Once upon a time not so long ago, it would have been a fools dream of floating cities on the sea, drilling for black gold. We now have thousands, and as now be brought to mind once again, they pose serious risks to our habitat.
Now imagine mountain top removal underwater.
Makes you shudder?
Panning for gold on an industrial scale, tearing up the seabed and then sifting through the spoil. Imagine the murky waters after underwater detonation, think of the loss of life from the shock-wave, think of fishing with dynamite.
It may start off for just diamonds and gold, but remember mans greed and obsessive need for material wealth.
Imagine the Alberta tar sand mines underwater.
Think of destroying lifes birthplace, we know less about our deep oceans than we know of space. At least if we fuck up in space, we will still survive as a species [perhaps].
Welcome to deep sea mining:
All of the minerals discussed previously have been recovered by surface mining on the shallow continental shelves or nearshore coasts. The metaliferous oxides and metaliferous sulfides occur in the deep ocean. Metaliferous oxides such as manganese nodules were collected by the HMS Challenger in 1872 and their potential has been dreamed about ever since, but deep ocean mining of these minerals is still in its infancy.
At depths between 4,000m and 6,000m, developing mining and processing technologies needed to recover the desired minerals from the nodules - nickel, copper, cobalt, and manganese - require large investments. One enterprise is now in an advanced stage of preparatory work for extracting hydrothermal metalliferous muds from the deep trenches of the Red Sea. Despite the rather dismal mineral market conditions, we will become more dependent on the oceans as a mineral resource reservoir in the future.
So what are we talking about:
Modern extraction methods would most likely use benthic vehicles and suction extractors rather than the previously used techniques of large-scale dredging. The impacts of this technology could extend over large areas, for example, an individual mining operation for polymetallic nodules was predicted to cover 300-800 kilometres square of seafloor per year, with the impacts of sediment resuspension extending over a much larger area.
Imagine these mining ships, the size of oil rigs slowly moving across the ocean strip mining the seabed. There are approximately 3,000 oil rigs in operation today, say they strip conservatively an average of 500km squared per year each That's 150,000 square kilometers per year, or an Area the size of France every 3 years. Add to this a fleet of smaller vessels, and lack of control in many International waters, and you can start to see a disaster of epic proportions brewing.
You wouldn't need dump trucks to take away the spoil, once full merely sail out of the zone then dump, what a shame it was over a coral reef, it wasn't our ship we promise. Just think tanker hold cleaning and evacuation at sea, the French coast guard have their hands full tracking tankers carrying out this odious and illegal procedure.
The source of all life in the ocean are the phytoplankton, muddy the waters thereby cutting off the sunlight, they die. Large areas of our oceans could become lifeless.
Who knows what heavy metals we could stir up in this gold rush, these would then get into the food chain, concentrating the higher up you go, just remember salmon and mercury.
Ok, so you want a brave new frontier, where real men and women can be real men and women, and the rest of us don't end up covered in shit.
Oh, I hear you now, where would we get the materials to build that, and my reply would be: "Think small to start".
Well if we really do fuck up in space and send an asteroid this way, we will always have a 'Bruce Willis' on standby.
Then again one day
It might be profitable to fish for plastic in the Pacific, because there might not be much else at this rate to fish for.
The "soup" is actually two linked areas, either side of the islands of Hawaii, known as the Western and Eastern Pacific Garbage Patches. About one-fifth of the junk – which includes everything from footballs and kayaks to Lego blocks and carrier bags – is thrown off ships or oil platforms. The rest comes from land.
As a species we really do have a problem with basic cleanliness, and common sense.
GreenRoots is an environmental series created by Meteor Blades and Patriot Daily for Daily Kos. This series provides a forum for educating, brainstorming, discussing and taking action on various environmental topics.
Please join a variety of hosts on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday at 6 pm PDT. Each Thursday is hosted by FishOutofWater.