Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mine Spill in B.C. Threatens MORE than Just Salmon

Screenshot: cbcnews Video: Mine spill threatens salmon run
“Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill.”

In our recent article, What Role can Ecosystems Play in Changing Education Paradigms?, we proposed the phrase “survival of the most fitting” as a more enlightened revision of the classical Darwinian axiom, “survival of the fittest.”

If Genesis is correct, and the natural world operates from the viewpoint of collective harmony and symbiosis—ecosystems—and not a collection of individuals struggling for survival, then THIS HUMANITY IS IN BIG TROUBLE.

The latest in our seemingly inexhaustible capacity to wreak havoc on the natural world comes in the form of a toxic spill of a mining operations’ tailings pond in British Columbia.

This waste water is filled with unnaturally concentrated levels of highly toxic / carcinogenic heavy metals and environmentally harmful elements which are a by-product of fracking: the process by which water is pumped into the ground under high pressure in order to release the desired resources from said rock.

Image: How hydraulic fracking works. 
Credit: Reuters. 

Well that’s all well and good, except that the waste water is collected in tailings ponds and used over and over, with heavy metals and other elements accumulating in dangerous concentrations in what amounts to toxic sludge at the bottom of the ponds.

These ponds are often located near natural lakes and streams—sometimes crucial waterways, was the case in Mount Polley Mine. The close proximity of the tailings pond to both Polley Lake and Boot Jack Lake can be seen below.

Image: Mount Polley Mine: Pits and Infrastructure

Well that’s all well and good, until a breach in the tailings facility infrastructure caused a massive spill of the toxic tailings sludge into Polley Lake, a crucial spawning ground for Pacific Salmon, and which drains down along a tributary into the Fraser River—British Columbia’s premiere waterway.

Image: Aerial footage taken on Aug. 4, 2014, shows a breach of the dam of the Mount Polley Mine tailings pond, which spilled toxic waste water into neighbouring Hazeltine Creek and Polley Lake (top). (Cariboo Regional District) 

The impact on the salmon aside, what we really need to do as a species is ask a critical question:


To come back to our phraseology, how long before the law of survival of the most fitting rules against this humanity, and decides that we simply do not fit anymore, and it’s time for us to go!?

Or perhaps this process is already underway.

In terms of the lifespan of a planet, measured in billions of years, it doesn’t exactly function on a timescale we can comprehend. Therefore, if an ecosystem is a superorganism then a planet can be considered a megaorgansim. As such, the time it takes a megaorganism to sneeze may be measured in decades if not centuries

So, do we just carry on carrying on? Or do we at least make an effort to try to comprehend what it means to cohabit and coexist with other life on this planet in collective harmony and symbiosis? Do we at least make an effort to comprehend where we went wrong, and what it means to be a part of the ecosystem, not “above it.”

We are not above it. It is above us. And unless we make conscious efforts now to demonstrate our respect for the megaorganism of the Earth, it’s interconnected systems of superorganisms (ecosystems), built on harmonic symbiosis of communities of organisms, we are going to be deemed foreign invaders…a carconigenic species which must be eliminated sooner rather than later.

This is not conjecture. This is a scientific fact.

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