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Bill_T
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Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

[ Edited ]
In the early chapters, the author paints a disturbing picture of our oceans -- how they are beginning to devolve into primordial seas of toxic slimes and poisonous jelly fish, mostly due to industrial pollution.

Do you share this concern? What can we do as individuals to stop this impending collapse of our oceans? Or is it too late to take meaningful action?



Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have only read the first part of The Judas Strain, through the end of "Exposure" (p. 132). If you wish to discuss plot elements introduced later in the book, consider posting in a separate thread.

Click on "Reply" to post your thoughts about this discussion topic, or click "New Message" on the main page to start a new topic thread.

Message Edited by Bill_T on 08-07-2007 11:53 AM
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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters


Bill_T wrote:
In the early chapters, the author paints a disturbing picture of our oceans -- how they are beginning to devolve into primordial seas of toxic slimes and poisonous jelly fish, mostly due to industrial pollution.

Do you share this concern? What can we do as individuals to stop this impending collapse of our oceans? Or is it too late to take meaningful action?



Note: This discussion topic is particularly suitable for readers who have only read the first part of The Judas Strain, through the end of "Exposure" (p. 132). If you wish to discuss plot elements introduced later in the book, consider posting in a separate thread.

Click on "Reply" to post your thoughts about this discussion topic, or click "New Message" on the main page to start a new topic thread.

Message Edited by Bill_T on 08-07-2007 11:53 AM


Sure this concerns me. We are constantly bringing about the extinction of many animal and plant lives. There is a fine balance in nature that keeps us all alive and we keep polluting and killing and we just lost another so many hundreds of forest trees (acres) in the Amazon rain forest in just the time it took me to read this question and write a reply. We are killing the biggest supplier of the earth's oxygen by doing so. And we are losing many medicinal plants that we didnt even know about too in the process, while unleashing some things toxic to us out of those forest that we didnt know about before because we are running the wildlife with it out and to us. We are killing our oceans daily, contaminating things to a point that we cant make up new forms of what we need that we destroy or protections against what we unleash in doing so. Is it too late? For the most part of my life, I am an optimist but, this is it folks to me. It took the earth millions of years to develop in such a way as to maintain human life and we cant undo what we have just done since the industrial revolution to it in our lifetimes. I dont think we can in man's lifetime now. The earth will get tired of us and will begin to see us as a parasite and fight back. It is in its own way now. We are bringing about our own extinction and it was bound to happen. Mankind as we know it, wont last millions of years! We will become extinct too and at our own hands. I believe that scientifically, and on a religious basis I belief the world doesnt have that long anyway. The scriptures now read like a road map and a time line and talks about all these things coming to pass.

The world, and the earth itself is in a tumult, the likes of which we have never seen and its happenning at a very rapid pace now. I do not believe we can stop it. That is not to say that I dont think we should be concerned and not trying to do something. We may not be able to stop it, but we may be able to slow it down, let the earth heal some. Sometimes thats what we do with people, slow the progression of a disease, lengthen a life and it can still be a good life, but in the end it will end. We could be helping to heal the earth, slow her diseases we have wrought upon her but it will take huge sacrifices of people, or perceived huge to many, to make a meaningful change in time. I could talk about all the "green" things we could do as individuals to help, but I think we have all been hearing them and know them, so its up to us to actually do it, but how many will give up something that might make their day just a little bit inconvenienced by say, oh sharing a ride to work, recycling. We have talked about that for years and years and we have had motors that will run on other things than petrolium based products for years and years and certainly much less gas, but has anything changed? Its about, "I want it now" and the almighty dollar to big businesses. I dont mean to sound all doom and gloom, I just think everything on the earth has its place and time and ours is coming to a definate end and we dont want to be inconvienced by doing anything about it. When the oceans finally drive us all up onto smaller and smaller land masses and we are so over populated the land cant hold us and sustain us either, what do you think man will then do to man?

There is a phrase used in the book quite a bit, "if its not too late". Thats the big question and thats what we are fighting against, but i fear we have waited too long.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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JamesRollins
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

Well said, Vivian. No matter which side of the environmental fence you might be on, it's becoming harder and harder to deny that the world is at a tipping point: from the growing "dead zones" of the ocean, to the increase in mutations among frogs of the Great Lakes, to the destruction of rain forests. But I also believe nature strongly supports and protects homeostasis. It will seek a balance when disrupted. But it will be up to us to allow it to do so. If we keep jumping up and down on the teeter-totter, we'll eventually fall. I believe we're at a pivotal moment of history. It's time to stop jumping and start thinking.

Jim


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Stephanie
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

I find it so difficult to live as "green" as I would like to- one shopping trip to the local discount warehouse and I've brought home a ton of garbage in the form of cardboard and plastic (packaging) that is not recyclable in my area. We recycle everything that's allowed in the bin, but so much isn't. We reuse as many of those items (kids love cardboard and plastic for crafts) as we can, but eventually, it all goes in the bin. Products are packaged to eliminate theft, not to keep our landfills from overflowing. We conserve in as many ways as we can otherwise as well, but I know it's woefully inadequate.
Stephanie
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vivico1
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters


Stephanie wrote:
I find it so difficult to live as "green" as I would like to- one shopping trip to the local discount warehouse and I've brought home a ton of garbage in the form of cardboard and plastic (packaging) that is not recyclable in my area. We recycle everything that's allowed in the bin, but so much isn't. We reuse as many of those items (kids love cardboard and plastic for crafts) as we can, but eventually, it all goes in the bin. Products are packaged to eliminate theft, not to keep our landfills from overflowing. We conserve in as many ways as we can otherwise as well, but I know it's woefully inadequate.


A couple of things steph, do you use those new lightbulbs? the funny looking ones? They are saying what we could save in energy if every house just replaced one even. I finally bought some, they seem expensive, but do you know I saw a difference in my electric bill already and they have lasted longer already than the other ones I had and dont get hot. Also on plastic bags, Walmarts here have boxes to bring back any plastic bags to, for recycling but you can check around where you live for all kinds of recycling centers too. Another thing they say is, turn off your water as you brush your teeth, dont leave it running. And some that we have always heard, turn your thermostat up a couple of degrees in the summer, and a few degrees cooler in the winter. Make lists of to do things that when you go out to the store, dont make a hundred trips, do all your errands at one time, all those things. I know on many shows they are saying oh buy a cloth grocery bag to take to the store with you to shop instead of getting more bags. This is a good idea for when you know you only need one or two things, and you dont need a 'special bag", take a couple of your used plastic bags everytime. This is good except like for me, I live on a fixed income and I do the majority of my shopping at the first of the month,NOT something that is going to fit into one bag LOL, but at the same time, you can take one plastic bag full of your other ones and have them reuse them if they dont have a recycle program like walmart, just dont let them tie them into tight knots. If you look around, you will figure out things you can do to conserve on your own. My bigger point is tho, how much is this going to help as an individual idea, unless our populations as a collective do it? But as with any hope, we got to hope each individual will at least start. And any,like the bulbs that will show in your own pockets do tend to get people more involved than the more altruistic ones unfortunately.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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JamesRollins
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

Excellent points, Vivian! True change can come from large leaps (legislative changes in emissions, etc) but also from each of us making small changes.

On this topic of contaminated waters, I was very disheartened today to hear about the evident extinction of the Yangtze River Dolphin. It is the first megafauna to go extinct in the last 50 years. But sadly, I fear it won't be the last. For anyone interested, here's a link to the article:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20070808/sc_livescience/dolphinspeciesgoesextinctduetohumans

Jim


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Vila
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

Eventually, if we don't stop worshiping the "Almighty Dollar", we will cause our own extinction after we have killed off everything that is necessary in this world to sustain human life. This is a scary thing, because I don't relish the idea of non existence.

However, on the other side of that coin, the earth will still be here after we are gone, and will eventually heal itself, as it has done in the past. I don't like the idea of humans not existing, but it may be the best thing that could happen for this poor abused planet.
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

Believe it or not, it's actually cheaper to "live green" - using less water reduces our water bill, using energy star appliances reduces our electricity costs, less heat, less a/c - we save. But heaven forbid anyone should be the least bit uncomfortable! And if the product companies used less packaging, they would save money.

Jim, I'm so sad to read about the dolphins. It's a testament to mankind's ignorance, isn't it?
Stephanie
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hawaiianchique
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

My thoughts exactly, Stephanie. It's a small sacrifice to turn things off when you're not using them. To me, it's only logical to do your best to live "green". The environment around us greatly affects our health. By taking care of the world around us, we are taking care of ourselves.
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

Stephanie, you make an excellent point about "Living green." Such a concept has been vilified in the recent past, as something silly, a throwback to the Haight-Ashbury days of hippies and free love (do you remember all the jokes about Ed Begley Jr. and his electric car?). But the reality of "living green" is that is simply makes sense and cents. It takes only a small amount of commitment, and if done on a large scale (i.e., national scale) can make literally a world of difference.

Jim


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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

When I started reading the beginning of this thread, I too thought of the Chinese river dolphins. That absolutely broke my heart. It really seems like we never do learn our lessons.

Though, as easy as it is to feel incredibly pessimistic at times like this, I believe the tide is turning. Jim just referred to people making fun of Ed Begley and his electric car. And, yes, that was the recent past. But today no one is making fun of Leonardo DiCaprio or George Clooney driving hybrids. And between the celebrities and Al Gore, the message about living green is really getting saturated into popular culture. And I think people are finally beginning to hear it. And live it.

Look at the discussion above. Five years ago, only some total counter-culture types would be having this discussion. Today, it's totally middle class. I've changed my light bulbs. I turn off the water when I brush my teeth. I recycle where possible. Heck, the city I live in has completely BANNED plastic grocery store bags. My local representative introduced that law. I ran into him at my neighborhood farmers' market (where I shop for fresh produce, thus reducing the carbon footprint of my food) and when I started discussing the plastic bag thing with him, he handed me his own reusable totebag. No I use it every week at the farmers market. I really think a lot of people in America are making a real effort to alter their lifestyles in little ways. It HAS to help.

What we really need to see is this attitude spreading to corporations and governments. Individuals can make a big difference, but it was irresponsible, unsustainable commercial fishing practices that killed those dolphins. I like to hope that as the living green trend continues to spread to individuals, that our collective buying/voting power brings about changes. And actually, over time, it does. I bet if you look in your pantry your tuna cans proclaim themselves to be "dolphin safe." Okay, it didn't save ALL the dolphins, but it has saved many.

It's not too late yet. But we need to continue making changes.
Susan
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JamesRollins
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

Well said, Susan! Now you know WHY I included her in the book. How could I not? Of course, that didn't stop me from keeping her fate hidden from her for an entire year. "Jim, did you kill me off?"
"Susan, you'll have to read the book."
Okay, I can be one cruel dude (evil grin).

Jim


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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters


suetu wrote:
When I started reading the beginning of this thread, I too thought of the Chinese river dolphins. That absolutely broke my heart. It really seems like we never do learn our lessons.

Though, as easy as it is to feel incredibly pessimistic at times like this, I believe the tide is turning. Jim just referred to people making fun of Ed Begley and his electric car. And, yes, that was the recent past. But today no one is making fun of Leonardo DiCaprio or George Clooney driving hybrids. And between the celebrities and Al Gore, the message about living green is really getting saturated into popular culture. And I think people are finally beginning to hear it. And live it.

Look at the discussion above. Five years ago, only some total counter-culture types would be having this discussion. Today, it's totally middle class. I've changed my light bulbs. I turn off the water when I brush my teeth. I recycle where possible. Heck, the city I live in has completely BANNED plastic grocery store bags. My local representative introduced that law. I ran into him at my neighborhood farmers' market (where I shop for fresh produce, thus reducing the carbon footprint of my food) and when I started discussing the plastic bag thing with him, he handed me his own reusable totebag. No I use it every week at the farmers market. I really think a lot of people in America are making a real effort to alter their lifestyles in little ways. It HAS to help.

What we really need to see is this attitude spreading to corporations and governments. Individuals can make a big difference, but it was irresponsible, unsustainable commercial fishing practices that killed those dolphins. I like to hope that as the living green trend continues to spread to individuals, that our collective buying/voting power brings about changes. And actually, over time, it does. I bet if you look in your pantry your tuna cans proclaim themselves to be "dolphin safe." Okay, it didn't save ALL the dolphins, but it has saved many.

It's not too late yet. But we need to continue making changes.


Yes, I do get pessimistic.

Mainly because, as Susan said, the governments and corporations don't make any large efforts reduce waste or conserve energy.

However, Susan has reminded me that even if the big guys haven't made any visible efforts, people and communities have. That makes me feel much better.

Susan's comment made me remember that in my own state, Utah, 2 of the smaller, private, colleges have started to go "Green". Electricity will be generated from solar panels and wind fans, and efforts are being made to provide the students with special bins for recycling placed all over the campus.

It won't be long before the 2 larger State universities start moving in that direction so they can keep up with the popular trend of being environmentally friendly. When that happens, it should get the State and City governments propelled in the right direction. (Utah is a little behind on the recycling thing, we're working on it, but it's moving slowly).
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

I believe each of us has to make a conscious effort to live "green" then begin to elect as public officials those who share our views. Every major change in this country seems to come from grass roots efforts then the politicians and businesses begin to slowly follow. About 18 months ago James Howard Kunstler came to my local bookstore to discuss his book THE LONG EMERGENCY. While I have not yet had the opportunity to read his book, I did hear his talk. He had very valid points about rebuilding the American infrastructure and the train system to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. He also said the time was coming where people would need to live in the cities instead of the suburbs again reducing the use/need of fossil fuels. Mr. Kunstler talked also of us using our waterways as transportation/business hubs again to get food/goods to the marketplace. He also said that we have to get away from using the waterfronts of major cities for entertainment/gambling (or as he put it the church of unearned wealth). I live in a city because I don't need a car. I can walk or take public transportation. I also live near a grocery store and have a grocery cart to use when I do "big" shopping. I recycle what I can and since I live alone I only put lights on in the room I'm in. Every little bit we do helps save the planet.
Sheila
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

Am I concerned? YES!

For the past 6 years we've seen a large dead zone off the central Oregon coast. So much phytoplankton gets pushed into the upper layers of the ocean by deep water upwellings of colder water, and the sheer numbers of these tiny creatures and their decaying bodies choke off the oxygen in the water. Scientists around here don't agree on the cause. Some say global warming, some say it's normal and happens in cycles.

These "dead zones" where what came to mind when I read the beginning of "THE JUDAS STRAIN". This year we had an unusually warm July on the coast, even the water temp was warmer than normal in spots. Because the warm weather brought with it a change in the normal wind flow, it changed the tide and so our dead zone was shorter than last year. Now we have more whales coming in to feed (which makes the tourists happy), and we have more pelicans in the coves and flying over in flocks. We also didn't have our annual beaching of Velella velella (By-the-wind sailors).

[for pics:
http://spatulagraphics.com/house_2006/slideshow3.html#5
and then click the next button for a close up]

As far as living green -- Ed Begley is the ONLY "celeb" who can talk to me about my lifestyle. He WALKS the TALK. The rest of them TALK the walk, and buy green credits by paying other folks ... and honestly I find that disgusting and dishonest. Not that I'm opinionated about it or anything. :smileywink:

We do the best we can. We do get bags at the grocery store, but they are given to our friends who run a small Mart here in town. Our friends use them for their customers - so they all get used at least twice. We purchased energy efficient appliances when we built, and our contractor did a great job of insulating, plus we have zonal heat that only runs when we are in a room (unless it gets too cold). Our landscape is all native stuff that lives with the water the heavens provide ... and on and on.

If all of us do the best we can, we can make a difference.
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

Thanks, Kim, for the link. Disturbing. It seems that the oceans have been sending out warning signs for the past decade. Hopefully someone will hear and really commit to answering the call for help.

Jim


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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

I just heard on the Today show an interesting thing, a great thing, they are doing in the British Columbia, underwater tree harvesting. In the cold waters up there, trees which have fallen under water or become covered with lakes and rivers are being found and even cut just above the soil on the bottom of the lakes and rivers (thus not disturbing the river bottoms either) and brought up and harvested. They said its not that much more to do it and the trees are not damaged under there by the water because its cold temperatures actually preserve the wood. This one guy who does it says he wouldnt do any other kind now and they showed a big business that was using it for construction of a big building saying, its just a little more expensive but he will always use it now that there is a choice over deforestation. You would think there wouldnt be enough of this kind of wood, but they said there is a LOT of unharvested trees underwater in the world that can be harvested. Now how cool is that? Harvesting where we are not destroying the forests so important to maintaining our atmosphere, and many other reasons,and doing it in such a way to not even harm the floors of the waters so they are being careful of the ecosystem of the lakes and rivers too.
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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suetu
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters

Years ago, when I was the editor of a magazine for scuba divers, I published an article similar to this. Back in the day, lumber used to be transported over water to lumber mills and the like. Fairly often, logs would be lost over the sides of barges.

Divers are retrieving trees from the bottoms of rivers the likes of which we don't even have these days. Old growth hardwoods of sizes we just don't see anymore. Immense trees that had been growing for decades. VERY valuable lumber that was, as you said, Vivian, well preserved and just waiting to be salvaged.

Haven't thought about that in ages. It was a good article. :-)
Susan
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters


suetu wrote:
Years ago, when I was the editor of a magazine for scuba divers, I published an article similar to this. Back in the day, lumber used to be transported over water to lumber mills and the like. Fairly often, logs would be lost over the sides of barges.

Divers are retrieving trees from the bottoms of rivers the likes of which we don't even have these days. Old growth hardwoods of sizes we just don't see anymore. Immense trees that had been growing for decades. VERY valuable lumber that was, as you said, Vivian, well preserved and just waiting to be salvaged.

Haven't thought about that in ages. It was a good article. :-)


Susan, it was really interesting to watch them use this little sub gear to see the trees down there, they would implant these air balloons into the wood and then cut it just below that. These were standing trees underwater! Then the trees would float to the top and they would put it on the barge. Fascinating stuff and that its not too expensive to do is awesome. I remember the old movies about the big country and the loggers and how they would float the trees down the rivers to the barges, like you are talking about, rather than try to haul them across country. And isnt it cool that they are being careful of the bottom of the rivers by cutting above it so as to not disturb it or change it. I think they are doing a wonderful job and nice to know big business, some anyway, is on board with them to do it.

Also, I just thought of something, is this a national thing or an oklahoma thing...we have a program here where if you have land or know of some with old oil sites on them that are abandoned and left to ruin the land and make it unusuable for anything, you can call this number and they go out and completely clean it up, clear out the bad soil and reclaim the land for you, free of charge. One of the commercials shows a farmer with some new farm land available to him now and one area in a town that is now a childrens playground/park with trees and stuff. I dont know if its the state that does it, or the biggest oil company here, I dont remember but its working. Is that everywhere? Or at least in the states where oil is a big business and we have this problem?
Vivian
~Those who do not read are no better off than those who can not.~ Chinese proverb
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Re: Early Chapters Discussion: Contaminated Waters


vivico1 wrote:Also, I just thought of something, is this a national thing or an oklahoma thing...we have a program here where if you have land or know of some with old oil sites on them that are abandoned and left to ruin the land and make it unusuable for anything, you can call this number and they go out and completely clean it up, clear out the bad soil and reclaim the land for you, free of charge. One of the commercials shows a farmer with some new farm land available to him now and one area in a town that is now a childrens playground/park with trees and stuff. I dont know if its the state that does it, or the biggest oil company here, I dont remember but its working. Is that everywhere? Or at least in the states where oil is a big business and we have this problem?




Vivian...

http://www.epa.gov/superfund/
Susan
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