Archive for the ‘Big Ag’ Category
May 13, 2011: Steven John Hibbs & Kimberly Jones / The Tonka Report (TTR) – May 13, 2011
May 13, 2011: Kimberly Jones’ Email
I really never know how much news in New Orleans actually gets out of New Orleans.
You might want to do a little of your research magic. The short version of a long story is the Mississippi is about to dump much wrath on Louisiana, mainly between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
The special part of this is the way the Army Corp of Engineers are once again being allowed to play Gods. They know what is headed for us and they know what they have to do to keep New Orleans from being totally destroyed. They opened the Bonnet Carrie spillway on Monday and I was there in person. I have a special relationship with the spillway and I had to watch them turn it into a massive lake. Sad, but necessary.
Now they need to open the Morganza spillway closer to Baton Rouge and the CoE is talking about it being a question. As if there is any question what so ever if they do not open it.
Here is their apparent issue……
The Morganza Spillway was opened for the first and only time in 1973 to relieve pressure from the Old River Control Structure (ORCS).  The spillway received minor scouring and slight damage to the stilling basin. After the 1973 flood, the structure was restored to its original condition.
In 2008, a flood caused portions of the levee at the spillway to deteriorate and sent floodwaters into cropland located within the floodway.
 It is because of this damage to the levées around the spillway and the extent to which the structure itself was undermined by just the ’73 test that the Morganza Spillway has never been opened since, though it would have been useful during several subsequent years to relieve pressure on the Old River Control Structure.
Studies by the Army Corps of Engineers after the test determined that once opened, it would likely never close again, and could be ripped from its footings, allowing the Mississippi River to jump its banks and flow primarily through the Atchafalaya Basin.
While this would leave New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and the Port of New Orleans practically high and dry, the Atchafalaya Basin would become the the main artery of the Mississippi River below Morganza and several cities along the bucolic Atchafalaya River would be flooded and a new delta would begin forming immediately. The failure of the Morganza structure would be disastrous beyond imagination for the residents of south Louisiana and international commerce.
I can speak volumes on what is going on but I know you like to see for yourself.
Here is our most recent “update”:
I am attaching the latest “worst case scenario” map showing us under 40 ft of water and I am going to send you another pic in a sep email.
May 13, 2011: David Usborne, US Editor / The Independent – May 13, 2011
The flood is expected to crest next Thursday at Vicksburg, where the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers meet, at a level easily higher than in the Great Flood of 1927…
The bursting Mississippi was threatening last night to submerge still more farmland, homes and even towns as an enormous swell of water fed by spring rains and snow-melt forged its way to the Gulf of Mexico, unleashing some of the worst flooding since the Great Depression.
While some towns already soaked by the river’s wrath further to the north – including Memphis in Tennessee and Cairo in Illinois – were yesterday beginning the task of cleaning up as water levels begin to fall, the worst is still to come for low-lying areas of the Mississippi Delta and Louisiana.
In Louisiana, which has in recent years suffered Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, engineers were getting ready to begin gradually opening sluices on the giant Morganza Spillway just north of the state capital, Baton Rouge. The 5,000ft span of gates has been opened only once before in history.
It is not a decision that will be taken lightly, however. While diverting some of the river’s fury through the gates means lowering the risk that levees will be overtopped in Baton Rouge and further downriver in New Orleans, it will mean deliberately flooding vast areas of the state west of the river and close to the coast.
With the first gates likely to be opened at the weekend or early next week, entire cities may be forced to evacuate in the path of the escaping water, including Houma, where the BP clean-up and spill-response teams are housed, and Morgan City. As many as 13,000 buildings, 25,000 people and 3 million acres of land are likely to be impacted, the authorities said.
The situation across parts of the Mississippi Delta was already dire last night, with as many as 600 homes already touched or swamped by muddy water filled with debris and snakes. Residents were on high alert in the city of Vicksburg, where the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers merge. The flood is expected to crest there next Thursday at a level easily higher than was seen in the so-called Great Flood of 1927.
At Natchez, Mississippi, a little further downstream, the high-water mark stood yesterday at 58.3ft. That was already higher than the 53.04ft mark set in 1937, another year of historic flooding along the river.
Residents have already abandoned their homes in the town of Tunica Cutoff, Mississippi, which last night was entirely cut off leading some in the area to predict it would be swept off the map entirely. “We don’t know from day to day,” said Lee Sherwin, 77, who fled Tunica Cutoff and is in a Red Cross shelter. “We don’t know if we are going to want to go back or even if we can go back. I’ve never in my life run into a situation like this, but we are living with it day by day.”
Already some economists are warning that this year’s spring floods are likely to cause damage worth between $2bn and $4bn. “Crop loss estimates are definitely around $800m for Mississippi alone,” said John Michael Riley, an economics professor at Mississippi State University. The Great Flood of 1927 was estimated to have cost the US about $230m, the equivalent of $2.8bn today.
The final toll will not be known until the crest finally reaches the Mississippi’s mouth in just under two weeks. And much will depend on what happens at the Morganza Spillway and also how well levees and flood-protection walls elsewhere hold up.
There was concern about levees protecting low-lying communities on the Yazoo close to Vicksburg. Were they to fail, a wall of water could inundate large areas of the Mississippi Delta, already one of the most impoverished regions of the United States. Hailey Barbour, the Governor of Mississippi, urged anyone who thought their home might be at risk to get out as fast as possible. “More than anything else, save your life and don’t put at risk other people who might have to come in and save your lives,” he said.
Governor Barbour also raised concern about the small numbers of families in the region who have neither phones nor electricity. “They are a tiny number but we must find them,” he said.
Cotton-picking and other farms still provide most of the employment in the Delta. Nine of the 11 counties that touch the Mississippi River in the state have poverty rates at least double the national average of 13.5 per cent, according to the US Census Bureau.
While no formal decision had been made on opening sluice-gates at the Morganza Spillway, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana said that people should assume that that would happen and anyone living in the path of the water once it was unleashed should evacuate the area as soon as possible.
Thousands Fleeing In Advance Of Spillway Opening
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Kudos to Kim in New Orleans for the update. Read more below… - SJH
New Orleans Could Be Under 40 Feet Of Water
Link to The Independent article below…
Link to original article below…
April 11, 2011: Rady Ananda, Contributing Writer / Activist Post - April 10, 2011
And now we added radiation that is raining down on the entire planet’s eco-system… - SJH
While industries continue to pollute the planet with their toxic chemicals, toxic waste and toxic spills, Earth’s pollinators sing a swan song that leaves no doubt as to the folly of modern civilization.
Our ability to hear and appropriately respond to the crisis of declining pollinators will determine humanity’s survival.
“In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist, philosopher and social innovator, predicted that in 80 to 100 years honeybees would collapse.” – Queen of the Sun
Steiner believed the industrialization of bees would lead to their demise. It looks like he was right. In the past two decades, the United States has lost 100-300 billion bees, and the problem has spread to Europe and beyond. But several factors above industrialized beekeeping operations contribute to this massive die-off.
Pollinators are further sickened by lack of a diverse diet from the tens of millions of monoculture acres. By ingesting genetically modified crops, pollinators also ingest GM microbes, to their detriment. By and far, though, agrochemicals contribute most to pollinator decimation. In a last ditch effort to save the hive, some bees seal off hive cells that contain inordinate amounts of pesticide. But even these hives eventually die.
Bolstering industry’s multi-factor assault on nature, the ubiquitous communications industry adds electromagnetic pollution, causing bees (and birds) to lose their ability to navigate. Taking advantage of weakened, disoriented bees, exotic pathogens like the Varroa mite, imported via globalized trade, suck the remaining life out of them. And, so, we see the collapse of the honeybee and North American bats.
Much of this we learn in Taggart Siegel’s part philosophical love story, part documentary, Queen of the Sun: What are the bees telling us? Theatrically released on March 25, the award-winning film is further supported by a newly released report from the United Nations Environment Programme, Global Bee Colony Disorders and other Threats to Insect Pollinators.
A sure way to collapse an ecosystem is to decimate a keystone species – one from which the entire localized web of life radiates. Pollinators contribute nearly ten percent to the global food economy, or about $218 billion USD (€153 billion) a year. Of the 100 or so crop species that provide 90% of the world’s food, bees pollinate 71 of them, according to UNEP’s report. Among the 20,000 known bee species worldwide, the honeybee, Apis mellifera, is most important, contributing between $33 and $82 billion annually (€22.8 to €57 billion).
So while we are witnessing the planet’s sixth extinction spasm (popularly detailed in Ed Wilson’s The Diversity of Life), it is the bee that garners our deserved attention.
“Bees are the legs of plants,” Michael Pollan explains in Queen of the Sun. They co-evolved so that the sessile organism feeds the aerial one in exchange for propagation. That mutualism supports much of life today. Without pollinators, crops will collapse. As crops collapse, myriads of species, including humans, will starve.
When pollinators go, so will flowering plants. The chain reaction collapse can easily then lead to the end of the Age of Mammals. This would be similar to the end of the Age of Dinosaurs some 65 million years ago. The “terrible lizards” will have outlasted us by 100 million years. Only about half of all species survived that last extinction spasm – notably alligators and crocodiles. But human survival is hardly guaranteed if 40% of our food sources vanish. While gators and crocs can go a year or more without eating – and this survival mechanism vastly contributes to the species’ longevity – humans cannot.
The UNEP report lists eight reasons for colony collapse disorder: Habitat destruction, invasive species (like the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor), air pollution, electromagnetic pollution, pesticides and other chemical pollution, industrial transport (where a million bees die each year), colony splitting, and diet. The report does not mention genetically engineered crops as a contributing factor to bee decline, but does attack monocultures:
“It is increasingly difficult for pollinators to obtain sufficient pollen sources for all their essential amino acids. Consequently, this can weaken the insects’ immune system, making them more vulnerable to various pathogens.”
In Queen of the Sun, several speakers have no doubt. When plants are genetically altered (via a crude gun method), the process is so unreliable that only one out of thousands of cells transmutes. Dr Vandana Shiva explains that, because of this, antibiotic resistant genes and viral promoters have to be added. “Every genetically engineered seed is a bundle of bacteria, toxins, and viral promoters.”
These GM bacteria, toxins, and viral promoters are transferred into our gut (and that of bees), where they continue to function within the host. Only now, we’re the host. The bee is the host. And bees aren’t doing so well. Science has shown that high fructose corn syrup, a GM product fed to bees, inhibits genetic expression of immunity and detox functions.
Queen of the Sun highlights the delicate balance among the various members of an ecosystem, making the point that genetic integrity is required for the system to work. In order for the bee (or the flowering plant) to be the best at what it does, its DNA must remain intact.
Both the film and the UNEP report leave no doubt that the collapse of pollinators is the most urgent problem facing humanity today. Both make several suggestions to agribusiness and individuals, including: Stop (or greatly slow) the use of pesticides, grow bee friendly crops, buy organic, provide habitat and fresh water, and become a sustainable beekeeper. The UNEP report notes that pollinator conservation efforts should also plan nursery habitats, since the requirements of larval stages differ from winged adults.
Given that bee and bat decline is most severe in the United States, which has the longest history of deploying GM crops and which uses more agrochemicals than any other nation, the culprit seems pretty obvious. The top six agrochemical companies, Syngenta, Bayer CropScience, BASF, Monsanto, Dow Agrosciences, and DuPont, also spread genetically modified crops.
Pollinators are keeping score of the corporate war on nature. They are telling us that pesticides, biotechnology, and cell phones are winning. The tragedy is that when pollinators go, so will flowering plants and, likely, the Age of Mammals.
Queen of the Sun: What Are The Bees Telling Us? – Trailer
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: “The happiness of the bee and the dolphin is to exist. For man it is to know that and to wonder at it.” - Jacques Yves Cousteau
Link to original article below…