Re: Life Duty Death

Javilk (
14 Sep 1995 09:17:20 GMT

> On Mon, 11 Sep 1995, Javilk wrote:

--- I had some further correspondence from several individuals on my
article from several people. The following is a summary, without the
identities of the people, for others who may find it interesting.

A comment was made about our lakes dying. Do note that lakes are, by
their very nature, transient phenomenon. Depending upon the lake, it can
be as short as ten to twenty years for shallow beaver produced lakes, to
much, much longer for geologicaly produced lakes.
Often stream + beavers = lake
Lake -> swamp -> bog -> meadow.

I have taken a course on... they covered lake eutrophication, sewage
treatment, etc., with an eye towards Lakes Onandoga and Oneida in upstate
New York, both geological lakes. They were improving with our move away
from phospate rich detergents, though I have not kept up on their
condition in the last fifteen years. I understand they were rather bad in
the late fifties to mid sixties. Lots of hydrogen sulphide bubbling up
from one of two due to the Solvay Process plant in the area, if I recall
correctly. Similar gains have been made in MANY other areas. Again, we
have seen the effects and improved our act. This is not to say we can't
do a lot more as the PEOPLE see the effects, DISCUSS what they want, and
VOTE for people who will support reasonable compromises between COST and
EFFECT. And shop responsibly!


A question was asked about untapped oil reserves, and where I heard of
the larger numbers, etc. From people involved with Exxon, foreign
ventures in the former soviet union, etc., it is believed there is more
oil there than in the entire Arabian Peninnsula, based upon soundings and
geology. They just don't have the technology to drill it. There has been
some _speculation_ that they may have instigated Saddam's push into Kuwait
as an effort to spur investment by the west in these reserves. But that
is only Speculation.


The comment about climatic changes around the 1200's (current era)
having changed our midwest from meadow lands with many species, to
grasslands was based on a Science Facts article in Analog, about 1988, and
echoed in other publications both before and after that time.
The comment about Indian hunting practices was mentioned in Science
Digest and/or Science News some ten years ago. Computer modEling has shown
that even the indians and those who came before, were likely largely
responsible for the lack of diversity in the North American Continent.
This was certainly exacerbated with the introduction of the horse, which
gave the hunting parties greater range, and allowed the Indian
population to rise.

Regarding mass cutting of forests, I should point out that I have
studied forest fire control, and it is perfectly natural for forests to
burn down and re-grow. It just takes more time than humans want to put up
with. The forests of the entire North Western United States has been
cut or burnt down in recent history. Although I do not recall the dates
of the last major forest fire to sweep across almost all New England, I
think it was in the late 1800's.
Before the advent of fire fighting man, these fires were more common.
Some trees have evolved to REQUIRE massive burns in order to maintain
their dominance in a forest stand. Part of the problems we have in our
man cared forests, is that forest fires are no longer playing their
natural role. We are, however, an impatient lot who prefer our forests
green every summer.
Many of the Eastern wood companies do manage their forests, growing
trees on a rotating basis on their own lands on a twenty to forty or more
year cycle. Some trees have a shorter cycle, particularly those used for
paper pulp.
Western Redwoods, on the other hand, require a MUCH longer growth
cycle! There is a lot to be said for maintaining some of the old growth
redwood forests!


As to our progress in caring for ourselves, one may note that in the
not so distant past, famines were common all across the globe. Food was
the limiting factor when it came to our population numbers. These limits
have been substantially raised through the use of technology.

> > world do NOT care nearly as much about the world's environment as we
> > Western Folks seem to. They do have a reason for this -- they are hungry,
> > have less technological resources, and less education than we do.

Comments were made that these emerging nations will likely cause much
pollution. This fear has been echoed in the last few years in Scientific
American and other publications.

This may or may not be true, depending upon what kind of technology
they develop or buy.
Now I know that sounds rather... clinical. but note that people who
live in democracies do not stay with things that make their lives
worse; they opt for solutions which improve their individual lives.


Further comment was directed about China and other emerging nations
not respecting the ban on CFC's, and gearing up to produce... 250 million
refrigerators? etc. which may seriously impact the ozone layer.

And what are we supposed to do about that? that is a decision by the
sovereign government of China. Are we, therefore, supposed to invade
China? Are we supposed to deny them the right to refrigerate their foods
so that they will no longer have as much throat cancer from mold
growing on some of their foods?
All we can do, is to suggest, sell, or license better technologies.
We SHOULD, however, take into consideration what the benefits TO US
will be from these better technologies, and include those in our
cost/benefit evaluations. There were some interesting articles in this
year's Scientific American regarding university designed cooking stoves
for the emerging nations, especially India, and how some were quite
impractical and not very beneficial. Others have been designed to work
Another article some time back, probably in National Geographic,
detailed how a spiral piece of bent metal would serve as a rather good
cooking heat source in the Sub Sahara areas, and thus reduce the
destruction of plants in the area. I have not heard much follow up on
that. I expect that it may have proven to be too expensive, and too prone
to be sold as scrap metal.

Each nation has the right to be soverein. Each peoples has the right to
be free. These may be, at times, in conflict. But it is better to have
them in conflict, than to forgo one or the other!


> > Living in the lap of luxury, (why else to so many people try to get
> > into America?) it is easy for us to think we have sinned when we see how
> > the rest of the world looks. Maybe, just maybe, we live in the lap of
> > luxury because we figured out how to MAKE a lot of that luxury OURSELVES,
> > as opposed to stealing it from elsewhere.
> > No question we CAN do better. We will.

I was then accused of being... "ignorant of reality" by some.

I beg your pardon? Whom did we steal our homes from? We offer the
world trade. The world accepts our offer, and the offers of many others.
In some governmental systems, patronage, nepotism, and other things
which we democratic people call FRAUD, is rampant. (Not so say we don't
have some degree of this here too!) It is not America's position to
overthrow every corrupt nation's government. The people of each nation
have a duty TO THEMSELVES, to arainge their affairs to maximize their own
benefits. If they do not do so, if they put up with corrupt leaders, that
is THEIR problem.

Even with the corruption in the world, people are generally better off
now, than they were a hundred years ago. We will never have equality, but
we are experiencing improvements, gradual as they may be.
There is greater religious tolerance, and preventative vaccinations for
childhood diseases are more common all over the world. Transistor radios,
even TV's, are being found all over the world. Literacy is rising. In the
West, indoor plumbing and central heating is approaching becoming
These are not small gains over the kinds of lives we lived in the
1400's, when sewage was thrown into the streets, and childhood diseases
killed a large portion of our children. Nor are our automobiles small
gains when compared with the problems of Horse Manure supporting disease
vectors in our cities in the late 1800's. The air in Birmingham and other
industrial centers is quite cleaner than it was in the 1960's.
Progress may be slow, but it is there if you look for it. Do
remember, that YOU, yes, YOU, have responsibility for a lot of this
progress in your daily jobs and lives. You vote with your dollars every
time you decide how to spend or save those dollars. One may debate
whether this has more or less effect than the national elections; the
cumulative effect is NOT small!
If you wish to multiply your effect, write to the president of the
company, preferably enclosing a label from the product. He will not read
your letter except in rare cases, but it WILL be counted, especially if
they see the label, box top, etc. showing that you did buy it. Or if you
did not buy the product, tell them why, enclosing one of their

-J- (
Think Manageable, Think Personal, Think Responsible, Think Pagan. ---
Then take what actions may help all, and hurt none. -----------------