The End Is Near?

Posted on January 30, 2012
Filed Under Future, Main | Leave a Comment

ocean-trash
I don’t think the world will end in my lifetime — though it will end when I die — but maybe there was something to the fact that the Mayans’ calendar stopped at the end of 2012.* We humans are so messing up the earth that we might as well stop counting years going forward.

Case in point: Under the headline “An exquisite Mexico beach, cursed by plastic,”the Los Angeles Times recounts how a beautiful, pristine beach along Mexico’s Caribbean coast (southern Yucatan Peninsula) has been destroyed by “fragments of trash, thousands and thousands of them, strung like a vast, foul necklace. Even a quick inventory finds discarded motor-oil cans, hair-gel containers, juice bottles, hub caps, buckets, a soccer ball, flip-flops. Here’s a margarine container from the Dominican Republic, there a butter tub from Haiti. The label on a washed-up glue bottle says it’s from Central America.” The debris is carried there by ocean currents from the Caribbean and Central and South America.This, of course, is not an isolated area. It turns out that, according to the Times, “By some estimates, 46,000 pieces of plastic trash float in every square mile of ocean” creating “huge ‘garbage patches’ in ocean gyres, giant dead spots formed by currents and winds that push trash toward the becalmed centers. One of those, the Eastern Garbage Patch, midway between Hawaii and California, is estimated to be twice the size of Texas.”

The results: devastation of the oceans and its inhabitants, including the disruption of the surface of the oceans, important for seeding the atmosphere with rain and cooling our environment, as well as the poisoning of sea life, from seaweed to fish, which surely will alter the world’s food chain.

This is not new news: The L.A. Times won a Pulitzer prize for its “Altered Oceans” series in 2006.

 

Another story to pay attention to (if you believe on the disruption of our Global weather system by human intervention): “U.S. seems to have largely escaped winter: A combination of factors has trapped winter’s cold air over Canada and Alaska, making for unseasonably warm weather in the Lower 48.”

 

solar
Or maybe we should worry about solar flares: NASA has reported that we are in the midst of a period of increased solar storm activity with the sun unleashing the largest solar flares in a decade. Some of the massive outbursts head toward the Earth — threatening the disruption of communications (radio, satellite) as well as dosing us with increased levels of radiation. According to Space.com, “The sun’s activity ebbs and flows in an 11-year cycle. Currently, the sun is in the midst of Solar Cycle 24, and activity is expected to ramp up toward the solar maximum in 2013.”

Happy New Year.

*Actually, the Mayan “Long Count” calendar — which marks the end of a 5,126-year era — comes to an end on Winter Solstice this year — but the next Mayan cycle picks up after that. So their calendar didn’t mark the “end of time,” just a cycle.

 

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