Archive for April, 2012

What obscene acts is this man doing to keep his job as a journalist?

April 4, 2012

Jake Nho has an article up at the Korea Times and it is a doozy, even for the Times.

Here is part of his bio: He has written numerous articles on various environmental issues for over 20 years.

It appears the article is one of a series (currently up to 16) on “Earth in Danger”.  Now I see I need to read more of these articles – for entertainment value if nothing else.

Now, lets look at a few excerpts from the article with my commentary added.  I have quoted Nho in Orange and my research in blue.  I hope it is not too garish and felt the variety of color would better differentiate the different voices.

His article is titled: “Does the Earth really need our protection?” and he starts by discussing the alarm over damage to the ozone layer:

It sounded as if everyone was going to die of skin cancer because the ozone layer was no longer going to be there to protect us. Do we talk about the ozone layer now? Did a majority of the Earth’s population get skin cancer? Not by a long shot.

This is just an opening analogy and not his main point, but lets dig into it. Australia has the highest skin cancer rate in the world and Ozone layer depletion is a key part of why.

Australia’s problems aside, the recovery from depletion of the ozone layer is one of the great (and few) success stories of the environmental movement.  Fridges no longer use freon or other CFCs as they cause so much damage to the ozone layer.  I learned this in school and confirmed it for this post.  Bloggers should not be doing more research than professional journalists.

Next paragraph:

There are streams of reports in the media (again) about yellow sand blowing into Korea from China. This is scientifically true. But when was the last time you had to go to hospital for exposure to the yellow sand? Hard to remember, isn’t it?

Yes, as a healthy man in my prime, I haven’t suffered too badly from the yellow dust.   Here is what the US military says about the dust.

Long-term health effects known are problems such as reduced lung function and the development of chronic bronchitis in people who have lived for many years in areas with high particulate matter levels.  Also, increased heart attacks and arrhythmias have developed in persons with heart disease who have short-term exposure to high levels of particulate matter, and Asian dust events have been associated with an increase in deaths due to cardiovascular and respiratory causes in persons with advanced cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.

The Environmental New Network quotes the Korea Environment Institute:

The state-sponsored Korea Environment Institute said the dust kills up to 165 South Koreans a year, mostly the elderly or those with respiratory ailments, and makes as many as 1.8 million ill.

I guess Nho is thinking, “Screw you” to those 165 people who die from the dust (in Korea alone) per year.

But the fact of the matter is that while all this would indicate that the global population should be shrinking at an alarming rate and it is not. The last time I checked, the global population was increasing with absolutely no signs that we will head in the opposite direction.

In fact, many people are concerned that the world population is increasing too quickly. If the global environment is so terrible, why would this be happening?

I shall time myself. One minute, twenty-five seconds. From Life’s Little Mysteries:

Sex is a way of coping with stress, explained one Haitian journalist. “In those fragile situations, people are slowly trying to rebuild their lives,” Fredrick Jean Pierre said. “There are women who give themselves to a man to benefit from his protection inside the camp. Others sell themselves so they can get food and water. Sometimes it is their only means of access. This is happening quite often.”

This is not the most substantial of links or meatiest of content, but previous readings on the subject have suggested the same thing to me.  Humans have some control over their reproduction, but the evolutionary urges don’t plan for the future, they plan for now. Traditionally, tough times meant having more children as insurance for the future.  Wealthy people, confident of their future needs, don’t have large families.

Finally, the meat of the article.  Global warming:

Let’s look at the facts. According to the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, global temperatures have increased by 0.2 degrees Celsius per decade over the past 30 years. If this is true, temperatures have increased by 0.6 degrees Celsius in 30 years.

When you ask a meteorological center what the temperature is going to be tomorrow, it will say, for example, 10 degrees Celsius but it turns out that it is 15 degrees. That’s a difference of 5 degrees in a single day based on information from people who do that for a living. How does that compare with 0.6 degrees in 30 years, if in fact that is correct?

... Climate changes every day whether or not you do anything about it.

Is this guy really confusing climate with weather?  The weather changes everyday, but the climate?  Not so much as it is an average. I think Weather WizKids is the right level of difficulty for this guy.

Climate is the average weather usually taken over a 30-year time period for a particular region and time period. Climate is not the same as weather, but rather, it is the average pattern of weather for a particular region. Weather describes the short-term state of the atmosphere. 

Back to Nho and more misunderstanding of basic science:

Let’s assume that they are intelligent people and that their assumptions are true. That change of 1 degree will affect the sea level and exterminate species. So what? The animal kingdom has reigned on the Earth for millions, probably billions of years, and we are still here.

I do admit, the “Save the Planet” banners are misleading.  The planet Earth will not be destroyed by global warming.  No matter how extreme you imagine the temperatures could get, this Pale Blue Dot will continue to circle the Earth for a long time to come.

On the other hand, the extinction event of 65 million years ago destroyed the dinosaurs and allowed mammals to take over the planet.  Even if there is great change in temperature, the animal kingdom will remain, it will simply be very different.  We are not the animal kingdom, we are only one part of it.

After all this, he then discusses ways to protect the environment as is he had not just spent more than half his essay claiming there was no need.  This guy needs to be considered for the Brian in Jeollanamdo award, last given to Kang Shin Woo.


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