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Hurricane Sandy The NATECH Disaster

November 12, 2012

America’s bell has been rung!  I just hope that someone is listening.  For decades, and if you watch the History Channel, possibly hundreds of years, dire warnings have been shouted by prophets, philosophers and scientists.  The human occupants of of planet earth have drifted too far way from reality, and common sense, that their very existence is threatened.

Humans live on a PLANET!  That PLANET is only Sooo big and has only Sooo much resource to accommodate it’s occupants’ comfort and survivability. The highest population concentrations surround coastal areas for economic and commerce reasons.  So, Human Nature has drifted into the path of Mother Nature’s Hurricane and Tsunami freight trains.

Thousands of  those effected by Hurricane Sandy’s multi-faceted disaster remain at risk. Power, shelter, water, food, hygiene and medication are still risky for those effected.  Emergency response times are hampered by disaster conditions and a political environment that considers Federal Assistance, of any kind, is an “Evil Entitlement”.  Federal Assistance should not burden taxpayers or corporations, according to Grover Norquist, the God of the Tea Publican face of giant corporations.  Unfortunately, we can no longer protect ourselves from ourselves with our current diminished educational capacity.  Today’s generation has been crippled by educational omissions.  Not only does our corporate sponsored education system neglect to teach fundamental history and science, but it deliberately omits the science of cause and effect.  The end effect is squandering of America’s ability to survive the future … especially after so many NATECH Disasters.

After Sandy world weighs in on disaster risk reduction

Click here for before and after Aerial Photos of Hurricane Sandy Damage from NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey.

Current global population of over 7 billion is already two to three times higher than the sustainable level. Several recent studies show that Earth’s resources are enough to sustain only about 2 billion people at a European standard of living.

Current World Population  November 12, 2012:  7,078,538,763 and counting

Population growth today – Births today  – 150,037

Deaths today – 64,080

Net population growth today – 85,957

Current projection for global human population growth, without population reducing factors, is:

2011 – 7 billion

2025 – 8 billion

2043 – 9 billion

2083 – 10 billion

Our society’s most revered economic indicators are all based on this fundamental idea: that continuing growth is vital for the health and preservation of our economy and country. In fact, growth is pretty much the only thing they measure!

However, natural scientists (such as biologists, chemists, and physicists) know that this assumption must be false. In order for growth to continue forever, we would need an infinite amount of space, energy, and other resources to keep the growth going… and those resources are not infinite.

After all the dust settles from the three punches that fell on the most populated side of the United States of America, important lessons should be understood by now.  Mother Nature’s wake up call to modern human beings, who have forgotten how to live WITH the earth, has rung the alarm.  Hurricane Sandy, PLUS the Super Cold Front, PLUS the snow heavy Nor’Easter still hampers infrastructure recovery efforts.  The cost of this lesson will be paid back for years in recrimination and inconvenience … or suffering. 

The resulting illness from toxic exposures has not been addressed adequately by the media yet.

Extension Toxicology Network:  When external circumstances (like extreme heat or cold) or internal conditions (disease or poisoning) cannot be adjusted by normal mechanisms, the signs of discomfort and disease appear. The types of physical effects seen or felt (signs and symptoms) depend on the type of stress to which the body has been exposed. Because there are so many complex interrelationships between the systems within the body, a single change in any one system may result in numerous effects in other systems. In addition, the types of response to disease are limited, thus signs and symptoms of disease are often quite similar for different diseases. For example, headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are very common non-specific symptoms of disease, produced by many, many conditions. Because of the generality of most physiological responses to disease, many other methods have been developed to help diagnose the actual causes of disease. These methods include physical, biochemical and immunological techniques upon which modern clinical medicine is based.

A body’s homeostasis can be upset by physical, chemical and/or biological agents which put stress on the body. The body’s reaction to prolonged stress depends on the nature of the agent, the degree of stress, and the duration of stress. When the stress is too strong or too long, and homeostasis cannot be maintained or restored, disease occurs. Poisoning by chemical agents is nothing more than chemically induced disease, and the symptoms of chemical poisoning often are the same as symptoms caused by biological agents such as bacteria or viruses. To better understand how disease is caused by exposure to toxic chemicals, we must first understand how poisons work within the body.

When natural events, such as floods, earthquakes, lightning, landslides etc., affect an industrial facility it could result in an accident with major consequences on the population and/or the natural and built environment, this is called a NATECH disaster.

SENDAI, Japan NATECH Disaster

Definition of  Natech (Natural Hazard Triggering Technological Disasters): … natural disasters can trigger technological disasters (a dynamic also called domino effect), and that these concomitant events (also known as natechs) may pose tremendous risks to countries and communities that are unprepared for such risks. NATECH: A “Natech” accident is a “chemical accident” caused by a natural hazard or a natural disaster. “Chemical accidents” include accidental oil and chemical spills, gas releases, and fire or explosions involving hazardous substances from fixed establishments (e.g. petrochemical, pharmaceutical, pesticide, storage depot), and oil and gas pipelines.

Hurricane Sandy NATECH Disaster

Lessons learned from Katrina as a Natech Disaster Toxic Contamination and  Long-Term Risks for Residents of New Orleans – J. Steven Picou, University of South Alabama.  … both the immediate (3 years) and, most important, long-term (20 years or more) social and health consequences of Katrina must be understood in terms of natech disasters. Natech disasters combine etiological elements of both natural and technological disasters and this conceptual framework forces a recognition of the risks of toxic contamination.

Millions of people without power, food, shelter, drinkable water, transportation and most of all, hygiene for any length of time is a health crisis.  In a weakened and vulnerable state, those effected by any number of these inconveniences with the addition of exposure to undocumented toxins, will remain at risk long after the weather and housing crisis comes under control.

Another Need in the Aftermath of Sandy: Toxic Soup Testing

How many people are still without power and safe drinking water?  How many people are still at risk from breached gas lines that threaten explosions in populated areas?

Looking for all Born Again Thinkers. If Hurricane Sandy, mating with a Big Cold Front in a great East/West Clash does not get your attention, then maybe the visual evidence bombarding our senses will. The operative word is INFRASTRUCTURE. If you don’t know what that means then you are more clueless than your goldfish.

The mechanical and physical mechanism that allows electricity to reach your coffeepot, television and charge your phone or laptop, is the Power Infrastructure.

The mechanical and physical mechanism that brings clean water to your faucet, so you can make coffee and wash your hands is Water Management.

The mechanical and physical mechanism that takes the contents of your toilet away is the Waste Management Infrastructure.

The mechanical and physical mechanism that provides you streets to drive on, sidewalks to walk on, bridges to span water is Transportation Infrastructure.

The mechanical and physical mechanism that provides Fire, Police and Emergency First Responders is part of your Social Safety-net Infrastructure.

All these Infrastructures require maintenance and periodic upgrades.  All these systems are paid for by your local, county, state and federal taxes.  These are mistakenly called “ENTITLEMENTS” and the subject of ridicule by Tea-Publicans.

Our needs are very different, depending on where we live, in one of the many regions that comprise America.  What works for me in a rural suburb to a medium sized city, does not work in a highly populated big city.  Our needs are so different that my system would fail in a metropolitan region.  Today’s politics are trying  their damnedest to convince the voting public that “one size fits all” from rural to metropolitan. That concept is SO off base, that anyone who accept that premise is a ‘clueless goldfish’.  The sad truth is that too many ‘goldfish’ vote.

Oil Spills

Six large oil refineries were located in the hurricane’s path, according to Reuters reports.

Sewage and Chemicals

Raw sewage and other pollutants, including industrial chemicals, poured into New York City waterways as a result of the extensive flooding. Five of New York City’s 14 wastewater treatment plants were located within the mandatory evacuation zone. Many of the plants filled to capacity or flooded, which dumped a mix of sewage and storm water directly into rivers, flooded streets, and buildings. The New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene advised residents to avoid “direct contact” with several waterways, including the Hudson River, East River, New York Harbor, Jamaica Bay, and the Kill Van Kull.

The storm caused “widespread pollution of the Hudson River and New York Harbor by a variety of toxic chemicals, including petroleum and fluids from cars and boats; contaminants from flooded subways, roads, parking lots and tunnels; and contaminants washed from shoreline industrial sites, as well as commercial and residential buildings,” said Riverkeeper, a New York-based clean water advocacy group. “Oil sheens and debris have been observed – everything from 55-gallon drums and quart-sized containers of transmission fluid, to wrecked boats and swamped vehicles with leaking fuel tanks,” the group noted.

Educating Citizens: Local officials should be communicating known health hazards to recovery workers and returning residents through all available means. Health warnings, symptoms to watch for, and steps to take should be disseminated broadly via print and broadcast media. Protective equipment, with instructions on appropriate usage, should also be made available to first responders, clean-up crews, and any residents involved in debris removal and rebuilding.

Dysentery, salmonellosis, cryptosporidium, and hepatitis are among the maladies transmitted by sewage in drinking and bathing water.

The eye opening facts are presented by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in their presentation Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

Types of hard infrastructure

America’s infrastructure crumbling, says American Society of Civil Engineers

… a nation’s infrastructure is a direct reflection of its overall moral, social, economic, and political health. If this is true, then the United States is in some very serious trouble, as the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), America’s oldest national engineering society, has given a near-failing grade to almost every national infrastructure category in its most recent Report Card for America’s Infrastructure.

As far back as 2009 America’s Infrastructure approached crisis.  In 2012, America’s Infrastructure is it’s own disaster and cannot carry the burden of any more stresses.

The most unfortunate circumstance stands in the way of healing America’s situation. … a Tea Publican Congress continues to adhere to Grover Norquist’s “no tax” pledge, while the infrastructure crumbles. From watching the Katrina disaster, the droughts, the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and Nuclear Meltdown, wildfires, and now the triple punch from Hurricane Sandy and it’s family of weather disasters, it would appear that enough information would have been provided to wake up America’s policy makers

It will take not only better application of tax funds, but we will have to pay just a little more to fix the problem. The second most disgusting phenomenon is the promotion by “Big Pharma” and too many religions, to procreate.  Advertisements abound for procreational activities, but seldom addressed is the consequence of adding more humans to an already overcrowded planet.  Over population combined with failing infrastructure, political obstructionism, and religious zeal about “God’s Plan, combined with increased dependence on unnatural materials that humans associate with quality of life, guarantees disaster.

There is an eyeopening study worthy of scrutiny by all policy makers in America and around the world.

Sustainability and Profit: From Trade-Off to Essence – By: | November 8, 2012

Economic paradigms come and go. The seemingly endless debate between neo-liberals and –Keynesians in the past century provides a fascinating account of this. It shows that there must be words in economic debate other than last words – that no matter how certain an insight might seem in a particular instance, it will likely be proved wrong in the myriad combinations of circumstances that history inevitably yields. … One misconception is to think of profit and sustainability in terms of trade-offs and sometimes even as mutually exclusive objectives.  The willingness to sacrifice a fraction of earnings to become more sustainable is ubiquitous, but publicly displayed concerns for sustainability are more often about CSR reports than about meaningful impact. As even the least sustainable companies are claiming to be sustainably conscious, sustainability is becoming more of a buzzword than a credible course of action. As a consequence, companies find it increasingly hard to convince the general public that they are doing more than paying lip service to an abstract ideal of goodness.  … This conception of profit and sustainability is likely to change within the next decade as the link between profitability and sustainability is established through the absence of alternatives.

Sustainability is neither a sacrifice nor a trade-off. As public opinion, regulations and competition advance, it is becoming the essence of profit-making itself and the only competitive advantage that provides a solid foundation for a long run sustainable development. The race for this advantage has already begun, as ever more global players such as Nike, Coca Cola, Walmart and others are realizing its vitality. As long as markets are allowed to work more or less freely, companies that are desperately trying to protect the status quo, are bound to fail. Our economic paradigm is shifting. All business leaders, economists and politicians are invited to adapt..

The human race is living beyond its means.

… almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure.

… the ability of the planet’s ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted.

… human demand for food, fresh water, timber, fibre and fuel, more land has been claimed for agriculture in the last 60 years than in the 18th and 19th centuries combined.

… An estimated 24% of the Earth’s land surface is now cultivated.

… Water withdrawals from lakes and rivers has doubled in the last 40 years. Humans now use between 40% and 50% of all available freshwater running off the land.

… At least a quarter of all fish stocks are overharvested. In some areas, the catch is now less than a hundredth of that before industrial fishing.

… Deforestation and other changes could increase the risks of malaria and cholera, and open the way for new and so far unknown disease to emerge.

Sandy Stirs Toxic-Site Worry.

Fla medical team heads to NYC to help post-Sandy

News Releases and Documentation

Response Efforts

  • As of November 11, 2012: In response to requests from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and municipalities, EPA is providing assistance in assessing drinking water and wastewater facilities across the state.

Flood Water Exposure

Flood waters or standing waters may contain potentially dangerous materials, such as sewage, agricultural runoff, and chemicals from industrial areas. Exposure to flood waters can also cause infections or result in injuries.

Buildings or facilities that have been damaged by or exposed to flood waters may also pose health risks from mold, chemicals, electrical hazards, and displaced animals.

Flood Waters or Standing Waters

Health Risks:  Flood waters and standing waters pose various risks, including infectious diseases, chemical hazards, and injuries.

Infectious Diseases,  Diarrheal Diseases,  Wound Infections,  Chemical Hazards,  Injuries,  Drowning,  Animal and Insect Bites,  Electrical Hazards,  Wounds

Conclusion?  Reality will trump all delusions politicians and clergy have entertained and profited from for hundreds of years.  Numbers don’t lie.  Science has a better grasp of reality than the best advertisers money can buy.  Doomsday Preppers may only enjoy a short victory, because once their supplies run out, what will be left behind is the toxic legacy of a technologically advanced but common sense deprived civilization.  Common sense would have, at least, left something useable behind for survivors to use.

WIKI: Sustainability is the capacity to endure through renewal, maintenance, and sustenance, or nourishment, in contrast to durability, the capacity to endure through unchanging resistance to change. For humans in social systems or ecosystems, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of responsibility, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of stewardship, the responsible management of resource use. In ecology, sustainability describes how biological systems remain diverse, robust, and productive over time, a necessary precondition for the well-being of humans and other organisms.[1] Long-lived and healthy wetlands and forests are examples of sustainable biological systems.

Some group always feels the need to reduce populations somewhere, for their own short term benefit. WAR and resource EXPLOITATION damage people and make the land and water unusable.  We do not have to Squander our remaining resources,  and then waste them and end up with so little that survivors have too little left to live on, especially when we already know Mother Nature’s cycles will become more violent.

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