Labelling GMO – a letter to my MP

To: Carla Qualtrough, Liberal MP, North Delta., carla.qualtrough@parl.gc.ca.
cc: Terry Beach, Liberal MP, Burnaby BC, terry.Beech@parl.gc.ca
Dated Sunday, August 20, 2017
Subject : Bill C-291 – regarding labelling of genetically modified food.

Honourable Ms Qualtrough,

I write to you with regard to bill C-291 which aimed to amend the Food and Drug Act and include a clause to mandate labelling of genetically modified foods in Canada. This bill got defeated in the parliament with 216 Nay votes and 67 Yea votes. You voted against it, as did virtually all of the conservatives and most of the liberal MPs. A handful of Liberal MPs voted in favour of labelling GMOs, Honourable liberal MP Terry Beach of Burnaby BC being one of them. This letter is copied to him since he is referred here.

Common sense tells me that GMO aught to have been labelled, irrespective of what science says about it, of if one prefers to eat or avoid genetically modified food. It is the right of the people, I feel, to know what they are eating, and GMO is one such information that aught to have been identified to consumers.

But I do not write this letter regarding what I feel aught to have been or what my idea of common sense is.

I write this letter for two specific reasons. These are

1) To inform you that in my view you have violated the duty you were to perform when you got elected to represent us, by making your own decision to vote against the bill instead of checking with your constituents first.

You have often held meetings in Delta to gather public opinion on various issues. I have received invitations from your office to attend such meetings and have attended a few and voiced my concerns there. I presume the reason you hold such meetings is to gauge the opinions and feelings of the constituents and to reflect them back in Ottawa.

However, you failed to invite us to express our opinion on this important issue of labelling GMOs which has great relevance to food safety and general health as well as food security, preservation of biodiversity and independence from corporate ownership of living organisms. How I know you avoided checking public opinion is that you failed to hold a meeting on this and I did not receive an invitation from your office to attend any such meeting.

2) Since in my view you may have violated the sacrosanct duty that you were constitutionally required to perform, I believe I may have a reason to question your suitability in performing the task of a public servant to protect our interest. I therefore might decide to perform my citizens duty, to alert voters that you may have assumed dictatorial powers and decided to make unilateral decisions on what the people of Delta should know about their food.

In my book, only two kinds of persons can make such unilateral decisions for the people. These two are – a dictator, or an emperor. I do not believe you are either, though I suspect you might have forgotten what your specific duty is.

I write this letter to you not expecting an answer per se. I know politicians are usually quite good at staying silent on questions that they would rather not answer.

I am nonetheless writing this to publicize and circulate it among voters within my capacity, and also to set an example for other citizens, in Delta and outside, to take a queue and question their own respective representatives about what authority they had in making decisions without checking with the people first.

While I do not expect any response, I shall be glad to receive one, to discuss how you voted against this bill. Either way, this letter is going to be public.

If I do not succeed in changing your behaviour with regard to voting on sensitive bills, I sure hope to change views of a few of the citizen voters with regard to their perception of their representatives in our parliament.

If you find this letter a bit harsh, you will forgive me, since I do not feel particularly amicable after seeing how you voted against this bill.

Thanking you
Tony Mitra
10891 Cherry Lane Delta BC.


Reference:

List of who voted which way on C-291

Another video on the same issue I made two months ago

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Preservation of BC forests eco-system

To: Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
doug.donaldson.mla@leg.bc.ca

cc: Tim Sheldan, Deputy Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, also chair of Forestry Innovation Investment, with branch offices in Vancouver, China and India.
tim.Sheldan@gov.bc.ca

cc: Andrew Weaver, MLA, Green Party
andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca

cc: Ravi Kahlon, MLA from Delta North (my constituency)
ravi.kahlon.MLA@leg.bc.ca

cc: Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture
lana.popham.mla@leg.bc.ca, AGR.Minister@gov.bc.ca

Subject: Preservation of BC forests eco-system.

Honourable Mr. Donaldson, Mr. Sheldan, Mr. Weaver, Mr. Kahlon, Ms Popham,

I start this letter by congratulating in being able to jointly form a government replacing the last Liberal Government. I hope this partnership survives full term and produces tangible results towards long term betterment of the province.

I write this letter out of serious concern regarding the future of BC forests, as well as survivability of our biodiversity as well as general health.

Doug Donaldson

I know currently we are having a serious wildfire across much of the state and the cumulative dust particles in the air is making the sun a hazy orange blob in late evening sky. But my concern goes further than the immediate fire.

Tim Sheldan

I draw you attention to the fact that aerial spray of glyphosate (Roundup Herbicide) over our forests, has been approved by the provincial government and usually administered by private logging corporations for many years going into decades without proof that the practice is safe. Further, I draw your attention to the fact that there is absence of evidence that sufficient research has been done and observed by the BC Government on any long term effect of it on our environment, forest health, biodiversity, or trickle down effect on human health.

Andrew Weaver

I have in the past tried to get information from the BC ministry any proof that it has seen evidence that glyphosate has no adverse effect on forests before approving its use. Sadly, I have not been shown any evidence of it by the previous BC ministry. I have reason to believe the BC Government has never seen any proof that glyphosate spraying on our forest is at all safe, and yet has been approving it out of a continued bad habit, year upon year.

Further, I have, through freedom of information act of the BC government, requested for data on the actual quantity of glyphosate used over BC forests, year upon year, from the first year of application till date. Regretfully, I have not gotten what I asked for, but got only a very small part of the answer comprising of a few localized hand application of glyphosate over small bushes. The reason I did not get the larger use data of aerial application is, I was told, the BC government does not know how much has been used, and may need to contact logging corporations to find the answer, hoping they keep the record.

Ravi Kahlon

I was asked if I would be willing to cough up a thousand odd dollars to pay for the man hour costs of the previous BC Government that would be needed to try to collect the information from the private corporations. I declined to pay that money and have been thoroughly disappointed in the shabby manner in which our ministry takes care of forest health.

I believe it is quite possible that forests that are weakened by excess use of herbicides can get vulnerable to not just to fire damage, but also many other maladies leading to continuous decline. I believe we may be converting our diverse forests into mono-culture plantation for the purpose of profit making by selling wood, rather than ensuring that a healthy forest remains to support a healthy environment and what biodiversity still remains in Canada.

Lana Popham

I believe the government may need to seriously start looking into long term health of the entire British Columbian eco-system, and separate that from short term money making schemes and false projection of economic boom or job creation that seems to concentrate on simply exploiting natural resources till what is left is neither natural nor resourceful.

I also draw your attention to the fact that Canada has overtaken Brazil as the fastest destroyer of forests and eliminator of the earth’s carbon sink on this planet. I have a serious question for all of you – what are you prepared to do about it?

I am copying Mr. Weaver since I expect the green party to be more aware on environment protection and hope to hear his views on this.

I am copying this also to Mr. Kahlon, my constitutional representative, since I have had a pre-election talk with him on glyphosate and its excessive presence in our food system, which makes Canadian food to be about the most toxic on earth, as explained in the e-book I authored named “Poison Foods of North America”.

I am copying this also to Ms Lana Popham, minister of Agriculture, who I have met long ago when she was an opposition MLA, because she is currently the minister of Agriculture, and I intend to send her a note about the need to focus on the most prevalent biocide in our food (glyphosate), the fact that Canadian food is the most toxic on earth, and the need to reverse the total silence this issue gets from all levels of Government in our country.

Apart from being the author of the book already mentioned, I am am an activist that tries to raise awareness, I have multiple levels of contact and communication, appeal, petition, and other efforts ongoing with different levels of our government, and will likely use this letter too, to influence and encourage others to join hands at a grassroots level to apply pressure to our newly formed government everywhere in Canada and North America, to pay more attention to saving our forests , environment and food system, rather than focus on how fast to exploit and degrade it.

I am curious why the Deputy Minister of Forest Management, Mr. Tim Sheldan, is also a chair of Forestry Innovation Investment group with apparent partnership with China and India, and if that is geared to find ways to attract foreign funds to help destroy our forests even faster and sell what is left to those countries, or if there is another reason for his involvement in that organization.

In summary, I ask the following

1) Show the people what evidence the government has, that application of glyphosate is not harmful to the total forest eco-system.

2) If the Government has not seen any such evidence, then immediately restrict the use of glyphosate, or any other kind of biocide, till a complete, and thorough investigation can be undertaken by entities that cannot be influenced by either politicians, governments or industry and will be unbiased and neutral. Share all information with the public.

3) Canada overtaking Brazil as the worlds worst de-forester – what are you prepared to do about it?

4) Explain why the Deputy Minster of Forest is the chair of Forestry Innovation Investment and what is the purpose of this groups existence and what involvement China or India has in it.

Please take this letter as a public interest issue that will be shared with the public, including any response I get, or do not get, from our new BC Government.

I have another, less serious request to the government – that we stop the practice of addressing elected government officials as “honourable”. It gives the impression that if one is not elected or not in politics, one is not honourable enough.

In my book, elected officials are public servants, not overlords. Therefore, elected officials should represent humility, not arrogance of power. Anyhow, this is a minor observation, not related to the main issue of glyphosate over forests and our real plan for preservation of forest eco-system.

Should you require, I shall be more than pleased to see any of you face to face about this.

Thanking you
Tony Mitra
10891 Cherry Lane, Delta, BC, V4E 3L7, Canada

https://www.amazon.com/POISON-FOODS-NORTH-AMERICA-navigating-ebook/dp/B06XS4Y6H2/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=

 

 

 

 

 

Note:

Is there anyone willing to get himself/herself videographer reading this out?
I already have myself talking into a camera enough times, and kind of tired of see my same-old face challenging our government.

We need more voices, more faces, more humans.
Anybody interested, let me know. Interested parties write to tony.mitra@gmail.com

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Pesticides in Potato

There has been talks about possible presence of glyphosate and other pesticides in tubers such as potato.

I was informed by some that potato being grown some places in Canada might be desiccated by glyphosate prior to harvesting. But according to data received from CFIA, potato were not tested for glyphosate, and the word potato comes up sparingly in the items tested which were processed meals that contained potato. Potato might not have been the main ingredient in those products and the presence of glyphosate was not noted to be high or consistent. So I would say that the CFIA results were not conclusive that potato posed a serious threat to glyphosate poisoning to people.

Anyhow, I asked Anthony Samsel. This is what he said:

Tony,
Glyphosate causes DAMAGE to potato tubers…It is generally only used pre-plant and low levels do get into the tubers.. and cause reduced quality and yield.  The herbicides used pre-harvest to desiccate the vines are generally GLUFOSINATE, DIQUAT (Reglone) …..  
These are necrotic lesions caused by glyphosate in the soil…

necrotic lesions

(Above pictures, as well as the rest, are new to me. I have not seen such potato either in the store or in my backyard. I guess such items are removed before potatoes reach the store shelves. I might not have them because I do not use glyphosate or any industrial pesticide in my residence or garden.)

This is crippled shoot (at left) formation from the potato eyes called Cauliflower formation and is a telltale sign of glyphosate application to the field …

This is tuber cracking (at right) caused by glyphosate exposure from spray drift.

…. most potatoes have residues of herbicides and fungicides such as the fungicide Chlorothalonil… which never should have been allowed into the food supply.  This fungicide causes mammalian embryo fatalities and reductions in live fetuses…  Animal studies show that Chlorothalonil is a probable carcinogen…..
Anthony

The images and the text in blue are from scientist Anthony Samsel of USA. I have never seen such potato either but can understand why or how this might happen.

Meanwhile I did check the issue of Chlorthalonil in potato, among items tested by CFIA. There are more than 2,500 samples of potato tested by CFIA from 2008 till 2016 for presence of Chlorothalonil. Out of them all, only four samples had any chlorothalonil.

The above table shows some of the details available from the only samples that contained Chlorothalonil. For some reason, just one sample, the one on top, representing fresh potato from from the US contained over 3,700 ppb of Chlorothalonil and was in violation. The others contained less than 3 ppb, the last one was declared as organic.

The table is also the link to the full downloadable file of over 2,500 tests done on potato to find Chlorothalonil, by CFIA, between 2008 and 2016.

This is also included in the book Poison Foods of North America.

 

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Glyphosate over forests

Glyphosate over forests

I got a question from Kevin Proteau of BC, in relation to spraying of glyphosate over forests. I decided to tell my story directly into a Camera, for record.

BC has been using glyphosate over its forests for decades. I had made a freedom of information request to the BC government to let me know how much (by weight) glyphosate had been sprayed over BC forests by logging corporations from the beginning till date.

I learned that:

1) Glyphosate is routinely used, for many years

2) The details are neither completely held by ministry of forest management, nor the ministry of environment, but in bits and pieces here and there. As a result they could not give me any year upon year total (which I had asked) of amount of glyphosate sprayed over BC Forests.

3) The BC Government asked me if I was prepared to dole out several hundred dollars extra for the information since the request needs more man-hours than stipulated and would require the government to write to all the logging contractors, who might have better records, to furnish the information, to be tallied and tabulated by the Government, and then given to me.

I refused to pay several hundred dollars, but settled to get a small portion of the information that the BC Government had, sketchy and in a rather incomplete list for only a few years, for around $100.

And so, the answer is – two fold:

A) Yes, glyphosate is routinely sprayed over BC forests

B) Nobody knows how much of it has been sprayed. The Government is not keeping tab on it.

On a separate request to the BC Government, I asked to be shown what document it had seen that glyphosate was safe to be used over BC forests, from the point of view of forest ecosystem and wildlife. I got only a vague answer that the product was approved by Health Canada.

This answer indicates, to me that

C) Nobody in the BC Government has seen any evidence that glyphosate is safe to be sprayed over our forests.

D) Since Health Canada, far as I know, has never conducted nor sighted any test on effect of glyphosate on environment, and has only presumably seen tests of glyphosate in mammalian food, which it refuses to disclose to the people – that there has not been any tests seen by anybody in Canada, and as far as I can tell, anybody else anywhere else either, that glyphosate is at all safe to be sprayed over our forests, for sustainability of our biological diversity, our flora and fauna, our wildlife or out environment.

Thank you
Tony Mitra

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A book about Mother Teresa

One of the books I intend to read shortly, from Christopher Hitchens. This provides a counter argument to the theory of service in the name of God and about how good or questionable might have Mother Teresa of Kolkata been.

I will not buy it from Amazon, nor buy a paperback or kindle version.
I shall instead buy an audible version and “listen” to it while working on something else.
Audio books are the preferred format for me, on non-fiction issues of social significance.

Chis Hitchens is one of the original thinkers of our time, and so his opinion might be worth checking. But there is more.

I don’t completely believe this is sensationalism or pushing fake news. I come from the same town she worked all her life in – Kolkata.
My mother personally met her. That is not to say she was against Mother Teresa, but rather, was ambivalent. I have met a few nuns that worked in her organization both in India and in the US. I found them rather earthly and interested in earthly issues, not unlike you and me. I am keeping an open mind here and intend to read the book first, before passing opinion.

Also, strictly speaking – this is not so much news per se, as it is a book of opinion, by Chris Hitchens.

Lastly, I have another instinctive, and somewhat knee-jerk, opinion that missionaries, of any religion, do more harm than good in poor countries. This is a feeling that will not go away easily, because of the weight of evidence across the globe, going several centuries and perhaps even millennia.

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Direct Democracy?

There is a news from Paris, where the newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron has proposed that the French Parliament be trimmed by a third because it is too top heavy and has too much bureaucracy and has gotten slow and inefficient.

The article came up here.

This is an interesting idea – to cut the French Parliament of excess fat and trim it by a third.

I believe time is ripe for not just trimming the fat, but to radically overhaul our parliament and question the very need to have Members of Parliament at all.

IN the time gone by, there was a need for representative of the people to go to the Capital, and vote on bills, representing the wish of the constituents that elected the member.

Today, two things have happened that makes the job of the Member of Parliament redundant:

1) The elected public servant no more votes according to the wish of the people. Rather, he or she votes according either to the diktat of the party boss, or whoever funds her campaign, such as lobby groups and corporations. In short, the elected official has become a traitor to the constituents.

2) In todays world of internet and instant communication, it is not too difficult to set up system where each voter can either log in from home, or in a nearby Government kiosk, and vote once a week or once a month on a number of pending issues – or decide to abstain, thus exerting “direct democracy” instead of proxy democracy through middlemen that betray the people.

There is a case for direct democracy, and cut the fat much deeper.

Think about it, Mr. Macron of France and think about it, Canadians.

Many of these observations first came from me through social media such as Facebook. But I am storing them here as I believe some day they might deserve to be  part of a book of essays.

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Democracy is not a free lunch: Bill C-291 on GMO labelling

Bill C291 (Labelling of GMO)
What the people might do about it
+++++++++++++++++++++++++

This was the bill, for mandatory labelling of GMO, that was hugely defeated in the Canadian parliament recently, because most of the conservatives and liberals voted against it, while all of NDP, Bloc Québécois and a handful of Liberals voted for it.

The full list of who voted which way, is available on Govt. web site, and I have downloaded it, converted it to pdf and uploaded it in my website for reference.

Idea is to check how our elected representatives voted and challenge them when they voted against it – and encourage other people to do the same, because of a simple require of our constitution – the MPs were NOT supposed to vote according to their feelings or bias, but were SUPPOSED TO REPRESENT THE WISHES OF THEIR CONSTITUENTS.

In short, if they were unsure of public sentiment, (and polls say an overwhelming percentage of the people wanted GMO labelling), they were supposed to open a channel of communication to assess feelings of the voters of their riding and then vote on the bill accordingly.

My Liberal MP neither checked with the people (I got no notification from her that she was at all interested in my view) and went and voted against the bill.

So, here is one more example of where Canadians might write to their MPs and demand on know what right they had to make unilateral decision without without checking views of the people they represent. According to my understanding of the Canadian constitution, these MPs had absolutely no right to make either an unilateral decision, or to go with the party boss, or to be influenced by industry.

However, it is still our (citizen’s) duty to make this work, and to either force a change in the behaviour of our MPs, or to see that they soon become unemployed politicians.

If the citizens are not ready to take back control of politics of this nation – the citizens do not deserve a functioning democracy.

I shall be writing to my MP, for sure. I shall also be sharing it with the people.

For those that wish to check the link vote list for Bio C-291 – click on the above picture.

Remember Canadians :

Democracy is NOT A FREE LUNCH. We have to earn it.

And while you are at it, you might copy your letter to the MP that sponsored this bill, Pierre-Luc Dusseault of Sherbrooke, Quebec at Pierre-Luc.Dusseault@parl.gc.ca

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Other pesticides in North American Foods

Poison Foods of North America is mostly designed to help people avoid glyphosate from their daily foods, and is for those that consider glyphosate to be singularly the worst synthetic molecule to be in their food, as a long term agent of health hazard and disease.

But I have also received data on foods tested for other biocides. I am slowly converting parts of this huge database to the public in shorter Pdf files that contain all the raw data as received.

The attached pdf file gives all the samples that tested 2,4-D positive, and excludes all that tested negative. All readings are as originally received except one column. The pesticide level was originally measured in µg/g or in ppm. I have multiplied the readings a thousand fold and expressed the same in parts per billion, or ppb.

You can click the image to go to the pdf file which can be downloaded and expanded for study.

Tony Mitra

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Glyphosate in chickpea, lentil and wheat bran

Full set of test results from CFIA on glyphosate in chickpea, lentils and wheat bran, as well as the worst readings for any food groups, as received by self in December 2016, are placed here for reference.

Click on the images to go to the pdf file, which are free for download.

The lentil part is not too clear here since a lot of the processed food samples contained lentil but were described not as lentils but differently, such as this or that meal and snack etc. Those are not included in this list, which is purely what are described as lentils and lentil products by CFIA.

I personally believe that, as long as the Government hides safety test records and raw data involving tests on target animals under exposure to glyphosate and compared with identical animals not exposed, and their health parameters compared through the life span of the animals, its safety is unproven and therefore the people have a right to consider any level of glyphosate in food to be dangerous. The same applies to any and all safe limits (MRL) based on glyphosate.

Therefore, any glyphosate found in any food is essentially a violation of safety and aught to be removed from the stores.

I personally am not interested in discussing science behind either GMO or glyphosate, till such time the Government releases all safety test data on glyphosate for a start, and stop resorting to third party opinions on glyphosate safety. The Canadian government, just as the US and every other government, has been hiding these for over a generation now.

According to my understanding of the law, it is illegal to approve a product while hiding its safety record.

And lastly, here is a list of the worst samples as tested by CFIA where the readings showed presence of glyphosate above 1 ppm (1,000 ppb) and goes up to 12.5 ppm (12500 ppb).

Click on the image to go to the pdf file that can be downloaded and blown up.

Tony Mitra

 

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Can electric cars kill the oil industry & save the planet?

This is just a rant, and a half hour or banging the keyboard because it is raining and not nice for going out to plant more seeds in my back yard.

I noticed a lively thread on social media where I had commented that I did not feel strongly that electric cars would kill the oil industry or the dependence on fossil fuels, mainly because electricity, by and large, will continue to come from fossil fuels, unless we consider nuclear energy, which has its own bag of issues. That generated a nice and healthy chain of comments from learned and well meaning folks. I did not wish to bother them with any more lengthy posts from my cantankerous self. But, it was raining outside, and I was stuck indoor for a while. The coffee was hot, and so here I am, on my own blog.

As to having a choice on what kind of electricity one gets may be relevant in very few spots on the planet. For a vast majority, on a global scale – there is no choice. What you get is what is on offer, and fossil fuel burning plants that produce electricity is the global norm right now. So, I do not see electric cars to bring a death knell to fossil fuel industry.

Of course, there are many many other issues far more relevant than a car, with regard to fossil fuel industry. Folks say, though I have not read the actual measurements, that a single flight by a single person on a cross Atlantic round trip in a year, as one passenger in a three hundred passenger carrying commercial plane, makes you responsible for a higher carbon footprint annually, than you driving around as a travelling salesman clocking 300 KM every day of the year.

So, perhaps one should talk about electric aircraft, rather than electric cars, or perhaps conscientious folks should start a movement to boycott air travel altogether to save the planet.

But, again, on a global scale, one can consider how much of the fossil fuel goes into industrial scale agriculture used in new world nations such as Canada, USA and Australia and compare it with fossil fuels used for on surface of air transportation, to get a perspective on our fossil fuel consumption.

This of course does not cover the non commercial flights such as cargo flights that bring goodies to our neighbourhood but was produced in China or Indonesia. It also does not cover our tax payers money used to fly bombers over Syria to drop bombs over civilians in the name of fighting terrorism.

Fossil fuel usually means hydro-carbon. This means a series of molecules, of a thousand different variety, that has carbon and/or hydrogen in bond. ON one end of the spectrum is pure carbon. Folks think coal is pure carbon, but it is actually not so. It has hydrogen too, but much less. As the percentage of hydrogen increases, the fossil fuel gets lighter and lighter, into liquid mode and eventually into gaseous mode.  Among the lightest that is still around on earth in plentiful quantity are gasses like natural gas or methane, Liquified petroleum ( a mix of propane and butane) etc.

They are all called fossil fuel because, billions of years ago, they along with carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapour constituted our atmosphere. There was no oxygen at all. One could argue that the CO2 in our atmosphere back then came from burning up whatever oxygen was available at the time with too much hot carbon. Either way, the atmosphere was full of stuff that would not allow us to live even one minute.

Then came a long chain of slow reactions, thought to be triggered and engineered by tiny living creatures we generally identify as micro-organisms, or bacteria. They invented photosynthesis, used sunlight as a source of energy, started splitting CO2 to grab the carbon, pull hydrogen out of water vapour and other hydrogen containing molecules and started constructing biological molecules that would be the foundation for a whole plethora of life forms. In the process, it did a few interesting things. It removed carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, produced oxygen as a byproduct, sequestered excess carbon and hydrocarbons into the ground and away from the atmosphere, and made it possible for plant and animal kingdom to evolve. And all those sequestered hydro-carbons are today known as fossil fuels, handiworks of billions of years of industrious micro-organisms that changed the planet and made it habitable for us air breathing animals.

Up came man or man’s predecessors, found out how to make fire out of wood, and started a two million year process of reversing the four billion years of work done by the bacteria.

It took our ancestor hominids and modern humans around two million years to finish off easily available wood on the surface of the planet, so clear cutting of forests became the next major source of energy. Around five hundred years ago, Europe finished off most of its forests so no more wood was available for energy. Man had invented a thing called “technology”, so buried “fossil fuel” called coal, could be pulled out of the earth, and used in place of wood.

Steam engine got invented so water that flooded coal mines could be emptied without manual labour. The rest was an inexorable march of human “technology” to undo the work of the bacteria.

It took around 400 years or so, for man to run out of enough coal on a global scale, to satisfy its ever increasing greed. So, around the beginning of the 20th century, large deposits of the next best thing – oil, was discovered and technology developed to use it for energy production. Being liquid, it had its other advantages that could be exploited better.

However, unlike wood that lasted us two million years, or coal that lasted about four hundred, mans ever increasing demand is finishing off oil is just over a hundred years. So we finished off solid fuel and liquid fuels and the last remaining frontier in fossil fuels is fuels that would be gaseous, but are somehow kept underground by those industrious micro-organisms as part liquid in strange conditions of pressure and temperature that is only possible deep underground or underwater.

So the next, and last, remaining source of “fossil fuel” appears to be natural gas and its other cousins such as LPG etc.

By now, demand for this gas, in places such as BC, Canada, is making the industry cut away last of the remaining forests, flood good agricultural lands, in order to make gigantic dams using the last of the meltwater fed rivers to produce hydro-electric power that can be used for hydraulically fracturing our stone foundations on an earth-quake prone continent, to get at the trapped natural gas, so that more “fossil fuels” can be extracted to power our ever more thirsty civilization.

How long would this natural gas last, compared to wood, coal and oil of the past? Your guess is as good as mine, but my guess is it would last far less than a hundred years. What the bacterial world achieved over 4 billion years, man will finish off in less than a hundred.

When hydro-carbons, or fossil fuel, is gone, what kind of energy is there in nearly inexhaustible quantity that man’s ever increasing greed is not likely to exhaust any time soon?

Far as I can see – it is nuclear fuel, and not wind power or solar or ocean waves etc all of which will remain as fringe. Nuclear fuel has kept the core of the earth hot, molten and magnetic ever since the planet formed and there is enough of it around.

However, just like burning fossil fuels have a nasty side effect. So has nuclear fuel. The reason mankind particularly chose Uranium for power generation and not one of the less dangerous nuclear fuels is because Uranium is a particularly good dual-technology fuel. It not only allows power generation, but it, and its synthetic derivative Plutonium also helps greatly in making atomic and eventually hydrogen bombs. Its great for warfare and weaponization.

So, in the long run, just as I do not believe electric cars are going to solve the planet’s environment on a global scale, I also do not see natural gas to solve it either, and do not see an end anytime soon, of an unending increase of nuclear power plants across the planet either. Till now, Uranium-Plutonium duo remains the most favoured technology which has allowed at least nine nations to develop nuclear bombs (USA, Russia, France, UK, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea) and at least a few more merely months away from making one if needed.

Meanwhile, an equally increasing number of nations have now the capability of building rockets than could carry such bombs across continents and deliver it at your doorstep, raining death and destruction from the sky, all following the age old model of warfare designed to enhance someone’s economy.

There are, meanwhile, environmental scientists that are beginning to predict that the current business-as-usual model of world civilization is long past the point of no return and the planet has absolutely no chance of maintaining life forms as we know it now. We are already in the midst of the sixth mass extinction phase, which is not even a disputed argument any more. The last mass extinction happened 65 million years ago that make the dinosaurs go extinct. Today it is recognized to have happened because of a massive asteroid strike on planet earth. However, the current sixth mass extinction is not due to any extraterrestrial phenomenon. This one is wholly man made.

So, how much time does the planet have left. Again, your guess is as good as mine. But a rising group of scientists, mostly kept out of mainstream and out of public eye, are claiming that this century, the 21st will not end with the business as usual model still in place.

Some are predicting 95% of living animals we can now identify will be gone by the end of the century, along with 99% of human population. What will the earth look like – I have absolutely no idea, but cities as we know it will be gone, as would be civilization.

Maverick scientists like ex-Jet propulsion laboratory and NASA notable James Lovelock predicted some years ago through his gaia series works that world has less than thirty or so years left before all hell breaks lose. That was made a decade  ago, so perhaps today, by his calculation, we have less than ten years left. His advise at the time was – there is actually nothing one can do to reverse this cataclysm, so might as well put your feet on the table, have a coffee and enjoy life while it still lasts.

I do not know if Lovelock’s prediction and time table is correct, but instinctively, I believe him to be fully correct even if the time table is arguable, and the reason I believe this to be correct is not just on account of man using up fossil fuel alone, but on an increasing different ways including our economy, money creation, agriculture, ever increasing population, ever increasing material demand made by the so called ‘Developmentality’ of civilized humans etc etc etc. So, in my mind, we are the very last generation of living people that are seeing the world as a continuum and peaking of a specific trend of human civilizational evolution and planetary sustainability.

For the next generation on – it is going to be a dog eat dog downward slide where it gets to be impossible for the bacterial world to keep maintaining the earth’s environment in a habitable range for air breathing animals in a manner that we humans of today can still relate to.

Time for a coffee ?

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