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Chernobyl's Effects Live On

michael posted more than 14 years ago | from the glow-in-the-dark-wool dept.

Science 14

jamesbently writes: "Scientists have discovered that our ecosystem isn't healing itself as fast as they originally thought: bans on consumption of certain plants and animals in areas affected by radiation from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster have been revised upward."

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We are our own greatest threat (2)

akiaki007 (148804) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077723)

Once upon a time (long, long time ago) the Earth was a happy place. There were trees abundant, Bengal Tigers free to roam, and a few people running around having fun. There was no Carbon Monoxide in the air, we didn't have to worry about PPC (particle count in the air) because there was no pollution. The sun set was beautiful everyday, and there was no sh*t brown color in the sky ruing the sunset today. People could see a mile (or kilometer if you prefer) down the way and see clearly, now the lovely pollution doesn't let you.

We have created a place where everything we do kills us. Kills the environment. Kills everything that is living.
Only when the last tree is dead, the last field paved, the last river dammed, will we realize we can't eat money.
Once upon a time we didn't have to worry about cancer. We didn't have to worry about light. We didn't have to worry about intoxicating chemicals. We didn't have to worry.

Today we have to. Today we have to suffer what we've been doing to Earth. Nuclear Power. Super fast airplanes that can fly above the O-Zone.

What was wrong with a world witout all this technology? It simply wasn't enough. We needed more. We had to have more. Well, now we have it! NOW WHAT?

Re:We are our own greatest threat (1)

LostOne (51301) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077724)

I suspect it would be more accurate to say that we didn't know about a number of the things we worry about today.

That is not to say, however, that we are not causing a great deal of trauma to the environment and ourselves as a result.

Bit of Topic I know, (1)

Jerom (96338) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077725)

but why doesn't this story appear on the main page?

J.

Re:Bit of Topic I know, (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077726)

I show 5 comments (six after this one goes up) posted to this story, seems like a good time for 3rd string posting :)

Amazon? (1)

rwade (131726) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077727)

In case you didn't hear, the legendary jungle dubbed the Amazon (and the river to accompny it) have been sued over trademark disputs by Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com (I'm expecting to get sued after mentioning these people, shoulda gone anon cow. but that would limit me from gaining karma for this overly funny comment). The Amazon has responded by closing down it's operations of selling the rights of itself to movie production companies and farmers.

Fortunetly, VA Linux purchased most of Michigan and turned it into tropical jungle.

Re:We are our own greatest threat (1)

angrywolf (146924) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077728)

Humanity seems to be in a rush to achieve its goals. Although to say humanity's advancments harm the planet is perfectly true, we can also stop blaming these progressions at the same time. I pose this question, can we not find a way to do the same things BETTER? To drop back to the stone age and wander through the jungle is pointless (Although some, including myself, enjoy contact with unotuched nature.) and its obviously not an option for most people to "devolve" and run naked through the forest, but those who wish to make a change and yet remain "civilized" should attempt changes on a massively obtainable level. Many major companies are making the conversion already (IE electric cars) but no one who thinks about this can say the transition is purely for the benefit of nature, they are looking for the money, there is a major market in eletrical cars for the fact we have stripped the earth of fossil fuels. Maybe what people need is a change of attitude and morals towards the reason we do things and how we do them. Unfortunately we "civilized" humans tend to take personal gain over the safety of others, the sad truth is we are loading a gun, putting it to our forehead and just waiting a few years to pull the trigger. Time to change minds and means, not crawl back to the stone age, if not well then the question isn't "what now?"... actually the question won't be anything, we'll be too busy choking on fumes from our own "evolution". You decide how to get things done in a reasonable manner, let them think logically.

Re:We are our own greatest threat... or... Oh BULL (1)

gregm (61553) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077729)

Awe c'mon you think that early humans were just running around eating berries and having free love and playing volleyball? :) Ever heard of volcanos? A decent sized volcanic erruption can do a helluva lot of environmental damage real quick. Remember those tigers... what do you think they like to eat? The whole "natural" thing pisses me off. Cow farts are natural and contribute a helluva lot to the carbon monoxide level. Tar is "natural", venomous snakes and spiders are "natural" volcanos and earthquakes and hurricanes and tornados and floods and forest fires and lightning and birth defects and malaria and sharks and carp and radiation and... well you get the idea. I'm not saying we shouldn't try to use our resources as efficiently as possible but looking back to the "good old days" isn't a very good argument.

I think we're weaking the gene pool by fixing birth defects (even my glasses for near-sightedness) and not allowing the whole survival of the fittest to run it's course. I'm damn glad they made my glasses and took my gall bladder out a few months ago. If you want to walk to work and not undergo surgery when your gut really hurts and not wear glasses and run around naked in the winter and live in a cave, then I will support your decision by all means. However I like my computers and my car and my house and I'm not going to give them up.

Guess I'm a selfish bastard.... I'd heard that but I never really knew till now :)

Re:We are our own greatest threat (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077730)

Carbon Monoxide is not a worry on a global climatic scale, Carbon Dioxide might be....
But it was at a high during the reign of the mightyest animals ever, the Dinosaurs.
Keep on dreaming!

Re:We are our own greatest threat (1)

mwillis (21215) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077731)

Once upon a time we didn't have to worry about cancer. We didn't have to worry about light. We didn't have to worry about intoxicating chemicals. We didn't have to worry.

There is a perception today that we live in a time of greater risks. We as humans are very bad at numbers and have somehow deduced from our longer lifespans that we live in more perilous times. When you point out that lifespans are getting longer, you are usually met with blank stares.

Sure, our hunter gatherer forbears did not have to worry about getting prostate cancer. They would have had to contend with disease, the weather, malnutrition or being eaten by animals. Plenty of other things to worry about.

Re:We are our own greatest threat... or... Oh BULL (1)

gregm (61553) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077732)

I honestly didn't intend for my reply to attack, but I was in a mood and I can see how it came across that way and am sorry. Still, I can't agree with the concept of "balanced" nature.

From the dinosaur's point of view... I bet they'd have something to say about nature's balance. That is if we're talking about nature in the sense that the earth is a tiny little ball of mud in the universe and asteroids etc. are natural.

As the supposedly most inteligent species on the planet then it falls to us to keep it habitable for as long as possible. But the planet will run out of natural resources at some point in time no matter what we do.... unless of course we all die and our bodies decompose and replenish the natural resources for the next inteligent species to use.

Greg

Re:We are our own greatest threat... or... Oh BULL (2)

NulDevice (186369) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077733)

There's a fundamental fallacy often invoked in this line of reasoning, i.e. that nature is perfectly balanced and self-correcting.

We know this not to be the case. Lovelock and Gaia aside, ecosystems of all types are in flux and have always been in constant flux. Everything living alters its surrouding environment in some manner. Sure, there are often cycles, but even those are subject to the whims of nonlinear dynamics.

Life changes it's environment. Humans are just reaaallly good at it.

Is humanity going to destory the planet? No. Is humanity going to destroy all life on the planet? No. Is humanity going to destroy countless species and ruin the ecosystems of many others? Yes. Is humanity going to render the planet uninhabitable for humanity? Quite possibly. The earth will survive. Life will probably survive. We just probably won't. Give it a billion years or so, and the giant, ugly, sentient roaches will be posting here instead of us.

----

Re:We are our own greatest threat (1)

akiaki007 (148804) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077734)

What I state as what we have to worry about is in a different context than what you said.

Sure, our hunter gatherer forbears did not have to worry about getting prostate cancer. They would have had to contend with disease, the weather, malnutrition or being eaten by animals. Plenty of other things to worry about.

Cancer...a grave disease that all of us worry about.

Getting eaten by another...yes, that is bad too, but that is natures way of narrowing down the gene pool. You, if eaten, were not fit enough to survuve, thus do not get to pass your genes on.

Also, a reply to all those who thing I am yelling from way out in left field...Yes, I know. But if I could right now, wish that all of this technology, all of this medicine, etc was gone...hey, guess what, I WOULD. What would you like me to do now? give it up and live on the streets, while the rest of society ponders my will? No, We all conform to societies ways to survive, that is only natural. I might have different views than most, and not adhere to all of societies way, but to leave it, I would be writing my own doom. If all of society were to leave with me...the world would be a much happier place.

Civilization and ecology (2)

epcraig (102626) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077735)

I don't feel comfortable with the time scale we use to make decisions. What we should be thinking about is the long term effects of agriculture on the land. For a laboratory we can use isolated islands, and see that when we expand the human population desertification occurs. In extreme cases, without outside assistance, the population crashes with accompanying famine, plague, cannibalism etc.
Easter Island is the best example. Seems it was a forest when first settled, but an oligarchy ran the place until all the trees were gone, and when there were no trees left, there was no more fishing. (The descendants of the remnants were pretty much exported by the Spanish to Peruvian silver mines).
Now we have 6,000,000,000 or so people on a planet which we don't think can support a tenth of that in the long term. An all too huge part of that population haven't reached an age to add to the problem, but surely will. No parent will worry for more than their grandchildren's generation, but the damage we do with agriculture, let alone modern industrial society, doesn't show that fast.
We're coping now with the decisions made in the early twentieth century, which were made to cope with the effects of the decisions made a century before. The notable thing is that until now, there was always new wilderness to tame. There's no unmapped territory left on the planet. It doesn't take prophesy to know that without a wild, uncivilized resevoir, agriculture will expand until desertification sets in. Folks, Iraq was once the Fertile Crescent, Egypt was the breadbasket of Rome. Both are better known now as desert lands, importers of food.
Civilization depends on agriculture, agriculture depends on a viable ecology, and we've been taking short term advantage of practices which do not appear to work on the multi-generational time frame. Pretty natural, actually, as we've managed to civilise agricultural so that farmers won't worry more than a year ahead.

Re:Civilization and ecology (1)

eam (192101) | more than 14 years ago | (#1077736)

> Egypt was the breadbasket of Rome

If I'm wrong feel free to correct me, but I was under the impression that the Egyption deserts existed before Rome. The reason Egypt was the breadbasket of Rome was the Nile river. It provides plenty of water for irrigation & also flooded regularly, depositing rich soil on the land around the river. If something has caused a problem with farming in Egypt, I would look to the dam they built on the Nile.

FYI: I think some believe that Nile river flooding also encouraged the development of geometry in Egypt - the idea is that they needed a way to re-establish property lines after the seasonal floods washed away all markers.
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