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marcus itoga
15 March 2008 @ 08:00 am



POLLY & THE PLANE


Aviation fuel, for smaller aircraft, is saturated with high amounts of lead. Jet Fuel is a very complex chemical mixture and only around 200 of its over 2000 chemicals have been identified. But what we do know is that jet fuel is volatile, carcinogenic and toxic to humans and other lifeforms. Jet fuel contains benzene, butadiene, toluene, xylene, formaldehyde, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, alkylated phenols, dinonylnaphthalene sulfonic acid, nitrogen oxide, perchlorate, corrosion inhibitors, fuel system icing inhibitors, biocides and microbiocides.

Burning a gallon of jet fuel produces 21.1 pounds of carbon dioxide. An article in the New York Times July 2000 issue estimated fuel efficiency for a full large plane at 50 miles per gallon per passenger and the FAA estimated 48 miles per gallon per seat. But because most fuel is burned during take-off, flying two round trips from LAX to SFO is more polluting than one round-trip to Europe, because two round trips to LA entails four take-offs. A Boeing 747 can burn more than 200 tons of fuel in one flight. There are 30,000 domestic flights in the US every day and a plane emits as much Co2 as if each passenger would drive a car the same distance.

To call the trails of airplanes 'condensation' is a typical Pollyanna fabrication, to hide the lethal reality of what modern air travel leaves behind. Anyone who flies is a terrorist, environmentally speaking. My quick fix on this problem is: do not fly!
 
 
marcus itoga
13 March 2008 @ 02:34 pm




POLLY & THE CAR


Pollyanna smiles triumphantly and boasts about how long she has quit cigarettes. She feels so much better now. But if you drive a car, you're still smoking. The average American car releases 300 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere from a full, 15 gallon, tank of gas. The concentration of exhaust fumes in heavy traffic are typically higher INSIDE the cars. Often the levels of carbon monoxide, benzene, toluene, fine particulate matter and nitrogen oxides inside cars far exceed those in the ambient air or at the roadside. A study found that cars drive in an 'invisible tunnel of pollution' and drivers breath in up to 4 times more benzene and 10 times the carbon monoxide concentrations than pedestrians or cyclists. Furthermore, the fumes from fire retardants (PBDE's) and plastic softeners (Phthalates) which line the entire interior of every car are also extremely carcinogenic. Yet our concerns about cigarette smoke and its' detriments only minimizes the real culprit.

While it receives little or no attention, in-car pollution is one of the greatest modern threats to human life...especially children. Women exposed to benzene have exhibited menstrual disorders, atrophied ovaries, reduced fertility (low sperm count in men), low birth weight, birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and premature births.

The results are consistent. Even the EPA agrees that driving is the MOST polluting act an average citizen commits. The US is the biggest polluter and emitter of greenhouse gases in the world. The emissions increased to 7 billion tons of Co2 in 2004. Since 1960, the American population has increased by 50%, but the miles we travel each years has more than tripled and 90% of our trips are in a private car or light truck. The typical American spends almost 600 hours (almost an entire month) a year in their car and works more than three full months a year to pay for this auto-mobility. 30% of morning traffic and smog is caused by parents dropping their kids off at school. More than a quarter of US trips with a car are one mile or less and 13.7 % are a half a mile or less. Asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism. Car ownership costs are the second largest household expense. For every car in the US there are six parking spaces. American and Canadian automobiles account for nearly 10 tons of mercury being released into the environment each year. Globally 100 million car batteries are discarded annually. One million automobile fatalities and 50 million injuries occur every year.

The automobile has become an extension of ourselves. If possible, it gets its own room in the house. You're expected to feel incomplete without a car. Your expected to replace your vehicle with a bigger and better one. For most people giving up their car would be synonymous with giving up their legs, freedom and convenience. But there's more attached to automobile ownership like: independence, comfort, consumerism, beauty, youth, agility, responsibility, responsiveness, vigor, sexual prowess, spontaneity, privacy, power, personality, perfection, growth, importance, intimidation, insulation, camaraderie, competition, choice, status, sophistication, intelligence, instant gratification, creative expression, maturity, memorability, technology, futurism, escapism, a piece of history, of a democratic tool. The list is as endless as our projections.

The car has burned its way into our hearts and lungs, becoming a central focus of our lives and carving every landscape with unending asphalt arteries. Within a century it has become a necessity. More necessary than earth's once pure water and air. The transport of goods accounts for only 3% of greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco, while privately owned vehicles is responsible for 48% of greenhouse gases.

What about biodeisel, hybrid or electric cars? It sounds so wonderfully sustainable, but it's not. A car has caused more pollution before being purchased, by the extraction of raw materials, manufacturing and shipping, than all the pollution that car will cause in its entire lifetime of driving. My quick fix solution is to just give up your vehicle.

It wasn't until I gave up my automobile, I was able to understand the extent of damages driving did. And I was not able to get rid of my car until I stopped watching television and main-stream news. But then, I quickly stumbled on the extinction rates which are abnormally high. You see, hope was the way I kept myself ignorant of what was actually happening. Just like my cigarette smoking, I couldn't be conscious of the detriments of smoking, even though it was printed on the pack, I had to 'actively' deny it while smoking. Same with driving. I had to actively deny what driving was responsible for, from strip mining for raw materials, to the endless paved roads cutting through pristine natural habitats, to the billions of decomposing cars and all their batteries laying in landfills, for generations. The exhaust of our grandparents is still here with us and causing havoc.

The two things most people do not want to give up are their hope and their cars! Just like I 'hoped' I wouldn't get cancer by smoking, one must use hope to feel 'good' about driving. Without hope, it would make it harder to drive, or smoke cigarettes for that matter. Hope, turns a scary situation into a delusion of time and manageability. Hope is much like the automobile, they are both convenient, quick, make life and getting around easier and are both disastrous for the environment.
 
 
marcus itoga
11 March 2008 @ 01:54 pm




POLLY & OMNICIDE


Rage is hot. So, it's no wonder that the USA, with 6% of the world's population, burns almost half the world's fuel. We are the leaders of over consumption and waste. We're the leaders of global warming. We're not 17th century farmers eating off lead plates and sincerely not comprehending the hazards. Most of us know the consequences of our actions. Dismissing our destructiveness as mere stupidity, short-sightedness, apathy or greed only minimizes its terminal impact. Omnicide is genocide without prejudice, a killer of everything without exclusion.

The term, 'omnicide', is absent in media language. It would demoralize Pollyanna. The word 'ecocide' on the other hand, has made an appearance among some scientific reports. Usually ecocide describes a small contained area, in far away places, where man has destroyed most of the ecosystem, such as the Bengal Bay or the Imataca Forests. The concept 'ecocide', therefore, establishes a convenient distance from our own immediate destructiveness.

Omnicide, the killing of everything, seems like conceptual hysteria. Yet considering humanly induced global warming, it becomes undeniable evidence of our own ruination. Any attempt to curb carbon dioxide levels have failed, for from 2000 to 2005 the global rate of carbon emissions rose 150%.

The greatest hindrance to acknowledge our destructiveness, is generating hope to suppress the consequences of abuse. If anger is repressed it turns into rage, and if rage is repressed it turns into suicidal tendencies. If those are denied, they are arbitrarily projected outward, becoming omnicidal. If omnicide is accepted for long enough, it becomes a normal part of everyday modern life and a valid and accepted way to release stifled rage.

Nothing shows our willingness to kill everything better, than the escalating and extensive phenomena of mass extinction of species. Unlike global warming, this catastrophe remains buried by the media. Most biologists believe we are in the middle of a mass extinction of species as a direct result of human activity. Extinction this quickly and of this magnitude has never been observed in all fossil records! The rate of extinction today is estimated 100 to 1000 times greater than at any time of this planet's 4.5 billion year history. Many scientists believe that between 150 to 200 species die every 24 hours. A more conservative estimate is the loss of a species happens every 20 minutes.

Almost half of the world's species are endangered or soon to be. Rain forests and ice caps are vanishing, (Guam lost over 60% of its native species in the last 30 years). There are only 650 wild gorillas left in the world and global warming has already sentenced its first victims to death. Of every 10 endangered species, 6 are plants, which are the most important and integral aspect of a healthy ecosystem. Scientists only speculate of the acceleration of extinction rates.

We prohibit the killing of a single human, but no one prohibits or notices the murder of an entire species. We shrug and believe 'survival of the fittest' is at work here. Hope and optimism, therefore, are not only unacceptable excuses, but a form of mental desensitizing, designed to embrace and accept cruel and catastrophic behavior.

In March 2014 a NASA sponsored study led by mathematician Safa Motesharei concluded that our civilization is headed toward "irreversibe and imminent collapse of the planetary system" due to human activity. This study was dismissed by most media. I understand how (Pollyanna) people can dismiss my claims as hysteria but to dismiss a scientific study shows how hope can annihilate reality and fact!
 
 
marcus itoga
10 March 2008 @ 06:26 pm



EPILOGUE


Although I am a gay atheist artist, please do not judge others by my standards. Most homosexuals are quite religious, hopeful, decent, patriotic, gasoline burning, Pollyanna, consumerists, that want nothing more than to be integrated and absorbed into the heterosexual American 'lifestyle'. And though I am a strong advocate for equal rights and in a thirty-three year long relationship, I am against gay marriage. Those defending traditional marriage rights, call the institution of marriage 'holy', 'sanctified', 'blessed' and to last until 'death', yet with almost 50% of marriages ending in divorce and more children raised in 'broken' families than ever before, this 'sacred' bond blessed by God, church and state is quickly losing its grip. Most artists too, are pious, hopeful, decent, patriotic, gasoline burning, Pollyanna consumerists, that want nothing more than to spread beauty and joy throughout the world, leaving everything and everyone unchallenged. And please do not judge atheists by my disdain for 'civilization', because atheists might just be the most optimistic, hopeful, decent, patriotic, gasoline burning, Pollyanna, consumerists that you may every encounter.

Too many people exhibit the ethical and moral weakness of Sigmund Freud. We may come to our own truth and uniqueness only to abandon it again for the need to be accepted and embraced by our families, peers and social expectations. Individuality creates separateness, so we rearrange our priorities, relinquish our truths, forfeit our distinctiveness and pigeon-hole ourselves to fit into the mainstream and its' current distractions, beliefs and behaviors. NOT being a part of this human herd must fill most people with such an inadmissible and unbearable feeling of isolation and divide, that the slightest departure from the cultural norm, must undergo instant and voluntary self amputation.

Most movies, television, advertising, commerce, media, entertainment, religions, schools, are more than mere idiotic distractions. They are full of conditioning, controlling and brain-washing elements geared towards making you look, behave, feel and think a certain way. There is little out there that sincerely encourages actual individuality or uniqueness. To the contrary, everything is geared towards homogeny, as if sameness creates equality.

We say we value life, love children, peace, democracy, nature and all living creatures great and small, yet the surface of this planet tells a different story. We humans have poisoned all waters, polluted every layer of atmosphere, contaminated all ground earth and have mutated the weather and ocean patterns. In 1970 there were 200 million cars world wide and now we have over 600 million passenger cars traveling this planet. One half of Earth's surface is now domesticated for direct human usage and 56 million acres of forests are cut down each year. California has some of the most polluted air of the entire nation. Every year San Francisco emits 9.7 millions tons of Co2, 23,800 tons of nitrogen oxides and 540 tons of sulfur dioxides. The Livermore Labs test-blast depleted uranium, sending thousands of pounds of radio active tritium into the Bay Area's atmosphere. Yet in a survey 8 out of 10 Americans regarded themselves as 'environmentalists'!?! What good are equal rights, gay marriage, beauty, hope, a stable economy, better schools, lower murder rates, art, God or universal health care, if in the end we all suffocate in our own chemical sludge?

A toothpaste company hired a top designer to help sell more product. He didn't change the taste, the box, the colors, the slogans or distributors-he enlarged the opening of the tube and indeed sales went up. And that's all we do too. We slacken emission controls, relax the reporting requirements of toxic chemicals for industry, build cars that burn more gas, starve alternative energy funding, believe false but hopeful reports, avoid dismal statistics, close down the EPA library and pat each other on the back for a job well done.

Al Gore in his movie blames industries for global warming, as he privately jets and is limousined around the world. His suggestions to change to florescent light bulbs and weather proof homes, seem trivial considering the branches of industry Mr. Gore supports so eagerly. He won't challenge the auto and airplane industries that way. We can't point our finger against corporations, making them solely responsible for the deteriorating environment, for we are those industries, because we feed them ferociously. Exxon could not attain the biggest profit ever, with oil wars, lobbyists, government subsidizes, bribery and high crimes alone, were it not for our relentless need for continuous transportation. When momentary conveniences, impulsive whims, raising families, and a 'healthy' economy are worth the pollution and toxicity that threatens the future, then this polluting, modern existence is a way of expressing our collective rage. Unfortunately, the current Bush administration is only doing what we are all doing: administering destructive deeds under the pretense that it's for some ultimate good.

Unfortunately, you are allowed to believe what you want; you can believe the earth is flat or only 6 thousand years old. You can believe in God or that the holocaust did not happen; you're free to believe that global warming is blather or at least not human induced or that giving up flying and driving will have no impact or consequence. Yet the days following 9/11, with the restriction of air travel, the skies actually started showing signs of clearing. This undeniably proves that we could hand this planet over to the next generation in better condition than it is in presently, without delegating responsibility, without casual and impotent hope that does absolutely nothing to protect a new born infant from inhaling fine particles, polychlorides, lead and benzene.

Many people have agreed that the world as we know it will be destroyed. However, most are still too optimistic in their thinking that there will be human survivors. Yet with almost six hundred nuclear reactors and the massive amounts of accumulated nuclear waste scattered all over the surface of the planet, the survival rate for any complex life form would be highly improbable. This is the environment we have created for ourselves.

Time is too critical to kick back and conduct 'business as usual' or simply 'cut a few corners' of your lifestyle. Some scientists believe we have already hit the ecological tipping point and that nothing can stop the inevitable collapse of the earths' living system. Some extreme ecologists believe the only way to save the planet is with zero population growth or voluntary human extinction.

'Green' solutions are popping up all over the place. To some critics this fad is regarded as 'greenwashing' opportunism. McDonalds, Wal-Mart, IBM, Home Depot, GM, GE, and Chevron, along with thousands of other companies, are now going 'green'. This is merely to distract Pollyanna from these companies' destructive and toxic practices. For example, I don't think produce traveling more than a hundred miles should be called 'organic'. Organic should be more than how something was grown, but also how far it was shipped. This 'green consciousness' going on currently is only there to give everyone a renewed confidence to shop, drive and fly. Nowhere in the world is consumerism equated with patriotism, like here in America.

Only by dropping optimism and spirituality is true understanding of the gravity of the situation possible. The negative may be the only thing that can actually provoke and inspire a sincere and significant change in our ecological footprint. It's about rearranging priorities, between what's easy and expected or what is essential and invaluable, to chose between power and convenience or fresh air and water, between omnicidal destruction or a diverse ecosystem in balance.

It's not our birthright to smother all life on this planet. The manner in which we treat the planet is the way we view ourselves. The destruction we create against this planet, is our own self loathing and feelings of suicide externalized, onto the surface of this globe. We defy our parents, by destroying (mother) nature and (father) time. We have allowed omnicidal behavior to go unquestioned and become both denied and integrated into our daily routine.

The general and typical reaction to my ideas are that they are too negative, dramatic, angry, morbid, cataclysmic and pessimistic. Though that might be true to a degree, that doesn't make what I say necessarily and automatically false. In the past I've worked with day care toddlers, autistic children, down syndrome adolescents, severely disturbed high school students and drug dependent juveniles. I know how to be inspiring and supportive in the right situation. I just don't think our devastations warrant encouragement. Most people are overly optimistic with the bigger picture, especially in terms of pollution and ecology. Many gravitate towards the brighter side because it makes them feel rosier, puts more bounce in their walk and permits less feelings of guilt.

Being half Japanese and half German, I saw a world of difference between my two grandmothers. My German grandmother, who survived both world wars was more demure and obviously traumatized than my Japanese grandmother. My Dad worked for the US Army so we'd go to the commissary and buy my German grandmother groceries, including a stack of paper plates. After dinner she would wash and dry the paper plates . They were warped and food stained , but she would reuse them. This was the opposite of my army brat life or that or my other grandmother in Hawaii. This practice of washing paper plates was an on-going joke in my family about how crazy one can become after surviving war. Now when I wash out my plastic bags and hang them up to dry, to reuse at the grocery store, I remind myself of her.

Of course voluntary simplicity is a hard sell to a culture that's been spoiled and pampered, where waste and pollution are a sign of progress and evolution or where convenience and affluence become a measure of entitlement and deservingness. It's not enough to love yourself, adore your family or have humility to God, because if you don't show reverence for this planet, then you really don't love yourself, your families or your Gods. Most people have somewhat of an ecological awareness, but seem to divorce that information from their emotions, gut, and especially their conscience. It's easier to point your finger at the government, the industries, China, volcanoes or the Bible. It's easier to muster up a little optimism, than to give up your car or significantly alter your lifestyle.

So, since turning on your engine is like waging a war against this planet, on so many levels, it's time for a quiet revolution, a motorless revolution. It's the best way to protest the war in Iraq and save the environment. Simplicity in action, each person alone, one at a time letting go of old crusty ways, giving up contaminating behaviors and creating space where something new can occur. Smell a city without cars. Listen to a city without cars or planes. See a busy intersection of children playing. Stop flying, toss you television, curb your consuming habits, go vegetarian, go vegan, go solar, boycott gasoline, use your legs, stop depending on debt, drop your spiritual superstitions and projections and experience life on its own terms!

But wait, stop, that's not my thesis! I believe humanity is omnicidal and has never come to terms with that fact. My conviction is that no one will stop driving of flying, toxins will increase, endeavors to reduce Co2 will fail, global warming will intensify, species extinction will be amplied, religious insanity will escalate and wars will heighten as the planet's life force subsides. So you'll probably find most of this information going in one ear and out the other or you'll at least try to prove to yourself that my views are unquestionably preposterous. You'll most likely find yourself unwilling to let go of old combusting habits due to a deep-seated omnicidal constellation hiding behind a facade of negligent optimism, allowing you to commit the most monstrous crimes against nature with perhaps only an occasional inkling of remorse that is easily ignored.

In so far, our demise does not stem from automobiles, nor does is the destructive force from carbon dioxide, methane or radiation, but from our blinding and unrealistic hope that pushes us to our annihilation. I write, not to make you give up your car, but to let you know why you won't.