River turns red. Should we protest? | Page 2 | INFJ Forum

River turns red. Should we protest?

Discussion in 'News and Politics' started by just me, Jun 5, 2020.

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  1. OP
    just me

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    from the Conversation

    A 20,000-tonne oil spill is contaminating the Arctic – it could take decades to clean up
    July 14, 2020 7.39am EDT

    After a storage tank in Norilsk, northern Russia, collapsed in late May, 20,000 tonnes of diesel fuel was released into the environment. Strong winds caused the oil to spread more than 12 miles from the source, contaminating nearby rivers, lakes and the surrounding soil.

    The spill perhaps didn’t get the international attention it warranted as it happened in the midst of a global pandemic and just a few days after the death of African-American George Floyd, which sparked a wave of Black Lives Matter protests. But the spill was a major disaster with serious implications.

    As experts in Arctic ecosystems, we are worried about the long-term impacts of this diesel spill in such pristine environments where cold, harsh conditions mean that life is limited. While bacteria are known to “clean up” oil spills elsewhere in the world, in the Arctic, their low numbers and slow rates of activity could mean diesel products linger for years, if not decades.

    A diesel spill differs from other oil spills
    Major oil spills such as that of the Exxon Valdez in 1989 or Deepwater Horizon in 2010 typically involve thick, gloopy crude oil that sits on the surface of seawater. For these sorts of spills, clean-up best practice is well known. However, the recent Norilsk spill involved thinner, less gloopy diesel oil in freshwater, making clean-up more difficult.

    [​IMG]
    Diesel – in dark red – spreads along the Ambarnaya River near Norilsk. Source: European Space Agency
    Diesel oil contains between 2,000 and 4,000 types of hydrocarbon (the naturally occurring building blocks of fossil fuels), which break down differently in the environment. Typically, 50% or more can evaporate within hours and days, harming the environment and causing respiratory problems for people nearby.

    Other, more resistant chemicals can bind with algae and microorganisms in the water and sink, creating a toxic sludge on the bed of the river or lake. This gives the impression that the contamination has been removed and is no longer a threat. However, this sludge can persist for months or years.

    How different parts of the ecosystem respond
    At the bottom of the food chain in rivers and lakes are microscopic plants and algae that need sunlight to create energy through photosynthesis. When oil first enters the water it sits on the surface and forms a sort of oily sun block, and so these organisms rapidly decrease in number. Zooplankton (tiny animals) that feed on them also eventually die off.

    Over time, wind and currents help disperse this oily layer, but some oil will sink to the bottom and, with their predators diminished, algae will return in even greater numbers.

    Soils in the Russian Arctic harbour fewer organisms than elsewhere in the world, thanks to cold, harsh conditions, where the ground is often frozen, liquid water is scarce and there are few nutrients available. But nonetheless, these soils are still teeming with life and badly affected by oil spills.

    Initially, oil coats soil particles, reducing their ability to absorb water and nutrients, negatively affecting soil organisms as they are unable to access food and water essential for survival. This oily coat can last for years as it is very hard to wash off, so often the soil has to be physically removed.

    As of July 6, Nornickel, the mining company that owned the storage tank, says it has removed 185,000 tonnes of contaminated soil (about 14 times the weight of the Brooklyn Bridge). The soil is being stored on site to be “cleaned” by certified contaminant experts by early September.

    The “cleaned” soil will then likely be returned to its original site. Also, 13 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of fuel-contaminated water has been pumped from the river to a nearby industrial site where harmful chemicals will be separated and the “clean” water will likely by returned to the river.

    This is better than nothing, although toxins will likely remain in both the water and soil. Over months and years, these toxins will build up within the food chain, starting with the microscopic organisms and eventually causing health problems in larger organisms such as fish and birds.

    Some of these small, largely invisible organisms in both the soil and freshwater can in theory be part of the solution. Diesel contains carbon (which is essential for all life) and some microorganisms actually thrive on fuel spills, helping to break down contaminants by using the carbon as a food source.

    Normally, cold Arctic conditions hinder microbial activity and biodegradation. The current Arctic heatwave may speed up this process initially, enabling oil-degrading microorganisms to grow, reproduce and consume these contaminants more rapidly than normal. But due to the region’s lack of water and the nitrogen and phosphorous needed for growth, even a heatwave can only help these microorganisms so much.

    This will probably happen again
    [​IMG]

    May 2020 temperatures compared to the longer-term average. Norilsk is right in the dark red area. Copernicus Climate Data Source, CC BY-SA
    Russian authorities have blamed the collapse on the poor state of the fuel tank and have requested Nornickel pay “voluntary compensation” for environmental damage. Nornickel denies negligence and says the fuel tank failed due to rapidly thawing permafrost.

    This spring saw Siberia experience temperatures 10°C warmer than average and, with permafrost underlying most of Russia, the region is highly vulnerable to climate warming. Indeed, 45% of oil and gas extraction fields in the Russian Arctic are at risk of infrastructure instability due to thawing permafrost.

    Without more stringent regulations to improve existing infrastructure then more spills are likely to occur, especially given how rapidly permafrost is melting in these areas causing unstable ground.

    While nature and her oil-degrading microbial communities can help clean up our mess, we should avoid relying on a largely invisible force that we don’t fully understand to fix a much larger human-generated problem. And how can a environment already on the edge of devastation ever fully recover?
     
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  2. OP
    just me

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    The world can only take being raped and spat on so long.
     
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  3. slant

    slant Ruby Adoraboobie

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    How long you think we got? This has been going on since

    Oh wait

    The beginning of written history. How long is that

    5000 years?
     
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  4. MoonFlier

    MoonFlier Permanent Fixture

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    Humans did not have the numbers or technology to produce such gigantic environmental hazards 5000, 2500, 1000 or even just 200 years ago. Pollution is a new human phenomenon that can destroy the world as we know it.

    The irony behind all this is the earth will survive, but we may not.
     
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  5. MoonFlier

    MoonFlier Permanent Fixture

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    I need to return to those pollution/environmental models I had farmed out of the gov't website. See if I can make heads/tails of them to use in some way.
     
  6. OP
    just me

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    Fracking, drilling for oil, destroying the forests, overuse in industries of water, pollution: you name it. Coral dying in the oceans. How long do the fish have? The population has doubled since when? Reached seven billion in 200 years. It has more than doubled in the last 50 years.
    What is the maximum population the Earth can sustain?
    Earth's capacity...
    Many scientists think Earth has a maximum carrying capacity of 9 billion to 10 billion people. [How Do You Count 7 Billion People?] One such scientist, the eminent Harvard University socio-biologist Edward O. Wilson, bases his estimate on calculations of the Earth's available resources.Oct 11, 2011

    It will take about 63 years to double the world's population. If this prediction is borne out, there will be 14 billion people on Earth in 2074 (based on the 2011 population of 7 billion).

    Water? Food? Less trees to stop mudslides and clean the air. Wetlands filled in by the millions of acres.


    [​IMG]

    We are systematically removing the coolant.
     
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    #26 just me, Jul 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
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  7. slant

    slant Ruby Adoraboobie

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    It may have escalated but it's the same story. There's never been a time where it hasn't been the case and there never will be. Living also means destruction. To believe that to do the opposite is possible is a wonderful dream and I admire it deeply.
     
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  8. Peppermint

    Peppermint Well-known member

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    Insects are purportedly dying en masse. These issues haven't reached our collective consciousness yet
     
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    #28 Peppermint, Jul 16, 2020
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2020
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  9. MoonFlier

    MoonFlier Permanent Fixture

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    I'll drop one word here and let you do research if you're at all inclined to, this may turn you on an about-face in regards to your view, but i doubt it as you seem to enjoy living life for the moment:

    Plastics.
     
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  10. slant

    slant Ruby Adoraboobie

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    Moonflier I appreciate your desire to educate me, and I'm smart enough to know there's losts of stuff I don't know.

    Contrary to the impression I'm apparently given, I've read extensively on global industrialization and it's impact on ecological issues, from our water, agribusiness, food, pharmaceuticals and antibiotics, oil, plastic and other non biodegradable materials...I find it fascinating.

    This has always been the way humans have been, and it will always be the way humans will be, especially with exploding populations. The only reason humans weren't doing this 5000 years ago wasn't because of some deep morality; the technology just didn't exist. As humanity goes on, technology progresses and allows us to live on larger and larger scales, thus creating these larger scale problems. And they're not really solvable. you can mitigate the damages, you can course correct, but we never understand the implications of our actions until much later.

    Most of these things, we weren't aware of the destruction they were doing until decades later and by then you have built an entire system around something that's inherently problematic. We all have this dream that if we do x y or z it will solve the problem but the reality is that each solution eventually comes with it's own problems.

    You eliminate wolves because they're messing with farmers and livestock and then you mess up the eco balance, you artificially reintroduce them to areas that have adapted to their absence then get messed up. We've even had incidents where the severe pollution of rivers allowed a bacteria to develop that's unique to the area that scientists then used to develop novel antibiotics from.

    So it's not really good or bad and therefore you can't solve it. Much of stopping these issues would involve a complete collapse of society as we know it and the majority of the population isn't willing to go through that.
     
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  11. slant

    slant Ruby Adoraboobie

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    I was thinking about this today. I'm reading a lot of books about agriculture and the food industry. There's a lot of protest against GMOs, and those who are pro GMO say that we need it to feed the exploding population which is totally true.

    It's ironic that, the invention of GMO is what is now causing the need for them. Without GMO we wouldn't have been able to feed so many people and avoid famines. This increased the world population. What I never hear about from people who are anti gmo is how is we get rid of them eventually a lot of people are going to die. Terrible famines will return and kill many people in parts of the world. Perhaps this is what is necessary. The same is with things like antibiotics, oil to power electricity. We think we can invent new technology to solve man's mortality but it creates new problems. We can eliminate the technology and return to the old rules of mortality, but why are we so sure that's so much better?
     
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  12. Cornerstone

    Cornerstone Well-known member

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    Have you ever read a book called Sapiens? It's very good and makes a similar point to yours. Farming, for instance, causes an explosion in population and doesn't really improve quality of life.

    There's this weird thing we seem to do where with every so-called advancement, our population goes up so we never really get to reap the rewards and get more leisure time.

    Although, as an aside, that red river does look pretty badass.
     
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  13. slant

    slant Ruby Adoraboobie

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    I'll have to put that on my list! Thanks for the suggestion
     
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  14. OP
    just me

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    There are an estimated 250 babies born every minute. We are creating our own problems.

    I'll try to dull the knife a bit, but putting human embryos in reefer units along with millions of folk already is not the answer. People cannot and refuse to abstain where contraception is not available.

    HOW CAN YOU PLAN TO RAISE A CHILD IN THE COMING YEARS SAFELY?

    Most everyone wants children, but how few think about their future other than education? They may have to fight for food. They may have to live in the streets where I wouldn't want my dog living. Many already do, but their parents did not think ahead.
    Government cannot continue to foot the bills without some form of balance.
     
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  15. OP
    just me

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    Most people do not notice what is going on. Remove the oil from the engine, and the water and coolants, and what do you get? A burned up engine.
     
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  16. slant

    slant Ruby Adoraboobie

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    You're welcome; I don't want and do not plan to have children :) if anything I will foster the leftover kids that already exist
     
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  17. OP
    just me

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    I have no children.
     
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  18. slant

    slant Ruby Adoraboobie

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    Twinsies!
     
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    just me

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    Off topic, but I helped raise two children over my life. No gratitude when the money stopped. I also lost a child on the way. It was a life-changing event. Hardly twinsies.
     
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    [​IMG]
     
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