Mother Nature is One Tough Bitch
Category: News and Politics
Hello Freedomphiles! So, I was reading The Middle East Times (doesn't everyone read that periodical?), and I came across an interesting bit of information:
Israeli scientists have discovered that oil spill cleanup agents are significantly more toxic to coral than to the oil that they are used to disperse.
In a setback for efforts to protect endangered coral reefs from oil spills, Baruch Rinkevich, Shai Shafir, and colleagues at the Israeli Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute discovered that oil dispersants - the best tool for treating oil spills in tropical areas - are endangering coral reefs and associated ecosystems.
The researchers evaluated effects of both crude oil and six commercial oil dispersants under laboratory conditions on the growth and survival of two important species of reef corals. They determined that the dispersants caused significant harm - including rapid, widespread death, and delay in growth rates - to the coral colonies tested, even at doses recommended by the dispersants' manufacturers.
This doesn't surprise me. I recall when reading Bjorn Lomborg's book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, coming accross a similar account on pages 193 and 194:
Perhaps more surprising, official NOAA investigations have shown that the original cleanup has probably done more harm than good... pressure washing the coast... killed most of the marine life. By way of experiment, some stretches of beach were left uncleaned, and it transpired that life there returned after just after 18 months, whereas it did not do so to the cleaned beaches for three to four years... As Scientific American wrote, "the public wants the animals saved - at $80,000 per otter and $10,000 per eagle - even if the stress of their salvation kills them." The conclusion is that although the immediate biological loss in Alaska was [regrettably] high, it was roughly the equivalent of one day of plate glass death to birds [from flying accidentally into the sides of modern skyscrapers] in the US or two days of domestic cat kill in Britain. Another thought provoking comparison is that the overall pollution [caused by the Valdez spill] was less than 2 percent of the of pollution caused by powerboats in the US every year.
Mother Nature is a tough old bitch, and our relationship to her is often one full of hubris. As luminary philosophers Blue Oyster Cult told us: History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man.