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Posts Tagged ‘What animal instincts do they fear in me

What animal instincts do they fear in me? (Written on November 6, 2007)

The last chapter of “A short history of nearly everything” by Bill Bryson described how Man came to exist 100,000 years ago.

Modern human is so recent on Earth that the genetic differences among 55 chimpanzees are much larger than the whole human species. Chimpanzees, for example, have been around for several millions of years.

Yet, modern human has managed to damage extensively Earth, its environment, and thousands of species in such a short period. Apparently, human activities are causing more than 1,000 species to go extinct per week.

The 19th century, especially in the USA and Britain, experienced a deliberate wiping out of any animal species that was not considered a pet such as animals living in farms.

The States in America paid out bounties for eastern mountain lions and other pests. The dodo flightless bird was wiped out from the island of Mauritius in 1693 simply because the ship crews needed to have something to pass the time.

In the USA, 30 genera of very large animals disappeared; 10 million mammoth carcasses are thought to be frozen in the Siberian tundra.  A walrus-like creature called Steller’s sea cow, 9 meters in length and weighting 10 tones got extinct in the mid 18th century.

The golden head and emerald green Carolina parakeet was wiped out because it was considered a pest by farmers. The dog-like Tasmanian tiger was wiped out in Australia by 1936

Unfortunately, we have the tendency to permit research after the damage is done, simply because multinational companies delay any serious research into the hazards to health and the environment of their business in order to generate as much profit from cow cash industries before regulatory laws handicap their businesses.

Around 1998, I wrote a poem that the title of this article is suitable and I would like to share it with you.

What animal instincts do they fear in me?

I’m going to war.

My government has decided.

I need to release my animal instincts.

For economic reasons,

For political reasons,

For abstract notions:

God, Heaven, Hell,

Freedom, Liberty, or Fraternity.

I’m going to war today,

For no reasons:

Just kicking butts.

I take it back. I am going to war today

To spread the seeds of Democracy,

To unite the World in the true values.

What animal instincts do they fear in me?

I’ve never seen animals killing from miles away.

I’ve never seen an animal,

Who has just gorged on hamburger and pizza,

Going a-prowling,

To kill more and maim savagely.

What animal instincts do they fear in me?

Never seen an animal,

Returning from the hunt,

In clean and spec fur,

Shining from shoulders to boots;

To eat more and get drunk silly.

They used to find themselves a cool shade

To rest and sleep off the feast.

What animal instincts do they fear in me?

I had a dream of cannibals at war,

And I am the reporter.

Once a victor felled his enemy, he would kneel and achieve him.

The victor is serenely and religiously eating his enemy’s flesh, raw.

For him, the war is already over:

He stops killing other victims.

He is not helping his tribe warriors to overcome more enemies.

His enemies will not interfere with his eating;

They stay away from this pair;

Both, finally at peace.

For both the victor and the victim the war is over.

When the dust of war settles down,

All the living warriors, from both camps,

Prepare a joint bonfire and finish off the remains of their victims.

They leave the battlefield in peace.

They don’t carry any leftovers:

Nature and its beasts need to take their shares of the slaughter.

What animal instincts do they fear in me?

I am re-editing excerpts from Bill Bryson’s voluminous book to support my proposition that modern human behaviors are related to the fact that we are a young species needing more time to evolve and appreciate Earth and his existence.

Fish is no longer that abundant in the surface seas. According to one estimate, there could be as many as 30 million species living in the sea, most are undiscovered.

However, the world’s seas are not uniformly bounteous.

For example, Australia has the longest coastline of 36,735 kilometers, yet it is not a fishing nation because the rivers lack the necessary nutrients crossing deserts.

In the 1970s, Australia and New Zealand discovered vast shoals of “orange roughy” at a depth of 800 meters.  The fishing fleet was hauling 40,000 tons of roughy a year.  In no time the roughy was disappearing because this type of fish was leading an unhurried lifestyle, spawning once in a lifetime, for the water was resource-poor.

Sharks are captured, the fin tail sliced off, and then dumped back to die: In the Far East, the kilo of fins is sold for $110 and a bowl of shark-fin soup retail for $100 in Tokyo.

As of 1950, some 37,000 industrial-sized fishing ships, plus about a million boats, were taking twice as many fish as they had 25 years earlier.  A quarter of the content of every fishing net “by-catch” has to be dumped back, mostly dead, because they are too small or of the wrong type of fishes.

For every kilo of shrimp harvested, about 4 kilo of fish is destroyed. 

Cod and halibut are almost extinct off the northeast coast of America.  A single lobster in the catch used to weight 9 kilos and they don’t weight one kilo presently: lobster can live up to 70 years but is not given time to mature.

Fishermen are reduced to fishing the hideous hagfish; these days, “fish” is whatever is left.  It seems that the crab-eater seals are the mammal species of large size that are the most numerous after humans and they live on the pack ice around Antarctica.

There was an engineer by training in the 1920s who developed an interest in the industrial applications of chemistry; Thomas Midgley, Junior introduced tetraethyl lead in car gasoline which is spread devastation to human health by killing millions from lead contamination and increasing the lead content in our bones and blood 650 times the normal dose.

Tetraethyl lead was used to significantly reduce the juddering condition known as engine knock.  GM, du Pont, and Standard Oil of New Jersey formed a joint enterprise called Ethyl Gasoline Corporation with a view to making as much tetraethyl lead as the world was willing to buy this new gasoline and introduced this product in 1923.

Lead can be found in all manner of consumer products; food came in cans sealed with lead solder, water was stored in lead-lined tanks, and lead arsenate was sprayed onto fruits as a pesticide and even as part of the composition of toothpaste tubes. However, lead lasting danger came as an additive to motor fuel.

Clair Patterson calculated that about 90% of the lead in the atmosphere appeared to come from car exhaust pipes.  He set about to comparing lead levels in the atmosphere now with the levels that existed before 1923. His ingenious idea was to evaluate these levels from samples in the ice cores in places like Greenland; this notion became the foundation of ice cores studies, on which much modern climatology work is based.

Patterson found no lead in the atmosphere before 1923.  Ethyl Corporation counter attacked by cutting off all research grants that Patterson received.  Although Patterson was the unquestionable America’s leading expert on atmospheric lead, the National Research Council panel excluded him in 1971. Eventually, his efforts led to the introduction of the Clean Air Act of 1970 and to the removal from sale of all leaded petrol in the USA in 1986.

Lead levels in the blood of the Americans fell by 80% almost within a year; but since the atmosphere contains so much lead and cannot be eliminated and is for ever, we are to live with a new constitution of heavy lead concentration in our blood stream and our bones.

Lead in paint was also banned in 1993, 44 years after Europe has banned it.

Leaded gasoline is still being sold overseas.  Ironically, all the research on lead effects on health were funded by the Ethyl Corporation; one doctor spent 5 years taking wrong samples of urine and faces instead of blood and bones where lead actually accumulate.

Another example of modern human tampering with our health and evolution is the use of CFC or chlorofluorocarbon. With an instinct for the regrettable that was almost uncanny, Midgley invented CFC that is eating our ozone layer in the stratosphere.

Refrigerators in the 1920s used dangerous gases and leaks killed more than a hundred in 1929 in a Cleveland hospital.

Thomas Midgley came to the rescue with a safe, stable, non-corrosive, and non-flammable gas called CFC.  A single kilo of chlorofluorocarbon can capture and annihilate 70,000 kilos of atmospheric ozone which is no thicker than 2 millimeter around the stratosphere and whose benefit is to capture the dangerous cosmic rays.

CFC is also a great heat sponge 10,000 times more efficient than carbon dioxide responsible for the greenhouse effect of increasing atmospheric temperature.

CFC was banned in 1974 in the USA but 27 million kilos a year are still being introduced in the market in other forms of deodorant or hairspray for example.  CFC will not be banned in the third world countries until 2010.

We are relying heavily on coal and oil as sources of energy which are producing huge amount of carbon dioxide.

The natural level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should be 280 parts per million but it has increased to 360 and is roughly rising 0.025% a year and might be around 560 by the end of the century.

The seas soak up tremendous volumes of carbon and safely locked it away.  Since the Sun is burning 25% more brightly than when the solar system was young, what keeps our Earth stable and cool?

It seems that there are trillions upon trillions of tiny marine organisms that capture carbon from the rain falls and use it to make tiny shells. These marine organisms lock the carbon and prevent it from re-evaporating into the atmosphere; otherwise, the greenhouse effect of warming the atmosphere would have done much damage long time ago. These tiny organisms fall to the bottom of the sea after they die, where they are compressed into limestone.

Other sources for carbon production come from volcanoes and the decay of plants.  Combined, these two sources return the carbon to the atmosphere at a rate of 200 billion tones a year and fall to the Earth in rain.  The cycle takes 500,000 years for a typical carbon atom.  Fortunately that most of the rain fall in oceans because 60% of the rain that fall on land is evaporated within a couple of days.

Human has disturbed this cycle with heavy industrialization and is lofting about 7 billion tones each year.

There is a critical threshold where the natural biosphere stops buffering us from the effects of our emissions and actually starts to amplify them. The increased carbon dioxide production in the atmosphere is exacerbating the two main heat transfer mechanism around the world.

The first heat transfer mechanism is air flow.

Air always flows from areas of high pressure coming from the equator to areas of low pressure to keep pressure in balance. Moist and warm air from the equator rises until it hits the barrier of the troposphere and spreads out. As it travels away and cools, it sinks. When it hits bottom, some of the sinking air looks for an area of low pressure to fill and then heads back for the equator, completing the circuit through convection.

This convection process results from the fact that Earth spins at 1,675 kilometers an hour at the equator but the spin reduces its velocity as it is closer to the poles to become almost negligible; a straight line seems to curve to the right at the north hemisphere and to the left at the southern hemisphere.  The Coriolis effects sends hurricanes spinning off like tops.  The Greenhouse effect results in the northern regions of the Earth to experience longer and colder winters while the ice sheet in the North Pole is thinning and diluting the salty ocean.

The other heat transfer is ocean current.

The main agent of heat transfer is known as thermohaline circulation.

For example, England and Ireland are very lucky that the Atlantic is more saline than the Pacific; the denser saline water sink at the bottom, and aided by the Coriolis effect, huge amount of warm water are charred by the Gulf Stream to warm the weather and keep many part of Western Europe from becoming icy like Canada and Russia.

As the water of the Atlantic gets to the vicinity of Europe, it grows denser and sinks to great depths and begins a slow trip back to the southern hemisphere.  When they reach Antarctica, they are caught up in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and driven onward into the Pacific.

This process takes 1,500 years for water to travel from the North Atlantic to the mid-Pacific, but the volume of heat and water they move are very considerable and the influence on the climate is enormous.  Unfortunately, with the increase of the greenhouse effect the higher melting rate of the Greenland ice is diluting the Atlantic Ocean and could disrupt the cycle disastrously.

Is our immune system still functioning properly?

In 1952, penicillin was fully effective against all strains of staphylococcus bacteria.  The US surgeon-general, William Stewart declared: “The time has come to close the book on infectious diseases. We have basically wiped out infection in the USA”.

Remarkably, 70% of the antibiotics used in the developed world are given to farm animals in stock feed to promote growth or as a precaution against infection. The bacteria mutated and evolved a resistance to antibiotics and 90% of the strains developed immunity to penicillin. Only one type of antibiotics called vanomyncin remained effective. Then, in 1997, vanomycin failed to check a new strain.

The pharmaceutical industry hasn’t given the world an entirely new antibiotic since the 1970s, preferring to produce a whole gamut of antidepressants that people take everyday for ever.

There is a process of discovery that many ailments may be bacterial in origin such as ulcers, heart disease, asthma, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, several mental disorders, many cancers, and even obesity.

Edward Wilson expressed our recklessness and the task ahead of us very briefly: “One Planet, one experiment“.

My contention is that our young brain has demonstrated capabilities in analyzing and comprehending nature and its laws but still lacks the necessary ramifications to feel, sense, and comprehend his fellow inner emotions and how to interact with Man according to deeper truths.

As I see it, Man was successful in discovering many facts but truth is a far off chimerical reality.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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