The Daily Blog Open Mic – Monday – 13th January 2020

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Announce protest actions, general chit chat or give your opinion on issues we haven’t covered for the day.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Sand – I remember reading something about howdesert sand and sea sand are different. This item on Radionz spells out how important the right sand is. Drugs are for yesterday’s crims; mining sand and murdering people are now major ventures.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/407239/the-world-is-running-out-of-sand-and-it-s-fuelling-murders-mafias-and-ecological-devastation
    “Even though most people never even think about it, sand is all around you pretty much all the time,” says US journalist Vince Beiser, who has written a book on sand and civilisation.
    …He argues that in many Western countries those rules are largely in place, but are “totally missing in a lot of Asia and Africa and the developing world”.
    He says we also need to find alternatives to sand.
    “We have to simply use not only less sand but less everything,” he says.
    “We know that we are using too much fresh water, we’re cutting down too many trees, we’re taking too many fish out of the oceans, and now we’ve come to find out we’re using too much sand.
    “These are not separate problems. They are all symptoms of the same problem, which is that we are just consuming too much.
    “We’ve just got to find ways to build our cities and live our lives in ways that consume less, that are more sustainable.”

    University of Adelaide earth sciences professor Alan Collins is somewhat more cautious in his assessment.
    We are running out of sand “in a way”, he says, “and in particular, in certain places”.
    “It’s more about the right quality of sand and where it’s found. For various uses we need quite pure sand … and getting sand that’s that pure can be quite tricky,” he says.

  2. Despite the apparent plethora of international news, most of what is happening elsewhere remains unknown to us, despite the constant meme of ‘global’ and ‘internationalism’.
    Fires – which country has had most – Portugal.
    Portugal. Portugal has recorded one of the highest numbers of wildfires in Europe since 1993. These fires destroyed more than 10% of the country’s forests and caused 18 deaths in 2003. Portugal had the highest number of forest fires in Europe in 2016, with a total of 13,261 fires.Aug 1, 2018

    Russia and Spain are up there too. Burning down trees that we are trying to use to limit climate change effects, and needed for buildings as suitable sand is becoming scarce. There are compounding, cascading problems ahead – but as the guy in Mad magazine used to say “What me worry”!

    https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-wildfires (from Insurance Information Institute)
    2017: In 2017, there were 71,499 wildfires, compared to 65,575 wildfires in the same period in 2016, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. About 10 million acres were burned in the 2017 period, compared with 5.4 million in 2016.

  3. And re the above on fires. When I say “Burning down trees” I am talking about the actual flames of the fires, not any actions from the countries referred to.

    But – perverse and mendacious humanity can be the cause of many fires. Some accidentally, some deliberately lit. In the 1960s-70s there was development money available from a major body, I think the UN but maybe the European Common Market as it was then. It was available for planting trees which also provided employment. There was a response by a group of people in Sardinia I think, who lit fires in established forests so as to get the ‘development’ funding. The human response to policies advantaging some, and not others who would like a share in whatever is offering, should never be forgotten.

    Facts on the cause of fires from the Insurance Information Institute:
    As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by people, according to the U.S. Department of Interior. Some human-caused fires result from –
    * campfires left unattended,
    * the burning of debris,
    * downed power lines,
    * negligently discarded cigarettes and
    * intentional acts of arson.
    The remaining 10 percent are started by lightning or lava.
    According to Verisk’s 2019 Wildfire Risk Analysis 4.5 million U.S. homes were identified at high or extreme risk of wildfire, with more than 2 million in California alone.

    https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-wildfires

    We don’t know if the above ‘facts’ are correct, although they must be granted respect. Even if wrong about the proportion of causes it still weighs heavily on the human side. From a practical point of view, the electricity down-lines could be classed as an act of nature, rather than direct human carelessness or perversity. Also there should also be a reference to reignited fires; some apparently extinguished, can remain dormant and arise again months later.

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