Re: Extropian environmentalism?

Michael S. Lorrey (
Wed, 27 Jan 1999 08:54:49 -0500

Harvey Newstrom wrote:

> > "Michael S. Lorrey" <> wrote:
> > I don't doubt that sewage and
> > agricultural runoff is responsible for some of it, however if that were all it
> > was, solving the problem would be easy.
> Mike, this is not a theoretical problem. We, in Florida, are really
> having a problem with effluent run-off killing coral. If you think the
> solution is easy, please enlighten us. We have tons of run-off weekly,
> and no one knows how to radically reduce it or change its composition.
> How would solving this problem be easy?

Whenever I hear this regarding a man made problem I just have to laugh. Its not that a solution isn't possible or easy, just that the solution is too unpalatable to political interests who control the real say in getting things done, or that the average person will have to commit to even a minor paradigm shift, which of course is anathema.

  1. stop fertilizing and watering your damn lawn.
  2. stop using high nitrate fertilizers in agriculture.
  3. build a sewage treatment plant that is up to date and produces nearly drinkable water. One sure fire way to build one of these is easy and natural: build wetlands. Wetlands are one of the most efficient treatment systems for effulent.
  4. only use short life pesticides (degradable).

Most people think that a nice grassy well kept lawn is a wonder of nature. Nothing could be further from the truth. Its no better than a parking lot. Because people are constantly mowing lawns, this compacts the soil down quite a bit, so most of the water does not soak down into the soil, but runs off into storm drains. These storm drains immediately pipe the water to the local runoff pond or wetland. This rapid variation in streamflow causes the water level in the wetlands to go up and down, which is what kills off or causes high levels of brith defects in frogs eggs (they are planted on plant stems just below the water surface and must remain at the given depth.)

If you really want to help the environment here are some things that would really work:

  1. replace your current toilet system with a composting toilet. It uses peat moss and bacteria to naturally decompose your waste, and surprisingly does NOT stink, as they are well ventilated and the natural degradation is not nearly as bad as untreated sewage.
  2. rip up your grass lawn. Deep aerate the soil and plant a nice polyculture of prairie type plants and flowers. STOP watering your lawn.
  3. buy only organically grown foods. Promoting the use of organic practices will 1)reduce the use of high nitrate artificial pesticides, and 2) will consume all of that sludge biosolids you are generating with your composting toilet, and will reduce the amount of effulent widing up in the sea. Close your damn system.

> > tide phenomenon not so long ago, when it turned out to be caused by a
> > change in deep sea upwelling currents caused by a hurricane back in the
> > 70's which changed shoal patterns around on the east coast....people in
> > the gulf of mexico blame oil exploration for all of the gunk that floats
> > around, when the majority is due to the large amount of natural oil seeps
> > that are present, plus the fact that the geography makes the gulf a
> > natural wind trap for all of the garbage in the sea...
> You really believe that garbage naturally collects in the Gulf without
> humans actually dumping garbage? You really believe that anybody can
> confuse natural oil seeps with spills of highly-refined petrolium
> products? You have been listening to too much Rush Limbaugh. You
> probably believe that El Nino and La Nina are liberal political
> theories, and that NASA fakes its satellite data as part of the Clinton
> criminal conspiracy.

No. but you can watch from a satellite the natural oil seeps coming up from the gulf's floor. If you can see it from space its pretty big. And highly refined petroleum products do not clump up in nuggets at sea, they typically evaporate. Additionally, yes, the gulf is a natural collector of junk, from south america, mexico and even europe. If there were no junk, of course it would not be collected. Look at the wind and current patterns. Its rather obvious, especially for anyone living near Galveston, which gets the most junk.

> Sorry, but I live and grew up in Florida. I studied biology at Florida
> Tech., and they specialize in Oceanography, performing a lot of work
> around Florida. None of the crack-pot theories you have cited are
> heavily pushed in the scientific sector. I hear these kinds of theories
> from Republicans more than Biologists.

great, I studied a bit of oceanography myself at the University of Washington. AND that Red Tide is caused by deep water upwellings off the continental shelf is NOT a crackpot theory, but an accepted fact, as of last year.