Canada Engages in Massive Climate Modification Program
According to an article published on Tuesday, October 16, the Canadians – once North America’s environmental stewards – have launched what is being called “the world’s most significant geoengineering project to date.”
It consists of dumping iron sulfate into the Pacific Ocean. The project is a cooperative venture between Russ George and a First Nation’s village on Haida Gwaii, (literally “Islands of the People”) on the North Coast of British Columbia.
The only thing more disturbing than Canada’s environmental about-face – pushed through by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during former President George W. Bush’s second term – is the fact that indigenous Canadian natives are involved in this experiment. It’s as though the heroes in the film “Avatar” were the miners and not the Na’vi.
Still, the iron sulfate dump probably isn’t as surprising as it would have been if Harper and Bush (“gw” for short) hadn’t instantly bonded over conservative right-wing environmental and social policies like long-lost twins.
The experiment, which has produced the intended result – an artificial plankton bloom – is in clear violation of United Nation’s (UN’s) moratoria. However, it is unlikely that the international organization will levy fines or censure Canada, especially if the 100-square- kilometer bloom (6,214 square miles) performs as intended, absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide and then sinking to the bottom of the ocean in imitation of nature’s own carbon sequestration techniques.
George, a California businessman, has owned (or owns) an uncommonly long list of businesses: Clustron Science Corp, Cold Fusion Future, D2Fusion, Diatom, E-Quest Technologies, Planktos, and Saturna Technologies, as well as a stint in the CEO spot at failed Planktos Inc. – make of that what you will. Bottom line, if the experiment succeeds, he intends to market the results to acquire some very profitable carbon credits.
And if it fails? Well, no one is talking about that, because it might be several decades before this disturbance of the natural order becomes apparent. Though when it does, expect the unexpected (knowing the history of the Gypsy moth, I’m expecting something extravagantly awful. Trouble is, George will be publicly embarrassed but too rich to care, and the local First Nation’s Council (who threw $1 million of their own money in the kitty) will be outraged and possibly bankrupt. Some scientists have even warned that extensive seeding could tip the climactic balance and produce another ice age.
Post Planktos activity, George’s ships have been forbidden to dock at Spanish and Ecuadorean ports. Nor is he allowed to fly the United States flag to legitimize his activities, especially as the UN prohibition against George’s ocean seeding projects was what initiated the moratorium in the first place.
George would do well to heed the words of oceanographer John Cullen of Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada. According to Cullen:
“History is full of examples of ecological manipulations that backfired.”
A case in point would be that gypsy moth I mentioned. Brought to the U.S. in 1869 to pinch hit for the slower and lazier silkworm, the species has spread across the entire nation. Some of the worst instances are along the Atlantic Coast and in Wisconsin, where entire acres of dying, deciduous trees wear white mantles of cocoons in spring.
Moreover, as you and I and a million other Americans are beginning to understand, the problem of carbon dioxide (CO2) and climate change has to be attacked at the grassroots level. Giant geoengineering projects merely slow the inevitable consequences of America’s former “shop ‘til you drop” mentality. Fortunately, that mindset was largely reversed in the wake of the recent recession, and instances of frugal, thoughtful Americana are now popping up everywhere, from tiny, energy-thrifty homes to sustainable goods and services like low-flow showerheads, green cleaning supplies, and low-energy, high output LED lights (sustainable being defined as the kind of lifestyle which insures that our children, and their children – will be able to attain the same standard of living as we have achieved).
In a world of shrinking resources, where no generation will be more prosperous than those who lived during last twenty or thirty years in the U.S or the European Union (EU), sustainability demands that we cut back. Or, as the Chinese say, “Siao sin (make your hearts small).”