Sunday, March 26, 2006

PIT OF MADNESS: URANIUM MINING

[To hear the full audio soundtrack version, click on the Blogger title above.]


George Bush, Tony Blair, and John Howard want to bring back nuclear power from the graves of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. They say it's a clean, safe solution to climate change, and a replacement for dwindling oil supplies. Environment icons like George Monbiot, Stewart Brand, and James Lovelock are now endorsing nuclear power, as the Way Out.

The whole radioactive scheme is dangerous and insane - from uranium mining, through billion year lifetime reactor waste, and so-called "depleted" uranium bombs and bullets, - all the inevitable way to weapons which incinerate whole cities full of people. We call this social disease the nuclear industry. Today, we take a look at the beginning of it all: uranium mining, the pit of madness.

[Clip: Performance - Australia Made Out of Uranium]

As we will learn, in an important new audio documentary from Australia, uranium mining leaves mountains of radioactive waste that will, over time, be distributed across continents, and the globe. With no planning, foresight, or guilt, the current generation passively permits a new eon of radiation, instead of cutting the glut of energy waste in our homes, and cities. Rather than turn off a few lights, or open a garage door by hand, we risk it all, forever.

Let's get to the important details, from the passionate research of one Peter Pedals, first broadcast on Nim FM (at nimfm.org), a community radio station in Northern Australia, deep in the heart of uranium mining country. This four part, four hour documentary is a school house - for all those who live within a few hundred miles of uranium mines, for those down wind, or down river, and for everyone who breathes air from an atmosphere increasingly saturated with radioactive particles. Throughout, I'll be quoting and paraphrasing from the documentary called "Uranium Mining in Australia."

When they sell you on clean, safe nuclear plants, remember this.

Peter Pedal: "Uranium is a finite resource that will have deadly and disastrous consequences for all life forms, if dispersed into the environment, either by way of mining, of the waste products, after the fuel is spent. It is neither ethical, nor possible, to combat our greenhouse problems with a nuclear solution, the legacy of which will be born by our future generations with disease, genetic damage, and death, from radiation cancer."

OK, that's a fine sermon. But does he have the facts? Yes, indeed. He has glowing mountains of them, in Australia, the same facts sadly found in Canada, and other uranium mining countries.

Nuclear advocates, the ones who get billions in subsidies from taxpayers, but can't raise anything from stock investors, without taxpayer guarantees, tell us that uranium is perfectly natural.

Uranium is called a "heavy metal," because the nucleus is built out of many particles. While the nucleus of a hydrogen atom contains just one particle, the most sought after type of uranium has 238 particles. This combination is unstable, tending to throw off atomic parts, breaking down into a chain of substances with different names. As it breaks down, uranium releases a form of energy deadly to human and all life forms, called radiation.

There has always been a low level of radiation coming out of the ground, in the sea, and in the air. For example, we learn there are about 3 milligrams of natural radioactivity per ton of sea water. Granite may contain radioactive materials as much as 4 grams per ton. Coal is much more radioactive, holding as much as 400 grams per ton. Coal burning power stations are a major source of new radioactivity - for more on that you can read, or listen, to the Radio Ecoshock feature "Coal Plant Radiation" further down in this blog.

Over billions of years of evolution, living things have adapted to this "background" radiation. But living cells are finely tuned, sensitive to this kind of energy. A tiny increase causes cells to break down, or reproduce with gross imperfections in the next generation. When humans add large doses to background radiation, living things have no time to adapt, even if they could.

Whether by divine plan, or biological necessity, most uranium, and all plutonium, was buried deep into the earth's crust. That is what protects us. Who could believe that humans would dig it up, drag it to the surface, and mill it down into fine particles, perfect for transport by wind and water?

The rock mined from Australia contain about three KILOGRAMS of uranium per ton. As each kilogram of uranium deteriorates, called "fission," it releases as much energy as 20 tons of coal, without releasing carbon. According to Peter Pedals' research, "every ton of mined uranium used for fuel, in place of coal, saves the emission of 40,000 tons of carbon dioxide."

We already produce about 17 percent of the world's electricity with nuclear energy. Sounds like the magic solution for all our electricity needs, doesn't it?

It's time to go down under with Peter Pedals, to learn the names of the places where cancer and bombs are born.

[from "Uranium Mining in Australia, Hour One]

"Even though Australia does not have any nuclear power stations, it does mine and export uranium. Australian mines provide about 22 percent of the world's uranium, second only to Canada. There are 3 operating uranium mines in Australia: 'Ranger,' in the Northern Territory, 'Olympic Dam', and 'Beverley' in South Australia.

A fourth, is cleared to start construction soon, 'Honeymoon' in South Australia. The South Australian government voted against the opening of this mine, but the Federal government forced it upon them.

In 2001 and 2002, Australia produced more than 7,000 tons of uranium oxide, generating over 350 million Australian dollars of export revenue. Australian uranium export was just over 5,000 tons in '95-96. And it's climbed to over 11,000 tons in 2005. About 50% of this comes from the Ranger mine, 40% from the Olympic Dam mine, and 10% from the Beverley mine.

We are consoled with the undertaking that Australian uranium is only exported to countries that will use it solely for peaceful purposes - like France, who carried out atomic bomb tests in the Pacific, close to Australia, from which we got the radioactive fallout. And the United States, which uses the radioactive waste, called "depleted uranium," to bombard any country that the U.S. chooses to go to war with."

America, the only nation to use the atomic bomb to incinerate cities, is using Canadian and Australian uranium to develop new types of nuclear weapons, from bunker busters, to secret space-based terror weapons.

[Clip: Mine Protest 1, Chanting of anti-nuclear protesters]

Australians with a conscience have protested the ever expanding trade in radioactive materials, and opening of yet another uranium mine.

[Clip Mine Protest 2: Song: "Let's Stop Uranium Mining."]

But now, with world-wide fears of climate change, the nuclear power lobby is looking for big money. Uranium prices and stocks are going up. For the first time in decades, there is talk about building a so-called "new generation" of nuclear reactors, all with the final possibility of Chernobyl multiplied.

Back to the mine waste, known as "tailings."

[from the documentary:] "The radiation from the mining waste, known as uranium tailings, is many million times more dangerous to humans, than the radiation from the ore, in its original state. These tailings are being produced in vast quantities in Australia - 14,000 tons each day - and they will cost human lives for millions of years.

By law, the tailings are required to be safely contains for one thousand years. Erosion may start even within 100 years. Even after a thousand years, the tailings retain 99 percent of their original radioactivity. A scientific fact.

The uranium tailings issue presents an unprecedented challenge to our ethical framework, paralleled only by the potential for a large-scale nuclear war. But while such a war is hypothetical, the future tragedy from our uranium tailings is a certainty."

The most common disease from uranium tailings is lung cancer, caused by inhaling radioactive isotopes, as a gas, or in fine particles created by milling. Later, as the tailings begin to spread through water erosion, and wind, people ingest trace amounts of radioactivity. This causes birth defects, still births, leukemia, and many types of cancer, including intestinal cancer. Other impacts include Down's Syndrome, premature aging, and a general weakening of the immune system, leading to other diseases.

Anywhere uranium is mined, there is always pressure to take back the spent fuel from reactors, and other radioactive waste from diverse sources, including industrial and medical use. In the 1980's, against fierce local opposition, the Government of Ontario, Canada, tried to ship radioactive soil to a uranium mine near the village of Bancroft.

In Australia, the Federal government has proposed several sites, some near military bases, to receive the hot waste of a nuclear world. Local citizens are outraged. But before any environmental impact studies, the government has announced that one of three sites in the Northern Territories will become the nuclear dumping ground, the American Yucca Mountain, without the bother of deep underground storage.

Australia has already agreed to accept nuclear waste back from Britain and France, starting in 2011. In the bad old days, Britain dumped its poor and its criminals in Australia. Now they dump their deadly waste there.

The miners themselves trade their lives for mortgage payments and drinks at the pub. Alcoholism and spousal abuse among miners is very high. They die young from lung and other cancers, leaving uranium widows, and fatherless children. We burn up their lives in a lightbulb. And it doesn't end with dead miners:

[Clip: Health of Namibian Uranium Miners from Hour 4]

"A new study, "Chromosomal Aberrations With Namibian Uranium Mine Workers," in Zaire in 1995, indicates the extent of the damage caused by radiation exposure. The highest dose of those workers was only 5 milliseverts, which compares with 20 milliseverts, and 50 milliserverts permitted in Australia - far beyond the known increase in birth defects and still births. Much of this genetic damage will be passed on from generation to generation, to leave a permanent mark on humanity."

All the government studies try to forecast what will happen to uranium mine waste for the next 1000 years. Even during that first thousand years, conservative scientific studies presume that the tailings from just one Australian uranium mine will eventually cause 10,000 deaths around the world. Even 150,000 years from now, if humans still survive, hundreds of them will die from radioactive particles coming from Australian uranium mine tailings. They will wonder: What gave them the right, that short-sighted generation, to make death piles that last forever?

[Clip: Future Victims]

"These large scales of time and space perfectly hide the death toll, and disassociate today's perpetrators from their future victims."

After the uranium for reactors, or bombs, or bullets, is extracted, "80 percent of the radioactivity in the original ore remains in the tailings." Due to their sheer volume, and shoddy storage, uranium tailings are a greater threat than spent reactor fuel. A completely unreported story.

The main force of these tailings is "alpha" radiation, about 20 times more dangerous that "beta," and "gamma" radiation. Alpha radiation needs to get inside the human body to kill us, but in nature this rarely happens. The particles are in large chunks of ore, too big to get inside of us. But here is the critical point about uranium mining, and tailings. In order to get concentrated uranium out of rock, the ore is ground up into fine particles - perfect for entry into our bodies. We create a millions of little radioactive vehicles to infect ourselves, by milling ore. Instead of chunks of massive rock, the tailings are finely ground uranium, a new danger never seen before on this planet.

These milled particles are easily carried by erosion, by storm waters, by underground aquifers, and by the wind, up into the atmosphere of earth. The mining companies cover the tailings with a thin layer of dirt, but really, nothing is contained for long.


In just a single uranium mine operation, at Olympic Dam, Pedal tells us:

[Clip: from Hour 2]

"This tailings deposit will be 12 square kilometers in size and some thirty meters high, the height of a ten story building. To prevent tailings erosions, the tailings deposit will eventually be covered with one a half meters of clay and rocks. This is supposed to fulfill the regulator requirement of a life expectancy of 1,000 years for tailings repositories. However, this cover will be breached within a hundred years of the mine closure...A single breach in the cover is enough to get the tailings erosions started."

Government figures assume the climate and rainfall will remain the same at uranium mine sites - but climate change may bring a whole new system of rainfall, not to mention severe storms with new record heavy rains and flooding. How long will a couple of meters of dirt keep these new mountains of radioactive dust covered?

Here is the new long-term future of Australia, that magic continent which held nature's treasures for so long:

[Clip: Tailings Blow Forever from Hour 2]

"Each year, some 8,000 to 40,000 meters of tailings will be blown off the Olympic dam deposit. Each cubic meter of tailings contains some 1.75 million grams of tailings particles. And each of these particles can cause illness, or death, to any person who inhales or swallows it.

This erosion continues year after year, and would only slowly decrease as the radioactivity diminishes. After 80,000 years, it would reduce to 50%. After 200,00 years, to 35%."

Some of these particles, each of them deadly, will blow up into the upper atmosphere, to circulate around the world. If we stop pushing carbon into the atmosphere, it will dissipate in one or two hundred years. But our radioactive burden, from tailings, depleted uranium, and reactor waste, will live on, almost forever.

[Clip: Performance - Aboriginal Lament from Hour 2]

Peter Pedals looks long into the future, thinking how humans will inevitably move back into the area of mine tailings. Perhaps they will not know anything about us, and our activities. Their crops, their water, and their lives will be saturated with an unseen killer. More awful than war crimes, these are crimes against the future.

But we don't have to wait a thousand years to know how humans are. Even with our supposedly advanced science, thousands of Canadians have already used uranium mine tailings as backfill around their houses. A short-lived but deadly radioactive gas, a bi-product of uranium called "radon," leaks into their basements. Governments advise homeowners to plug up cracks and holes in the concrete. Some people keep fans running constantly, hoping to blow out the radiation. Some don't know about it, and die hard, and early.

While the tragedy unfolds, corrupt politicians and intellectuals lurch back toward nuclear power. But those who live near the source of this evil stream know better. As Peter Pedals concludes:

[Clip from Hour 4]

"Uranium should be left in the ground. Maintaining our affluent life styles is not that important, that we must sacrifice our future descendents, in order to satisfy our greed today."

You can find the full version of Peter Pedals' "Uranium Mining in Australia," edited by Martin of NimFM, at radio4all.net, or at www.ecoshock.org/nuclear.html

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

SHOCKING CLIMATE NEWS

Wakey, wake-up, it's alarming climate news from Radio Ecoshock.

AUSTRALIA

A super-cyclone, the strongest in 30 years, has hit Northern Australia. Tropical cyclone "Larry," brought incredible winds up to 180 miles an hour, or 290 kilometers an hour. It was a category five storm. Residents of the town of Innisfail compared the storm blast to being bombed.

AFRICA

If sea surface temperatures continue to rise, coral reefs off east Africa will likely be dead in a few decades. A continuing drought on the Western side of the Cape, in South Africa, devastated crops there for the third straight year. Wheat production in the Western Cape has dropped by almost half, and the country's total yield of wheat per acre has fallen dramatically, in one of the key breadbaskets that feed Africa. Farmers are blaming the bad weather.

THE AMAZON

The Amazon continues to emit a thick plume of carbon into the atmosphere, as mining and ranching humans invade the world's lungs, and it's treasure box of species. One third of the world's species make their home in Amazonia.

At an international climate conference in Brazil, scientists from Britain's Hadley Centre predict the unraveling of the Amazon's delicate carbon balance.
The forested heart of South America is already experiencing climate change as relative drought. As these lush forests experience "dieback," their decomposition will release massive amounts of carbon, already in over-supply.

This prediction comes from on-the-ground reports, but also from a gigantic computer modeling and research project called the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in Amazonia, or "LBA," for short. 1700 researchers are taking part.

Satellite reconnaissance showed that 600 fires were started in the region each day on average last year, the Brazilian government reports. The rate of destruction has almost doubled in the past decade. For example, in a 12 month period in 2003-2004, 23,400 square kilometers of rainforest were destroyed. The Amazon is a giant source of transpiration, taking water from the ground through plants, into the atmosphere for our global climate system. It is being destroyed, by humans, and by human-induced climate change.

The government of Brazil continues to build thousands of miles of new roads, each of them a highway for the expanding population to travel, settle, slash and burn. So far, there is no economic alternative for them, or for the wild species falling extinct by the wayside.

Meanwhile, the great glaciers of the Andes are melting at an alarming rate. At just the current rate, some famous South American glaciers will disappear within the next seven years. Cities like Bolivia's capital, La Paz, depend on water from glacier melt to supply the population. Their glacier, called "Chacaltaya," will be gone in 8 years, just like the famous snow of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. Much of the agriculture of the Andes depends upon ice and snow in the higher mountains, a water resource that is literally melting away.
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The Japan Times reports that global warming appears to be the cause of abnormal fruit development in that country. Growers are finding grapes that don't turn red, and peaches with brownish flesh. Fruit farmers are becoming concerned about climate change.

Fish migration and production off the coast of sea-food loving Korea has been disturbed by climate and ocean changes. Large stingrays, sharks, and even whales are showing up where they have never been seen before. Summer fish have been caught in November, while some winter fisheries are disappearing. The Korean East Sea Pollack fishery catch was only 15 tons by last Christmas, down 98 percent from the 1980 levels. Fishermen are disturbed by the changes in seasonal fisheries.

An editorial in the Journal of Turkish Weekly wonders if a warmer world will mean Armageddon. Among their worries, bears are coming out of hibernation early in Estonia, and yet early this year, Algeria experienced it's worst snowfall in 50 years.

A WWF report, released last November, says a major link in the marine food chain, namely plankton in the Irish Sea, are being negatively affected by global warming.

According to a study in the journal BioScience, even gradual warming in the US upper Mid-West could cut the duck population in half by 2050. Fifty to eighty percent of North America's ducks are born in a chain of 5 million small ponds from the Dakota's and across the prairies in the Northern Mid-West states and Canada. It is called the prairie pothole region. But as warming proceeds, these birthing grounds will dry up, according to extensive scientific study of 95 years of duck data, and computer modeling of climate change impacts.

An Australian ski resort has joined elements from the American ski industry to try and save the sport from snowless peaks. Called "Keep Winter Cool", and "Sustainable Slopes," these campaigns draw in affluent skiers, and less affluent snow-boarders, to demand emissions reductions - from their governments and from themselves. Studies done for the ski industry predict there will be half as much snow by the year 2050.

Last year, the World Conservation Union reported that half of the world's coral reefs may die within the next 40 years, unless they can be protected from climate change.

Recent science indicates that climate change is now "irreversible," as reported in the March 14th, 2006 edition of the Independent newspaper. A key indicator: sea ice in the Arctic has failed to form for the second straight winter.
Scientists conclude that the ice covering over the north polar seas will eventually disappear, reducing the earth's reflectiveness, and thus adding to the absorption of heat. The U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that Arctic Ice cover is the lowest seen since satellite monitoring began in 1979, and likely the lowest in the last 100 years or more.

Despite worries about climate change, China plans to boost coal production to record levels, going for 18 percent more coal by the year 2010. China produced 2.2 billion tons last year, according to government statistics. During the last 5 years, Chinese coal production has grown by almost seventy percent. In the Eastern economic miracle, 76 percent of China's energy came from coal. They expect coal to rise to 80 percent of the newly industrialized economy by 2010.

The United States counts on coal for 75% of its electricity production.

Hang on to your hats...

and listen to Radio Ecoshock for the latest environmental programs. www.ecoshock.org.

Friday, March 17, 2006

CONFESSION OF AN AUTO-HOLIC

[Please check out the short, 3 minute audio version which recreates the sound of life in the car, and the driver (in all of us) who will never change. Just click the title of this piece, and your software will play it, after about 1 minute to download it.]
-----------

I love to drive. You could say I'm an auto-holic.

My life began in a car, so Dad tells me. I discovered sex in the back seat, too, and made my own kid there. I may die out on the road.

When things get boring, I drive around, looking for something else. If it's no good here, I go there. Too hot? Just go North, into the hills; too cold, off South, just like the birds. Sometime, I don't even know why I'm going, I'm just out on the road, rambling around. I've just got to get out there and drive, maybe for a day or two, see some country, some trees - I need to see nature.

I've worked in vehicles, slept in them, even lived in one. Can't count all the hours I've just waited somewhere with the motor running, for a red light, for traffic to move, for somebody to come out, for anything. Who even hears the motor running there, under your thoughts? Vibration is good, moves the blood around. We don't even smell these engines, unless something is broken.

I've driven them all. Motorcycles, three-wheelers, mini's, SUV's, compacts, pickups, a limousine, a truck, tractors, golf carts, you name it. If it's got a motor, that's good for me.

And the power! The roar, the jolt of energy, the thrill of speed! I've got this armored steel that can run away, run over, or damn near fly. My ride talks for me, tells you who I am. Without it, I'd be just a naked little animal, out there in the rain and snow. Like a snail without a shell.

Likely, I wouldn't kill for fuel. But my taxes pay for soldiers who will. Gotta have gas. And if by accident I happen to run over some kid, or old fart, I may lose my license for a little while, but I'll keep driving. We all need to get around.

OK, the weather IS getting really weird. You never know what might happen. If this place floods, or burns, I'll toss my stuff in here, and go somewhere better. I'm not walking around like a loser. Notice anybody else getting off the road? Not likely!

On my dying day, when I go, it'll be sitting upright, behind the wheel.
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Check out Radio Ecoshock, the planet's only all-environment station, at www.ecoshock.org.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

THE BIG CRUSH - Population Hits 6.5 Billion

The former news network CNN combines alarm and trivia. Two models with smiles the size of the screen announce Planet Earth now has 6.5 billion people. Immediately, the camera veers away to show us a captive whale blowing bubbles that look like smoke rings. These are glad tidings, an intelligent mammal in a concrete box and a planet overloaded with suffering humans. Cut to Samantha Good, with the latest exclusive update on little Jennifer, who disappeared last night from a Kentucky shopping mall...

Four days later, the whole story disappeared from video space. A Google search could not find a single TV clip on our 6.5 billionth birthday. Back to the traditional invisibility which hides the human bloom.

Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies at Stanford:

[Ehrlich clip saying no one talks about it in media...]

We don't even have any good jokes about over population.

[computer voice: How many humans does it take to screw in a light bulb? Voice change. One, and four billion more wishing they had a lightbulb.]

If you have any good jokes, please send them to GrinningPlanet.com.

In his seminal 1968 book, "The Population Bomb," Ehrlich predicted "mankind will breed itself into oblivion."

Major environmental groups know that sheer volume of humans are gobbling up nature's last reservoirs, and say little to nothing. It's dangerous to talk about controlling the size of the herd. Who has a population control campaign? It's left to the fringes like dieoff.org and the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement (at vhemt.org).


[Ehrlich quote, saying population is one of three major driving forces destroying the environment...]

The world population has doubled since 1960, quadrupled since 1900. A Cornell University Study, titled "Will Limits of the Earth's Resources Control Human Numbers", led by David Pimentel, concluded the planet can only support 2 billion humans sustainably, in a technically empowered lifestyle. Two billion - that's the upper limit for a civilized Earth. And no, more technology cannot replace the need for functioning biological systems.

[Ehrlich quote saying we used to think tech could do it, moving everyone up to West's standards, but in reality, we would need the resources of several planets like Earth to do it]


The World Health organization estimates 3 billion people, almost half of all humans alive now, suffer from malnutrition. They eat far less than the waste food we toss in the garbage can. Millions die from famine, and easily preventable diseases caused by malnutrition and poverty. Let's welcome another 80 million new humans this year!

Fact: Every year India produces as many new humans as the entire population of Australia. One in five humans is East Indian. In India, 70 percent of those billion plus people are under age 36, still breeding. In the 10 seconds it took to report this fact, 18 people died, and 41 new babies were born.

Yet Paul and Ann Ehrlich have repeatedly warned us the real ecological threat doesn't come from raw reproduction of villagers far away. Massive over-consumption by Western lifestyles makes each of us use more of nature than 25 or more simple peasants. There are too many wasteful rich people. Shopping, re-decorating, fat with new SUVs, the species Consumerensis sucks up the planet. And everyone wants to be just like us.

[clip from Bits, Les Brown, saying if everyone in China drove a car...it would take all of the world's oil]

[LATIN AMERICA]

Let's just look at Latin America, where a never-ending stream of young humans is cutting into the great rainforests, or miserably camped out in shanty-towns with no services, no jobs, and no hope. It's a good place to use our wealth to help, but two idols block the door. One in the Vatican, and one in the Whitehouse, both believe fervently that family planning and contraception go against God's laws.

[clip of "Nine reasons the Bible forbids contraception..."]

As soon as he was elected, President George the Younger cut off millions of dollars support for the United Nations population fund. Diplomats were told to boycott UN meetings where "reproductive health services" for women were discussed. Then, he re-instated Ronald Reagan's so-called "gag rule" from the 1980's - forbidding any American funding for a wide variety of family planning groups, including planned parenthood. Apparently, education, birth control pills and condoms are the same as abortion.

Bush supported oppressive Latin American laws with a minimum of one year in prison for women getting an abortion. Dangerous illegal abortions remain one of the leading causes of death for women in that region. They die for the Pope and the American religious right.

[clip of religious broadcaster, we're going to heaven, you're going to Hell]


President Kennedy, a Catholic, hoped to stem the tide of illegal immigrants by building up living standards in Latin America. The Bush administration's budget for 2007 proposes to cut aid to the region by 28.5 percent. Money is needed for the Middle East wars.

Bush has another plan. In January, the Army Corps of Engineers awarded a 385 million dollar contract to a Halliburton Subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root to construct detention centers in the United States, to deal with, quote, "an emergency influx of immigrants into the U.S., or to support the rapid development of new programs."

For more on that story, see the article "Bush's Mysterious 'New Programs'" by Nat Parry, February 23rd, 2006, posted on www.alternet.org.

Surely, millions will walk North, especially driven by ecological collapse by climate change. Each successful migrant to America works hard to become another super-consumer, another giant gorging on the burdened ecosphere.

THE DEER:

In 1944, as the war ended, a small group of deer were released on St Matthew Island, in the Bering Sea. There were 24 females, and five males. They found abundant food, with no predators, and were rarely hunted by men. In his much criticized 1977 book, Garrett Hardin wrote: "By 1957, the population had swelled to 1,350 reindeer; in the summer of 1963 it reached its peak of over 6,000, and then 'crashed' during the winter when food was at its minimum. Three years later, there were only 42 animals, all adults and all but one, female. The future of the herd was in doubt."

As they overwhelmed their island in space, they destroyed all the lichens on which reindeer depend.

We don't know what they believed, as the stripped their resources. Their beliefs were irrelevant to biological reality.

Are we too dim-witted to save ourselves as a species? We just push it to the ecological melt-down point, a China Syndrome of climate imbalance, driven by carbonated humanity in the Big Crush.

[there is a different ending in the broadcast/podcast audio - plus a sound-track and countdown to 10 billion...sorry, you really have to listen to the original - just click on the title name, "The Big Crush" and you'll hear the audio, approximately 12 minutes long. Some things need to SAID, and HEARD, reaching places in the heart where text can not go.]

Get the original at www.ecoshock.org