Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Eco Trip

I am on record as being pro global warming. I currently live about 8 miles outside the city of Boston. I have a lovely view of the cityscape from my back yard and bedroom window and live high enough up that flooding is never a concern.

Therefore, I assume that when the water rises along with the temperatures and palm trees I’m gonna be sitting on some prime water front property. Considering Boston is cooler than most places, it probably won’t get super warm until July or August. Even then I just walk out my back door and take a dip at my own private beach. Sure, I’ll have to wade around debris from the recently destroyed city and bloated, decomposing bodies, but nothing’s perfect. I can just put a shark net around my swimming area anyway to keep any unwanted debris away.

Besides, from the look of things global warming is the least of our worries. Last year I wrote about a disturbing phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD henceforth) occurring with the world’s honey bee population. CCD occurs when all the worker bees either die or leave the nest; abandoning the Queen thus ruining her self esteem.

While the US Department of Agriculture hasn’t figured out why this is happening, they have eliminated chemical and environmental agents as a contributing factor. According to this article a virus, a parasite (known as Varroa Mites) and simple stress (bees never get a chance to unwind as part of their lives) could all be contributing causes. The Varroa Mite is especially concerning as it’s become resistant to compounds that used to control them. Super Mites. Just what we need. I thought killer robots were our only concern.

You can see why declining bees might be a problem. No bees – no pollination – no plants – no food. Yikes! Scientists are taking steps to help our stinging friends. They’re using genome sequencing to improve the bee. Right! Genetically engineering a super bee. I say they encode the Superman symbol on his body somewhere. How cool would that be? There is also a new nutrient rich food being fed to bees in an attempt to boost their teeny tiny immune systems.

Runaway bees are just one issue. It turns out that all the shit we’ve been putting into the ground is coming back to bite us in the….um….food source. Remember playing with earthworms when you were a kid? Well, now you may get a chemical burn from them. See, earthworms ingest, absorb and process our soil. Since we’ve been putting pesticides and dumping chemicals into our soil, the earthworms are now found to have traces of those chemicals in them.

These chemicals include not only pesticides, but ‘a range of active ingredients in common household products such as detergents, antibacterial soaps, fragrances, and pharmaceuticals’. So, now our worms are calm, clean, should seek medical attention if they experience an erection lasting more than 4 hours, and smell fantastic! On the down side, all of those things are at the low end of the food chain. How soon until the chickens and fish we eat arrive with a Rite Aid sticker?

If you think I’m done, you must be new here. Tens of thousands of bats died while hibernating this past winter. Most recorded deaths occurred in the Northeast with some upstate New York caves experiencing a 80 – 100% mortality rate. Yeah, that means entire caves were wiped out completely.

The culprit appears to be a fungus that is being called ‘White Nose Syndrome’. The call it that because the bats look like they've spent the winter snorting cocaine and nobody can figure out what is actually going on. Bats are dropping dead by the tens of thousands and nobody knows why. Is anyone else just a little concerned?

I know what you’re thinking: Who friggin’ cares, they’re just bats and they creep me out. Well, first of all, bats are goth cute and eat millions upon millions of irritating insects like mosquitoes and gnats and moths. The boys and I have seen bats swooping down over our backyard and cheer it on. More bats = less bugs. I’m all for them.

Besides, nobody is sure if this mysterious fungus is being transmitted between the bats or even if it can be transferred to humans. You want to risk white shit growing out of your nose? Didn’t think so.

A quick recap:

Bees dying = dwindling food supply; mass starvation; end of human existence for those that won’t resort to cannibalism.

Earthworms are now crawling cyanide.

Bats dropping dead of mass fungus nobody has seen before.

Global warming isn’t looking so bad now, is it? Bring on the beach!

Today’s distraction: One of the most irritating and addicting games I've run across in some time. It's a new version of that helicopter game where you try to navigate a cave. It's Metro Siberia and good luck! Turn your volume down if you're at work.

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