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Bottled Water

  • “Water is an efficient product. It is a product which normally would be free, and it is our job to sell it.”
    • Suez CEO Gerard Mestrallet

Bottled Water

  • San Francisco, other cities have banned city purchases of bottled water
  • Cities bringing back water fountains
  • Water expected to be the major cause of wars by 2050 or sooner

Water Pollution – Increased Beach Closings

Infamous Industrial Disasters

  • Minamata, Japan, 1920s-1970s
  • Chisso Corporation
  • Methylmercury poisoning
  • 400 dead; 10,000 injured

Minamata Disease W Eugene Smith

Infamous Industrial Disasters

  • Bhopal, India, 1984 (Union Carbide, purchased by Dow in 2001) – 40 tons of methyl isocyanate gas released
    • 7000-10,000 dead within 3 days, 15,000-20,000 more over next 10 years; 150,000-500,000 injured and/or with resulting health problems
    • Persistent water and soil contamination

Infamous Industrial Disasters

  • Bhopal
    • U.S. has refused Indian government extradition request for Warren Anderson
    • Union Carbide settled with Indian government for $470 million in 1989 (victims received $1,500/death, $500/injury)
    • 2012: US Court absolves Union Carbide of liability (decision confirmed by Second Court of Appeals, 2016)

Infamous Industrial Disasters

  • Love Canal:
    • Hooker Electrochemical Company (parent company Occidental Petroleum) dumps over 21,000 tons of chemical waste in 1940s and 1950s
    • Miscarriages, birth defects, cancers
    • Occidental found liable

Infamous Industrial Disasters

  • Leads to Superfund Law
  • Today only seven states prohibit construction of schools on or near hazardous waste sites
    • Half-million children attend schools within ½ mile of toxic waste dumps in NY, NJ, MA< and MI alone

Infamous Industrial Disasters

  • Chernobyl, USSR, 1986 - nuclear power plant explosion
    • 200 times the radiation of Hiroshima + Nagasaki
  • -25-100 died immediately, up to 1,000 injured acutely, NCI estimates 10-75K thyroid cancers (other estimates much lower)
  • - some estimates as high as almost 1 million deaths

Chernobyl

  • Higher risk of neural tube defects and childhood leukemia among those living near nuclear power plants
  • Anxiety a major problem
  • Ukraine still spends 6% of its GDP each year on Chernobyl-related matters

Infamous Industrial Disasters

  • 1989 Alaska, Exxon Valdez - oil spill -wildlife devastated, $5 billion damage
    • Punitive damages overturned by U.S. Supreme Court
    • Renamed “Oriental Nicety,” still sailing
  • 2001 Gulf Oil spill (Retreating Iraqi Army pumped 8 million barrels oil into Persian Gulf to prevent US marines from making landfall)

Infamous Industrial Disasters

  • 2006 BP Alaskan pipeline ruptures
  • 2010 BP Gulf disaster (and Michigan oil spill)
    • Over 4 million barrels escape into Gulf of Mexico
    • By 2016: Legal settlements of almost $30 billion and counting, along with $4 billion to resolve criminal charges
      • But no jail time for anyone from company
  • 2011 Exxon Mobil oil pipeline rupture and spill into Yellowstone River

Oil and Gas Spills

  • 6,000 onshore oil and gas spills in U.S. (2012)
  • At least 16 million gallons of oil, fracking fluid, wastewater, and other fluids released
    • Undercount: some states do not report, excludes spills from interstate pipelines and offshore wells

Oil and Water

  • 1.3 million metric tons of oil enters oceans each year
    • 46% seepage from natural deposits
    • 8% tanker spills
      • Exxon Valdez 38,800 metric tons
      • ABT Summer disaster off southwest coast of Africa (1991) – 260,000 metric tons
    • Remainder = industry, runoff
  • UN phase-out of single-hulled tankers begins 2010

Oil Pollution is Expensive to Clean Up

Oil Slicks Kill Marine Life

Deforestation

  • Forests cover 30% of earth’s land surface area
  • Tropical forests constitute 7% of land surface area, contain > 50% of plant and animal species
  • Majority of tropical forests destroyed

Deforestation

  • Over one acre of world’s forest cut down every second
    • 3 trillion trees on planet
    • 15 billion cut down/yr; 5 billion planted
  • 50% of global wetlands destroyed (54% in U.S.)
    • 100,000 acres lost per year in U.S.

Deforestation

  • Historical -Easter Island (Polynesians), Middle East, U.S. Southwest (Anasazi Indians)
  • Contemporary -Mauritania, Ethiopia, Haiti deforested -Philippines and Thailand are now net importers of forest products, looking at Latin America

Deforestation

  • Indonesia and Malaysia – replacing tropical forests with palm oil plantations
    • Nearly 100,000 fires in SE Asia between 2006 and 2015 (to clear land and secondary to climate change) creating more carbon emissions/yr than the entire U.S.
  • Others - Amazon, B.C., Alaska, Burma, Papua New Guinea, Russian Far East, many other areas

Deforestation: Causes

  • New agricultural settlements (overpopulation, poverty, unsustainable farming practices)
  • Logging
    • Up to 50% of harvested timber worldwide cut illegally (generating between $10 billion/yr and $15 billion/yr in untaxed revenue

Deforestation: Causes

  • Fire suppression and “fuel reduction” (logging in the name of fire protection) disrupt natural forest cycles
  • Oil and gas exploration
    • Drilling in ANWR would drop gas prices 4 cents per gallon, after a 15 year waiting period, and assuming companies sell oil to U.S. consumers


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