Wednesday, December 07, 2005


During WW2 there was frequent oil spills polluting San Francisco Bay caused by damaged ships limping into the harbor. My brother’s dog brought home ducks that he found along the shore. The ducks were disabled by a coat of oil but otherwise unharmed. The action of the tides cleaned up the beaches in two weeks or so, as I recall.

In the 60’s, during one of my extended visits to the city, a Standard Oil tanker had sprung a leak. The city was up in arms about the resultant pollution. Standard Oil agreed to clean up the beaches and to pay for the care of rescued birds.

Two months after the beaches were set straight, Standard Oil was still paying for rescued birds. How much? About $100 dollars per bird still being cared for.

Now, I was a flaming liberal at the time and into politics but I could still recognize a rip-off. I asked a series of questions of the right people and Standard Oil was off the hook. The payments stopped the next day.

The care-givers, a group of volunteers, were incensed. I don’t blame them. They had a good thing going.

That experience, among others, has left me skeptical about any environmental movement. Of course some are completely worthwhile. But at the heart of all of them are people making a living off of the movement.

Global warming is no exception.

Almost every newspaper article about global warming will start with the premise that it is an accepted fact. Contrary facts, findings, opinions, or views will all be ignored.

Also ignored is the finding that if untold trillions of dollars were spent in the coming 100 years to combat global warming, the benefit “might” be a single degree centigrade. In other words, we are virtually powerless to control our environment.

Now some research is predicting a coming ice age. You can read about it *here* and *here*.

Forgive me if I don’t panic.

IN A RELATED STORY: According to Khaleej Times Online Teheran has closed down schools and traffic because of severe pollution. Read about it *here*.

That brings back a memory.

I worked near the Kurdish village of Nagadeb (or Nagadeh, I have seen it spelled both ways) in northwest Iran. There were no trees within miles. The only fuel for fires was dried buffalo chips.

This little village was surrounded by hills so it was located in the bottom of a bowl. In the morning every hut had its buffalo chip fire burning. There was seldom a breeze in the morning.

The smoke seemed to rise to maybe 50 feet and then just hang there. Seen from above, the memory of all the smoke has stayed with me. As has the smell.


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