Usually when talking about the environment, we tend to mean only our earthly ecosphere. For some reason, including our immediate space outside of our upper atmosphere is the last thing on our mind. That’s really too bad, because we’ve been treating it like a garbage disposal and now we’re seeing, more and more, the dangers of just dumping things up above the mantle of ether.
So what’s up there? Dead satellites, things broken off from launches and the space station. They collide and make smaller pieces.
Why does it matter? When I was a little girl there was no belt of debris left by humans circling the earth. I say belt, when in fact, it is a net around the entire globe. There are a couple problems with this: the pieces fall to earth, most burning up in the sky as they’re too small to be of much concern. But, the pollutants of that burn affect the upper atmosphere. Second, the debris field is a danger to expensive satellite equipment and the space station, not to mention launches of spacecraft. Imagine if you will, the space shuttle cruising up and SMACK it hits a dead satellite, or giant drum of discarded tech. The space shuttles might seem like tough little bulldozers, but they’re fragile. The explosion of one was caused by missing or damaged tile. So, it’s reentry would be impossible until that was fixed, if it could be fixed up there.
There is some concern that the larger pieces of debris could cause loss of life or damage to property as it wouldn’t be destroyed per se upon reentry. Add to that the possibility that most of it just dumps in the oceans. Okay, fine. It missed people and people things. That said, whatever materials they’re made with will now leech into the waters of the oceans adding to the already huge pollution problem we have there–which affects people things and people.
Since our ecosystem is interconnected in ways we are really only beginning to understand, the space debris poses a conundrum. NASA and other agencies have already begun making policy surrounding the elimination of the junk. Like we learned about EXXON last month, we can take that as a message of how serious of a problem we’re facing.
To learn more about the massive web of space junk surrounding our planet, check out these articles about a large piece of debris that fell this month.
The sun and moon’s disruptive presence appears to have kicked WT1190F onto a path that will lead the piece of space debris to self-destruct in Earth’s atmosphere
A piece of space junk will fall back to Earth next month, giving researchers a chance to study how incoming objects behave when they hit the planet’s
Unfortunately things aren’t getting any better. Humans remain a terrible dichotomy. Be warned the image below depicting the story is pretty graphic, if you have a heart at all.
How humans can be at once both cruel and so heroic is something that has always troubled me. The duel issue of palm oil farming for gross profits and a disregard for animal life are themes that pervade our history. There are those who rush to the rescue of others (human and non-human alike) and those who exploit. Both sides feel an unquestionable right to behave in the manner that they do, whether they use religion or the teachings of writers like the hypocrite Ayn Rand. Still, in the midst of that constant tugging, we’re sliding toward ruin. The balance is not in the favor of the altruists—not yet anyway. The balances, however, always swing to the opposite direction at some point. That is a law of physics, and it seems to extend to other aspects of reality.
The good news about this tragic story, the mother and baby orangutan are expected to make a full physical recovery. Who knows what psychological scars have been impinged upon their brains. As we continue to learn, the psyches of animals are just as complex as our own. The work of Irene Pepperberg and her parrots are at the fore of this research, and an example can be found in the rescue of the Michael Vick pit bulls.
So what does this have to do with the environment? Check out the article and please pay special attention to the Palm Oil Plantations mentioned, because they’re to blame for the plight of the orangutan, the declining conditions in Borneo and the fires. Did you know that your favorite peanut butter and chocolates contain this oil?
In other sectors, it looks like The Story of Stuff Project, after completing a film to expose the business practices of Nestle Corp, will now be moving to sue the company. ” The lawsuit is over the extraction of groundwater in California as Nestlé has been doing, illegally, for its arrowhead brand.”
Read more about that here, and consider throwing them some support by talking about the issue and sharing with friends.
And to follow up on last month….some exciting news from Sea World to lift your spirits back up.
The killer whale shows at SeaWorld San Diego will be phased out of the park as early as next year, SeaWorld Entertainment’s CEO announced during the company’s investors meeting Monday.