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  •  Yes, I agree. We could do articles on a different (10+ / 0-)

    environmental disaster every day, and not run out of topics.

    And, every one seems next to hopeless.

    One hope which sustains me is a metaphor I read long ago  in a paper on system theory,  scientific details which I need to read more about.

    One aspect of inspirational metaphor is the idea that some forms of complex organization which start to break down under stress from increasing increasing energy levels can suddenly reorganize at higher energy levels after a period of discontinuity and chaos. .

    I realize this last paragraph doesn't make sense. What I'm trying to say, is that while if we just look at the current trends our situation my seem hopeless.

    But, rather than give hope I'm willing to grasp at straws and vague and implausible metaphors to image that with "magical thinking and implausible hope" we might be able some kind of breakthrough rate of progress in the future that we do not see any evidence of yet.

    Maybe all of this bad news is not actually being completely ignored, but billions of other people are accumulating it, just like we are, so that at the right moment, when the right leader or moment comes along we may galvanize in an unexpected way. Like Martin Luther Kings speech galvanized people and broke through a situation that many people then, including himself may have thought was equally hopeless?

    "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

    by HoundDog on Thu Apr 10, 2014 at 08:17:55 PM PDT

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    •  it's easy to get discouraged. but (0+ / 0-)

      as someone who was involved in the environmental movement since the 70's (I worked for Greenpeace and Sierra Club, worked with Earth First! on California old-growth forests, was part of the anti-nuke movement, helped form the Lehigh Valley PA Coalition for a Safe Environment, worked with PIRG to prevent oil drilling in Florida's offshore, and did wildlife rescue and rehab for several years), I can also see how far we've come in that time.

      Back then, release of toxins into the environment (whether deliberately or not) was entirely unregulated, species were being wiped out without any effort at conservation or protection, and people did not even stop to think about the effects we were having on our surroundings, our fellow organisms, and ourselves.

      Today, that has all changed. Regulations are in many cases inadequate, but at least we have them, and are no longer dumping toxins without care. Habitat areas are being set aside and protected, while endangered species are being bred for release into these protected areas. None of that existed 50 years ago. And it's working--populations of endangered animals ranging from alligators to gray whales have rebounded and are now increasing.

      Yes, we still have major problems to deal with and very much work remains to be done (and some countries are doing MUCH better jobs of dealing with them than we are). But things are a LOT better overall now than they were in the 50's and 60's.

      So keep your chin up.  ;)

      In the end, reality always wins.

      by Lenny Flank on Fri Apr 11, 2014 at 05:35:44 AM PDT

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      •  Thank you for this optimistic note Lenny. I agree (0+ / 0-)

        with what you say here. And, we are seeing improvements not just in the United States but around the world in places one might not expect.

        I had the good fortune to play a small role in a project that led one rapidly emerging South East Asian nation add a Minister without Portfolio for the Environment, which symbolically was "sort of " like establishing an EPA there and could be thought of a precursor to it at least.

        One heck of a surprise I learned there was some of the strongest and most effective advocates for tighter environmental regulation there were the CEOs or European electronic firms who were tired of having to compete ad a disadvantage against smaller less well known local emerging firms which had less strict environmental corporate policies.

        We project was funded and started by a group of independent academics without government funding so as to appear and be independent and credible. We went over budget and had a funding crisis.

        The CEO of Phillips Electronics offered to put up all of the needed remaining funds which generated tremendous suspicious among the local scholars that they wished to co-opt the results.

        He explained not at all, no strings attached. He explained that there was no one in that country that wanted a properly regulated hazardous waste facility there as his employees were all Dutch PhDs and would not improperly dump toxic chemicals into the environment like the local competition was doing. So he was stuck keeping it on site at great expense and hazard to his employees.

        "Seriously, Folks, WTH?" - ("What the Heck? "h/t Joan McCarter, Seriously, Florida. WTF?)

        by HoundDog on Sat Apr 12, 2014 at 06:57:59 PM PDT

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