In this 2009 film, director Chris Smith documents an extensive interview with author Michael Ruppert. It’s relevance is particularly poignant given the timing of the film. After the economic crisis in late 2008, Michael Ruppert says “I told you so”. Ruppert identifies himself as an investigative journalist and advocate for sustainable living, Smith makes sure the audience is aware of claims that he is a conspiracy theorist. The interview highlights Ruppert’s career and his success in connecting the dots between oil industries, other energy options, and the crumbled economy. He claims that the way back down the bell curve for the human population is inevitable, and that it has been and can further be foreseen. From an environmental perspective, the film feels like a trustworthy source of the information it provides, Ruppert explains the human population’s complete drain and dependence on oil, and dissects the problems with all other known sources of alternative energy. The subject is clear to note that he has been targeted by people who did not want the news he carries to be known, and that these people include but are not limited to former vice president Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. Smith, using only style or maybe technique, seems to ask the audience to question Ruppert’s validity. The documentary closes noting that Ruppert’s personal and financial life are dim. If one were to dig into the subject of this piece, it might be interesting to look at who Ruppert’s followers have been, and who his predecessors might be.
Smith, C. (Director). (2009). Collapse [Documentary]. United States: Vitagraph Films
The Environmental Protection Agency maintains a comprehensive website, and the options within are detailed and informative. While browsing around, one might, within a few clicks find themselves learning about the most responsible ways to dispose of prescription medications. It’s also an option to click on the state where you live, and gain detailed information about where their drinking water comes from and any concerns that might be prudent. Close to Earth Day? Find out about the history and customs surrounding Earth Day easily on this site. One may be concerned about rates of asthma, from a family perspective or from the perspective of someone involved with public health. Learn about indoor air cleanliness or focus on child friendly information. News and announcements about laws, policies, or recent disasters are also available. Or perhaps it’s necessary to calculate total household emissions or to calculate global footprint. If something in one’s community needs to be reported to authorities, if there is frustration about a possible violation of EPA regulations, options to report these can be found on this website. The other side of that coin is that all of the information provided on the site is coming from the government really, so for the environmentalist who has trouble trusting authorities, this website would be problematic. For anyone wanting to stay updated on legislations regarding environmental policy, this site is easy to navigate and extremely helpful. One would imagine this site is regularly visited by environmental activists or legislative lobbyists. The site seems necessary as the government’s environmental voice.
US Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). US Environmental Protection Agency. Retrieved April 28, 2012, from http://www.epa.gov
Article 1: How Factory Farms Are Killing Seals
Mother Jones exposes long range effects of heavy antibiotic use on livestock in this 2012 article. Upon autopsy of more than fifteen hundred seals in the Pacific Northwest over ten years, researchers discovered that more than thirty percent of them were killed by or were carrying infectious disease. Seals were even found to be carrying disease resistant to drug treatment, including E-coli. What the article suggests is that there is evidence leading to the conclusion that these large marine animals are falling victim to strains of infectious disease that absolutely originate with livestock inland. The idea is that through stream systems or rivers, disease is carried from the waste of animals heavily treated with antibiotics for frequent virus and infection, to the ocean where it is affecting the health of marine life. Confinement lots are well known to be hotbeds for infectious disease, and there are also theories that suggest a connection between the meat we eat and antibiotic resistance in humans. Those interested in this article would be anyone concerned about that, this article supports evidence that you can’t pump animals destined for consumption full of medicine and expect the effects to be confined to that particular lot. What is so concerning about the evidence presented in this article is the implication that there are no borders when it comes to these diseases. Pathogens and bacteria can jump species and location easily, making it all the more scary that humans a regularly in the same places that seals are in beach areas. The author makes a point of noting this fact as being pretty gross. There are long reaching effects, and this article creates a curiosity for more information about them.
Philpott, T. (2012, February 24). How Factory Farms Are Killing Seals. Mother Jones, n/a. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2012/02/how-factory-farms-are-killing-seals
Article 2: Sperm Whales Bear Testimony to Ocean Pollution
Studies are being reported that produce evidence suggesting that ocean life all over the world are in significant danger because of completely human created pollutants. DDT and PCBs are the most commonly found persistent organic pollutants, or POPs. Crews crossing the world’s oceans sampled sperm whales by carefully obtaining small pieces of their flesh without endangering them. Sperm whales hold a place in the ocean’s food chain make which makes their tissue a good indicator of the ocean’s health and the health of the ocean’s inhabitants, overall. Researchers also found elevated levels of mercury in sperm whales in specific areas of the globe. The implication of some of this research is that chemicals that are known to harm living things are limited very little in their ability to maneuver around the globe and from continent to continent, effecting animals on land and in the sea, large and small. This article is effective but too brief. There isn’t enough meat in the writing to pull out objections or arguments. It would be interesting to have something more extensive to read on the issue.
Ferber, D. (2005). Sperm Whales Bear Testimony to Ocean Pollution. Science Now, 2-3.
Article 3: Fast Food.
One of the most frightening elements of peak oil as we know it is the degree to which we are all dependent on oil. Oil doesn’t just fuel things but is also the base of many plastics, so in terms of a vehicle there is much more oil involved than just what goes into the engine including the paint, interiors fabrics and plastic moldings. This article reports that in England, someone has created the greenest car ever. The car is actually a race-car, and at the time of the article had hit 135mph, but was projected to be able to reach 160mph with some work. Not only does the vehicle run on left over cooking oil from fish and chips, but the brake pads were created not from iron but from cashew shells. Inside the car, the steering wheel was produced by a hardened vegetable resin. Since this article is three years old, there should be information on what came after this! Have there been more of these? Whether there have or haven’t been more completely green race-cars, it would be prudent to know what the energy input is in producing the vehicle, and how much oil was necessary.
Rdsenwald, M. (2009). FAST FOOD. Popular Science, 275(2), 28.