Toxins, Waste, Pollution and Pesticides

The seemingly endless debate that care and support for the environment is a Left – Right political struggle wrongly posits “the environment” as the raison d’etre for the conflict. This is a smokescreen perpetrated by groups who are just competing for funds. “If you don’t support us the environmentalists will stifle industry, cost us jobs and ruin the economy.” “If you don’t support us,unbridled industry will ruin our planet for our children.” These seem to be just two sides of the same coin. Care for the environment touches all people, regardless of their political party or economic status, to think otherwise is arrogant and non-inclusionary. The reductio absurdum to debate: an elegant environmental solution is also a positive economic solution.Integrity and judgment largely reside in looking at all environmental costs, not only short-term or immediate but mid and long-term costs.

Toxins in the Home – A Walk Through

If you look at the cost to build a waste treatment plant on just the short-term, one might say that costs in construction,taxes, operation and maintenance far outweigh the seemingly minor impact on an ocean that otherwise would receive untreated waste. On the short-term this is might be true. The ocean has a tremendous capacity to dilute and absorb pollution. However, in the longer-term the untreated wastes will eventually threaten food sources, oxygen content of the ocean, fisheries, jobs, etc. A long-term view taking in all costs shows the waste treatment plant making clear economic sense.

Cuyahoga river fire

Cuyahoga river fire

In Cleveland, Ohio in the early 1960’s, industries dumped raw industrial waste and sewage directly into the Cuyahoga River feeding into Lake Erie. The pollution was so extensive that the Cuyahoga River actually caught on fire. Beaches and parks were closed, fish all but disappeared. The economic impact on the area was devastating. Short term? Long term?

Aerial Spraying of Pesticides

Aerial Spraying of Pesticides

Since 1930 the American farmer has been sold, cajoled and exhorted into believing the only way to produce bountiful harvests and increase yields was the introduction of massive chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. In the short-term, this may have shown some results, particularly in eliminating a single pest infestation or blight. But when we look longer-term, these chemical saturations deplete the soil of natural nutrients and aggregates,requiring in order to keep yields or even grow successful crops the farmer to buy and use more chemicals, including huge amounts of nitrogen (a greenhouse gas contributor). The government in partnership with chemical manufacturers even offered subsidies based upon the amount of pesticides used per acre. The chemical-fix entrenched. Chemicals strip the soil of natural nutrients and erode topsoil – we are dangerously losing inches, feet of topsoil across the country. Studies have shown this lack of rich, natural soil, artificially put on a chemical-steroid-diet, produces food of less density, nutritional value and with the added risk of cancer, birth defects and mutations to the people who use, apply or eat them. The total, longer-term cost in health consequences, depleted soil, increased food prices, nutritional loss make this practice too expensive. For more information, click here.

Words of Wisdom

“You know, more than 100 years ago, Upton Sinclair wrote this, that ‘It’s difficult to get a man to understand something if his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

Vice President, Al Gore