Environmental Commentary: "The Great Global Chemistry Experiment"

The page below (from my 1992 FoxSense book) describes the chemical consequences of the industrial progress we have chosen (or acquiesced to) . Widespread dissemination of synthetic toxics distinguishes our modern times.  

Since 1992 we have added many more formulations and categories: BPA, problematic substitutes for previously banned toxics, VOC's (volatile organic compounds), POP's (persistent organic pollutants), and many more. Some of the chemicals we now regulate in the U.S. we continue to manufacture for export. We then import finished manufactured products and agricultural produce to complete what environmentalists call the"circle of poison."

The lab report (in 200 years) will be interesting.

"The Great Global Chemistry Experiment" from Fred Montague's  Foxsense . © 1992 Fred Montague

"The Great Global Chemistry Experiment" from Fred Montague's Foxsense. © 1992 Fred Montague

Environmental Commentary: "Grow Up, America"

This 1992 FoxSense graphic still seems relevant.

Since 1992, despite some concern over carbon dioxide emissions and climate change, despite moves toward increasing energy conservation and efficiency, and despite slow advances in renewable energy technology, petroleum remains America's "go-to" transportation fuel.

U. S. oil consumption has increased from 2.11 gallons per person per day to 2.41 gallons per person per day.  Collectively we have increased our daily consumption from about 13 million barrels per day (1992) to about 18-19 million barrels per day (2012).

Will this cartoon be applicable in 2025?

 
A comment on U.S. energy policy from  FoxSense . © Fred Montague

A comment on U.S. energy policy from FoxSense. © Fred Montague

 

Environmental Commentary: Troublesome Linkages

While looking at this environmental graphic from my currently out-of-print 1992 FoxSense, I am struck by several observations.  Despite 20 years of efforts to address the troublesome linkages that are loaded in the "costs" wagon, most of the environmental impacts of industrialized agriculture have remained troublesome.

A few things have changed.  The sense of abundance depicted by the heavily burdened "crop production" wagon is tempered now by recent and regular weather-related crop disasters and by decreasing carryover grain stocks (our global food reserve).  Complicating the situation is a human population increase of almost two billion people (since 1992) and the increasing diversion of food crops (like corn) to biofuels. 

The "low commodity prices" issue on the "costs" wagon has changed dramatically, with grain prices more than doubling in the last few years.  Rising food prices affect the world's poor disproportionately more since they spend 50 -70% of their meager earnings on food, while people in wealthier countries typically spend 5-15% of their income on food.

You draw the cartoon for 20 years hence.

Troublesome Linkages from FoxSense

Troublesome Linkages from FoxSense