Archive | 2013

Are We Falling Off the Climate Precipice?

INTRODUCTION

TomGram: Dahr Jamail, The Climate Change Scorecard
by Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch

Since a nuclear weapon went off over Hiroshima, we have been living with visions of global catastrophe, apocalyptic end times, and extinction that were once the sole property of religion. Since August 6, 1945, it has been possible for us to imagine how human beings, not God, could put an end to our lives on this planet. Conceptually speaking, that may be the single most striking development of our age and, to this day, it remains both terrifying and hard to take in. Nonetheless, the apocalyptic possibilities lurking in our scientific-military development stirred popular culture over the decades to a riot of world-ending possibilities.

In more recent decades, a second world-ending (or at least world-as-we-know-it ending) possibility has crept into human consciousness. Until relatively recently, our burning of fossil fuels and spewing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere represented such a slow-motion approach to end times that we didn’t even notice what was happening. Only in the 1970s did the idea of global warming or climate change begin to penetrate the scientific community, as in the 1990s it edged its way into the rest of our world, and slowly into popular culture, too.

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Is BP ‘Trolling’ its Facebook Critics?

Has BP hired internet “trolls” to threaten critics of its handling of the 2010 oil disaster?

Critics using BP America’s Facebook page allege they have been harassed (Erika Blumenfeld / Al Jazeera)

New Orleans, United States – BP has been accused of hiring internet “trolls” to purposefully attack, harass, and sometimes threaten people who have been critical of how the oil giant has handled its disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

The oil firm hired the international PR company Ogilvy & Mather to run the BP America Facebook page during the oil disaster, which released at least 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf in what is to date the single largest environmental disaster in US history.

The page was meant to encourage interaction with BP, but when people posted comments that were critical of how BP was handling the crisis, they were often attacked, bullied, and sometimes directly threatened.

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BP’s ‘Widespread Human Health Crisis’

Toxicologists ‘predicted with certainty’ that Gulf of Mexico residents and clean-up workers would become severely ill.

A slick PR job has not stopped the spread of anti-BP sentiment in the wake of health problems (Reuters)

New Orleans, United States of America – Peter Frizzell never thought his watersports off the coast of Florida would destroy his health.

“After sea kayaking after BP’s spill happened, I was sitting at my desk and started coughing up loads of blood,” Frizzell, an avid outdoorsman, told Al Jazeera. “My doctor ran a scope down to the top of my lungs and said my bronchi were full of blood.”

Frizzell’s medical records bear out that he was exposed to toxic chemicals, and he is far from alone.

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Gulf Ecosystem in Crisis after BP Spill

Three years after well blowout, declining seafood catches and deformities point to an environment in distress.

Over three million pounds of oiled material have been found in Louisiana this year (Erika Blumenfeld/Al Jazeera)

New Orleans, US – Hundreds of kilograms of oily debris on beaches, declining seafood catches, and other troubling signs point towards an ecosystem in crisis in the wake of BP’s 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

“It’s disturbing what we’re seeing,” Louisiana Oyster Task Force member Brad Robin told Al Jazeera. “We don’t have any more baby crabs, which is a bad sign. We’re seeing things we’ve never seen before.”

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