A summary of news stories, first quarter 2014….
ITC contacts and modern archaeological evidence suggest that our ancient human ancestors vanquished the dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. (read more)
Well, the dinosaurs are back (in the form of carbon deposits)… and they’re doing way more damage now than they did then.
After dinosaurs perished along with their lush surroundings 65 million years ago, all that decaying flesh and vegetation slowly simmered and stewed to become vast underground deposits of energy-laden coal and oil… which humans have been extracting and processing into fuels and plastics and pesticides and other stuff at an accelerating pace since the Industrial Revolution.
In fact, the popularity of dinosaur-decay has reached such epidemic proportions that it’s not too big an exaggeration to claim it threatens the very survival of humanity today.
Not only has dead-dinosaur hydrocarbon created some of the most destructive human forces in Earth’s history—case in point, the oil-rich Koch brothers (read more)—but…
- the burning of fossil fuel has caused a general warming of the planet (all of that potential energy refined and condensed by nature and hidden underground over millions of years is released over a short span of several centuries, and the heat gets trapped in the atmosphere);
- plastic garbage has become a toxic element in the global food chain;
- petrol-based poisons and pharmaceuticals (including terpenes and similar-acting alkaloids such as nicotine) have caused an upheaval in the natural balance of terrestrial life… for example, the extinction of most honeybee colonies (read more); and
- destructive forces in global politics have been ignited by crude oil… who has the oil, who wants it… and how aggressively they’ll try to take it (think US military presence in the Middle East).
So… a big share of modern news can be traced back to the dinosaurs. And that’s what we look at today, as we close out the second quarter of 2014… how the dinosaurs may be having the last, toothy laugh in these latter days of the Second Epoch. (read more on the Second Epoch)
Most of the petroleum extracted from underground is used for fuel.
Is the climate really heating up? Just look at the evidence:
- Fish are dying by the millions (read more)
- Starfish are dissolving into goo (read more)
- Fresh water supplies are drying up (read more)
- Arizona towns are running out of water (read more)
- Greenland’s ice cap is starting to wobble (read more)
- Sea levels are rising (read more)
- Norfolk, Virginia, is sinking (read more)
- The UN warns of melting ice caps, more droughts, more floods, and dying coral reefs (read more).
These are just a few of the more obvious symptoms of global warming, which is mainly the result of the burning of fossil fuels… especially petroleum. As you can see in the diagram below, petroleum is used mostly for fuel…
… but even the small proportion used to produce plastic is causing major problems.
A Planet Choking on Plastic
As scientists observe (with some alarm) the quickly melting ice caps at the Arctic and Antarctic poles, there‘ve been lots of surprises… including bits of modern plastic garbage that have spread throughout the world on ocean currents, winding up everywhere… including the polar ice. (read more)
Plastic bits floating around in the ocean are like the vast clouds of dust and debris swirling around in space. Over time many of them are pulled together by natural forces to form large, congealed objects. The dust and debris in space become planets and moons. The garbage particles in the ocean can coalesce into plastic rocks, many of which eventually wash up on beaches. (read more)
Zillions of germs floundering at sea gratefully cling to floating solids… such as the endless, swelling throngs of Skittle-sized plastic pieces covering much of our planetary ocean surface today. Not only do the plastics develop the characteristic slime of ocean stuff, but they also glow in the dark if their microbial passengers happen to be bioluminescent… as are many of the vibrio bacteria. They might create magical tropical evening tides as they wash ashore… but if the glowing plastics at sea attract hungry fish, they could also be choking the oceans. Studies are underway…. (read more)
Energy That Creates Also Destroys When Driven By Greed
Nearly all of the easily accessible pockets of crude oil, once vast, are now depleted. If humanity were motivated by common sense, efforts would be underway everywhere to transition smoothly from hydrocarbons to clean, sustainable forms of energy… solar, wind, geothermal….
While that transition appears to be well underway in Europe (read more), the US clings doggedly to carbon-based fuels and resists alternatives.
Why? Well… I think it can be traced back to 1) greed and 2) our stubborn glorification of personal and corporate freedom, often at the expense of social well-being. The American fascination with freedom boils over into politics, government policies, and anti-government sentiment… evolving into a perverse excuse of the super-rich to get richer while trampling on the needs of the poor, the working classes, and the environment… even the needs of children to be educated. (read more)
Case in point, again: Koch Industries. Charles and David Koch spend much of their vast oil wealth impeding and undermining government, neutralizing regulation, and removing the government safety nets that allow less fortunate Americans to maintain a reasonable life style. (read more)
Here’s what’s been happening lately among the rich:
- Billionaires are growing richer as quickly as the poor are losing everything (read more)
- The rich have turned America into an oligarchy (rule by an elite few) (read more)
- Government has become a protection racket for the rich (read more)
- Oil companies use “fixers” to get world oil rights by any dirty means (read more)
- The rich have become callous to the needs of the public (read more)
- Many rich individuals could buy their own cities (read more)
- The rich elite, especially the Koch brothers, pay off Congress to rig elections (read more)
- Dick Cheney’s Halliburton made $40 billion on the Iraq War (read more)
- Bankers and CEOs make up the top 0.01 percent of the richest Americans, among whom fortunes have quadrupled in 50 years (read more)
- Only a few of the super rich realize that a revolution is at hand… that the pitchforks are coming (read more)
So, what is it that drives the super-rich to behave in their own interests with callous disregard for the rest of the planet?
The best way to figure that out, I believe, is to see what drives the Koch family… and I’ve found and excellent article for that! It’s one of the most gripping family dramas of our time in one of the best-written biographical articles on the web… based on the book, Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America’s Most Powerful and Private Dynasty.
If you click on only one of the links in this article, this is the one I’d recommend:
The article suggests a lot about how the savage side of human nature can come to the fore when love in the family is replaced by relentless competition. It says a lot about what motivates the super-rich… and what has been driving social and political evolution here in America in recent years.
As the People Suffer…
As the rich get richer, here’s what’s been going on among the poor and middle class:
- The middle class is quickly disappearing in America… falling into poverty (read more)
- The disadvantages of poor families destine their kids to a lifetime of poverty (read more)
- The American poor and middle class earn less than their peers in other developed countries (read more)
- The poor may have more than they had two generations ago (cars, smartphones, TVs…), but they’re still being left behind (read more), demoralized, and trapped in poverty…
- Hundreds of cities are making it a punishable crime to feed the homeless (read more)
- Conservative politicians are claiming that God opposes income equality and safety nets… and His real concerns are theft and covetousness (read more)
So how does all this tie in to dinosaurs and oil?
Well, again, we live in an oil-based economy that sits precariously on a slippery foundation… now that oil is running out.
As I see it, the oil-based economy is quickly unraveling, and it’s the desperation of the rich to hold things together that’s causing most of the angst, which they’re misdirecting toward the poor and toward government.
The solution is obvious: Transition quickly and smoothly to clean, alternative energy sources… and all of the major problems will go away.
Instead, the rich remain obsessed with the faltering oil-based economy… the status quo… and their mounting frustrations are being vented on everyone around them.
Oil dependence is an addiction… like alcoholism or drug addiction.
It causes frustration, desperation, and misplaced blame and aggression.
The only viable solution is to overcome the need and to abstain from the substance… to find alternative, healthier sources of gratification, pleasure, and peace of mind.
Overcome the oil addiction, and all of the problems listed in this article will begin to resolve themselves.
There are proven methods for overcoming addiction, and that’s what I plan to focus on in the next article… viable ways to overcome society’s addiction to oil.