By Boise Thomas
Now I am getting upset. A great man once said, “Human beings cannot correct problems he creates, for if he could see he was about to cause a problem, he would stop if before it needed the solution.” Or something like that. The point is, we are doing things that are seemingly irreversible. Most of us know what we have done to our air with the advent of the automobile and the petroleum-fueled engine. It was created to get rid of the problem called, “the streets smell like horse dung.” Thus it was deemed the horseless carriage and horsepower is still the way we measure an auto’s speed. What had me go off on this topic today??? In reading the href=”http://www.latimes.com/news/local/oceans/la-oceans-series,0,7842752.special”>ocean reports published in the Los Angeles Times (July 30-Aug 4, 2006) I am informed, upset and educated. Not my favorite mix but the news is alarming.
Reported over a decade ago is now being said to be false: the oceans would recover from our senseless dumping of human waste, nitrogen from farming and other runoff into our rivers into the oceans. It was originally believed the oceans were vast enough to recover from whatever we put in them and after reading the report from the Times, I fear the worst is yet to come. The article deems it the “Rise of Slime” as coastal bacteria is moving and growing at a rate of a football field every hour (120”53.5 yards [1 yard is 3 feet/36inches]). One diver who has been monitoring the coral reefs off the coast of the Florida Keys said upon the return of one of his favorite dives “it was like coming home to find your apartment/home ransacked and pillaged by burglars.”? Other coastal areas off California, Sweden and the great barrier reef in Australia are being replaced by what the laboratory studies are describing a “white snot” of “prehistoric bacteria” that once ruled our oceans while it was cooling. The smells can choke you, contact on the skin will burn you and prolonged exposure can cause respiratory problems and scarring to the skin. It’s like acid in our waters.
Ocean temps have increased by 1 degree over the last century. One half of the population of the world lives in coastal areas with an estimated 2,000 homes added every day. So the problem is expected to get worse as the bacteria flourishes in higher temperature and get this, when it dies, it releases nitrogen and in turn, feeds what’s left of itself, causing it to grow faster. This should give you an idea why it is spreading so rapidly. In a lab experiment, scientists took a vial of sewage and added a pinch of the bacteria and reported it flowered happily. They also wanted to see how quickly toilet water goes into the ocean, so they asked to use residential bathrooms in the Florida Keys and put “tracers” in the water and flushed them down. They found the tracers in the ocean around the islands in as little as three hours.
The fishermen who have been working for generations off the coast of Australia have been reporting skin burns, lesions and scarring due to exposure to the toxic primeval slime. They were first scoffed at by the local government but after they brought samples back in buckets, lab assistants ran from the labs with burning eyes and choking lungs. One expert likened it to “The Blob”, the gelatinous matter that swallowed everything in its path in the science fiction movie of the same name. Fishermen now take four months off a year while the slime is at its peak to protect themselves and avoid further exposure.
So what can we do? You tell me? My wife and I are getting ready to paint our bathroom and will be shopping at LivinGreen.com, to buy non toxic paints to keep the run-off from the disposal of those cans from polluting the ground water and in turn our California coastline. We are also composting and putting all of our food waste in the worm bins to be recycled back into soil right in our backyard. All other garbage we produce gets sorted into recyclable materials and the cans we used to fill and bring to the curb to be taken to the dump/fill, have not been more than 50% full since we began these basic practices.
Will this help the oceans? Will this have more oxygen get to the coral, fish and micro organisms that are fighting for oxygen rich water with this new bacteria? I am not sure, but by bringing my consciousness to everything I use and where the things I “throw away” go, I know I can make a difference.
We can no longer afford to think the Earth is so big that there is nothing we can do to effect it long term. Scientists were wrong when they originally said it would not be impacted by us and they admit it now. Time has come to work in partnership with nature. The Earth deserves to be treated like a brother or sister, mother or father, regardless of your political, religious or environmental stand. It is time for us all to band together and get conscious.
The article on Sunday closed with one fisherman saying his children will be saying to their children, “Finish your jellyfish.” Jellyfish, like the prehistoric venemous fireweed they are calling lyngbya majuscula, are the only organisms thriving in the conditions of our oceanic environment. So our waters were once teeming with tuna and swordfish, the chicken of the sea. They are the lone creatures thriving in today’s troubled waters and will end up on the tables of humans for consumption as there are less and less creatures to capture and eat.
For more information, visit LA Times and read the series for yourself. If you would like to report on the condition of your coastal waters in your country, I am interested and waiting to hear from you.
Thank you for taking a stand.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Breathe in, peace out,