Saturday, April 23, 2005


Tonight I went to a guest speaker, here at Knox College, speaking on the effects of chemical toxins on the body. She spoke specifically on how many of the thresholds established to protect humans from unsafe levels of toxins are established using the assumption the consumer is an average healthy adult. However obviously not every person drinking water, or using a PVC pipe is an average healthy adult. The most susceptible to such chemicals are then the young, the elderly, and the sick. Paying particularly close attention to infants the speaker noted that much of what keeps toxins out of the brain is a membrane called the brain blood barrier. This membrane is not fully developed in fetus and infants and thus trace amounts of a toxin that would not otherwise affect an adult because of the blood brain membrane, are able to penetrate infants brain and cause damage.

All to often it seems that we fail to take into account the affects of agents we are releasing into the environment and unfortunately the powerless have to pay for the sins of the perpetrators. This results in a human rights violation as noted above. Another such case would be global warming. The IPCC in its latest report (the IPCC is considered the expert organization on global warming and is fancied by several nations and is registered under the authority of the United Nations)noted that due to the increase of anthropogenic greenhouse gases into the atmosphere it is expected that the earth will warm an additional 1.6*C over the next 50 years causing sea levels to rise by as much as 10 meters. Now the main contributors to this are of course industrialized developed nations, they are often the ones doing the least to prevent it. Most notably the United States and Australia, both of whom abstained from the Kyoto Treaty. The IPCC report notes that such a change in the climate of the earth will be devastating to those living along the coasts in particular. Due to both the rise in sea levels and the increased frequency of extreme weather events. It also notes that developed nations will be the best equipped to adapt to such changes and that underdeveloped nations such as Bangladesh, the Maldives and other nations with significant portions of the population living along the coast will be most affected and possibly devastated--due to their lack of resources that would enable them the innovation necessary to adapt. In other words developed nations are changing the climate, gaining the benefits, refusing to fix it, and the developing world, which is already in a state of oppression from us will be forced to pay the greater debt. Again these things are not only environmental issues but human rights issues.

I will leave you with one final thought. What will cause us to change? All to often I confront an apathy regarding environmental issues in public that make me sick. We have erroneously separated ourselves from the natural world and fail to see the vital connection that still remains. Maybe we need an E-11, that is an environmental disaster of some scale to wake people up to this reality. It is unfortunate but may be true. Whether that is another unfortunate tsunami, or rising sea levels. An enviromental disaster would force people to deal with in a real way the ways in which we are corrupting this planet.


At 10:40 AM, Blogger Bryan said...


I had almost forgotten to welcome Brandon Jones, from Kansas City to Amandla. Sorry about that man and keep two fingers on the heart.

At 4:46 AM, Blogger bombasticbeats said...

And I thank you (*bows). I think you tap on something in saying that environmental issues are some of the hardest to reconcile with people. I've been trying to do little things lately, like walking more and choosing to shop at places I can walk to verses drive. And it strikes me as odd when my friends laugh when I sugest things like that when we are together. It seems as though we have such a hard time making the connection between our personal lives and the world as a whole. And you are right in saying how distant we have become from nature. I mean, how many people would really eat beef or chicken if they had to got kill and clean it themselves?


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