A reader wrote in to share an article they published about Overfishing, Conservation, Sustainability, and Farmed Fish. It’s a good article and I learned about something I didn’t even know about, drone fishing. This is bizarre and weird on many levels, and obviously only a wealthy ‘fisherman’ would be able to afford. Somebody will eventually try dropping dynamite from one of these things.
The state of the world’s oceans is rather dismal. Enormous fishing fleets have taken a huge toll upon the world’s fisheries, depleting stocks to critical levels, damaging ocean floors, corals and leaving tracks that can even be seen from space.
Commercial fishing is industrialized fishing, the automated, mechanized and super-sized fishing operations being conducted on all the world’s oceans. Enormous catches of ‘byproduct’ are scooped up along with targeted fish, only to be tossed overboard as ‘waste’ or even ground up and fed to ‘fish farms’ in an incredibly inefficient process. The end result is a serious decline in both world fisheries and fish health, making these practices among the world worst environmental disasters.
The world’s oceans have long been the gigantic dumping grounds for municipal wastes, toxic chemicals, munitions and discarded refuse, which only makes the problems even worse. Billions of tons of dangerous chemicals and discarded materials have been dumped into the ocean to slowly break down and leech their poisons into the surrounding waters.
Even worse is the amount of plastic and trash debris that finds its way downstream and from fishing nets, container ships, passenger ships into the ocean waters. Enormous gyre’s exceeding the size of Texas are the “garbage patches” of the world where billions of plastic particles circulate in an endless pattern of death.
The world’s oceans are absolutely critical for human survival, providing the vast majority of the world’s oxygen, carbon absorption and protein. When the oceans decline, humanity declines too. Many of the world’s poor are subsistence fisherman and they’ve been shut-out of their basic mode of survival by illegal fishing vessels strip-mining the oceans coastlines and even remote regions virtually bare.
Ocean piracy is a direct result of this type of activity, when acts of desperation and survival are the only means left for poor fisherman to attempt to eke out a means of living. I’m not condoning this, just making the point that fishing assaults and fishery collapse are a primary reason this has increased in recent decades.
Humanity is literally devouring its way down the food chain, going from one species to the next as top-tier species are driven to extinction. Every attempt to ‘replicate nature’ and the natural bounty and abundance that nature can provide (if left alone and harvested sustainably) has been a miserable failure. Monoculture ocean ‘farming’ isn’t a healthy or sustainable choice for fisheries. Like monoculture agriculture, these regions are devoid of a balanced eco-system where many lifeforms and fauna can co-exist within a natural balance.
The difference with the oceans is this all takes place out of sight and we don’t see the devastation or vast regions devoid of life, the oceans are MUCH larger then the land masses of the Earth which humans have terraformed into worker-slave plantation plots.
Personally, I almost never buy seafood of any type, but if and when I do (perhaps once a year), it has to be certified wild-caught. That’s my personal choice. Farmed fish are toxic and sick fish to me and I’m simply not going to eat it. Personal consumption does have an impact upon what actually happens in and on the ocean (including the slave-trade these fisheries are exploiting), but the real problem (as always) is the industrialization and methods used to strip-mine the life in the oceans. This needs to stop, the sooner the better.
Fishery collapse is real, and has occurred all over the world (documented here before), but this isn’t being prevented. What follows next is ocean collapse, along with our over-fishing and pollutants, there is also a very serious issue of ocean acidification, temperature increase and even a drastic change in the world’s ocean currents.
Personally, I still believe that humanity is miserably failing to address any of the root causes leading to our own collapse, with pathetic excuses and pretend ‘fixes’ being proposed, none which address the real issues we’ve created. The Earth and everything that is alive within it is increasingly in peril. Humanity may indeed be a ‘part of nature’, but our civilization most certainly is not. We have a choice on how we live (and make a living) on this planet, but most of these choices for billions of people and capricious corporations are all the wrong ones.
I truly admire people that either try or out of necessity, live as sustainably as they can. But they’re pretty hard to emulate – I know, I tried it myself. As Kevin has been pointing out in his commentary, the world’s money system is at fault, everyone is literally a slave to how money works and controls the world. Every resource, virtually every element in the periodic table is marketed now, packaged up and sold in shiny cellophane wrappers, forcing everyone into wage-slavery and indebted servitude. If they could sell the oxygen we need to make even more profits, they would.
To people of the modern world, this is normal and how things should be, but it wasn’t that long ago that none of this industrialized and profitized exploitation of every form of life on every continent existed. Nature did provide everything that was needed. No, it wasn’t perfect, but it also wasn’t threatened with extinction like it is now. It’s plainly obvious that a return to a different mode of living is way overdue, where humans only take what they need and leave the rest alone, allowing nature itself to regenerate and provide true sustainability.
These are conversations that are desperately needed, but they’re not happening. Instead, the focus continues to be more profits and exploitation, more greed and more consumption, more growth and more technology, more development and more ‘advancement’, all of which is a endless path to towards nothingness. If everything is taken for humans and human civilization, then what is left for nature itself? Without nature and what nature provides, nothing can survive, not even us. We can’t replicate what nature does, our experiments into this have all miserably failed. But the trajectory of civilization is to continue to exploit what nature creates (without our dubious “help”), in an attempt to literally devour it all. That’s not going to work on a finite planet.
Curiously, nobody questions how much technology and advancement we “need”. I wonder about this a lot. Human restraint doesn’t seem to be in our vocabulary. Musk stupidly wants to put people on Mars while ignoring the dying planet beneath his own feet. Yeah, I get the reason that humans may need a second home, but why can’t we take care of this one first by ending our rapacious greed and polluting practices? Everywhere humans have journeyed, we’ve left a wake of destruction in our path, Mars will be no different.
This needs to stop, at every level, before it is too late, and we find our own species on the extinction list, because that is exactly where we are heading now, faster then ever.
7 thoughts on “Extinction List”
I trace all the current mess back to the late seventeenth century, when Savery developed French ideas about a steam pump into a usable apparatus. But also the various wars seafaring wars that England had been engaged in from the time of the Tudors; too many trees chopped down for shipbuilding led to use of coal for heating homes. And to get coal the flooded mines had to be pumped.
The Romans were extremely smart and came up with all sorts of technology but never pursued the use of steam; they had a slave system to pump water out of mines.
So once Newcomen had perfected a steam pump (1712) it was all go, and the coal could be extracted to run the steam pump to extract more coal. It is interesting to visit Cornwall, in the southwest of England (I grew up in the south of England), because there are remains of the pumphouses and chimneys associated with the extraction of tin in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Once the linear motion of early stem pumps had been successfully converted to rotary motion, the waterwheels and windmills that had dominated non-organic energy capture were superceded by steam pumps, pushing up the demand for coal.
Of course, none of it could have happened had there not been substantial advances in metalurgy and in the boring of smooth, even barrels of cannons, needed to defend against or attack enemy shipping during the eleventh to seventeenth centuries.
The predicament we are now in was addressed in 1865 by Jevons, in ‘The Coal Question’; contrary to popular belief, increased efficiency did not result in reduced coal consumption but actually triggered greater use if coal.
By then steam engines were being used to pulls goods on rails and to power ships, enabling more and more resources to be shifted from one place to another.
The ability to extract substances such as guano from South America and apply it to fields in Europe and the ‘development’ of far away lands into sheep and cattle farms facilitated population overshoot in Europe.
Home lighting was primarily by candle of oil lamp, and going on adventures to kill whales for their oil was a way of life for many, until whale numbers plummeted and whales learned to keep way from humans in ships.
With a desperate shortage of whale oil, in 1859 ‘Colonel’ Drake decided to have a go at drilling for oil that was known to be seeping out of subsurface rock formations. His primitive hand-operated drilling machinery struck ‘gold’ and within a year everyone and his dog was drilling. The kerosene (paraffin) was really useful, and there was some use for the asphalt as a water-proofing agent, but a lot of what came out of the ground (low molecular mass hydrocarbons) was useless until internal combustion engines were invented.
It was around that time that the Americans took on the challenge of linking the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The French, using natives with picks and shovels, had failed; the Americans, using explosives and steam shovels were successful.
The really ‘brilliant’ move was to use fossil fuels to establish industrial agriculture; that allowed population overshoot to accelerate at a phenomenal rate, so that by 1950 the world population had doubled from its arguably sustainable pre-industrial 1 billion.
It was in the 1950s that severe pollution was beginning to take its toll. The answer for Britain was to build taller chimneys -which worked until people in Scandinavia and Germain began to complain about trees dying and lakes becoming devoid of life. And to switch from extremely polluting coal to slightly less polluting oil, and then slightly less polluting natural gas.
It was also about then that serous questions were being raised about the sustainability of the economic and social arrangements -M. King Hubbert and all that. (Long before then, in 1896 in fact, the Swedish chemist Arrhenius has alerted the world of the potential of planetary overheating).
In 1972 the landmark publication “Limits to Growth’ was published.
The bankers and industrialists and bought-and-paid-for politicians were going to have none of that ‘nonsense’! So they sabotaged the whole limits to growth narrative via a litany of lies and fabrications.
Half a century later we find the whole thing panning out very much as forecasted by Meadows et al in the early 1970s.
Now that professional liars and psychopaths and sociopaths have established more-or-less complete control of the public discourse and the general populace has been carefully trained to reject fundamental truths, we are in the meltdown phase of economic and social arrangements, with the bulk of the populace completely clueless about what is about to happen.
Whether the human population die-off that accompanies massive overshoot will be fast enough to maintain the habitability of the Earth is yet to be seen.
What we can be certain about is that the lies promulgated by the professional liars and the mainstream media (is there any difference?) will get bigger until collapse becomes evident to everyone.
I found it particularly telling that, having noted the catastrophic trend in glacier melts around the world, TVNZ, our supposedly national broadcaster, then focused on the ‘really important’ news of the day, the restructuring of the way professional rugby is organised, that is necessary as a consequence of the pandemic and economic decline.
Bread and circuses, but without the bread.
On the matter of collapse of the ocean biosphere, Jeremy Jackson’s Smithsonian Institute and Scripps Institute lecture pretty much said it almost a decade ago:
‘No one’ listened.
(I see its up to 28,475 views now -about 1% of cats playing with dogs videos.)
Jackson’s video is a great resource to share. He’s been featured here Black Alert and This Means Extinction. 8 years have now passed and his words are more true then ever. The odds of “avoiding the apocalypse” is now zero.
It is so disappointing to realize that the political will to finally solve these issues still remains absent. Industry doesn’t care, the military doesn’t care, politicians don’t care, the death of the world’s oceans continues.
Politicians are quite content to lie egregiously just to keep historic economic arrangements going just a little longer.
Here is a recent example of the BIG LIE -that there is trouble ahead but we can largely avoid it by slight tweaking of the economic system and slight inconvenience to people living in ‘developed’ nations.
‘Climate crisis: our children face wars over food and water, EU deputy warns
Exclusive: Frans Timmermans says older people need to make sacrifices to protect the future’
‘….Any sacrifice would be mild for most, such as the inconvenience of having a house renovated to low-carbon standards, or switching to electric transport, and eating less meat. But for some it could involve a change of job or living patterns.
“We’re not asking people to go back to 1930s situations, we’re not asking people to live in caves and munch grass. It’s taking perhaps one or two steps back to be able to jump much further in to the future.”
Just where is the energy to run hundreds of millions of electric cars going to come from? And where is the energy to mine the minerals and process the minerals into metals to make electric cars going to come from?
What these ‘idiots’ (professional liars) seem to forget is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to make steel without using coal and it is IMPOSSIBLE to make concrete with using fossil fuels (either coal or gas). It is IMPOSSIBLE to have smooth surface roads without concrete and/or asphalt. And it is IMPOSSIBLE to have a globalised industrial agriculture system without fossil fuels. Indeed, we cannot keep the [electric] lights on without fossil fuels.
I see from the latest ‘report card’ of civil engineers that America needs to spend several hundred billion repairing/replacing bridges that are close to falling down and resurfacing roads that re cracking up. Entropy never sleeps. Nor do corrosion and erosion. And higher atmospheric CO2 means faster deterioration of concrete and steel.
The cynic in me says the latest pronouncement on climate (planetary meltdown) is is part of a massive misinformation campaign, geared to keeping the [ignorant] masses believing in the future when there isn’t a future to believe in….well not the techno-fantasy future the scumbags at the top of the social-economic-political pyramid would have us believe.
The climate emergency commenced more than 20 years ago, and over the past 20 years all that we have heard from politicians is bullshit about the ‘need’ for economic growth, along with idiotic narratives about the merits of population growth. And in many cases the ‘need’ for tax cuts to stimulate spending in the consumer society. Right now the NZ government is desperately trying to get people back into international aircraft.
One of the biggest lies is that European (and others) nations have reduced their CO2 emissions substantially over the past 30 years: they haven’t. What they have done is relocate most of the heavy industry to Asia and transport finished goods back to Europe via filthy cargo vessels that burn the shittiest oil available (often containing much sulphur). And expand airports way beyond sanity to facilitate the massive movements of people to holiday destinations and to facilitate the massive movement of goods via aircraft -aircraft fuel usually going untaxed and not counted in emissions tallies.
One month to go till we reach the annual peak in atmospheric CO2 (each peak being 2 to 3 ppm above the previous one).
Apr. 29, 2021 = 419.85 ppm
Apr. 29, 2020 = 417.21 ppm
Nice rant! All of it true! The coordinated LIE campaign continues unabated. Supposedly, our government promises to fix the unfixable. Perpetuating the madness, they continue to advocate for ‘more’ (everything). You can have the world you want if you just switch to (fill in the blank) bullshit.
Who’s preparing for planetary meltdown? Nobody. Either they believe their own bullshit or they don’t plan on being around long enough.
Those C02 numbers will get a lot worse. Consider:
What utter bullshit. What unadulterated horse crap. Centuries? How the fuck will “net zero” do anything but continue to heat the planet up ever further? Moreover, we’re not even remotely close to net zero (nobody is, planet-wide). This is just pure hopium being spewed by professional liars.
Radford is on my own personal shit list for lying constantly to the public. Don’t know if they’re being paid, but if they are, they’re climate whores, spreading their
legslies and infecting people with a sexualmental disease of hopium and bullshit. This is now endemic among climate scientist and ‘reporters’.
One of the many unpleasant consequences of overheating the Earth is climate instability (deformed Jet Streams and Arctic Vortex) and superstorms -which add to the cost of living on a superheated planet.
‘Residents in Texas and Oklahoma are recovering Friday after major hailstorms battered portions of the states late Wednesday, destroying homes and businesses and automobiles.
AccuWeather forecasters estimate the damage could be more than $3 billion because the devastating storms unleashed large amounts of hail in metro areas, such as Norman, Oklahoma, and San Antonio, and Fort Worth, Texas.
AccuWeather Senior Vice President and Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter estimates “total damage and economic loss caused by Wednesday night’s hailstorms are predicted to be about $3.5 billion.”
“To put the economic toll of these storms into context,” Porter continued, “AccuWeather’s estimate for Hurricane Isaias, a Category 1 storm that struck the Caribbean and moved up the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. in July and August of 2020, was $3 billion to $5 billion. It is yet another in a series of $1 billion-plus weather disasters.”
I attempt to post reality on The Daily Blog, which is supposedly dedicated to environmentalism, and social justice.
Usually my reality-based are published but sometimes my reality-based comments are censored out of existence -which pisses me off immensely- . And so I don’t bother for a while. And sometimes I ‘push the envelope’, to see how far the moderators will go.
On an article discussing the propaganda systems that allow the looting and polluting to continue, I posted the following:
‘Things TVNZ and Radio NZ will NOT tell the viewers/listeners.
1. The financial system is a gigantic Ponzi scheme, propped up in the short term by ever-greater ‘money-printing’ by central banks, and doomed to collapse in a matter of a few years (at best) and possibly in a matter of months.
2. Global extraction of conventional oil peaked around 2007, and the unconventional oil extraction business which has been propping up economic arrangements for well over a decade is in dire straits because of low oil prices and rapid depletion of fracked wells.
3. Planetary overheating -due to excessive use of fossil fuels- has reached the rapid meltdown stage, at which there is extreme danger of the Earth being rapidly thrown into an entirely new climate regime dominated by severe and lasting droughts, termination of water supply systems such as that of Lake Mead in the US, increasingly severe superstorms that wash away infrastructure, and collapse of much (or all) of the industrial agriculture system.
4. Collapse of health systems worldwide (but especially in the developing world and the US) as a consequence of out-of-control epidemics and underlying health ‘issues’ (such as obesity and diabetes) that are a consequences of ingestion of commercially manufactured ‘foods’ that are high in processed starch, fructose and vegetable oils and low in healthy protein and essential nutrients.
5. Population overshoot is now of the order of 7 billion -the vast majority kept alive in the short-term by the excessive (and unsustainable) use of fossil fuels.
6. Corporatised and internationalised sport has no future.
7. The currently growing gap between the rich and the poor will continue to grow in the short term until a massive crisis is generated, after which the impoverished masses and impoverished ‘middle classes’ will turn on the ‘elites’ in something resembling the French Revolution.
So what TVNZ and Radio NZ have to do is keep the lid on that lot and keep pretending none of it is happening, and that the ‘problems’ we are encountering can be fixed by the banks and corporations and worse-than-useless politicians who got us into this mess. ‘
A few minutes later I came across this:
‘World leaders have been warned that unless they act with extreme urgency, the Covid-19 pandemic will overwhelm health services in many nations in South America, Asia, and Africa over the next few weeks.
Only billions of pounds of aid and massive exports of vaccines can halt a humanitarian catastrophe that is now unfolding rapidly across the planet, scientists and world health experts said.’
I don’t like aspects of the Guardian’s reporting (such as the almost constant vilification of Russia) but it is one of the better of the mainstream media (best of a bad lot) insofar as it does report some of the crucial aspects of our predicament (even if it proposes non-solution to the various ‘problems’ highlighted).
I guess we will have to wait for the Northern Hemisphere summer/autumn (drought, heatwaves, melting sea ice etc.) to see just how bad it will all be for 2021.
One thing is already clear:
Daily CO2 (CO2.earth)
Apr. 30, 2021 = 420.54 ppm
Apr. 30, 2020 = 417.31 ppm
Americans aren’t paying enough attention (to anything that actually matters). The pandemic is poised (or already has) to go global with vaccine-resistant strains (endemic). Obscene amounts of revenue are being generated by the minute by the ultra-rich. Housing prices have literally skyrocketed. The ‘price of stuff that makes everything‘ is jumping higher and higher (and will never go back down). Absurd growth spurts are fueling a real-estate boom, making housing virtually unaffordable for millenniums. The enormous chasm between the have’s and have-nots is almost incomprehensible.
Extreme weather events are now ‘normal’ occurrences as planetary heating continues unchecked. The Atlantic Meridional Current is collapsing. Heat ‘bombs’ are now destroying Arctic ice, the loss of which will drastically accelerate planetary warming (along with even more dangerous storm events, and rising crop losses). Antarctic ice-melt through ‘water expulsion’ will cause more sea level rise then previously thought. The Amazon is now a carbon-emitting source, releasing 20% more carbon dioxide then absorbed.
This is but a fraction of the negative survival developments unfolding around the world. How many of the world’s billions are preparing for total, global collapse? This is exactly what is unfolding.
If you drew a map and listed all of the known evidence gathered to date, all of the signs and warning signals, virtually ALL of the lines from the known evidence would lead to the word ‘COLLAPSE’. Financial, resources, habitats, environment, food, water, ice, and even oxygen all in massive decline globally while the human inexorable trajectory of growth, population, resource extraction, energy demands, pollution and waste by-products, environmental destruction and voracious consumption are still increasing.