Thursday, February 04, 2010

CBA for the Earth: Nonviolence sustainable v Violent shock doctrine

From today's news as distributed by Len Seigel:
EPA: Pump Rialto groundwater and cleanse it of perchlorate

Riverside Press-Enterprise (CA)
February 3, 2010

Federal environmental regulators on Wednesday unveiled a $29.3 million plan to clean up a Rialto Superfund site by pumping tainted groundwater and treating it to remove perchlorate and other toxic contaminants.

The water then could be delivered to homes and businesses.

The 160-acre industrial site north of Interstate 210, between Alder and Locust avenues, was used by private companies and the government to store, test and manufacture munitions, rocket motors and fireworks.

Perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel, and the industrial solvent trichloroethylene, TCE, were spilled or dumped on the ground and seeped deep into the aquifer. Spreading for miles southeast of the site, the contamination is the Inland region's largest uncontrolled plume of perchlorate in a drinking water supply.

In any intelligent democracy, one would expect a sort of cost-benefit analysis for methods of conflict in general and for each conflict. What would that indicate for us?

As the story above indicates, even if the weaponry is never fired or launched, its manufacture leaves a toxic trail that persistently poisons. Indeed, the Pentagon and its attendant industries are the source of the most Superfund sites--those places deemed most in need of remediation from hazardous and toxic pollutants in soil and water--of all sectors of the US economy. To produce more such sites than the oil and gas industry is an amazing feat of disastrous proportions, but war and preparation for war has that ecological cost.

Nonviolence might have some ecological costs too. Cutting flowers to stick in gun barrels is very hard on the daisy field. And how many aspens have fallen to provide pulp for the leaflets we so remorselessly distribute?

And the oil story itself figures prominently in the cost-benefit analysis of conflict. The Pentagon is the world's largest consumer of fossil fuel. Approximately one-third of the military is devoted to protecting oil; this brings us to the benefit part of the analysis.

During the height of military conflict in any oil region, the prices skyrocket and profits soar as a result. Oil corporate owners and top oil corporate officials make record bonuses and dividend income. During the bloodiest part of the war to occupy Iraq--2005-2006--Exxon continued to shatter previous records for profits, making more than any corporation in human history. Two oil men occupied the White House while 130,000 of the troops under their command occupied the oil-rich Iraq. How blatant must the conflict of interest become before we question our conflict managers and their methods?

The pollution of our Earth and our political process could be greatly mitigated by making different conflict management choices. The greater our progress toward nonviolence the more we clean up our land, our rivers, our lakes, our air and our political Superfund sites in DC, from one end of Pennsylvania Avenue to the other.


Terri said...

This reminded me of my actions against the slaughter of sea mammals. After all the talking and work to stop the Japanese whaling fleets I learned from my brother that while on a Naval Destroyer they often targeted and tormented and killed these beautiful animals just for "fun". I was outraged. It convinced me to change my "target" too.

Tom H. Hastings said...

Military fun. There's a challenge for anyone who loves life, cares about other species--or about half our own species who don't have Y chromosomes. The rampant cruelty, the reckless and selfish hubris of the military belies their self-serving, pompous rhetoric about protecting. I'm afraid that, while I respect the humanity of each member of the military, I have zero respect for the institution. They abuse their power incessantly. I'm so grateful people like you are struggling to show a different path.