Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Sunday, April 22, 2018


On Earth Day, just one word

by Tom Sullivan

Besides alarming data about the rapidity of melting in Greenland and Antarctica, and the disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic, Vox has a rundown of some significant environmental stories, both hopeful and not, you may have missed since last year. But Vox begins with a problem thought larger now than a year ago.

Punctuating the moment is the dead sperm whale that washed ashore in southern Spain last week with 64 pounds of garbage in its stomach. Most of it plastic, but also rope, netting and other junk.

Vox explains:

The plastic crisis is a truly global one, and the numbers are staggering: A 2015 study found that between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic makes it into the ocean from land each year. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight.

Since plastic is synthetic, there are few natural processes that break it down, allowing bags, straws, and packaging to linger for decades if not centuries. And we’re not very good at containing it to landfills. About 32 percent of plastics make out into nature, where it often end up in the bellies of fish, birds, and whales. And, as it turns out, potentially in our stomachs too.
The New Republic adds:
This threat demands the type of aggressive action that only certain groups and countries are taking. After the dead sperm whale was discovered in Spain, the government launched a widespread awareness and cleanup campaign. Canada is using its presidency of the G-7 this year to push for international action on plastic pollution. In America, nearly 2,000 restaurants and organizations have banned straws or implemented a straws-only-upon-request policy, according to a July report in The Washington Post.
Cleanup will take more than banning plastic straws, staff writer Emily Atkin found at a pre-screening of the final episode of BBC’s Blue Planet II. It's focus was not about damage to undersea life:
It was about the vast damage humans are doing to the ocean. In one scene, a scientist comes upon the bloody carcass of an Albatross chick whose stomach was punctured by a toothpick. “Something as small as that has managed to kill the bird,” she said. “It’s really sad to see.” Later, the episode documented the story of a baby dolphin, discovered dead after drinking her own mother’s milk. Her milk, researchers found, was contaminated with microplastics.

Four years ago, the Guardian called microplastics "the biggest environmental problem you've never heard of." Mary Catherine O'Connor, co-founder of Climate Confidential, wrote:

Ecologist Mark Browne knew he’d found something big when, after months of tediously examining sediment along shorelines around the world, he noticed something no one had predicted: fibers. Everywhere. They were tiny and synthetic and he was finding them in the greatest concentration near sewage outflows. In other words, they were coming from us.

In fact, 85% of the human-made material found on the shoreline were microfibers, and matched the types of material, such as nylon and acrylic, used in clothing.

It is not news that microplastic – which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration defines as plastic fragments 5mm or smaller – is ubiquitous in all five major ocean gyres. And numerous studies have shown that small organisms readily ingest microplastics, introducing toxic pollutants to the food chain.
They also find their way into drinking water. Browne laundered a polyester fleece jacket through the wash and filtered 1,900 fibers from the wastewater (this writer types, looking over at the one hanging on the back of the door). In 2015, Patagonia commissioned a study:
The study, performed by graduate students at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that during laundering, a single fleece jacket sheds as many as 250,000 synthetic fibers—significantly more than the 1,900 fibers Browne first recorded. Based on an estimate of consumers across the world laundering 100,000 Patagonia jackets each year, the amount of fibers being released into public waterways is equivalent to the amount of plastic in up to 11,900 grocery bags.
Keeping us all living in the style to which we have become accustomed is seriously fouling the only habitable planet we have. Vox reports that researchers have discovered a batch of seven Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone of dwarf star Trappist-1. MEarth Project found another Earth-like planet, LHS1140b, orbiting a nearby star a fifth the size of our own. But, "Trappist-1 is 40 light-years (12 parsecs) away from us. LHS1140b is also about 40 light years off. It would take eons to get there." So let's not foul the planet we have in the hand for one somewhere in the cosmic bush. Humans might need it a few years longer. The wildlife, longer still.

Google's Earth Day 2018 doodle is a video featuring a well-regarded fan of wildlife, ethologist, conservationist, and activist, Jane Goodall:

"Every single individual matters. Every single individual makes some impact on the planet every single day," Goodall believes. "And we have a choice as to what kind of difference we are going to make."

We don't have an alternative planet, but we do have a few alternatives right here, including alternatives this November to the people currently misleading us.

* * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.