Tue Jan 29, 2013, 11:38 AM
GliderGuider (18,000 posts)
Paul Craig Roberts: Final Call - Nature’s Capital is the Limiting Resource
Final Call: Nature’s Capital is the Limiting Resource
Many associate ecological destruction with population pressure. However, the toxicity associated with mining, fracking, chemical fertilizer and GMO farming, and the adverse watershed effects of logging is turning even low density states such as Montana into an environment with ruined soil and water.
Pennsylvania, possibly the most corrupt state in the US, has passed a law that prevents health care professionals from sharing information about the health care effects of fracking. “I have never seen anything like this in my 37 years of practice,” says Dr. Helen Podgainy, pediatrician from Coraopolis, Pa.
Land speculators and cattle ranchers (in Brazil) acquired vast land holdings by wiping out forests of mahogany, rubber, and Brazil nut trees along with the native inhabitants. The cleared land, deprived of its stewards and its nutrients, became compacted and infertile after a few years. Cattle farming is profitable for a short time before the soil is exhausted, but the-short term profits exist only because of government subsidies and because the external costs of the value of the forests that were destroyed in order to gain a land title are not counted in the cost of the cattle.
And so we have GDP accounting that measures the Gross Domestic Product of countries without regard to the cost of polluted air, water, and soil, and without regard, for example, to the dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico from oil spills and chemical fertilizer run-off from farming. We add to GDP the value of the fracked oil and gas, but do not subtract the value of the ruined water supply of peoples and the life in the streams. According to ecological economist Herman Daly, if all the costs of production are included, the decrease in nature’s capital could outweigh the value of the increase in GDP. As Hecht and Cockburn make clear, this has certainly been the case in the exploitation of the Amazon. The output is worth far less than the resources that were ruined in order to produce it.
The whole article is a worthy read for anyone with a strong heart.
And some people (even here on DU) still insist on telling us fairy tales about how human impact on this planet is controllable, remediable or not a problem because we're just so darned clever...
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Paul Craig Roberts: Final Call - Nature’s Capital is the Limiting Resource (Original post)
Response to GliderGuider (Original post)
Tue Jan 29, 2013, 12:08 PM
canoeist52 (2,102 posts)
1. "The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl"
Just finished this book; http://www.amazon.com/The-Worst-Hard-Time-Survived/dp/0618773479
"The Dust Bowl was the product of reckless, market-driven farming that had so abused the land that, when dry weather came, the wind lifted up millions of acres of topsoil and whipped it around in "black blizzards," which blew as far east as New York. This ecological disaster rapidly disfigured whole communities. Egan's portraits of the families who stayed behind are sobering and far less familiar than those of the "exodusters" who staggered out of the High Plains. He tells of towns depopulated to this day, a mother who watched her baby die of "dust pneumonia," and farmers who gathered tumbleweed as food for their cattle and, eventually, for their children. "
The land has basically never recovered from the damage.