The Human Race has turned the Planet’s oceans into a human cesspool of toxic and biological waste, with various types of plastic that erode into fine particles like sand that can be ingested and build-up in the blood stream just like heavy-metals in fish. These heavy metals and fine plastic particles cannot be separated from ocean water without evaporation, and even then, they are left behind to contaminate yet again. Ignorant, unenlightened, and apathetic people open a pre-packaged food item, then throw the trash upon the ground, oil drips from fossil fuel burning vehicles onto the millions of miles of pavement now covering the earth, then it rains, and these various forms of pollution eventually run-off into the watersheds, creeks, rivers, and oceans of the World. In the developing world, every evening a cooking fire is made, in the developed world, every evening people sit in traffic with their motors running, creating clouds of smog and CO2 that pollute our skies world-wide. In just a few decades, we have forever altered the delicate balance of life with whaling to the point of extinction, over-fishing, and the desalinization of the world’s oceans due to glacial and polar ice-caps melting from global-warming caused by excessive CO2 emissions.
If an alien species came to our planet right now, and they were of sufficient intelligence to arrive here via a technological means, analysis of the pollution levels of the sky, the land, and the oceans, would cause them to conclude we do not currently deserve the right to continue to be stewards of this planet (if we ever were).
In America, before the clean air and clean water act, the Nation’s waterways caught on fire, and acid rain fell from the skies melting marble statues and killing fish-filled lakes, and it looked much like the developing world today. But things began to improve once those laws were enacted and enforced, but once the Environmental Protection Agency lost much of it’s power during the Reagan and Bush I and II presidencies, the progress of a couple of decades quickly went down the tubes, and now cancer rates near water-ways like the mighty Mississippi River are skyrocketing!
The Kyoto Treaty on reducing environmental pollution world-wide was left unsigned and unsupported by America due to our conservative pro-oil lobby’s influence over George W. Bush and his long-time alliance with Texas oil. Not to mention the fact that his father had made unsavory deals with an oppressive Saudi Arabian royal family in exchange for cheap oil. These unholy alliances and friendships between Conservative American oil men, and the Saudi royal family was at least part of the primary reason why radical fundamentalist terrorists targeted America. Thus, this is how a few rich greedy families and bloated-ego elites around the world, coupled with the ignorant masses with poor sanitary habits, has led to the earth becoming a giant ball of orbiting trash. No wonder there is a real desire if not compulsion for the human race to gain the technological capabilities (before it is too late) to leave the planet and form colonies on other worlds.
However, it is my contention that we do not deserve to populate other planets until we learn to leave our own “Garden of Eden” pristine yet again. Otherwise, until that time, we are a virus that will kill anything we come into contact with on another world. America has been a grand experiment in so many ways, and the Clean Air and Clean Water acts have been an important part of that experiment. But we must think of America as only one small part of the experiment, and we must take the lessons learned here, and apply them abroad on a global level.
The oceans were once a vast abundant source of nourishment and resources, now they are broken, and make people sick when they eat from them, or swim in them. Nuclear power and waste-water leaks like those in Japan, drilling for oil at sea like the Horizon Drilling Rig explosion and oil-spill, and oil transport over vast distances via ocean tankers that have a tendency to run-aground and spill millions of gallons of crude oil into fragile ocean ecosystems has only escalated an already tenuous and perilous degradation of the planet’s most important resource.
There was once a vast variety of fish, mammal, and crustacean species living within the world’s oceans, now there is far less variety, with numbers down, and fish-farming replacing wild harvesting. Dead-zones within the oceans of the world are popping up off the coast-lines of every continent on the planet, caused by the warming and desalinization of the earth’s oceans, which has led to staggering growth levels in microscopic krill and zooplankton that end-up using up all the oxygen in the water, which leads them and all other aquatic life-forms in the water to drown except for jellyfish.
Clean water was once free, it was an after-thought, due to it’s virtual endless supply and abundance. Now it is sold in stores, and has become a valued commodity. Michael Angelo once sang the praises of Italian Fiuggi water for it’s medicinal purposes, and FDR would often go to the mineral baths of Georgia for it’ supposed healing properties and to ease the pain in his legs associated with his crippling childhood Polio. In just the last 150 years or so, we have turned our most pristine water resources and recreational areas into convenient if not idiotic dump-sites. Currently, there is an island of trash circling within the Pacific Ocean that is the size of Texas!
So what should be done? Drastic measures are needed to educate, indoctrinate, and then penalize polluters who refuse to comply before it is too late. Those who recklessly litter should be flogged publically, corporations that pollute should be listed publically and levied sufficiently excessive fines so they will seek and implement real solutions to pollution problems that will mitigate the devastating financial losses their companies should incur from their irresponsible, cost-saving, but world-destroying behaviors. Nations that excessively pollute should be dealt with by the international community in productive, but decisive ways that ensure the air and water pollution occurring in their country does not spread to other regions (which air and water naturally do since they are elements unrestricted in their migration and dispersal patterns). In other words, it is time for the planet to upgrade our energy policy, transcend our dependence on fossil fuels, stop using petroleum to make plastic products, and start holding the polluters of the world accountable before it is too late for our species. Does anyone question whether or not the increase in cancer world-wide is not related to air and water pollution?
I know for some this issue is a no-brainer, and for others, it is dismissed as a non-problem. But for those who have spent any time near, within, or around the oceans of the world, they see the devastation taking place to the coral, to the fish species, and the mammals that live there. Thus, if we are going to have the arrogance to call them “our oceans,” then perhaps we should start treating them like the prized family heirlooms that they are. Otherwise, we leave a dead or nearly dead planet to our progeny, with a tainted water source that is toxic, super-storms that devastate the landscape, and air that is not capable of sustaining life. Our present course is unsustainable, because it will either lead to our extinction, and/or the extinction of all life on the planet. As a species, we cannot let the greed of a few and the ignorance of the many lead to our extinction, or hasty departure from this planet to spread our viral “disposable world” philosophy across the Universe.