Food For Thought|
America In Crisis - The Real Issues
Part Three of a Three Part Series
July 22, 2004
David Lawrence Dewey
"Reading provides knowledge...
knowledge leads to answers."
|Part 1 of this series||Part 2 of this series||Part 3 of this series||Candidate Platforms|
What you are looking at is the hole in the ozone at the south pole. It encompasses over 11 million square miles. As you can see, the whole south pole is now exposed. These pictures were taken from a satellite using a special camera in September, 2003. As you can see, the greenhouse effect has taken place.
IT IS NOT A MYTH. Despite efforts worldwide to reduce emissions, it still has not been enough to repair the hole. More restrictions on emissions must take place. This is what is causing the ice shelf to reduce in size from 250 feet thick to now at 150 thick in 15 years.
The Bush administration has made an art out of ignoring science and in particular, when it comes to the issue of global warming. Please read this important article on the National Geographic site.
The Pentagon takes great pride in itself on preparing for the worst, be it war, famine or other calamity. So it may not seem surprising that the Pentagon last year asked two private consultants to consider the potential global impacts of an abrupt and severe change in the world's climate.
Which regions could be hurt the worst, they asked, and what would that mean for U.S. national security?
The scenario sketched out in the report, "Imagining the Unthinkable," may surprise some.
The report suggests global warming already is approaching a threshold beyond which a sudden cooling will begin to set in. The authors present a number of dire consequences in which the current period of global warming ends in 2010, followed by a period of abrupt cooling.
The report stated that as temperatures rise during this decade, some regions experience severe storms and flooding. In 2007, surging seas could break through levees in the Netherlands, making the Hague "unlivable." It further states that by 2020, after a decade of cooling, Europe's climate could very well become "more like Siberia's."
The report predicts "Mega-droughts" could hit southern China and northern Europe around 2010 and last 10 years.
The United States will not be spared according to the report. Agricultural areas could suffer from soil loss due to higher winds and drier climate.
In China, widespread famine could create chaos, as "a cold and hungry China peers jealously" at Russia's energy resources. In the 2020-2030 period, the reports suggests that a civil war and border wars could break out in China. In a "world of warring states," more countries could then develop nuclear weapons, including Japan, South Korea, Germany, Iran and Egypt. If this occurs, the reports says, "Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life," if these events occur.
All of this sounds pretty grim, and the authors of the report acknowledge in the introduction that the scientists with whom they consulted regard the gloomy scenario as extreme in scope and severity, but that is what the Pentagon asked for, the worst extremes. The main point here is the scientists based these predictions on a climate event that is believed to have happened over 8,200 years ago and lasted for 100 years.
Keep in mind one that that I wrote about earlier.
"We estimate that climate change may already be causing in the region of 160,000 deaths... a year," Andrew Haines of the UK's London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said. Haines presented this at a conference in Russia this year heard a warning that global warming is killing approximately 160,000 people through its effects every year. The numbers dying from "side-effects" of climate change, such as malaria and malnutrition, could almost double by 2020, the climate change conference in Moscow was told by Haines.
Most deaths would be in developing nations in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, says Haines. These regions would be worst hit by the spread of malnutrition, diarrhea and malaria as a result of warmer temperatures, droughts and floods.
And in yet another very recent report done for the Pentagon concerning global warming, it paints a dim picture. It was commissioned by Andrew Marshall, a legendary DOD figure, nicknamed "Yoda" for his sagacity. As head of the Pentagon's secretive Office of Net Assessment, Marshall has offered national security assessments to every president since Richard Nixon.
This latest assessment pegs climate change as a far greater danger than even the scourge of international terrorism.
The report is entitled "An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security." The report reads like the plot summary of the movie "The Day After Tomorrow," in which global warming pushes the planet to the edge of anarchy and annihilation.
According to this report, this scenario is not science fiction. According to the Pentagon study, the question is not if abrupt climate change will happen, but when. It could be, according to the report's authors, as soon as the next three years, with the most devastating fallout potentially occurring between 2010 and 2020.
Make sure you read the last paragraph!
The report states that at that point, the world could find itself in the midst of a new ice age in which mega-droughts devastate the world's food supply, drinkable water becomes a luxury worth going to nuclear war, 400 million people are forced to migrate from uninhabitable areas, and riots and wars for survival become commonplace.
You would think this would cause a Red Alert in Tom Ridge's color-coded book.
The Bush White House remains unwilling to address or even acknowledge this report and the perils that could occur. Instead, those in the administration continue to tinker while the atmosphere starts to burn, routinely ignoring scientific evidence and international consensus, and casting a questioning eye on the very idea, let alone the fact, of global warming.
A letter has been signed by 60 prominent scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates and former science advisers to both Republican and Democratic administrations. The letter states very clear that the Bush administration has made an art out of ignoring science. Especially when the matter comes to the issue of global warming.
Who can forget the president's famous CO2 flip-flop, or the way the White House tried to force so many changes to a section of an EPA report dealing with climate change that Christie Todd Whitman finally threw up her hands and decided to simply delete the section on global warming altogether?
The day of blinding the voters with pseudo-science is over. Now that the Pentagon report threatens to put the issue front and center and reframe it as a key component of our national security debate.
Everyone in the Bush administration acted so shocked and surprised when 9/11 happened, even though there had been plenty of red flag warning of al-Qaida's intentions towards the U.S. There can be no surprise this time or for the next President, whoever he may be. We have all been warned.
Now.....do the events predicted thus far sound too far fetched?
Here are some additional facts. Global warming is threatening the world's ski resorts. According to a United Nations report this year, melting at lower altitudes are forcing the sport to move higher and higher up mountains at ski resorts worldwide For example in he village of Kitzbuhel, Austria, the village will eventually be cut off from its ski slopes as Austria's snow line is expected to rise by 656 to 984 feet over the next 30-50 years. Downhill skiing could disappear altogether at some resorts, while at others, a retreating snow line will cut off base villages from their ski runs as soon as 2030, warned the report by the U.N. Environment Program.
''Climate change is happening now. We can measure it,'' said Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the U.N. program. ''This study shows that it is not just the developing world that will suffer.'' The report focused on ski resorts in Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, the United States and Canada, using temperature forecasts produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a body of some 2,000 scientists.
The panel estimated temperatures will rise by a range of 2.5 degrees to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 unless dramatic action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An accord aimed at halting global warming, meanwhile, may be dead. A top Kremlin official said Tuesday that Russia won't ratify the Kyoto Protocol limiting greenhouse gas emissions because it will hurt the country's economy. The United States rejected the accord for the same reason. Without Moscow, the protocol cannot come into effect even if approved by every other nation because only Russia's industrial emissions are large enough to tip the balance. Many scientists believe that carbon dioxide and other so-called ''greenhouse'' gases trap heat in the atmosphere.
''It appears clear that many resorts, particularly the traditional, lower altitude resorts of Europe, will be either unable to operate as a result of lack of snow or will face additional costs, including artificial snowmaking, that may render them uneconomic,'' the report said.
U.N. officials presented their findings at an environmental conference of the International Olympic Committee, or IOC, hosted by organizers for the Turin 2006 Olympics. The findings prompted Pal Schmitt, head of the committee's Sport and Environment Commission, to say that global warming will ''probably affect how the IOC chooses host cities for future Winter Games.'' Schmitt said that the IOC still prefers new candidate cities, but it may be forced to return to sites of recent games to avoid having to build structures that could be obsolete in the near future.
The magic number for ski resorts right now is an altitude of 4,265 feet, according to Rolf Buerk, an economic geographer at the University of Zurich who led the research behind the report. At that level and above, there is reliable snowfall. In the future, however, global warming is going to push the regular snowfall altitude to between 4,900 feet and 6,000 feet, Buerk said. ''In Switzerland, several low-lying resorts are already having problems getting bank ''We see this as a long-term threat,'' said Eduardo Zwissig, marketing manager of the upscale Swiss resort at Gstaad, which is at 3,465-foot level and has skiing from 4,950 to 9,900 feet. And David Chernushenko, a scientist on the climate change panel based in Canada, cited examples in North America where resorts have begun to take steps to be more environmentally friendly.
The ''Sustainable Slopes'' program in Aspen, Colo., is a ''world leader in running efficient ski centers,'' with a new ski lift run entirely on power generated by windmills, he said. In Whistler, British Columbia, site of alpine events for the 2010 Olympics, the ''entire town (is) moving toward environmental conservation,'' he said. Ultimately, however, Chernushenko said the onus was on governments. ''The ski, hotel and resort industry is a multinational one,'' he said. ''And if they act together they can apply pressure on politicians.''
A new study release this year by researchers at the University of Leeds in England warns of global extinctions. Hundreds of species of land plants and animals around the globe could vanish or be on the road to extinction over the next 50 years if global warming continues, scientists warn. ''We're already seeing biological communities respond very rapidly to climate warming,'' said Chris Thomas, a conservation biologist at the University of Leeds in England, and the study's lead author.
The researchers assessed the habitat and distribution of plant and animal species spread across six regions that included Mexico, Australia, Brazil, South Africa and Europe. They applied climate change models developed by a U.N. panel that predicted Earth's warming trend will increase average global temperatures by 2.5 degrees to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100.
Depending on the temperature increase, the researchers found that 15 percent to 37 percent of the studied species will go extinct or be on the road to extinction by 2050. A mid-range forecast of three possible global warming scenarios would claim about a quarter of the species, they found.
Earth has an estimated 14 million plant and animal species. Conservationists estimate 12,000 are threatened with extinction, although thousands of others are probably also on the brink.
Is this the way you want to leave mother Earth for your children's children?
Poverty is an important and emotional issue that was not be overlooked. For in doing so, a society will lose its human qualities of compassion. There are over 4 million children in this country that go to bed hungry each night. That should not be happening in the "richest" nation on earth!
Last year, the Census Bureau released its annual report on poverty in the United States. There are nearly 35 million poor persons living in this country in 2002, which has increased from the preceding year. Out of sight, out of mind is what appears has taken place in American.
For most Americans, the word "poverty" suggests destitution defined as an inability to provide a family with nutritious food, clothing, and reasonable shelter. And this is exactly what has happened, especially over the last few years with jobs being lost permanently to countries overseas. And while this has happened, America is spending $200 billion to re-build Iraq. The median price for existing homes is projected to rise 6% in 2004 to $167,800, according to the National Association of Realtors. Can those working at Walmart for $7.00 an hour afford such a home? No they can't. Median monthly gross rent in the nation climbed to $602 in 2000 from $481 a month in 1980, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. About 20% of the homeless live in the suburbs. The rise in homelessness is mostly manifesting itself in major urban areas.
In Boston, the number of homeless women increased by 10% in 2002 compared with 2001, according to a city census. In San Francisco, the city reports that the homeless population in 2002 was 8,640, an 18% rise over 2001.
Homelessness in major cities is growing at an un-precedent rate as more laid-off workers already living paycheck-to-paycheck wind up on the streets or in shelters.
Many former neighbors and co-workers of many Americans are on the streets or live with relatives or stay in shelters. Unemployed managers are living with their elderly parents. Families who once owned their own homes now sleep on bunk beds in homeless shelters. Job seekers wearing suits and ties stop by soup kitchens before heading out to afternoon interviews. With no place to live, some of the homeless are camping out in their cars until they can find a job, many haven't.
"There is still a mind-set that the homeless are substance abusers who have made bad life decisions," says Ralph Plumb, CEO of the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles. "But more and more, they are individuals responding to a catastrophic financial event. The homeless are us. They're regular folk."
Requests for emergency shelter assistance grew an average of 19% from 2001 to 2002, according to the 18 cities that reported increases. This is the steepest rise in a decade. The findings are from a 2003 survey of 25 cities by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Here are some of the findings that one does not hear about on the news:
Families with children are among the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless. The Conference of Mayors found that 41% of the homeless are families with children, up from 34% in 2000. The Urban Institute reports about 23% of the homeless are children.
Cities and shelters are also seeing the shift. In New York, the number of homeless families jumped 40% from 1999 to 2002. In Boston, the number of homeless families increased 8.3% to 2,328 in 2002 compared with 2001.
An estimated 3.5 million people are likely to experience homelessness in a given year, the Urban Institute reports. People remained homeless for an average of six months, according to the Conference of Mayors survey. This figure has increased from a year ago in all but four cities.
It can be argued that homelessness also increased during past recessions. However, there are several issues that make the current increase more disturbing. One issue is the five-year cap on welfare benefits. Another is the surge in home prices adding to longer periods of homelessness, and most importantly, which Americans are not being told is the fact that this recovery has been a jobless one, providing little immediate hope for those without jobs.
What is alarming is the majority of cities polled by the Conference of Mayors expect homelessness to increase dramatically over the next year.
Jobs are hard to find, this is a fact. There are many families standing on a cliff, and anything can push them into being homeless. Homelessness is a catastrophic reality.
Last year, a couple expecting a baby, who already had four children in an apartment in lost her job due to down sizing. Then her husband was laid off from his manufacturing job. The woman was eight months pregnant and the whole family eventually wound up on the streets. They spent their nights sleeping in bunk beds at a homeless shelter and during the day camped out in their car at a local fast food place. It took this couple several months to find work. However, today the couple is back in a small apartment and both are working again. This is an example of what has been happening to over 3 million Americans each and every year since 2000. And don't think the homeless are just "trash". Nearly 20% of the homeless are working, but they do not make enough to even rent a place.
Another example is a couple that it took five months to lose everything. The couple and their three children were living in a three-bedroom home California. They had a two-car garage and fruit trees in the backyard. He earned more than $40,000 a year working in a manufacturing plant that closed due to outsourcing overseas. She worked as a customer service supervisor earning approximately $34,000 a year for a bank calling card center who moved their operations to India where they pay the workers there approximately $2.00 U.S. dollars per hour to answer credit card questions. How safe is it for such private information to be in the hands of workers in a foreign country?
And for those working that have a place to live in are saving less. The proportion of disposable personal income that Americans are putting into savings was about 8% in the 1970s but that has tumbled to less than 4% today, according to the National Center for Policy Analysis.
LEAD IN CANDY FROM MEXICO
HOW DID IT GET IN THIS COUNTRY IN THE FIRST PLACE?
More than 100 brands of candy sold in California, most of them from Mexico tested positive for dangerous levels of lead in the past decade and little has been done about it by the FDA. The state Department of Health Services has conducted more than 1,500 tests on Mexican candy since 1993 and found high levels of lead in one of every four samples.
At least 15 percent of California children who suffer lead poisoning - about 3,000 over
the past three years - have eaten Mexican candy, according to state statistics. About
three-quarters of them are Hispanic.
The FDA has become a bureaucratic cage controlled by corporations and not looking out for the welfare of Americans. Why has cancer increased dramatically in the last 30 years is the question to ask. It is being caused by the chemicals in our foods and chemicals in products that we use everyday. Hydrogenated oils are deadly oils. Read my column, Hydrogenated Oils-Silent Killers
Diesel and petroleum chemicals are just as deadly. A new law to slash diesel pollution from trucks and buses by 95% could decrease asthma and cancer risk is being challenged by the petroleum industry.
Congress is considering legislation to require schools to use safer pest controls. The law got killed in committee last Fall, and again this Spring. And while the Food Quality Protection Act has strictly limited the use of three toxic pesticides, there has been no law that requires testing of thousands of new chemicals for effects on the developing brain.
200,000 chemicals are in use commercially today with another 1000 being introduced each year. Only a few of these chemicals, about 7, are adequately tested to determine their effects on lives and the life of the environment.
What about the other 93 of chemicals that are on the market and in the products that consumers use everyday, most (93) have never been tested. Toxic chemicals were introduced into our environments 50 years ago, just after World War II. They were originally designed to enhance our lifestyles, now we know many are not enhancing our lives but threatening them.
Here is a listing of some products and the chemicals they contain.
Dove Beauty Bar
Quaternium 15: Formaldehyde-Carcinogen. Causes cancer, dermatitis, is neurotoxic, sensitizer-poisonious, irritant to the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes. ButylatedHydroxytoluene, (BHT) Carcinogen.
Johnson's Baby Shampoo
Quaternium 15: FD&C RED 40: Carcinogen, and causes dermatitis
Crest Tarter Control Toothpaste
Saccharin: Carcinogen, contains Phenol. If you accidentally swallow more than a pea -sized amount of this, you must contact the Poison Control Center immediately. This warning does not appear on the tube
Tide & Cheer Detergent
Sodium Sulfate: Can cause temporary respiratory tract irritation. Symptoms include stinging, swelling, or redness. Sodium Silicate: Can be corrosive. Can cause burns to the eyes and tissue damage to the skin, as well as cause burns to the mouth, throat, and stomach if swallowed. Corrosive, Severe eye, skin, and respiratory irritant. Can cause asthma attacks. Thisodium Nitrilotriacetate: Is a known Carcinogen
Special note: Tide powder contains fiberglass. If you use this and your sweaty and itchy, the fiberglass in your clothing is from the laundry detergent.
Sodium Hypochlorite: Corrosive. Sensitizer: Can be fatal if swallowed. Eye, skin, and respiratory irritant. Especially hazardous to people with heart conditions or asthma.
Sodium Hypochlorite Sodium Silicate: Can be corrosive. Can cause burns to the eyes and tissue damage to the skin, as well as cause burns to the mouth, throat, and stomach if swallowed.
Here is a test you can do to show how bad it is: Put some liquid cascade on aluminum foil, put it over the sink and see what happens.
Fantastic, Formula 409
Butyl Cellosolve: Neurotoxic. Is a eye and skin irritant. It damages central nervous system, kidney, and liver. It is readily absorbed through the skin. It damages blood and the body's ability to make blood. It is also listed as a pesticide.
Windex Aerosol Glass Cleaner
Butyl Cellosolve (see above) Isobutane: Is a Neorotoxic.
Dioxin; Carcinogen. 500,000 times more deadly than DDT Ethyl Alcoohol: Eye, skin, respiratory tract irritant.
Do you know what Dioxin is? Most of us do, but did you know that dioxins include 219 different chemicals? Did you know that Dioxin exposure is the key factor in cancers and other health problems, like endometriosis and fertility issues?
Have you heard of Phenols? Phenols are now being linked to A.D.D., A.D.H.D., asthma, allergies, autism, breast cancer and the list goes on. Do you want to increase you or your children's chances of getting one of these diseases? Chemicals like Dioxin and Phenols are introduced into your body in a variety of ways. One way is through your own personal care products, like shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream, laundry soap, household cleansers and dish soap.
What can you do to reduce your risks? By eliminating or reducing the use of toxic chemicals in your home you can make a significant difference in your life and the life of your family. How do you do this?
1. Educate yourself of what is in the products you are using to clean your house, your car and your children. Read the labels and contact the company for a complete list of ingredients (Not all ingredients have to be listed on the label).
2. Buy organic products or "natural" products and limit your usage of products that may contain toxins.
3. Limit your exposure to plastic products.
4. Encourage others to take these precautions also.
Below is a list of sites that will inform you about toxins in your home
Transcript to Bill Moyer Show - May 10, 2002
Other Sites To Educate Yourself On These Deadly Toxins:
Last but least comes the debated issue of abortion. I opened in the first part of this series these words.
Life is about making choices. Living day to day is about making choices. Most importantly though is the responsibility which comes with making those choices.
I am not going to debate whether this is right or wrong. Instead I am going to ask questions that I feel are relevent to this issue. I will make this opinion. I feel that if the life of the mother is at risk, or if the child would be born deformed, there should be no question as to the right of a women whether to have one or not.
Finally the issue of gay marriage. This issue, in my opinion, is being used by both parties, as a political tool that will only tear the country apart during an election year.
Again, I am not going to debate this issue, instead ask questions that should be asked.
1:) Are the words "marriage" and "civil union" being separated by all? Do not these two words have different definitions?
2:) Does mankind need to "re-think" these definitions in an ever changing global society? - Or, has mankind, both sides of this issue, become so insulated out of fear that each side out of fear feels they are going to lose something?
3:) Is the true definition of marriage simply the union of two people that not only love one another but have decided to committ to one another?
4:) Do gays and lesbians that are in a committed relationship have the same legal recources as heterosexual married couples? The answer to this is simply - No. Is this just?
5:) If gays and lesbians were simply allowed to have civil unions and it is termed as that and not marriage, another words, they could simply sign a piece of paper that could then be filed to give them the same legal protections that heterosexual couples enjoy? Would that quiet the other side? If not - why?
6:) Why should any person in a society be deprived of any rights that others enjoy? Are not the legal rights that heterosexual couples enjoy simply legal rights? Is that not the reason why marriage licenses were created. 100 years ago, people only received a marriage certificate from their Minister when they were married. Then came all the tort legal laws regarding what the legal profession termed "marriage". In many cases, people simply had a marriage ceremony and there was not even a marriage certificate by a Minister. I believe both sides on this issue have only confused themselves with terminology and definitions. One bringing "religion" into the issue, and the other side bringing "rights" into the issue.
7:) Should this issue be handled by the individual states and not the Federal government?
8:) Is this an example of why the forefathers of this country insisted on the separation of church and state. Is this not two separation issues. One being the definition of "marriage" by religion definition, and the other being the "equal legal rights of protection under the law".
9:) Last, have both sides on this issue become so polarized that they can't see either sides view on the issue?
10:) I will present you with one fact concerning this issue. I am presenting this because the argument from one side is that gays and lesbians do not stay together. I've research it and that is not correct. Percentage wise when compared to heterosexual couples, the rate is much lower in terms of gays and lesbians calling it quits so to speak than compared to heterosexual couples. That argument just won't hold as a reason. The divorce rate in the U.S. is at its highest it has been in the history of the U.S.
I am going to close with a plea to all of you that are reading this. This election year, get out and vote.
Over the last few months I have become discouraged by the many emails I have been receiving from people. Many people feel that there is nothing they can do to change things. Many feel that corruption in Washington is at an all time high. I am talking about people who are working mothers, married couples, single people, workers from all professions that have written me concerning this.
The problem that I am seeing from these emails is apathy and loss of hope. Believe me my fellow Americans, your vote does count. The problem is more and more people are not voting. My reply to those people... then you have nothing to complain about.
I am going to be quite blunt now.
America, you have gotten yourself in this mess that you are in. The foxes has been allowed to raid the hen houses in Washington, and you simply have sat back and let it happen.
An example pertains to all the facts given to you in part two concerning when the actual terrorists attacks began towards America. They started in 1983 under President Reagan. They continued through both elder Bush's Presidency and Clinton's, and now George W. Bush's. We had a lot of people sleeping in Washington, and a lot of Americans sleeping also. Someone, somewhere should have been asking the questions and most importantly, doing something about it instead of just ignoring it. The simple truth is that is.....three Presidents did nothing and the fourth one finally did something after it was too late. Are you going to let this happen again is my next question - whoever is elected in 2004?
If there are issues that you want changed, then start writing, calling and faxing your Congressmen. I asked a person the other day that is always complaining about this issue or that issue. I asked this person, have you written your Congressmen? The person answered, "No, I don't have the time." I replied to the person, "Then you have nothing to complain about - find the time."
There can be no excuses for not stepping up to the plate so to speak and becoming politically active. This is your country people. If was created by the people, of the people and for the people. I believe you have forgotten that for many reasons. If you want change, many single voices can become one mighty voice. Let your voices me heard on whatever issue you are concerned about. Only fools remain silent.
Remember - register and vote! That is your power! That is the power of the American voter. If you have learned anything from any of what has been presented to you in this 3 part series, I hope it is this.
Start asking more questions. Search for the facts. Stop accepting everything as face value, especially from the media. And most important, make those that you have elected be accountable to you. You are their boss, not the other way around!
~ David Lawrence Dewey ~
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