Archive for the Atlantic Category

Science Is Getting More Laughable!

Posted in America, Atlantic, Britain, Canada, Conservation, Environment, Nature, News, Pacific with tags , , , , on 01/01/2015 by floroy1942

I sometimes get the impression these days that science has lost its way! Some of the experiments, and the results that come from them, seem to bear no relationship to intelligent and rational thinking whatsoever. This week I came across some ‘scientific results’ that seem to test the limits of basic intelligence.

The first one concerns shipping, and a bunch of scientists from Leeds University have come up with the idea that we should have all ships ‘generate smaller bubbles in their wake to reflect more of the sunlight back into space’.

Make The Bubbles Smaller?

Make The Bubbles Smaller?

Their hypothesis is that the bubbles created by the turning propellers of a ship as it passes through the water should be made smaller. By doing this, the white froth left behind by all moving ships could last up to 24 hours instead of the normal few minutes, and thereby reflect more sunlight. It would seem to me that we need to increase the number of ships on the world’s oceans by a few million for this idea to work.

Naturally, this is part of the Global Warming Project and is part of an effort to reduce the rising temperature of the planet. Leeds’ Prof Piers Forster said the bubbles idea was a plausible scheme. “A lot of these technologies are completely hypothetical, but “The one advantage about this technology – of trying to generate these tiny ‘micro-bubbles’ – is that the technology does already exist.”

Part of Leeds University UK

Part of Leeds University UK

Julia Crook, also from Leeds, explained: “The technology required for other forms of solar radiation management is a long way off being ready, whereas micro-bubble generators already exist. The Japanese are already experimenting with micro-bubbles under ships’ hulls to make them more streamlined and more fuel-efficient. This could have a double benefit.”

She added: “This form of solar radiation management has the advantage over stratospheric aerosol injection, in that one could move ships with bubble generators to different parts of the ocean, providing more control on the regional temperature and precipitation changes induced.”

The Last Time Many Ships Sailed Together Was In WW2 Convoys

The Last Time Many Ships Sailed Together Was In WW2 Convoys

A quick search showed me that there are roughly 104,304 ships in the world including fishing boats and pleasure craft. This number, if all sailing the sea together would not even cover the area of the Black Sea. When you consider they are spread all across the globe their impact would be negligible, and the amount of reflected sunlight would be so small as to be unmeasurable. Not even worth the effort of converting a single ship never mind over 100,000, although the scientists consider such technology has ‘the potential’ to reduce temperatures by 0.5C. The one thing they did say was that there is a distinct possibility this measure could increase rainfall in some areas, as if we don’t get enough in many parts with massive flooding!

The second scientific report concerns of all things, Arctic Ground Squirrels! According to the Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts, US, we can blame the the humble Arctic ground squirrel for increasing world temperatures too. For it seems their burrowing into the permafrost at these northern latitudes is releasing large amounts of CO2 that is normally trapped in the frozen ground. These findings were presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Killing Our Planet?

Killing Our Planet?

Dr Sue Natali, from Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts, US, said, “Carbon has been accumulating in permafrost for tens of thousands of years. The temperature is very cold, the soils are saturated, so that when plants and animals die, rather than decompose, the carbon has been slowly, slowly building up. Right now the carbon storage is about 1,500 pentagrams (1,500 billion tonnes). To put that in perspective, that’s about twice as much as is contained in the atmosphere.”

Nigel Golden, from the University of Wisconsin, looked at ground squirrels: small, fluffy rodents that are found across the Arctic. He said:, “They are soil engineers. They break down the soil when they are digging their burrows, they mix the top layer with the bottom layer, they are bringing oxygen to the soil and they are fertilizing the soil with their urine and their faeces. We saw an increase in soil temperature in the soils the Arctic ground squirrels were occupying.”

To me these ideas are about as crazy as sowing the clouds with salt so as to reflect more sunlight. I am no scientist, but it seems to me that if we do that we end up with salt water rain and a fat lot of good that will do anyone.

But at least we can, in part, blame the Arctic ground squirrels for our current climate problems. Ah Well! At least its not all our fault (sigh of relief)!

Roy.

Japan Stops Whale Hunting

Posted in Atlantic, Conservation, Environment, Europe, Modern World, Nature, News, Oceans, Pacific, Politics with tags , , , , on 02/04/2014 by floroy1942

I must admit to feeling satisfied when the International Court of Justice decreed that whale hunting by Japan was not for scientific research as they claimed. The only thing that surprised me is that it has taken so many years for them to decide this.

It was in 1986 that the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling, but Japan continued its hunting practices using the excuse that it was for scientific research. How killing whales can be called research is beyond me, but they got away with until now.

At last legal steps have been taken to stop this malpractice, which according to the latest reports, Japan has accepted today. It is well known the Japanese consider whale meat a delicacy that has been available to them since they first began hunting them in the 12th century. One can hardly imagine the number of whales they have killed since then.

The ban has received a mixed reception in Japan, with mainly the younger generation less inclined to be against it.

Up until this ban they were killing approximately one thousand Minke whales a year as part of the ‘scientific’ programme. Unfortunately for them Australia and various environmental groups challenged this and took it to the court and won. Japan had argued “that Australia’s legal action was an attempt to impose its own cultural conventions, equivalent to Hindus demanding an international ban on killing cows”.

Unfortunately the ban is only a temporary one while the system of whaling permits is examined, which could see the whaling fleets setting sail again soon. Japan also has a small fleet that hunts whales in the Pacific that does not seem to be affected by the ban.

It is fair to note that both Iceland and Finland refused to abide by the 1986 decision but do not kill as many as the Japanese. Hopefully common sense will prevail and the authorities can do something to stop our continued rape of the seas.

Roy.

The Unfathomable Stupidity Of People

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, Child Abuse, Children, England, Environment, Insanity, News, Parenting, UK with tags , , on 06/01/2014 by floroy1942

Everyone can do stupid things, but the depths to which some people will go is unbelievable. During the past week several people have disappeared while walking along the sea front of UK coastal towns during the storms, their curiosity overcoming their common sense. Many have still not been found.

People With A Death Wish?

People With A Death Wish?

The Meteorological Office have warned people that waves as high as eight metres (27ft) are hitting the coastline, but still people want to see them up close.

Some irresponsible parents have even taken small children to the promenade only to be washed from the sea wall when waves hit, risking them being swept into the raging sea.

This could have cost his children their lives.

This could have cost his children their lives.

It just goes to show that God can give people brains, but he cannot force their use.

Roy.

People Still Don’t Believe In Climate Change

Posted in America, Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Modern World, News, UK, United Nations, USA with tags , , , on 07/12/2013 by floroy1942
Storm Surge

Storm Surge

Pictures in the Press and the TV news programmes have brought home once again the devastation caused by the weather. Britain and other North European countries only recently suffered hurricane force winds that caused a great amount of damage, and now it has happened again, breaking all previous records.

Philippines - whole towns destroyed.

Philippines – whole towns destroyed.

When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines recently, it killed more than five thousand people and caused billions of dollars worth of destruction to the country. The devastation was so widespread that it took a long time before help could reach some areas. With its force and strength it broke all records. Surely anyone with even an iota of intelligence should come to the conclusion that these weather phenomena are not normal.

The Heartache In The Aftermath Of Katrina

The Heartache In The Aftermath Of Katrina

The global weather scientists have been warning us for years that such things were about to happen. Even after Hurricane Katrina struck the Atlantic coast of the USA in 2005, people brushed it off. However, the kind of weather currently being experienced by Britain at the moment is unheard of. Way back in the forties, fifties and sixties the most we ever got in bad weather was a gale, that once in while reached wind speeds of 40 or 50mph. But currently you can add another 100mph on top of that.

Co2 Levels By Year

Co2 Levels By Year

So what is happening to our weather. Well, scientists believe it is all to do with the massive amounts of CO2 we are pumping into the atmosphere. If you believe the scientists, and there is no reason not to,  the current unusual weather can be traced back to that fact. The CO2 is hanging in the atmosphere and stopping excess heat from dissipating. In effect, trapping it in the atmosphere.

The Rescue Services Still At Work

The Rescue Services Still At Work

There can be little doubt, to all but the most hardened sceptics, that the planet is warming up because of the increasing CO2 emissions world-wide.  The proof is clear in the massive melting of ice caps at the poles. Never before has so much ice melted at the north and south poles. The sea ice has all but disappeared in the north,  just like the glaciers. For those who care to look, the evidence is all around us but ‘oh how blind are they that cannot see’.

A Train Driver Braves The Weather

A Train Driver Braves The Weather

There has been one international climate conference after another. All countries were to agree on measures to reduce CO2 emissions in an effort to at least slow down the global warming. The politicians might just as well have gone for a picnic by the sea for all the good they have done. Half-hearted measures were approved, but no-one stuck to them. It was ‘business as usual’.

Factory Pollution In The USA

Factory Pollution In The USA

The biggest polluter on the planet is the USA, but following a close second and third are the emerging economies of China and India. Naturally, these last two countries are loath to stop their progress towards becoming a force in the world as their manufacturing base grows by the day. With people becoming more affluent, they start buying cars for example, which is adding a huge burden to our climate along with the factories. The number of cars on the road in China has quadrupled in recent years as more and more people can afford to buy them. While the western nations have done much to make cars cleaner, this has not yet reached the emerging markets.

Floods Met With Traditional Stoicism.

Floods Met With Traditional Stoicism.

Britain has for the past twenty years or so years experienced extreme flooding in parts of the country, but this is usually in areas where houses have been built on floodplains, i.e. low lying areas near rivers etc. The extreme flooding of towns and villages on the coast due to excessively high tides was until recently a rarity. In the latest storm to lash the English coastline, a storm surge of 5.8 metres  was recorded. That’s close to twenty feet! Its no wonder cliff-top houses have been washed into the sea. It was reported that the tidal surge was so great, it forced, and held, so much water in the harbour at Whitby Yorkshire, that all the harbour front houses and businesses were severely flooded. Forced into the harbour by the surge with no other way out, the water had nowhere else to go but over the quayside.

Storm Causes House To Collapse

Storm Causes House To Collapse

Naturally, we have had heavy storms in the past, but records show they have never been as severe as at present. Looking at the news, you have to wonder where it will all end, and how bad will it be next time. Of one thing I am certain, we have no choice but to get used to it.

Roy.

First The Horse Meat Scandal, And Now Fish!

Posted in America, Atlantic, Britain, Environment, Europe, Health, Oceans, Pacific, UK, USA with tags , , , on 13/03/2013 by floroy1942
Tuna

Tuna

Many of our favourite dishes have been found to contain a high percentage of horse meat, instead of the labelled beef. In America, there is now a new and bigger scandal that involves fish products. An ocean protection group called Oceana, carried out a series of tests on many of the fish products commonly sold in the U.S.A. like tuna, red snapper, halibut and cod among others, and each was found to contain substitute fish.

Another major consideration is the contaminants in fish.

Escolar

Escolar

When testing was carried out on canned tuna, 59% of the contents were not tuna at all, but a substitute. In red snapper samples, a huge 87% was found to be a substitute, of which 85% was escolar, which can cause severe gastrointestinal problems. In America, this problem has been found in sushi bars, restaurants and grocery stores, and was found in 44% of all premises visited. ‘Mislabeled’ products were found in every sushi bar visited.

Take Your Pick!

Take Your Pick!

At this moment the authorities are calling it ‘mislabeling’, but I have a suspicion that its pretty much the same as the horse meat scandal in Europe, i.e. where someone was hoping to make a lot of money by deliberately substituting cheap horse meat for beef.

Do You Think This Does Not Affect The Fish We Eat?

Do You Think This Does Not Affect The Fish We Eat?

Considering that many people are already put off fish by the incessant oil spills in ocean waters, the ever-growing contamination of our seas, and not forgetting the Fukushima nuclear disaster, its possible this will do even more damage to the industry.

However, these two scandals indicate to me that these days, some people will go to any lengths to ‘make a buck’, and as usual its the consumer that suffers.

Roy.

 

The Amazon Debate Rages On

Posted in America, Atlantic, Britain, Children, Environment, UK, USA with tags , , on 30/05/2012 by floroy1942

Once again the Amazon Rain Forest is under threat, and it looks like the greedy Brazilian farmers will not be satisfied until its all gone. One month ago the government approved a bill that will undoubtedly see more huge swathes of this mighty forest disappear for ever. The losers will be the whole of mankind in years to come.

Yes Dear! Soon You Will Have To Look Hard To See The Trees!

The only person who could stop this wholesale destruction has ‘chickened out’, for despite calls from environmental groups world-wide and an international petition signed by almost two million people, the Brazilian President, Dilma Rousseff has failed to veto the entire package. Instead she has opted for vetoing only 12 points of the bill which she says will preserve the ‘protected’ areas of the forest. Most of the forest had been ‘protected’ for decades but it hasn’t stopped farmers and illegal loggers from destroying huge areas of this beating heart of the planet.

One item that the President vetoed is an amnesty for illegal logger farmers ‘provided they plant more trees on their cleared land by 2020’. If that isn’t a prime example of a waste of time I don’t know what is. Does this silly woman and her inept government really think these people will start planting trees again just because they say so? And by 2020? It’s too ridiculous for words. I am sure if we examine the situation in that year we won’t see a single planted tree!

From 1978 to 1989 an estimated total of 1.98 million ha yr−1 were lost, a figure that declined to 1.38 million ha yr−1   between 1990 and 1994. However, the total  rose again between 1995 and 2000 to 1.90 million ha yr−1. Brazilian government calculations show that in the 12 months ending in August 2004, a total of 10,088 square miles of rain forest were destroyed.

The Graph Tells It All.

It should not be forgotten that this same devastation is taking places in the other rain forest belts across the globe like Indonesia, Thailand and  Africa etc.

How The Rain Forest Generates Weather

A simple comparison of weather data from 1980 to the present day shows significant changes in world weather patterns which of course we are all aware of, but does it change the attitude of countries like Brazil etc. towards their rain forests? Not a jot, for as usual greed over-rides everything.

Not many people know that the volume of freshwater that flows into the Atlantic Ocean from the Amazon River is so great that water samples taken 200 miles from the mouth of the river show greatly reduced levels of salinity in the sea, such is the power and volume of the Amazon freshwater as it enters the ocean. However, if we cut down the forest and the rains continue to dry up, the river will become a shadow of its former self. In turn, this will see more devastating changes in weather patterns for the Caribbean and Northern Atlantic countries.

And When It’s All Gone? What Then?

The really sad thing is, massive tracts of rich tropical forest vegetation is being burnt to the ground during the clearance procedure in order for farmers to plant crops of soya and the like, but clearing away the forest is resulting in the major loss of rain in these areas and the cleared ground rapidly loses its ability to sustain crops necessitating more ground clearance. In this way its a never ending cycle of destruction.

Roads Increasing The Destruction Rate

Yet another nail in the coffin of the Amazon is a government plan to build roads across this vast region. There can be little doubt this increased access to the heart of the forest will speed up the destruction to an extent never seen before. I really do despair at mankind sometimes, their stupidity and greed are mind-boggling to say the least.

This year the Amazon area is suffering its first major drought because so much forest has been cleared there is insufficient rainfall. If this trend continues, and it may well do, it could be catastrophic and do significant harm to the whole economy of Brazil, and by rote, the whole planet. but no-one seems to notice. There are currently too many people who live for today and to hell with tomorrow.

It’s OK for people like me to sound the alarm but if no-one listens what’s the point. Humans have become so self-centred these days, few stop to think about the harm they are doing to the future of the planet, and for all the lives of their children. Ask many people what they think of world rain forest destruction and they may say “Oh That’s Greenpeace’s job isn’t it?”, or they have no idea what you are on about. Ask these same individuals why they find it necessary to have three or four cars in the family and the lame reply is “Well, we need them”. Yea! Right!

Believe it or not, I am not a ‘doom and gloom’ character by nature and usually have a very positive attitude towards life, but this rape of our planet and the massive effect it will have on future generations is something I just cannot ignore, unlike most people these days. I do care about what sort of world my children will grow old in, and I do care about the continuance of the human species on this planet. We humans have achieved so much and have as yet boundless possibilities in what we can do, if only we can get over this period in our evolution where we seem determined to self-destruct.

It is possible that many people will agree with the sentiments I put forward here and ask themselves “What can I do about it?”. As we go about our daily lives its hard to imagine we could have any influence on world rain forest destruction, but sometimes making minor changes to the way we live, or just spreading the word and writing to your MP demanding international action on the issue would be of some help if sufficient people do it. I am convinced that saving the rain forests will only come about by international pressure on countries like Brazil and Indonesia etc. For we can be sure that the  governments of the nations concerned are not willing to take any positive steps themselves which is a shame.

Ah Well! Like most of the older generation, I am sure it won’t affect me, but I hope the rest of humanity wakes up before its too late, for anything less would be tragic.

Roy.

HMS Dauntless Goes To The Falklands

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 02/02/2012 by floroy1942

It seems the only thing Britain can do to stop the Argentinians from taking over the Falkland Islands, is to send our newest, most up-to-date warship, HMS Dauntless, a type 45 Destroyer.

HMS Dauntless – Can She Do It Alone?

From the rhetoric you would think Dauntless can stop any future invasion single-handed! One Navy source is quoted as saying, Dauntless could “take out all of South America’s fighter aircraft let alone Argentina’s.” Another said: “It can shoot down Argentine fighters as soon as they take off from their bases. This will give Buenos Aires serious pause for thought.” Hmmm! Ever hear of a stand-off missile or well-aimed torpedo matey?

Dauntless Fires A Sea Viper Missile

Dauntless is equipped with Sea Viper anti-aircraft missiles and Sampson radar which is said to be more powerful than that of Heathrow airport. It is hailed as the most advanced and sophisticated anti-aircraft and anti-ballistic ship in the world, and according to the Navy, could defend the Falkland islanders from air attack all on its own. Admiral Lord West, the former First Sea Lord and Falklands veteran, sent this message to the Argentine government:  “Should there be any foolish nonsense from Argentina, Dauntless can sit just off the airfield and take down any aircraft coming in. It’s a game-changing capability.” That is an enormous amount of faith to put in a new ship and its crew. One can only hope its anti-submarine defences are as good as its anti-aircraft defences.

I did predict in an earlier post  that since the demise of our carrier fleet and the harrier jets in the last round of defence cuts, the Falkland islanders would be practically defenceless. https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2011/06/15/falklands-to-be-handed-over-to-argentina/

General Sir Mike Jackson

It seems I am not the only one with that view, for last week, General Sir Mike Jackson, a former head of the Army, stated just that by saying: “The demise of jets capable of launching from aircraft carriers would make it just about impossible to recover key strategic strongholds” He went on further to say: “The official answer will be that it would not be possible for the Argentinians to gain a foothold on the islands, in particular to take Mount Pleasant airfield, which is key to the British defence plan. We have a large international-sized airfield to allow for very rapid reinforcement by air, should circumstances so require. But I suppose I have learned in life, never say never. What if an Argentinian force was able to secure the airfield? Then our ability to recover the islands now would be just about impossible”.

Mainstay Of The Islands Defence – The Eurofighter

From the current information available, it would seem the government is putting all its faith in the four Eurofighter aircraft based at Port Stanley airfield that would ‘hold the fort’ long enough for reinforcements to be flown out from the UK. Four fighters against an invading force backed up by the Argentine Air Force does not seem like a lot, no matter how advanced the Eurofighter is. It would take only one or two bombs on the runway to put the airfield out of action and give the fighters nowhere to land. Not only that, but any reinforcements would have no option but to ditch in the sea.

The Ascension Islands – A Vital Refuelling Stop

The next great flaw in the plan is the presumption that the American’s would allow refuelling of  any aircraft flown out from the UK at Ascension Island in the Mid-Atlantic, even though it belongs as such to Britain. The American’s, who share the island for intelligence gathering, have exerted more and more influence over what goes on there, all due to the oil finds around the Falklands. In 1982 they did not object to the British Fleet refuelling there, but it is far from certain they would this time. American Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has already made it plain America is backing Argentina for a negotiated settlement of the Falkland Island sovereignty. So the chances of help from that quarter look mighty slim. Without the refuelling capabilities of Ascension Island, any operation against the Falklands is a non-starter. That goes for ships as well as planes.

The Falkland Oil Field

It would not be unreasonable for someone to question why all this political sabre rattling is going on over what is really a small insignificant couple of islands in the South Atlantic. Oil! That’s what! The Argentine heart has quickened now they know there are huge oil reserves buried under the seabed around the islands. I am pretty sure that is the reason for American interest and it’s backing for Argentina in the war of words, plus the sudden change in its ‘special relationship’ with Britain. People should have learned by now that the American government doesn’t do anything unless its in America’s interest.

The defence cuts may have been hailed as good for the government’s purse, but with all that oil in the mix I have a sneaking suspicion the whole thing could unravel in the not too distant future. I sincerely hope not.

Roy.

The Children Are Dying

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, Children, England, Environment, Forests, Health, Human Rights, Oceans, Somaila, Spain, UK, UN, United Nations, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , on 26/09/2011 by floroy1942

Children are dying daily, and almost no-one notices. It is a sad fact that very little Press coverage is given to the human suffering in Africa, where hundreds of people are dying of hunger and disease.

It is not unusual for such occurences to be pushed from the front page of the newspapers by the attention-grabbing headlines about Libya, the Palestinian situation, and the economic crisis. These stories attract readers, while the problems in Africa have been going on for decades. The sad truth is, the story is just not newsworthy.

It does not detract however from the huge suffering encountered in so many African nations. While small children, and grown-ups, are dying by the hundreds every day on this strife-torn continent, the rest of the world looks on and says; “Oh Dear! What a shame! What’s happening in Libya?”

A Dying Child

Aid, such as basic foods and medicine, have for decades been pumped into various African States by well-meaning governments and aid organizations, but it doesn’t help very much. It has reached the stage where the populace live from hand-to-mouth, relying totally on the aid groups. With this attitude, there is little justification for the respective governments to take long-term measures to fix the problem once and for all time.

What Happens To Aid In Africa

Part of the problem is without doubt the massive corruption and theft of not only money, but aid goods also.

Given As Aid – But Sidetracked To The Local Market

Many corrupt politicians and officials have made themselves rich by siphoning off money from donations. It is an everyday sight in many North African towns to see sacks of aid grain for sale openly in the markets.

There is not much by way of a ‘self-help’ programme that will get water to the areas of drought and famine. Water is always scarce in Africa, but there must be ways of getting this precious commodity to the parched areas of the country.

European Oil Pipelines

We lay pipelines for thousands of miles to carry oil to those that need it, but to lay the equivalent for water seems quite impossible. Why? We have laid oil pipelines from  Russia to Western Europe with a distance in excess of 2,000kms, and yet Lake Turkana is only 700kms from central Southern Sudan, and Lake Victoria is just over 1,000kms! Surely, it must be possible to have pipelines carrying water from the great African lakes and rivers, or even desalinated water from the sea, to make these barren lands fertile once more. Once the ground is fit for purpose, it is necessary to plants huge areas of trees.

I can hear the question ‘why’ already.

Rain Forests Of The World

Think for a moment where the most rain falls annually on our planet. If you check your maps, you will find it is mostly in heavily forested areas such as the Amazon, African and Far East rain forests, which is why they are called ‘Rain Forests’. Trees have the ability to change weather patterns like nothing else on the planet. A century ago there were many trees in northern Africa, and the climate was more stable than it is now.

Britain has seen dramatic changes in weather patterns in the last fifty years, ever since huge swathes of woodland were removed to make room for crop growing. Even Romania on the other side of Europe suffers in the same way.

The Green Wall – An Environmental Group Plan

It is inescapable that much of the African problem has been caused by the people themselves. Their only source of fuel in these poor areas is wood, and over the last century, trees have slowly disappeared from the landscape, and now there is not a single one left. This is one of the reasons why the Sahara Desert is continually growing in size by an estimated 30 miles per year. It doesn’t sound much until you see how it has grown since the middle of the last century. Trees bind the soil together and prevent erosion, and in the long term, eventually ensure sufficient rainfall.

If the soil can be made fertile enough to support such growth again, turning back the clock and revitalising the near desert areas of Africa will, in many years time, bring back the rain.

I know it sounds simple, and I can hear many people scoffing at the idea from here, but take one example.

Senseless Destruction Of The Amazonian Forest

The Amazon Rain Forest was once the mightiest forest on the planet, until greedy men started chopping it down. Now, huge swathes of this important forest no longer exist, and what do we have? This year the area suffered its first drought! Drought in the Amazon Rain Forest is unheard of!

As a subsequence of this malicious attack, we have now made a major change to the weather patterns in the Atlantic, which in turn have affected the weather in the Caribbean, the USA and even Europe.

I Would Never Be A Sailor! An Atlantic Storm

It is impossible to say that the destruction of the rain forests is the only reason for these weather phenomenon, for the warming of the oceans has also played a part, but I think this is more the reason for the increase in hurricane and typhoon activity.

Rain Forest Cleared For A Palm Plantation

This whole scenario has been duplicated to a similar degree in Africa and the Far East. In places like Indonesia and Borneo, whole tracts of rain forest are being destroyed to make way for palm trees. So why you might ask, do they want to plant so many palm trees? Palm oil is used for the production of biofuels that are supposed to help save the planet! Now there’s an irony!

So now you may understand my drawing the conclusion that forests have a significant effect on the weather!

Of course, part of the problem is cost. The countries that need it are not in a position to finance such a venture, but then why should the rich nations of our planet, or the IMF, not foot the bill? Of course it will be expensive, and require huge investment by the rich nations, but is this not preferable to the African Continent continually draining money from the world economy for the next thousand years? For there is little doubt, the problem is only going to get worse!

Money Wasted On Aid?

I would hate to estimate how much money has been donated by individuals, charities and governments over the last forty years or so to help the poor of Africa, but you can imagine it must run into trillions of dollars. Would that money not have been better spent on a long-term solution, or are these same people willing to spend another trillion dollars in the future?

While poor, the people of Africa could sustain themselves if their land was fertile enough to produce the food they need. It is in this area that aid would be most useful.

Unless we can motivate the African people, and countries can come together to make their lands fertile again, they will never be able to get out of the abyss they currently find themselves trapped in.

Roy.

The Curse Of The Plastic Bag Returns

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Government, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Oceans, Pacific, Parliament, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Toxic Waste, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , on 29/07/2011 by floroy1942

Despite government campaigns, environmental group actions, and other publicity on the dangers of supermarket plastic bags over the past five years, their use is once again on the rise.

People are turning back to the ‘one-use’ bag instead of the multi-use ones now available. The consumption of these items has risen from 6.1 billion in 2009 to 6.4 billion last year. Not a significant rise you might think, and certainly better than the 10.7 billion bags used in 2006.

The Infamous Plastic Bag

Why shoppers are going back to their old ways and ignoring the danger to the environment is to date a mystery. It would seem people no longer believe in doing what they can to save the planet from pollution, despite the discovery of the Plastic Islands in our oceans. Recycling Minister Lord Henley has suggested that if the current situation continues there may be need for legislation. Personally, I would think the sooner the better!

Although this would not solve the problem completely, for we still use plastic rubbish bin liners for example, it would go a long way to cutting down on the mountains of plastic that are currently polluting our world.

Plastic Bin Liners In Use

This information shows clearly that people are not willing to change their ways, and the supermarkets and retailers too are not interested, despite earlier promises. Therefore I would say legislation is imperative. Laws must be passed to outlaw plastic bags once and for all time from the High Street, and replace them with the old-time paper or cloth bag.

Environmentally Harmless And Recyclable

Paper bags were good enough for generations following Francis Wolle’s invention of the first paper bag making machine in 1852, and everyone used them prior to the introduction of plastic bags by Swedish engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin in the early 1960’s. Since that day the number of plastic bags in circulation has soured and billions are used every day throughout the world.

The largest users by far are the Chinese, but they at least are taking positive steps to cut their usage. Laws introduced in 2008 banned single-use bags and has received a positive response from shoppers.

One side effect of getting rid of billions of plastic bags will be the huge saving made in oil from which they are made. It is estimated the measures taken by China have reduced its oil consumption by around 3 million tonnes of oil per annum. That’s an awful lot of oil! So, what if the ban was total and  world-wide?

Animal Life And Plastic

In order to cut down the massive pollution caused by these items, it is clear that plastic shopping bags should be consigned to history as one of man’s greatest environmental mistakes. Their use, reusable or not, can no longer be justified in today’s world. We have enough pollution problems, and let’s face it, would we really bemoan the loss of the plastic bag when we have so many environmentally friendly alternatives? I think not!

My wife and I keep several cloth shopping bags in the boot of the car and never accept the plastic alternative from the supermarket. It is such a small step, but if more people did that we would not need the plastic bag any more. Obviously, many are either too lazy to take such steps, or just don’t care, which is a shame. It is for this reason I believe legislation in this area is desperately needed.

Headed For The Plastic Island

Shoppers, like most other people, always look to the easiest option and don’t care what happens so long as it doesn’t intrude into own little ‘world’. Perhaps though we should all stop to think about what we are doing to our planet for the sake of our children.

What we do today will have a great impact on their lives!

Food for thought perhaps?

Associated Posts:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/welcome-to-plastic-island/

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/the-plastic-island-part-2/

Roy.

Going Green – The Way Back

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Oceans, Old Age Pensioner, Pacific, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Senior Citizen, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 25/07/2011 by floroy1942

 It is a fact that many people think the older generations did nothing to look after the planet on which we live because we were not ‘eco’ friendly. I am here to tell those people how wrong they are. I received a very interesting e-mail from my brother over the weekend all about being ‘green’.

It is a fact that we seniors did not have separate waste bins for plastic, glass etc and we did not run our cars on biofuels, but did that make us less ‘eco’ friendly? I think not as the following will amply demonstrate.

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. 

The Weekly Shopping

The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”
The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

The Glass Milk Bottle-Reusable

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over.  So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Stairs - Remember Them?

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind.  We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Just One Per Home

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. 

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. 

Why Not Old Newspaper?

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 
Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.  We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Free Water For Anyone Thirsty And No Plastic

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. 
We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. 

The Modern Mixer - Is It Really Essential?

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances.  And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then? ”

(My sincere thanks to the anonymous writer of this piece)

So you see, things were in many ways much better then than they are now. Consequently, I don’t think members of today’s generation have the right to say us old folks are to blame for today’s eco-problems, because actually, they have done it to themselves.

Admittedly, it was not because we thought about the environment as such, but more the fact that we just did not have all the things people have today. Technology has taken huge strides since the 40’s and 50’s, and we have to look there, and at ourselves, for the problems with our environment today. Many of the technological advances that have been made serve only to make us more lazy and increase the level of unemployment, so is that a good thing, do we really need these things?

Our Planets Floating Garbage Islands

There are many we could well do without, like escalators and powered grass mowers just to use two examples from the above piece. We could perhaps reduce the amount of plastic each of us uses in our daily lives, like supermarket carrier bags, plastic cups and bottles. After all, what is wrong with paper bags and glass bottles  that can be reused?

So you see, the current generation is more to blame for the state of our world than the old folks. Next time you buy an electric apparatus take a moment to think; Do I really need this?

It would seem the only way forward for us to be totally in tune with our world, is to take a few steps back and live like we used to.

Roy.

Falklands To Be Handed Over To Argentina?

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, Budget Cuts, Conservative Party, David Cameron, England, Government, Liberal Party, Nick Clegg, Obama, Parliament, President, Relationships, Royal Air Force, Royal Navy, UK, United Nations, USA with tags , , , , , , , , on 15/06/2011 by floroy1942

Not a pretty thought, but its coming unless the Argentinians are asleep!

Admiral ‘Sandy’ Woodward

In January I wrote about the affect the current defence review will have on the future of the Falklands, and this week my view has been vindicated by none other than Admiral Sandy Woodward, who led the task force that recaptured the islands after the Argentinian invasion in 1982.

Related post:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/will-the-current-defence-review-cost-britain-the-falklands/

The Harrier – Even Able To Operate from a Merchant Ship

That he and I are of a similar mind comes as no surprise when you look at what the defence review has done to the Royal Navy. The loss of our aircraft carriers and its fleet of Harrier jets must have caused jubilation in the halls of power in Buenos Aires.

With the substantial weakening of the navy the sole means of defence for the Falklands depends on approximately 1,000 RAF personnel and between 500 and 1.000 Army troops stationed at Mount Pleasant. There were until recently only four aging Tornado aircraft at the airfield, but according to politicians in Whitehall the islands can quickly be reinforced by air from the UK at short notice.

Bombers View of Port Stanley Airfield

Any idiot can see that one Argentine aircraft loaded with bombs could put the runway, and therefore the airfield, at Stanley out of commission, and these ‘reinforcements’ would be ditching in the sea, or crashing on land, when they ran out of fuel. Admiral Woodward made this point clearly. There can be little doubt that without the Royal Navy carrier force the islands are lost.

The most worrying, and sinister development, is that the American government now clearly backs the Argentine claim to the islands. This has nothing to do with the so-called ‘Special Relationship’ the politicians are always crowing about between the United States and Britain, which in my view is now just a sham and only exists for as long as it serves America’s interests. I think the American government look upon Britain as a pet puppy these days, good for a laugh, and occasionally useful re: Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Thatcher/Reagan Special Relationship

Even in 1982 their was much sympathy for the Argentine position in America, but the special relationship (which was then real) between Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Regan overruled the general consensus of opinion and top politicians adopted a neutral stance over the issue.

Today we have the Obama administration, and their idea of ‘the relationship’ is different.

At last weeks meeting of the Organisation of American States the USA representative signed a statement supporting Argentine’s claim to the islands calling them ‘The Malvina’s’, which is the Argentine name for the islands. So it is clear which way America will vote.

Clinton at the OAS Conference:

The Falklands Supply Chain

This is a major problem if (read when) Argentina invade again because the Ascension Islands, halfway between Britain and the Falklands, are a vital resupply and fuelling point for any task force, and its an American base. Obviously, refusal by the American’s to allow use of their base would effectively cut off completely any attempt by Britain to regain the islands if we see a repeat of the 1982 invasion. And naturally, that is not counting the fact that we no longer have a carrier force. To put it bluntly, the Royal Navy no longer has the capacity to defend the Falklands !

True, there are plans to build a new force of modern carriers, but the first is not due to be commissioned until 2020, so Argentina has the next nine years in which to invade and consolidate their position in the Falklands. It is fairly certain that should this happen the USA will back the action.

But why? The answer is oil!

Where the black gold is concerned no-one, especially the American’s, have little consideration for anything else, let alone United Nations Resolution 2065 from 1965 which still stands. Item 1 (paraphrased) reads: “bearing in mind……. the interests of the population of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas);”

Read it for yourself if you wish:

http://www.falklands.info/history/resolution2065.html

I was happy to hear the Prime Minister confirm in the House of Commons that the Falklands would remain British so long as the islanders wished it. Needless to say, this statement did not go down too well in Argentina.

It was discovered some time ago that there are massive oil and natural gas reserves  under the ocean close to the islands. There can be little doubt that America wants a piece of the ‘pie’, and what better way to get it than be ‘buddy’s’ with Argentina who for sure will be happy to hand over drilling rights in return for the islands. The USA will get the oil and gas and the Argentinians will also get rich from the revenue’s.

British Falklanders – And Proud Of It!

So you see, now the Argentinians have the backing of the USA, they will have nothing to fear on the world stage when they invade again, so  everyone will be happy, except that is for Britain, and the Falkland islanders.

All nice and neat, well, for everyone except us that is! For not only will our country have been humiliated on the world stage, but the Falklanders will have lost their identity, and we will have lost our share of the wealth lying under the southern atlantic ocean. What price the ‘special relationship then’?

I sincerely hope someone points all this out to our present coalition government!

 Roy.

People and Money – Transocean Bonuses

Posted in Atlantic, Environment, Health, Insanity, Obama, Oceans, President, Toxic Waste, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , on 04/04/2011 by floroy1942

 When it comes to money, some people have no soul, and certainly no conscience. During last week this fact became abundantly clear by the bonuses to be given to executives of  Transocean, who along with BP and Halliburton were responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. 

 http://www.youtube.com/embed/JfOinnQeHIY

Deepsea Horizon Finally Sinks

The most incredible fact is they claim it’s because 2010 was their ‘best year for safety’! This is hard to swallow, apart from the fact that 11 men died on the flaming rig when it exploded, the coastline of 4 States was contaminated by 49.9 million barrels of oil, and the ecological effect of the spill is yet to be seen. The spill caused hardship and damage in the billions of dollars, but then, the companies don’t have to foot the full bill do they?

Steve Newman - CEO Transocean

According to the company, there had been a “drop in the number of recorded incidents and their potential severity”. This, the Board claimed was justification for the large bonuses to be paid out to its top executives.

That I find disgraceful, immoral  and totally unacceptable!

The Extent Of The Contamination

In my opinion, President Obama should immediately levy a 100% tax on these payouts, for these people do not deserve to get richer at the expense of other people’s misery. The payouts could be put to better use compensating those who have lost their livelihood. The full scale of the disaster will not be known for many years, and for sure, the local tourist industry suffered greatly, plus the people who live along the shores contaminated by the oil spill. 

http://www.youtube.com/embed/Qk14WxuV8wU

It just goes to show you how despicable and low people can go when it comes to money!

Roy.

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