Sunday, December 8, 2013

Weather, Nukes and GMO's....

Record lows last night brought frozen water pipes to us this morning. Our water pipes can handle the temps down to around 22 F. Last night the temperature was in the teens: 16 F. in Paradise. A record. The water pipes in the kitchen thawed this afternoon. But for the first time, the exposed part of the well pipe to the cistern froze, despite being wrapped in lots of insulation. Luckily we have a spigot close to the well, which is inside a little structure protected from the elements, so we can get water there.

We will just wait for the weather to warm up and thaw the pipes. Until then we will haul the water in buckets to the house, something we did for a couple of winters when we didn't have the money to put in an improved water system and the old one broke.

Of course the lesson from all of this is no matter how much you plan and prepare, more than likely it won't be enough and nature will prevail one way or another. As extreme weather related events become more prevalent due to the build up of CO2 and methane in the atmosphere, we will be talking about the weather a whole lot more. And weather will take us by surprise. Like last night.

Part of the reason to be against nuclear power and genetically modified food is that the potential for things to go wrong with these technologies overrides any benefit from using them. Think Fukushima. Those four nuclear reactors had state of the art protection systems. They had a sea wall 40 feet high. They had backup generators to last weeks if power ever went out to the plant. They had state of the art containment walls around the reactors. And all it took was an unexpected 7.2 earthquake and tsunami to make all of that planning and preparation null with health consequences that will extend on for generations. Of course, Fukushima wasn't weather related; it was still natural forces making mincemeat of human preparation.

The same for GMO's. The potential for disaster playing around with genes from different species in order to improve on something nature has already created is just too risky to do. I know the Monsanto people have their studies that prove their food is safe. My question is: When is it that we have ever had to do a study on a staple product in order to  prove it is safe to eat? Just having to ask the question should make us pause a bit as to what we are doing. Of course, we are overly dependent up on corn and Monsanto corn at that. All it takes is some specific blight against the Round Up tolerant corn and all of us will end up losing quite a bit of weight.

And so it isn't the potential for disaster that motivates the use of these technologies---it is monopoly and the profit motive (to borrow a bit from Marx). I'm of the opinion that if a technology used in a mass scale manner has potential calamities linked to it, we should pass on that technology and employ something that makes more sense.

Of course, nobody asked me before they built all these reactors and planted all that corn.

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