Coal and the Curse of Commercialization
By Cher Gilmore
A recent Wall Street Journal editorial crowed "Coal Makes a Comeback," touting the 14.5 percent increase in weekly coal production nationwide in 2017 compared to 2016 and the 58 percent increase in exports during the first quarter alone. That newspaper views the economic growth in coal-producing states like West Virginia, New Mexico and Kentucky stimulated by the current administration's policies as something to celebrate, and the editors conclude that "there's still demand for U.S. coal if regulators allow energy markets to work."
While the increase in coal production and use may be good news for coal companies and the states to which they pay taxes, economic growth is not the only thing to consider when weighing the costs and benefits of an activity. What about the beautiful Appalachian mountain landscapes completely destroyed by "mountaintop removal" and the streams and aquifers filled with toxic mining waste? What about the "black lung" disease suffered by too many miners, and the deaths from collapsed mines? And, perhaps most significantly, what about the fact that coal-burning plants are some of the biggest emitters of the greenhouse gases causing global warming and wreaking havoc on the planet?
These effects of coal production—the ones that affect the daily lives of actual people—are not even considered in the calculation. Why would that be? British author Benjamin Creme said it's because we don't understand the larger purpose of life. "We have replaced our reverence for life with commercialization, a market forces economy and the worship of money. The economy is the new religion of the world, and it is this commercialization that is driving us to the very edge of destruction."
In a world of commercialization, everything becomes a commodity with a price tag. Individuals are seen only as consumers, and those with the biggest bank accounts are able to buy whatever they want. Those who have little get little, and what they do get—including basic necessities like food and water—is often second rate or worse. Corporate and financial interests rank above the needs of human beings and the health of the planet, and unhappy people are either lulled into apathy by 24-hour digital entertainment, or turn to drugs and alcohol to escape from their narrow, unsatisfying lives.
In thrall to market forces, governments compete fiercely with one another, sacrificing the livelihood and well-being of their peoples. The major industrialized countries, making up only a third of the world's population, dominate the global economy and impose their chosen structure—commercialization or "competition" biased in their favor—on the other two-thirds. "This," said Creme, "is economic totalitarianism and must come to an end. It is based on the lie that we all start equal; we do not."
Creme has been the major spokesperson for decades regarding information about the World Teacher for this age: Maitreya. According to Creme, Maitreya is expected to appear at the invitation of the world's media on an international television broadcast when the conditions are right—most likely following the predicted world financial collapse, which will awaken humanity to reality for the first time and open us to hearing Maitreya's advice.
During that broadcast, Maitreya will analyze our present problems and show clearly the consequences of various actions we might take. These revelations will ultimately bring us to an inevitable choice: to continue in our destructive business as usual mode and extinguish all life, or to follow his suggestions for a simpler, saner way of living that will guarantee a happier future for all people.
Maitreya will teach, most basically, the need to share the natural resources of the world, which belong to everyone equally and should not be greedily usurped by the wealthy few. Since this is antithetical to the direction the developed world in particular is moving, in order for Maitreya's central principles—justice, freedom and sharing, for all people on Earth—to be put into practice, the existing social/economic structure will have to be dissolved. The financial collapse will have that effect. In its aftermath, we will begin to know ourselves as brothers and sisters, and with Maitreya's help will come to see that the only way forward is together, in cooperation, for the common good.
When we have come to our senses, we will not choose to "grow our economy" regardless of the burdens it places on ordinary people and the planet. Nor will we choose to promote the burning of coal—which is only today's example of commercialization gone amok—or any other action whose end result is planetary destruction. Benjamin Creme's spiritual Master assures us, "From the ruins of the old, a new civilization will be built by human hands under the inspiration of Maitreya ... Humanity will overcome this time of crisis and enter into a new and better relationship with itself, its planet and its source."
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that 64 high-income nations have joined an effort to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine fairly, prioritizing the most vulnerable citizens, as Science reported. The program is called the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, and it is a joint effort led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Gloria Oladipo
In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.
Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria was likely responsible for more than 300 elephant deaths in Botswana this year, the country's wildlife department announced on Monday.
How Did Cyanobacteria Poison the Elephants?<p>Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Some cyanobacteria produce neurotoxins.</p><p>The cyanobacteria "was growing in pans" or watering holes, the principal veterinary officer of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mmadi Reuben, told reporters.</p><p>Reuben said the deaths had "stopped towards the end of June 2020, coinciding with the drying of pans."</p><p>"However we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only? We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating," added Reuben.</p><p>Similar elephant deaths have also been recorded in neighboring Zimbabwe.</p>
Climate Change to Blame?<p>Not all cyanobacteria are toxic but scientists say varieties dangerous to humans and animals are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.</p><p>Southern Africa's temperatures are rising at twice the global average, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.</p>
Elephant Paradise?<p>Africa's overall elephant population is declining due to poaching. But Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent's elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000.</p><p>Botswana's government said it was continuing studies into the occurrence of the deadly bacteria. In the winter, elephants hydrate themselves mainly by eating roots and bark, especially of the baobab tree.</p>
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By Alexandra Villarreal
As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the U.S. Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.
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The National Hurricane Center has run out of names for tropical storms this year and has now moved on to the Greek alphabet during an extremely active hurricane season. Late Monday night, Tropical Storm Beta became the ninth named storm to make landfall. That's the first time so many named storms have made landfall since 1916, when Woodrow Wilson was president, according to NBC News.
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