Cannibalizing 71% of Earth

As early as the 70s, James Lovelock advanced what people still refer to as the Gaia “hypothesis,” claiming that all living organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to regulate our atmosphere, and form a synergistic self- regulating complex interconnected system which maintains conditions favoring life on the planet. He collaborated with Lynn Margulis to co-develop the discipline of endosymbiosis. Lovelock’s conclusion: living organisms, through their effect on water and on water bearing clouds, modulate the Earth’s systems in an on-going feedback loop, and that the most humble, least complex organisms, the bacteria, attest to the unity of all things. All systems on Earth make of it a living being in its own right, every bit as alive as a tree or as you may be as a human being.

The proof is that Lovelock was able to predict to the US government which spent billions to determine whether or not there might be life on Mars, that lacking the appropriate atmosphere, Mars could not possibly support life.

This week,

•with Common Dreams decrying the Biden Administration’s approval of ConocoPhillip’s bid to drill for more than half a billion barrels of oil in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve,

Oil rig in National Petroleum Reserve

•and the recent news (under the radar mere days later) that Sri Lanka suffered the very worst pollution accident in its history when a container ship caught fire and sank off its coast, adding toxic chemical substances to the waters, littering the beaches with plastic pellets,

Cargo burning off Sri Lanka coast

•and with TEPCO, the incompetent nuclear managers of much of Japan’s nuclear industry vowing to dump tritium contaminated water, the effluvia of the Fukushima catastrophe, in the seas come 2024 with only vigorous opposition by Korea deterring them so far,

Fukushima contaminated water tanks

•and with the U.S. Navy, which exploded a 40,000 ton bomb registering as a 3.9 magnitude earthquake in Florida’s waters, having no intention of foregoing its sonic boom testing which basically dooms cetaceans to death because they relate to their watery world through hearing, and obtain their food by echolocation,

US Navy tests carrrier with 40,000 lb. bomb

•not to mention so called oil “spills,” which might be better known as hemorrhages (in 2018 there were 137 oil spills in the US alone) or Gulf War I of 1991 when 500,000 tons of oil were dumped into the Persian Gulf and 600 oil wells were set on fire, helping to cannibalize the air

Kuwaiti oil fields on fire

(since 1960, from major spills alone, both from ships and platforms, 3.5 million tons of petroleum have been spilled into the seas) and not overlooking the Foulwater Horizon by BP, which alone accounts for spillage of 779,000 tons, aside from the tons of proprietary and toxic “Corexit’ BP dumped, supposedly to mitigate the disaster (and where eleven workers lost their lives and American television watchers could actually see the oil hemorrhaging from its hole on the ocean floor in a show that lasted for a good 6 months, from April 20 to Sept 17, 2010),

BP Foulwater Horizon oil rig burns

we look at how humankind keeps cannibalizing the seas. (full disclosure: that’s the longest sentence of my writing career.)

Texas-sized garbage patch

Mid-Pacific there exists a slowly swirling plastic gyre called ‘the garbage patch,’ bigger than the state of Texas which slowly revolves around its axis. Among all the other triumphs of western civilization it includes at least one television set.

Stuck in the swell

of becalmed seas

a school of canned guffaws

floats just below the shallows.

Leno wisecracks

at an empty sky,

Carson gawks

as horsetails track the trades:

cathode ray reliquary

of culture gone to brine,

Farnsworth’s tube, its cord

trapeze to barnacles.

These are a few of humanity’s well known assaults on the planet’s waters. Additionally there is the sinking of nuclear submarines, which add a nice radiological cocktail to the mix. But alas! there is no happy hour. Mankind’s Lilliputian efforts attempt removal of plastic detritus from small areas of seas which occupy 71% of the Earth’s surface total.

Four technologies so far have been perfected to remove plastics which primarily flow into the seas as river discharge.

•Floating booms. One such is installed at the mouth of the Kifissos River in Greece. It’s called a Tactical Recovery System or TRASH, a project run by the EU.

Greek TRASH

•Mr. Trash Wheel has been scooping plastic out of the Jones Fall River in Baltimore.

Nope, Disney didn’t design it

•The bubble barrier manages Amsterdam’s waterways, deploying 5 garbage boats that pull out 42,000 kilograms of plastic yearly.

•The Interceptor designed to clean up ocean plastic has suffered damage from wind and waves.

Interceptor at work

Given the magnitude of ocean pollution, the human clean up scale seems picayune.

PLEDGE never to discard plastic other than in an approved repository.

INCLUDE Military pollution in COP 26 climate agreements.

URGE Congress to pass the Break Free From Plastic Pollution now.

DEMAND Congress protect our oceans.

Leaked IPCC climate report ‘reads like a 4,000-page indictment’ of humanity’s failure.

Terrifying UN draft climate report urges total transformation of “our way of life.”

Key witness in Assange case admits to lies in indictment.

UN set to call halt of arms to Myanmar.

Global call goes out to end destruction of Canada’s ancient forests.

Iran says US agrees to lift sanctions on oil, shipping.

Old growth logging protesters on day seven of hunger strike.

Brazilians protest against Bolsonaro’s COVID mismanagement.

Pedro Castillo’s victory raises hopes beyond Peru.

Anti-imperialists convene in Venezuela for Carabobo bicentennial congress.

Doctors without Borders calls on BioNTech to share vaccine tech with world.

680 global leaders urge Biden to end ‘Israeli oppression.’

14-day global campaign demands justice for victims of Bolivia coup.

Historic Belgian Court says inadequate climate policy a human rights violation,

Delegation visits Cabo Verde to #FreeAlexSaab as US flaunts international laws (as usual).

In Japan ‘suffocated’ art becomes form of protest against Olympics amidst COVID and radiological contamination.

Class action lawsuit filed alleging RCMP abuse of indigenous people in northern Canada.

Palestinian Canadians and supporters actively participate in rallies, pickets, and #BloclkTheBoat actions.

Indian farmers’ protest completes 200 days.

Progressive International convenes global summit to achieve vaccines for all.

PG&E to pay $5.9 million for dumping cooling system water from Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power plant into ocean.

State court ruling called ‘big step’ toward holing ExxonMobil accountable for fudging on climate change.

Climate experts’ predictions come true as US heatwave.

Sunrise ends 400 mile climate march with arrests at Cruz’s house.

Biden and Putin agree to resume nuclear talks, return ambassadors to posts.

Biden has chance to oversee biggest river restoration project in US history.

Biden expands plan to return asylum seekers forced to wait in dangerous border towns.

70+ House Dems call on Biden to acknowledge Israeli settlements are illegal.

Pelosi to form House select committee to investigate Jan. 6 attack.

House appropriates $4.5 million specifically to pay White House interns.

Lawmakers tell Biden US has moral obligation to ban landmines (assuming US doesn’t have earwax).

Lawmakers demand Biden extend pause on student loan payments.

Biden extends eviction moratorium another month.

Done with bipartisan dithering on infrastructure, Schumer kicks off budget reconciliation process.

Led by Sanders, Senate Dems weigh $6 trillion infrastructure Bill as bipartisan talks fail on climate.

Schumer and Sanders work together on bill that could pass the Senate with just 50 votes to lower Medicare age to 60, expanding the coverage to include vision, hearing and dental.

Bill to grant Title 38 VA healthcare professionals full workplace rights gains momentum in Congress.

Sanders says Congress must combat GOP attacks on voting rights in ‘any and every way.’

Manchin gives Biden huge win with support for ‘human infrastructure’ plan than would undo much of ‘very unfair’ GOP tax scam.

Dems introduce bill to combat Republican voter suppression efforts.

New bill would require Biden to declare wildlife extinction crisis a national emergency

Biden to target ‘merchants of death’ who sell illegal guns as US homicides spike (but will he remove them from cops?)

Investigative journalist Palast confront Georgia operative throwing legal voters off rolls.

DOJ sues Georgia over state’s voter suppression law.

Dems introduce abolition amendment to scrap Constitution’s slavery clause.

Warren vows not to vote for bipartisan infrastructure plan without climate and child care.

Warnock gives speech of our democracy’s life on Senate floor.

Blue state Dems make history with big winds on voting rights, worker’s rights, and health care.

Criminal probe into DeJoy demanded over illegal GOP donations.

20 AGs urge postal commission to reject DeJoy plan to slow mail.

Obamacare survives third US Supreme Court challenge.

After SCOTUS upholds ACA progressives set sights on Medicare for All.

SCOTUS reaffirms Biden’s power to remove social security commissioner Andrew Saul.

SCOTUS rules to protect students’ full free speech rights.

SCOTUS dismiss an ongoing challenge to previous administration inhumane anti — asylum “remain in Mexico” policy only because program is no more.

SCOTUS rules that cop who followed driver home to his garage had no right doing so without a warrant.

Long overdue, House passes Barbara Lee’s 2002 AUMF Repeal.

After Iraq War Authorization repealed, calls grow to ‘do the 2001 AUMF next.

DOJ finds state laws attacking trans kid’s rights ‘unConstitutional.’

New report shows US immigration and Customs Enforcement failed to monitor informed consent protocols use by a doctor accused of performing non-consensual gynecological procedures on women detained at Irwin County Detention Center in Georgia.

New poll shows voters believe social media profits from conspiracies and lies, driving American division.

Poll finds socialism increasingly seen as ‘badge of pride’ in US.

Growing perception that US support for Israel hampers US diplomacy.

Advocates cheer VA move to offer trans vets gender confirmation surgery.

Over-the-counter birth control give youth more control over their health.

Majority of voters support reconciliation to pass American Jobs & Families Plans together, blame GOP for lack of bipartisanship.

Ohio Republican expelled from chamber after federal indictment in $60 million corruption scheme.

Construction was halted on Pipeline 3 for over a day by indigenous and activist protectors at the Mississippi’s headwaters.

Indigenous women invite Deb Haaland to see devastation of Line 3 for herself.

Hoopa Valley Tribe praise Haaland for revoking Central Valley Project.

Drought-stricken communities push back against data centers which consume 1.25 million gallons of water each day.

New report shows citizenship for undocumented would boost economy and increase wages for all.

State lawmakers use powerful tool to mandate renewable energy use.

In Brooklyn, activists withhold gas bill payment to protest National Grid Pipeline.

Socialist and working class India Walton declare victory in Buffalo mayoral race.

Counseling, not criminalization bill unveiled to boot police from US schools.

Five Georgia officers fired, denied appeal, after 60 year old Black man dies in custody.

Alabama coal miners demand better wages in 3 month long strike.

Coalition demands federal ban on Amazon’s punitive worker surveillance.

Teamsters announce coordinated nationwide project to unionize Amazon/

Louisville and 20 other cities plan march for Medicare for All.

Berkeley rent board passes resolution to condemn evictions of Palestinians but dos nothing for its own homeless.

Tenants call for public housing boss to be bounced.

N.Y. court suspends Giuliani from practicing law over #45 lies.