Environment and Social Justice Post of the Day

I’ve run across an interesting article on the effects of air pollution in the United States. They’ve got nice maps that can be enlarged. The one about acid rain is interesting. The worst affected area of course is the eastern seaboard area of the U.S.

And what causes the increased mercury, nitrogen and other counts to go up? It’s pollution blowing in from the west. Yes that’s right, from the west. There are still a hell of a lot of coal plants in the midwest and all that soot, mercury and gunk blows along with the jet stream to cause acid rain on the eastern seaboard. So while the Pacific ocean gets filled with garbage, the Atlantic will be so acidified that nothing can live there. Remember the movie Soylent Green? You know why they had to resort to the methods necessary to produce Soylent Green was because the oceans were dead.

We won’t even talk about carbon dioxide. But I will say that we could reduce the mercury and soot from midwest power plants if we forced them to put scrubbers on the smoke stacks. But because they’re owned by big utility companies, they’ll lobby mightily to either obtain a waiver or to make the ratepayers pay the costs of doing what they should have done in the first place.

On the social justice side, Mother Jones Journal is doing a very interesting series called “Slammed: The Coming Prison Melt Down”. Read all the parts since they cover various facets of the issue.

I like the solution that Kansas uses. In essence they realize the problem requires people to give a shit about the released prisoners. Just kicking them to the street and expecting them to clean up their own drug issues, while trying to find a job and housing is just too much.

And consider that in my state, many serving time are in for drug offenses. I don’t want the hard stuff being legalized per se, but lots of those people are serving time for marijuana possession and delivery. At least decriminalize and legalize pot, it’s no worse than alcohol, in fact you can kill yourself if you OD on alcohol but you can never smoke enough pot to overdose.

We lock up far too many people in the United States. We are the leader when it comes to incarceration. It’s because of the stupidity of the drug laws for the most part. But I realize if we decriminalize pot that would mean an attendant reduction in the number of law enforcement officers, corrections officers, and DEA folks. And there is just too much power behind those groups to ever think we’ll see anything legalized, hell we’ll see more things become crimes until the day we’re two classes of people, the guards and the prisoners.

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