September 16, 2010
Love Canal in winter
When the cataclysm hits and everything in your ‘hood burns to charcoal, a whole lot of what burns will be plastic. The bad news is that many types of plastics, when they burn, they release a whole lot of something called “dioxins.”
The American Chemistry Council explains that
The term “dioxin” refers to a large family of compounds that includes 17 compounds of particular interest because it is thought that these compounds have similar mechanisms of toxicity.
The World Health Organization describes the health risks of dioxins this way:
Dioxins are environmental pollutants. They have the dubious distinction of belonging to the “dirty dozen” – a group of dangerous chemicals known as persistent organic pollutants. Dioxins are of concern because of their highly toxic potential. Experiments have shown they affect a number of organs and systems.
Dioxins made up just some of the many chemicals buried by the Hooker Chemical and Plastics Corporation over a number of years in the Love Canal in upstate New York. Leaks from those chemicals caused significant health problems for local residents, eventually becoming one of the most notorious environmental disasters in the US.
Cigarette smoke contains dioxins, but not nearly enough to prepare you for the cataclysm.
To survive the cataclysm, get your lungs ready to breathe some seriously dioxin-laced smoke.
March 8, 2009
They’re the government, and they’re here to help:
photo by jjsala
March 5, 2009
A worried reader recently asked me, Exactly how do you define “cataclysm?” How will I know one when I see one?
Good question. You don’t want to pull out your cataclysm kit and run for the hills if you only have a disaster on your hands, not a full-fledged cataclysm.
It may help to think of a cataclysm as part of a continuum of troubles that runs from everyday trials and tribulations to an outright nobody-but-the cockroaches-survive apocalypse.
In between, you have your misadventure, disaster and your cataclysm.
Think of it in terms of survival. Most people will survive their tribulations (bad hair day) and the ordinary misadventure (US Air Flight 1549). In this day and age most people even survive a disaster. A cataclysm, not so much.
But the best-stocked cataclysm survival kit won’t help you in the case of the apocalypse.
Next time something bad befalls you, or you read about some crisis or other in the news, try to place it on this continuum. As you do it more and more, you’ll start to get the hang of things.
When the cataclysm comes, you’ll recognize it for what it is. You’ll be fit and ready with your skills and stockpiles while everyone else is still twittering on about their very bad day.
February 7, 2009
When the cataclysm hits and marauding bands of your unprepared neighbors tear through the ‘hood looking for a bite to eat and some fresh water, your ability to stand out in a crowd will be definite disadvantage.
Note how this wily crayon cleverly blends into its surroundings
You’ve cultivated your own personal style and developed strategies to draw attention to how you are completely unique in the world. That’s the American way, after all – rugged individualism in the search engine optimized era.
After the global climate change cataclysm, though, you won’t want to show up on your hungry neighbors’ armed analog equivalent of a Google search for “local food.”
To the contrary, you’ll want to blend in and not be noticed. You’ll want people to pass you right by without seeing your well-stocked cataclysm kit.
Get started now. Start taking note of those background people in your life. You know – the invisible ones you don’t usually see. Study their habits of dress, behavior and driving habits. They have a lot to teach, and you have a lot of bad habits to lose if you’re going to go unnoticed and survive after the cataclysm.
Crayon photo by EJP. Click to see more camoflaged crayons.
January 31, 2009
WordPress won’t let me embed this very cool video on feedback loops and climate change, so you’ll have to click over to see it. I recommend it highly:
Wake Up, Freak Out – then Get a Grip
by Leo Murray
It’s much, much later than you think.
Read more here.
December 29, 2008
Hurricanes and cyclones killed nearly 85,000 people this year
More than 220,000 people died in 2008 as a result of natural disasters, making it one of the deadliest and costliest disaster years in history. This was also the 10th warmest year since records began in 1850.
If you won’t listen to me when I tell you to get ready for the coming global climate change cataclysm, will you at least listen to your insurance company?
The world’s second largest insurer, Munich Re, blames climate change for the disasters. They’ve compiled this list of the Top 10 Natural Catastrophes for the year.
With billions of dollars worth of losses on the line, Munich Re is preparing for the cataclysm both within their business and in the global political debate:
“We – as a company – press for effective and binding rules on CO2 emissions, so that climate change is curbed and future generations do not have to live with weather scenarios that are difficult to control.”
They’ll do it for money. Will do it to save your life?