PDA

View Full Version : 5 decades of progress



Weary
2011-10-11, 15:09
I’ve been reading The Atlantic Shore, a human and natural history of the coastal area from Long Island to Labrador by naturalists John Hay and Peter Farb. I picked it up last spring at a library fund-raising sale. I was hoping it would be a refresher into the life along the shoreline where I have lived and wandered for most of my life.

But the book proved most valuable as a reminder of the enormous strides our state and nation has taken in protecting its natural environment. It was published in 1966, about the peak of the post war destruction humans had enacted on our planet. The authors reported in detail the state of affairs that existed a half century ago. It was not a pretty picture.

The Merrimack River that rises in the clean waters of the White Mountain National Forest, by 1960 had deteriorated into an open sewer before it entered the ocean along the Massachusetts shore. Choked with toxic pesticides, raw sewage and chemical wastes, the river was not only poisoned, but completely lacked oxygen. The stray salmon or alewive that ventured into its current gasped for oxygen before slowly dying, the authors report.

Paddling the river in the middle of the 19th century, Henry Thoreau and his brother John freely dipped their cups into the waters of the Merrimack when thirst overtook them. Henry’s first book described the delights of the river system and the homes clustered along its banks. A century later people fled an obnoxious river. Massachusetts went so far as to post guards at some salt water river flats to keep people from eating and dying from pollution poisoned clams.

By the mid 1960s osprey had disappeared from the New England shores. Only occasional lonely pairs of bald eagles still survived, building nests and laying poisoned eggs incapable of hatching.

Great flocks of a few birds, however, had survived: seagulls feeding on open dumps grew greatly in numbers, so greatly that other wild sea birds had difficulty surviving gull predations. It was a totally messed up environment that Hay and Farb describe.

But despite the naysayers, governments can do useful things. I paddled my canoe on the Kennebec River estuary on a recent warm fall day. In a couple hours on a now clean river, we saw a pair of adult eagles and a half dozen young adults, along with dozens of ducks and geese. Gull numbers had greatly subsided since state and federal governments demanded that the open dumps be closed.

Water pollution abatement laws, passed by Maine in 1962 and nearly identical laws by the federal government a decade or so later, have dramatically cleaned our lakes, rivers, streams and ocean waters. Things are not perfect, and never will be. Humans it seems are inherently destructive. But my weekend reading is a powerful reminder of how far we have come in correcting conditions that existed just a half century ago.

Fifty years ago there was only a lone state park near the mouth of the Kennebec River. Today we have a second park and many thousand of acres of other protected lands, thanks a lot to state and federal programs. But also to lands given by private folks in the wake of the new government initiatives.

warraghiyagey
2011-10-11, 19:14
I didn't read word one of this but I agree completely. . . :beer::beer::beer:

Skidsteer
2011-10-11, 19:21
He had me at progress.

sheepdog
2011-10-11, 20:38
I didn't read word one of this but I agree completely. . . :beer::beer::beer:


He had me at progress.

Never get in a land war in Asia??

Lone Wolf
2011-10-11, 21:09
sorry you got kicked off hobocentral weary. you did nothing wrong. you just weren't in the "popular clique" like in jr. high

sheepdog
2011-10-11, 22:09
I’ve been reading The Atlantic Shore, a human and natural history of the coastal area from Long Island to Labrador by naturalists John Hay and Peter Farb. I picked it up last spring at a library fund-raising sale. I was hoping it would be a refresher into the life along the shoreline where I have lived and wandered for most of my life.

But the book proved most valuable as a reminder of the enormous strides our state and nation has taken in protecting its natural environment. It was published in 1966, about the peak of the post war destruction humans had enacted on our planet. The authors reported in detail the state of affairs that existed a half century ago. It was not a pretty picture.

The Merrimack River that rises in the clean waters of the White Mountain National Forest, by 1960 had deteriorated into an open sewer before it entered the ocean along the Massachusetts shore. Choked with toxic pesticides, raw sewage and chemical wastes, the river was not only poisoned, but completely lacked oxygen. The stray salmon or alewive that ventured into its current gasped for oxygen before slowly dying, the authors report.

Paddling the river in the middle of the 19th century, Henry Thoreau and his brother John freely dipped their cups into the waters of the Merrimack when thirst overtook them. Henry’s first book described the delights of the river system and the homes clustered along its banks. A century later people fled an obnoxious river. Massachusetts went so far as to post guards at some salt water river flats to keep people from eating and dying from pollution poisoned clams.

By the mid 1960s osprey had disappeared from the New England shores. Only occasional lonely pairs of bald eagles still survived, building nests and laying poisoned eggs incapable of hatching.

Great flocks of a few birds, however, had survived: seagulls feeding on open dumps grew greatly in numbers, so greatly that other wild sea birds had difficulty surviving gull predations. It was a totally messed up environment that Hay and Farb describe.

But despite the naysayers, governments can do useful things. I paddled my canoe on the Kennebec River estuary on a recent warm fall day. In a couple hours on a now clean river, we saw a pair of adult eagles and a half dozen young adults, along with dozens of ducks and geese. Gull numbers had greatly subsided since state and federal governments demanded that the open dumps be closed.

Water pollution abatement laws, passed by Maine in 1962 and nearly identical laws by the federal government a decade or so later, have dramatically cleaned our lakes, rivers, streams and ocean waters. Things are not perfect, and never will be. Humans it seems are inherently destructive. But my weekend reading is a powerful reminder of how far we have come in correcting conditions that existed just a half century ago.

Fifty years ago there was only a lone state park near the mouth of the Kennebec River. Today we have a second park and many thousand of acres of other protected lands, thanks a lot to state and federal programs. But also to lands given by private folks in the wake of the new government initiatives.
now it's China's turn

Weary
2011-10-11, 23:21
now it's China's turn
China's turn to do what? Protect the American environment? Or to destroy it?

Neither is likely. Only an America that can stop babbling, and become serious occasionally has that power.

sheepdog
2011-10-12, 08:09
China's turn to do what? Protect the American environment? Or to destroy it?

Neither is likely. On an America that can stop babbling, and become serious occasionally has that power.

Pollute the air and water with no restraint.

generoll
2011-10-12, 08:42
complex issue, but protecting the environment is certainly as important as anything the federal government does. we all benefit, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Kanga
2011-10-12, 09:21
This was actually a good read.

warraghiyagey
2011-10-12, 09:26
China's turn to do what? Protect the American environment? Or to destroy it?


I believe he was reffering to the similar situation China's environment now faces as they continue to develop business and sully their natural environment. . .

MonkeyBoy
2011-10-12, 09:27
Pollute the air and water with no restraint.

Earth First.



We'll mine the other planets later.

cool breeze
2011-10-12, 09:38
It's the American way.

Hooch
2011-10-12, 09:50
Earth First.
ElJFYwRtrH4

generoll
2011-10-12, 10:05
oh fuck it. I'm off to rape the environment.

Big Mac
2011-10-12, 10:23
This was actually a good read.

I agree.

Hooch
2011-10-12, 21:32
oh fuck it. I'm off to rape the environment.

http://assets0.ordienetworks.com/images/GifGuide/clapping/conan.gif

Weary
2011-10-12, 22:55
oh fuck it. I'm off to rape the environment.
Well, you can always expect quite a bit of company. I find the interesting thing is how much better the environment has gotten over the past half century. The big progress has been in the reduction in water pollution.

Muskie and his staff wrote the Maine water pollution abatement proposal before he moved from Governor to the US Senate, though it took a few more years before it finally passed the Maine Legislature, even then passage was somewhat to people's surprise.

When the implications of his proposals were being discussed in waterfront towns, the director of the Water Improvement Commission told me I was dreaming. "Bob, they'll never let this be passed."

But pass it did, though Maine delayed enforcement of key provisions for another 15 years.

Congress was even more reluctant. Passage didn't happen there for another decade, which put the Maine deadline just a year of so ahead of the national curve.

Regardless, overall water pollution cleanup was more successful than air pollution cleanup. Why? The water law made every town and every factory clean up by the deadline. The new air pollution law, also written by the Muskie staff, made new factories clean up immediately, but allowed existing air pollution emitters to mostly wait untill they had undertaken signifcant expansion. That provided a bonus of added profits for power plants and factories that continued to use obsolete facilities.

The lungs of everyone, especially children and factory workers, continue to suffer as a result. But if we can hold of the new clamor for reducing environmental regulations, clean air will also come.

warraghiyagey
2011-10-13, 08:56
The lungs of everyone, especially children and factory workers, continue to suffer as a result. But if we can hold of the new clamor for reducing environmental regulations, clean air will also come.

Let's hope so. . . .

sheepdog
2011-10-13, 21:29
oh fuck it. I'm off to rape the environment.

I'd hit it :angel:

Skidsteer
2011-10-13, 21:35
I'd hit it :angel:

:snort!:

Superman
2011-10-13, 21:44
I'd hit it :angel:

That's because you've spent too much time behind bars.:angel:

Tin Man
2011-10-23, 14:27
sorry you got kicked off hobocentral weary. you did nothing wrong. you just weren't in the "popular clique" like in jr. high

bs. he did it to himself, just like previous folks who got booted.

Tin Man
2011-10-23, 14:46
Well, you can always expect quite a bit of company. I find the interesting thing is how much better the environment has gotten over the past half century. The big progress has been in the reduction in water pollution.

Muskie and his staff wrote the Maine water pollution abatement proposal before he moved from Governor to the US Senate, though it took a few more years before it finally passed the Maine Legislature, even then passage was somewhat to people's surprise.

When the implications of his proposals were being discussed in waterfront towns, the director of the Water Improvement Commission told me I was dreaming. "Bob, they'll never let this be passed."

But pass it did, though Maine delayed enforcement of key provisions for another 15 years.

Congress was even more reluctant. Passage didn't happen there for another decade, which put the Maine deadline just a year of so ahead of the national curve.

Regardless, overall water pollution cleanup was more successful than air pollution cleanup. Why? The water law made every town and every factory clean up by the deadline. The new air pollution law, also written by the Muskie staff, made new factories clean up immediately, but allowed existing air pollution emitters to mostly wait untill they had undertaken signifcant expansion. That provided a bonus of added profits for power plants and factories that continued to use obsolete facilities.

The lungs of everyone, especially children and factory workers, continue to suffer as a result. But if we can hold of the new clamor for reducing environmental regulations, clean air will also come.

environmental regulations, as with many government regulations, runs smack into the middle of the law of unintended consequences... there are many examples where bans on different ingredients in products have not had the desired affect or created new problems. not saying that regulations aren't needed, just be careful to understand the full effect or maybe take a test run with a new regulation before permanently putting them into affect.

Tin Man
2011-10-23, 15:00
sorry you got kicked off hobocentral weary. you did nothing wrong. you just weren't in the "popular clique" like in jr. high


bs. he did it to himself, just like previous folks who got booted.

the funny thing by definition hc is a clique since it is private and one needs to be invited and you have been against others becoming members or suggested they leave AND YOU CREATED THE CLIQUE! :bootyshak

p.s. wb is now a humorless clique. :boring:

generoll
2011-10-23, 15:41
now, back to the progress and laws of unintended consequences. I have to wonder how many factories shut down or relocated rather then comply with environmental regs. I dunno what the solution is and I don't think anyone upstream of me has the right to pollute my water. Fuck the people downstream.

I do know that our manufacturing is slipping away or gone altogether. A few days ago I went to Home Depot to buy a short handled mattock. Now this isn't a hi-tech piece of equipment and is not labor intensive to manufacture. I went to the hand tools section and picked up a Tru-Temper mattock and looked at the labels. This has two parts, a handle and a head. The head was cast and the handled was molded plastic. The labels stated that the parts were manufactured in Taiwan and assembled in Viet Nam. WTF?

It's still there if anyone wants to go look at it.

rant complete.

Tin Man
2011-10-23, 15:56
now, back to the progress and laws of unintended consequences. I have to wonder how many factories shut down or relocated rather then comply with environmental regs. I dunno what the solution is and I don't think anyone upstream of me has the right to pollute my water. Fuck the people downstream.

I do know that our manufacturing is slipping away or gone altogether. A few days ago I went to Home Depot to buy a short handled mattock. Now this isn't a hi-tech piece of equipment and is not labor intensive to manufacture. I went to the hand tools section and picked up a Tru-Temper mattock and looked at the labels. This has two parts, a handle and a head. The head was cast and the handled was molded plastic. The labels stated that the parts were manufactured in Taiwan and assembled in Viet Nam. WTF?

It's still there if anyone wants to go look at it.

rant complete.

it's impossible to buy totally american on so many things, but don't tell the folks occupying wall street,etc. that their past environmental protests may have contributed to the reasons they are there today. like you said, there are no easy answers. people need to stop sqawking about stuff they don't understand and use a little (un)common sense before they try to change everything.

Superman
2011-10-23, 16:59
now, back to the progress and laws of unintended consequences. I have to wonder how many factories shut down or relocated rather then comply with environmental regs. I dunno what the solution is and I don't think anyone upstream of me has the right to pollute my water. Fuck the people downstream.

I do know that our manufacturing is slipping away or gone altogether. A few days ago I went to Home Depot to buy a short handled mattock. Now this isn't a hi-tech piece of equipment and is not labor intensive to manufacture. I went to the hand tools section and picked up a Tru-Temper mattock and looked at the labels. This has two parts, a handle and a head. The head was cast and the handled was molded plastic. The labels stated that the parts were manufactured in Taiwan and assembled in Viet Nam. WTF?

It's still there if anyone wants to go look at it.

rant complete.


:beer::adore::adore::adore: