Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Cost of Empire - Sword and Dollar: excerpt 5

the absence of environmental protections throughout most of the Third World affects the health and welfare of Americans in other ways (along with the well-being of other peoples and the earth's entire ecology) - the chemical toxins and other industrial effusions poured into the world's rivers, oceans, and atmosphere by fast-profit, unrestricted multinational corporations operating in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, and the devastation of Third World lands by mining and timber companies and by agribusiness, are seriously affecting the quality of the air we all breathe, the water we all drink and the food we all eat - ecology knows no national boundaries - the search for cheap farmland to raise cattle induces US companies to cut down rain forests throughout Central America - the nutrient-poor top soil is soon depleted and the land deteriorates from lush jungle into scraggly desert - then the cattle-raisers move on to other forest - the tropical rain forests in Central America and the much vaster ones in the Amazon basis are being destroyed at an alarming rate and may be totally obliterated within the next two decades - over 25 percent of our prescription drugs are derived from rain forest plants - rain forests are the winter home for millions of migratory North American songbirds, of which declining numbers are returning from Central America - many of these birds are essential to pest control.

the dumping of industrial effusions and radioactive wastes also may be killing our oceans - if the oceans die, so do we, since they produce most of the earth's oxygen - over half the world's forests are gone compared to earlier centuries - the forests are nature's main means of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere - today, the carbon dioxide buildup is transforming the chemical composition of the earth's atmosphere, accelerating the "greenhouse effect" by melting the earth's polar ice caps and causing a variety of other climatic destabilization's - while the corporations are free to roam the world and plunder it at will, we are left to suffer the immediate and long-term consequences.

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