Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Tree Hugger

Three things caught my eye yesterday and today and I thought I'd share them. Do bear in mind they come from someone that doesn't wear organic cotton, eat lentils or hug trees.

The evaporation of the Aral sea.
This image from NASA shows the evaporation of the Aral Sea. Not really a sea at all, but the fourth biggest lake in the world, the draining of the waters from the two rivers that lead to the Aral Sea in the 1960s has had a devastating and exponential effect on the surrounding environment, destroying the local fishing industry and rendering agriculture around the sea virtually impossible. Attempts to save the least polluted northern lake appear to have had some effect - this image appears to actually show a slight improvement on the situation a couple of years ago - but the damage has been done. Clouds of toxic dust from pesticides, biochemical research and industrial activity are swept throughout the barren area, the local population are being eaten away by poverty and sickness, including lung disease and cancers.

The declining polar cap
This time series of images from NASA shows the patterns of ice on the polar ice caps in September and March each year from 2000-2009. It will make you crap yourself.

The Story of Stuff
Someone (sorry, forgot who!) Tweeted a link to this impactful little video yesterday and I watched it. Getting the two links above from NASA the next morning did rather pull me up with a bump. I do highly recommend investing 20 minutes in taking a look at the video - you'll be the six million and somethingth to do so. It's entertaining, amusing and sobering. Not a bad mixture to manage!

It's been a tad controversial - one commentator called it 'Community college Marxism with a pony tail' - activist Annie Leonard certainly doesn't pull any punches. But you'll perhaps be pleased to know that Fox News, that famous left wing think tank and Voice of Reason, has quibbled with the facts presented in the video.

The list of quibbles with the film that Right Wing America trots out was the final, most scary thing of all. Because they don't question the substance of the presentation - just nitpick over facts such as whether the world's top 5 (Leonard) or 37 (Fox) economies are corporations. Wikipedia cites the sources for Leonard's figures, but I honestly don't care. 51 is a shocking number. 37 is a shocking number. And these are probably the least shocking numbers in the film.

Have a nice day!


who is said...

Wrong wing - Fox News is are most definitely the wingnuts attached to the wing on the right :)

Interesting article...funny how everything any anything remotely interesting in the American media has to go through a left/right litmus test first before being saddled with baggage though isn't it?

alexander... said...

Fox News = left wing. Zizz waz ze zargazm...

Rose in Dubai said...

Interesting how Who is queried "left wing" but didn't query "Voice of Reason"


alexander... said...

Now, now, Rose.

Why would you query Fox as the Voice of Reason? HmmMMMM?

Karl Smith said...

Um, those pictures don't make me 'crap' myself. If you didn't know the point you were trying to make, you'd struggle to see a trend in the March pics - in fact, as the data show, the last March ice extent in the series is barely different from the first.

All these data show is that summer has been somewhat different (perhaps earlier? It's impossible to tell from those data points). But by the time winter has rolled around, everything's pretty much back to normal.

If you want to persuade us all to stop using oil, you're going to have to do a bit better than that.

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