tigers, African elephants and other animals continues to fuel the perverted needs of hunters who want a trophy to hang on their walls.

Human populations continue to grow unabated, spreading into wildlife habitat and using more and more of the planet's resources. A recent study published in the Journal Current Biology states that of all the world's wilderness, 10 percent has been lost in just 20 years. But we must have that new subdivision or shopping mall, right?

There appear to be no limits to which the oil, gas and mining industries will go to extract the earth's riches, regardless of the irreparable damage done to the planet. Two companies want to set up gold mining operations near Yellowstone National Park. A secretive organization tied to the billionaire Koch brothers allegedly is aiding Arizona politicians' and special-interest groups' efforts to block a bill that would ban uranium mining around the Grand Canyon in Arizona. These and other public lands are under attack from special interest groups and their puppets in Congress. 

What we do right now -- or what we fail to do -- will determine the future, not just for us and our descendants, but for our planet. mining operation on the doorstep of Yellowstone National Park. Spraying to kill mosquitoes that can carry the Zika virus resulted in the deaths of more than a million bees. Without bees, there will be no food.

I believe that progress has been made. The air and waters aren't as polluted, at least in the U.S., as they once were. Still, our world is at great risk. Oceans are rising and glaciers are melting. Many types of fish are overexploited. Water sources are threatened by pollution and human population growth.

Will we demand an end to the pollution and slaughter, or will we sit idly by while trophy hunters, cattle ranchers, lumber companies and corporate interests destroy our world? Sadly, it seems that it will take a major disaster before we open our eyes and demand significant changes. Our Earth can recover from the damage we humans have inflicted, but only if we change our ways NOW.