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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Short Term Thinking




The USGS just released an earthquake hazard map. For the first time it includes earthquake dangers caused by fracking.


Here's what drives me nuts. The quake danger will be with us for a long long long time. That's a huge cost. The benefit was a short term boost in hydrocarbon production. The oil and gas companies got the profit and the people who live on the land will have to pay for it forever.

The nuclear power industry is another case of long term hazard for short term benefits. A nuclear power plant's life is measured in decades while nuclear waste is dangerous for thousands of years.

Those are two big examples, but there are superfund sites all around the country where toxic materials linger in the ground and water long after the industries are gone. Few think about such things -until your grandkids test for high levels of lead in their blood.

There are hazardous sites that will probably outlive our civilization.

Of course, we all live in the short term. If we don't survive today it doesn't matter what dangers the future will bring. That's why people in third world countries cut down every tree within walking distance. Sure, a forest in the future would be of huge benefit to the environment, but dinner needs to be cooked today.

Unlike other creatures on this earth, we can extrapolate into the future the costs of todays actions. We don't have to have the same fate of mindless creatures exceeding the carrying capacity of their surroundings. Now all we have to do is live like the big brained critters we are. Let's use those brains for good instead of short term profits.

-Sixbears

14 comments:

  1. Won't happen until the Lord comes.

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    1. I'd like to face my maker and tell him I was a good steward of the land.

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    2. It's really creepy when you actually think about what they are doing. I have also wondered about the long term effect of pumping billions of barrels of oil out of oil fields.

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    3. Did you know that information concerning wells of any sort is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act? What's being hid?

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    4. Do you have a reference for that? I'd like to read more.

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  2. water tables with benzene and radioactive stuff--long term death. some places no wells are safe.

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    1. In the Bible there's it's written that a witch should not be suffered to live. However, some translations say, instead of witch, a poisoner of wells. Seems like a great sin to me.

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  3. It's always going to be something, Six Bears, that the government will try to tax. Global warming, carbon footprints, water, gas. Pretty soon they are going to run out of things.

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    1. Wouldn't it be nice if we could focus on the world we are going to live our children rather than who's going to make money?

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  4. Down the road a couple miles from me is a large empty piece of ground. I mean empty. . . only a couple of tough weeds. That area used to be a creosote plant.

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    1. I bet a soil test would show some interesting results.

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  5. When I talk about meditation, it doesn't have to be the kind where you sit on the top of a windswept mountain and hum. It can just be quiet reflection on a single topic, maintained for an effective period, in the absence of most distractions.

    We have the problems we have for numerous reasons. Only because it's a convenient reference, I'll point to the seven deadly (and commonplace) sins. Related to sloth, but significantly missing from the line-up is apathy, which is of equal importance, and which practically manifests as lack of effective action toward improvement.

    Another not mentioned in that religious list of deadly sins, of course, is sitting around expecting some supernatural being to fix things. Or maybe worse, resigning yourself to failure, believing in such a being while also believing that it will not fix anything. Now, many years from my own starting point, at least this aspect is easier for me. I know that no such being exists, and therefore, waiting for said impossible assistance is, at best, a waste of time and a responsibility dodge.

    So, where does that leave us?

    A suggested topic for meditation -- with or without the humming or rosary beads or your contemplative tool of choice -- is the concept of "deserve". As in, what do you deserve? What do we deserve? How exactly can anyone come to deserve anything?

    By the most obvious paths of reasoning along those lines, the logical conclusion is that we collectively already have exactly what we deserve.

    Why?

    We did not create anything better and we tolerate what we know is wrong.

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    1. I did not create the greater world in which I live, but that doesn't absolve me from doing my part to make it better.

      In my own small ways I do what I can. Sometimes it's surprising how far those little ripples in the pond spread out.

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    2. If everyone did at least that, it might just be enough.

      It is tricky business -- balancing effort toward improvement with effort to simply survive on a daily basis.

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