Archive for September, 2011
I want to thank Maleekie for that excellent article on the astounding life and sorrowful death of Dr. Wangari Maathai. Your blog allows me take this time to explore what others around the world are doing to restore forests, and to explain why such restoration is imperative for earth’s survival.
Earlier this summer, Science Express reported that forests around the world store some 2.4 gigatons of carbon each year. This accounts for virtually all of land-based carbon absorption around the world. A. David McGuire at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology explains: “Our results imply that clearly, forests play a critical role in Earth’s terrestrial carbon balance, and exert considerable control over the evolution of atmospheric carbon dioxide.”
But Global Warming, increasing forest fires, insect damage, scant restoration projects, illegal logging, and deceptive associations with environmentalists threaten forests. The Associated Press’ Denis D. Gray writes: “Participants in a global, landmark effort to save the world’s shrinking forests are instead trading in illegally sourced timber and razing jungles . . .”
Gray further discusses allegations by Global Witness that the World Wildlife Federation has been duped by some logging companies that claimed to join in the fight to save forests, while in fact they are rapidly clearing forests in some parts of the world. Such rapid and extensive clearing not only eliminates vital forest areas, it is detrimental to animals living in them.
As greenleft.org.au explains, the earth was once one-half forest. Today it is less than one-third. To increase forest re-plantings, Goran Persson, former Swedish Prime Minister, announced this month that he will head a new global effort. Environmental News Service reports that Persson will head the Global Restoration Council “that will help galvanize action for forest and landscape restoration and build support to achieve the 150 million hectare restoration target.”
Numerous Bible Prophecies make clear that momentous reduction of forest life portents of judgment. For instance, the prophet Isaiah laments: “Therefore shall the Lord, the Lord of hosts, send among his fat ones leanness; and under his glory he shall kindle a burning like the burning of a fire. And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day; And shall consume the glory of his forest, and of his fruitful field, both soul and body: and they shall be as when a standard-bearer fainteth. And the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few, that a child may write them (10: 16 – 19).
Just as healthy forests protect the world from Global Warming’s destruction, they also indicate the true wealth of nations. In this case, diminishing forests may well illustrate the increasing poverty that errant man has brought to God’s Earth!
The environmentalists world mourns the death of Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai this week. By paying indigent women to plant trees in the barren wastelands of Kenya, Dr. Maathai eventually invented payable jobs and businesses for some 900,000 women, established their rights as powerful equals and activists, and created huge thriving forest ranges. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 2004. Born in the foothills of Mount Kenya, the famed activists succumbed to cancer at the age of 71.
In the obituary article for the New York Times, Jeffery Gettleman explains the Kenyan woman’s unlikely world-wide fame: “Dr. Maathai, one of the most widely respected women on the continent, played many roles — environmentalist, feminist, politician, professor, rabble-rouser, human rights advocate and head of the Green Belt Movement, which she founded in 1977. Its mission was to plant trees across Kenya to fight erosion and to create firewood for fuel and jobs for women.”
Holding degrees in biological sciences, veterinary medicine, Dr. Maathai was a noted environmentalist, founder of the Green Belt Movement, civil rights and woman’s rights activist and the author of four books, including: The Challenge for Africa, Unbowed: A Memoir, The Green Belt Movement: Sharing the Approach and the Experience, and Replenishing the Earth: Spiritual Values for Healing Ourselves and the World.
To laud her achievements, the Nobel committee highlighted her “holistic approach to sustainable development that embraces democracy, human rights and women’s rights in particular” and for serving “as inspiration for many in the fight for democratic rights.”
In her Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Ms. Maathai said: “In the course of history, there comes a time when humanity is called to shift to a new level of consciousness, to reach a higher moral ground. A time when we have to shed our fear and give hope to each other. That time is now.”
In John 9: 4, The Lord Jesus Christ said of His ministry, “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” Wangari Maathai believed the same. Like Her Savior, she knew that she was on earth to do everything she could to help others. With faith, determination and vision, she not only built an organization to provide sustainable jobs, healthy living, clean water, and lasting hope for her nation, by planting 30 million trees she helped the entire planet to reduce carbon footprints. More people should recognize that God sent them here to help others. And they should get to work on that achievement before the night comes to their lives. Now, that’s a message to put on Christian sweatshirts!
It wasn’t carried on American television news. Most newspapers in this country didn’t carry the story, although the Associated Press sent them the news. And talk show hosts never breathed a word of the event. Why such a media blackout? But, it is the privilege of Earth-End – New Beginning to tell our readers that over 60,000 people held an anti-nuclear power march over last weekend.
Even politicians there seem to agree with public sentiment that the day of nuclear power in that country must end. These leaders admit that only 11 out of the country’s 54 nuclear plants are up and operating. The other plants lie dormant under a time of indefinite repair. But, until that country rebuilds those nuclear plants––if ever––Japanese people are living in quite a state of sacrifice, and energy conservation. They are also scrambling to reinvent other energy sources!
What the New York Times did publish is an editorial record of Japan’s new energy conservation: “The government required big power users to reduce peak consumption by 15 percent. Utilities pleaded with consumers to pitch in. Industries, offices and private households turned lights off and thermostats up, above 80 degrees Fahrenheit.” Workers dress in casual wear, instead of the usual Japanese formalities. They also climb stairs instead of running elevators, work early mornings and weekends, and avoid lighting in workplaces (relying instead on computer screens and LED lamps). And no one runs air conditioners.
While outraged citizens hold marches, the government debates whether to resurrect nuclear power or fire up old oil and/or gas powered plants. And if they choose the latter, they explore what can be done to control greenhouse emissions. Japanese engineers are also working on innovative designs of wind turbines that will triple the output of turbines presently in use around the world. Mother Nature Network explains that America has more than enough room to build that type of wind power: “the U.S. with its endless miles of prairie and agricultural land is one of the few nations that could actually deploy such a network of wind turbines without disrupting the current productivity of the land.” The Japanese are also creating deep-sea underwater turbines to produce more vast amounts of energy.
That debate, that era of sacrifice, that willingness to turn away from nuclear power––must also take place in the United States. Japan and Germany are trying to rid themselves of the nuclear menace. Like them, this country must concede that nuclear power is a health and economic hazard. And it is certainly vulnerable to terrorist attack. Bible prophecies make clear that when people are on a wrong road, they must change: “For I am The LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” (Malachi 3: 6). Only God’s grace has keep the U.S. safe from chernobyl-type nuclear disasters. Malachi goes on to say that if national behavior does not change, God’s grace should not always be taken for granted!
Maleekie Ambularie: I was so impressed by Ida’s blog on lawlessness that I asked her to share this blog with me on the horror of failed state lawlessness in Somalia. Drought threatens to wipe out the entire Somalian population. The United Nations expects 750,000 there to die. In efforts to stay alive, people struggle to make the 15-day trek on foot to reach non-profit providers in Kenya.
Ida B. Wells, IV: Thank you for the invite Maleekie. As you know, before they can reach a place with food and medical care, robbers and rapists violently attack thousands of the weak, starving, struggling-to-stay alive victims.
Maleekie: Yes, it is a horrible reality. When the victims get to the camps for food, often there are scant crumbs or adequate medical assistance for them. The developed world is simply not responding to Somali hunger.
Ida: Well the media has not done a good job of explaining to potential donors that, unlike what the public assumes, Somalians did everything right. As Nicholas Kristof explains in the New York Times, they “planted drought-resistant crops, built water projects and diversified their livelihoods, so this drought has affected them less than it would have in the past. An early-warning system gave a year’s notice that a famine was on the way, and aid agencies moved in supplies.” So please explain to readers Maleekie, what really brought on this famine.
Maleekie: What’s really happening is that a band of Muslim rebels, called the Shabab, dominates what weak political leadership tries to rule Somalia. The rebels have chased aide workers out, forbade food shipments, intimated Somalians with unbelievable oppression, even forbidding women to wear bras saying they are badges of “Western promiscuity.” Moreover, the Shabab does everything possible to stop starving Somalians from fleeing their own country in search of food.
Ida: Just as developed nations do little to feed the Somalians, they have done even less to run the Shabab out of Somalia and to strengthen Somalia’s fragile government. Thus, as they traipse to Kenya for help, Somalian males are robbed and females are raped––even without wearing Western-type bras.
Maleekie: As you wrote yesterday, it’s a perfect storm of lawlessness: famine, rape, mob-rule, ultra-poverty, and death––a preview of the last days!
Ida: There must be something we can do. Let’s ask Rev. Repriestly to organize special prayer groups for Somalia. And we can ask John and his group to contact national leaders to get help for Somalia. Also, we can get the Newspaper Boys and Girls to sell Christian sweatshirts to raise money for food aid going to those in famine. Remember, the Apostle John tells us: “Beloved, thou doest faithfully whatsoever thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers” (3 John 1: 5). So let’s get to work to help those in the greatest need in The Name of Our Lord Jesus!
Mayors, local politicians and law enforcement officers are well aware that this nation’s tide toward escalating gun violence must be abated. Failure to do so could lead to a type of anarchy that law enforcement cannot contain. Yet, lobbyists for the gun industry are now pushing Congress to pass legislation that would authorize citizens in every state to carry concealed loaded weapons.
Because they know that too much lawlessness already tears our cities apart, more than 600 Mayors across the country oppose this legislation. And they ask the American people to stand with them in opposing such potentially disastrous laws. Those who want less violence in this nation can contact the mayors’ group at www.OurLivesOurLaws.org for information.
Throughout all of our struggles, this country still survives as the greatest nation on earth. Thanks to examples set by out-spoken people like my great-great grandmother, Ida B. Wells who published newspapers exposing the truth about the violence of lawlessness and mob lynchings in her times.
When so awakened, the majority of the American people always seem to rally around that which is right and good. But we are still a very violent nation. An international poll taken in 1997 found that the United States suffered more people to die from gun violence than any other nation on earth.
Criminologists report that “Gun-related homicide rates in the United States are twenty to thirty-five times higher than they are in countries that are economically and politically similar to it.” They claim that inconsistently higher rates only occur in developing nations or in those suffering political instability.
Wikipedia reports: “Gun-related homicide rates in the United States are twenty to thirty-five times higher than they are in countries that are economically and politically similar to it . . . . [It] is most common in poor urban areas and in conjunction with gang violence, often involving juveniles or young adults.”
The soon-coming reign of the anti-Christ will be a time of lawlessness everywhere. However, genuine Christians, who have accepted Christ as Savior and patterned their lives after His Word, will not be on earth when this time of total lawlessness begins. As promised in Bible prophecies, they will have been raptured––caught up into the air to be with Christ as detailed in 1 Thessalonians 4: 16 – 17: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” While here, however, we are commanded to resist evil in every way possible––including working with local and national leaders to get guns off our streets!
Everyone from the United States Congress to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to some Pennsylvania residents are responsible for the astounding floods through which Tropical Storm Lee washed out homes and businesses in towns along the Susquehanna River a few weeks ago. And all are without excuse: The Susquehanna River Basic Commission insists that flooding along that river “causes tens of millions of damages each year.”
Michael Rubinkam of the Associated Press writes: “Congress’ failure to deliver on promised hazard-mitigation funding may wind up taking blame for some of the devastation.” While Congress allocated $ 175 million to build dikes and flood-walls around Wilkes-Barre in 1972, it failed to appropriate all of the $ 23 million it authorized for flood mitigation projects intended to prevent harm to lower-lying, unprotected cities.
In short, just by protecting some towns from floods, the government further endangered other communities sitting on the River’s edge.
The other half of the story is that some residents in a few unprotected towns resisted building new levies because it would restrict awesome views that could be seen from their historical antique-style mansions. For instance, some 10 years ago, wealthier residents in the town of West Pittston, Pennsylvania, petitioned the Corp of Engineers not the build a $ 25 million dike there because it would obstruct the view from Victorian mansions along Susquehanna Avenue. The town is known for the beauty of the riverfront when cherry blossom trees bloom along its rim.
Now many in the city are furious, arguing that this refusal has brought their town of some 5,000 people to its knees: 250 homes are flooded out on the first or second floors, another 600 have flooded basements. In addition, 26 businesses sustained millions of dollars in damages.
Residents expressed fury at mansion-owners who had refused flood protection. One affected homeowner says, “If it wasn’t for those hoity-toities on Susquehanna Avenue, we wouldn’t have this problem.” Chris Economopolous, owner of a dry-cleaners, who lost hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment to the flood added: “What do they want to look at? There’s no view. This is one of the most polluted rivers in the country.” After such extensive carnage and community complaints, all town residents, its mayor and City Council now ask the Army Corps to reconsider flood protection for West Pittston.
There was a short saying in old time hymn books: “Only One Life, t’will soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Maybe its time to print this on plus size Christian sweatshirts. Followers of The Lord Jesus Christ should revalue potential lost of earthly things and put greater emphasis on that which is eternal––the Only and Everlasting Will and Person of Almighty God!
(This article is second in Ally’s series: “Are U. S. Nuclear Plants Safe From Storms, Earthquakes, Fires, etc.?”)
Information uncovered about nuclear power plants in the United States prompted me to ask Jael if I could have more time for research and extra space for publication over a longer period of time. For one thing, it is obvious that many of these plants now stand severely damaged, and that it will take millions, sometimes billions, to repair them. Moreover, in most of these cases, utility customers will be forced to bear the cost for damage repairs––and that when obviously less expensive and much safer forms of energy are easily possible.
Many of these plants have operated well beyond the years officials promised when they were built. So much is secret about the operation of nuclear plants. A government agency, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), supposedly oversees the safe running of the plants, but actual plant ownership usually belongs to private profit-making companies. Too often federal and state governments keep plants on-line, or in temporary repair status, when alternative energy sources are obviously cheaper and far less dangerous to American lives.
The Crystal River Nuclear Plant, north of Tampa, Florida, is a perfect example. Progress Energy Florida (a division of Progress Energy, Inc. based in Raleigh, N. C.) reports that it will cost some two billion dollars to get this plant back on line, and insurance will not cover all the costs. The plant has not been on line since September of 2009. Progress plans to have it running by 2014.
The Associated Press reports that “rate-payers could be on the hook for as much as $ 560 million” to fix the problems. Additionally, Progress says it will pay about one billion to obtain replacement sources of electricity, of which consumers will be asked to pay $ 510 million. So far Progress is still negotiating with the NRC, the Florida Public Service Commission and consumer representatives.
BUT COME ON!!!! This is Florida. Why on earth should people in the Sun Shine State have to pay billions of dollars for a potentially deadly energy source, when all they need to do is tap into Solar Power. Surely some type of private-public partnership could be arranged to help fund solar-powered energy for homes and businesses, while helping Progress to recover its losses over the years.
Governments must support public safety more than corporate profits. How long will America’s leadership ask the people they are sworn to protect to pay for hazardous energy, when far less dangerous and inexpensive sources are available? Scientists insist that we can expect far more violent weather in the future. Most of the country’s 100 plus nuclear plants are old. They will continue to sustain damages from such unruly nature. People must wake up, and urge positive government action. Bible prophecies promise: “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in The LORD shall be safe” (Proverbs 29: 25). This is not the time to fear man’s power. It is the time to put more faith in God’s power!
Egad, the Newspaper Boys and Girls stole some of my thunder, but the truth is that the Nuclear Power Plants of this country are ill-prepared for the volley of egregious earthquakes, tornadoes, wildfires, etc. that recently swept across the nation. Although the Nuclear Regulatory Commission generally squelches reports of plant damage from hazardous weather, here are just a few examples:
As our news delivery teams reported, even as the crew at the U.S. nuclear laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico, was evacuated, wild fires entered the lab area: “The main blaze sparked a smaller fire on the lab site itself, but that it was quickly extinguished.” Information on what that lab contained has not been given.
On April 28th, Reuters reported that violent thunderstorms and tornadoes shut down the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Decatur, Alabama. The Tennessee Valley Authority, says that plant’s construction is very similar to Japan’s Fukushima plants which had over-heated, and leaked radiation a few weeks earlier.
Also last April, according to virginiabusiness.com, a tornado hit “the switchyard supporting the power station cutting off the electrical feed from the grid” at the Surry Power Station in Virginia. The Associated Press has documents indicating the storm badly damaged a fuel tanker used to refuel a backup generator.
In May of this year, inspections of the Wolf Creek nuclear plant near Joplin, Missouri, revealed that it definitely could not withstand the force of a heavy storm or tornado. Apparently, workers scurried to get repairs made before those massive hurricanes hit Joplin, 150 miles from the plant, a few weeks later. Those and other inspections were prompted by the Japanese nuclear plant disaster. Generally they show the nation’s nuclear power plants operating below safety levels. Equipment is damaged, warning signals broken, and security often lax.
Americans must be aware that nuclear science has not been a protective energy source. We have avoided mass catastrophe only by the Grace of Almighty God. Risking American lives, our industrialists built this most dangerous source of energy upon arrogant assumptions that nature could never be strong enough to destroy their giant fortresses. These men are no different from the politicians and scientists in Japan who––well aware that their nation was vulnerable to earthquakes and tsunamis––assumed that they could build walls strong enough to withstand any force. Obviously they were wrong.
Earth End-New Beginning is positioned as a watchman at the gate. As Bible prophecies in the Book of Ezekiel make clear, if the watchman does not warn people of approaching danger, that watchman is held responsible (3: 17 – 21). The United States can easily follow Germany’s example and start dismantling these nuclear power plants, putting in place safer systems like solar and wind power. We cannot simply cling to false hopes that nuclear holocaust won’t happen here.
This week a new poll from Reuters News Service shows for the first time that 83 percent of the American public believe that the planet is getting hotter. That figure is up from 75 percent who believed the same thing a year ago. Moreover, over 90 percent of all scientists have taken a public stand that Global Warming is very, very real. Thus, one must wonder how some politicians can continue to spout that Global Warming is a myth.
But some politicians are at last speaking about the obvious presence of Global Warming on earth today. U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman of California said recently, “This year, we witnessed weather disaster after weather disaster. There have been massive floods, fire, droughts, and heat waves. Yet earlier this year the House passed a bill that repealed EPA’s scientific finding that climate change is occurring.” He is referring to the torrential rain, snow and dust storms, as well as the droughts, earthquakes and hurricanes sweeping through the nation––all of which are more than evident proof of Global Warming.
Likewise, Jon Huntsman, a Republican candidate for President and the former governor of Utah, chided his fellow candidates to admit that Global Warming exists: “I’m not a meteorologist. All I know is 90 percent of the scientists say climate change is occurring.” He said that his party cannot keep running away from science and expect to win the White House.
Apparently in both public, scientific and political communities, Hurricane Irene’s carnage on America’s East Coast is what tipped the scales toward a vast majority agreeing that Global Warming is an ominous threat to safety. In his New York Times article, “Seeing Irene as Harbinger of a Change in Climate,” Justin Gillis quotes Dr. Kerry Emanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “On a longer time scale, I think . . . that the evidence for a connection between Atlantic hurricanes and global climate change is fairly compelling.”
While, Thomas R. Knutson, researcher at the U.S. Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, says trends are too short to draw conclusions, Gillis writes, scientists from both camps tend to think hurricanes are likely to intensify, they do not have great confidence in their ability to project the magnitude of that increase.”
To measure their knowledge about Global Warming, readers should visit the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) website and take a quiz to sort fact from fiction. USC believes that people and politicians must rely more on science and less on political fairy tales. However, even with all the scientific evidence about Global Warming, Christians must place more faith in God than in science. Wholesale Christian Bibles say that The Omniscient Godhead Are The Ones “in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2: 3).
Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Another Big News Day Here!
Jael has asked the us, The Newspaper Boys and Girls Association, Int’l (NBGA) to delivery several issues of urgent news today.
First, Maleekie Ambularie reports from the United Nations that several international fund raisers are begging for more donations for starving drought-stricken people––mostly children––in Somalia and all the Horn of Africa. This really is URGENT. Hundreds of children are dying every day and the world’s wealthy nations just are not stepping up to care for them. Please remember the children: Donations can go to: my.CARE.org; unicefusa.org; givewell.org/donate-to-somalia; & samaritan’spurse.org.
Also, Jael has asked Ally I. Feermeno to add to the Los Alamos Nuclear Power Laboratory to her investigation of threatened nuclear power plants in the United States. Although officials claim there was no damage, few Americans are aware that wildfires in New Mexico reached the Los Alamos plant.
We have a contact with newspaper vendors in South Korea who report that crews at Los Alamos say “the main blaze sparked a smaller fire on the lab site itself, but that it was quickly extinguished.” Ally Feermeno is contacting other news and science sources in this country to confirm that information.
As you know, we are just kids and teens who earn spending change by selling Earth End’s internet news. It is sometimes hard for us to outshoot those major news papers and T.V. stations. So we hope you will check out the Earth End blog every day for the latest news. Our reporters write stories, over-looked by other news sources, because we believe they are important for the public to know.
For instance, Sarah Newsworthy is doing a follow-up report on the results of flooding on the East Coast. Americans there are suffering hard as they try to recover from mighty floods in Pennsylvania, Vermont, Connecticut, the Catskills, and other states. Jael says that a real problem with major media newscasters is that they seldom do follow-up stories on disasters in the United States, not like they do follow-up stories if the same type of events happen overseas.
All of us kids take weekly Bible classes from Rev. Repriestly, and a lot of the teens take the internet courses from online Bible lessons at Earth End’s online store. And every week we have to memorize a new Bible verse. This week our verse is 1 Timothy 2: 3 – 4: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” That’s is what we all work for at End End––that all our readers will know The Lord Jesus as Savior and also know the truth about earth and eternity!