Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Planet in Peril? Hell Yeah!

While watching the news special on CNN, I also kept up to date on the " in between " news about the California firestorm. At the beginning of this program, said acreage destroyed was at 300,000. Near the end it was over 400,00 and quoted as being the equivelent to twice the size of New York. The recent news briefs were a compliment, for lack of a better word, to the program itself. My commendations to Anderson Cooper who not only assisted in the coverage of both stories but also walked through jungles, swam with elephants and had a blood test taken which revealed more than 100 out of two hundred something toxins tested for in his system. These toxins being potentially dangerous to his health, some were possibly remains of past trips he's taken in order to bring top news stories to us, the general public. Others, unfortunately, could be traced to the 70s when he ate contaminated fish from the Hudson River. As I don't have much respect for news programs which constantly cover the same old stupid stuff over and over again, I have to give credit where credit is due. Oh, the stupid stuff I refer to can be found on ET and I do watch it ocassionaly so am not saying it is a bad thing, just that it doesn't belong as a top story on main news channels where we are interested in finding out what's happening in our world that relates to our general well being. This CNN Special did just that.If the subtitle " Fire, drought and famine " doesn't sound to you like plagues I don't know what would. At the beginning of the program... " action and reaction are equal and opposite and create a ripple effect " or something like that.
Throughout the program I was horrified at the sight of our wildlife being destroyed, our trees cut down, our animals sold for such things as meat, medicine, skins, trophies, soup, jewelry and ashtrays. Many of them never reach their destination alive and are kept in unreasonable conditions up to the point of death. Statistics claim they are disappearing at 1000 times the average rate. Most are stolen from South America and Africa by poachers located throughout South East Asia and distributed through hidden markets in Madascar. It grieves me to the bone when I hear of Americans who are willing to support corruption like this, purchasing an illegally bought tortouise at a cost of 500 dollars or a Russian police officer selling illegal tiger skins. It appals me when I find out that only 10 % of specifically important natural habitats remain and soil collapses at an undescribable volume when 350 square miles of natural forests are lost each year.
Although China has always been known for their extraordinary appetite when it come to exotic wild life, little did I know what they do with it till now. Argghhh! A restaurant in Beijing, China, by the name of " Strength in a Pot " was discovered to be selling so called delicacies such as lamb testacles, tiger penis and tiger paws, the latter which cost the elite of China and it's tourists a whopping 1500 dollars per entree. Of course when asked to see the kitchen and questioned about the legality of the menu items they came up with an excuse and the crew members were not allowed access to the kitchen. Later, other restaurants were filmed at the rear entrances where poachers or middle men were about to unload these goods until they saw the cameras and made a bee line out of there. Most of the tourists who spend money to support this illegal activity are Americans. You bet that angers me. It also groses me out. Why would anyone want to spend a few thousand dollars in another country for a meal that consists of nothing but garbage? The film showed store fronts where thousands of turtles were displayed in crowded aquariums for meat purchase and among other eoddities... jars upon jars of deer tails. Only the elite of this country have access to the profits from this illegal and imoral trade, most of which the labor is done by the poor of the country for roughly a dollar a day and who, incidentally don't even have access to clean drinking water. One of the politicians there was asked if he would drink the water and of course his reply was negative.
Colon cancer is wide spread as is many other food and water contamination related diseases. One woman tells her story of a village she must live in after the death of her husband where she raises her daughter alone. Before his death his doctor told them not to drink the water or eat from the rice patties. With little access to health care and an overwhelming amount of responsibility to uphold, where was she left to go? At thirty years old, this man's life ended and he left this world with only one concern. Who would take care of his family? They call this place " The Cancer Village ". All these weird foods and their uncanny need for the inard parts of animals for use in their unproven medicines among other vanities and traditions is driving wildlife to extinction.
Contrary to popular belief, China is the number 1 consumer of meat and steel and also the largest co2 admitter. And we wonder why we have tainted meats and lead contaminated children's toys in our own markets. The water mentioned above is the same water they are using to irrigate the fields where those imported foods are grown for our consumtion.According to various reports online, Thailand is the poorest country in the world and most will do anything for a living. This is where the buck starts. Fact is they live on an average of a dollar a day. This is the reason for most of the corruption and it is throwing our entire ecosystem off. Cambodia being another of the poacher's havens of the world, a part of the program was dedicated to what is thought to be possibly the last tiger in Bokor. Sadly, he was not found. Estimated number of these tigers left in the world? 5000, if that. While searching for this wild cat, they came across poacher's snares, garbage, and, of all things... empty ciggarette packs. Now if that doesn't beat all. They can't find a proper way to make a living but they can afford to smoke. Solutes to the rangers who patrol those areas for a measley 30 bucks a month. Other points focused on were the meager 2-3 hundred wild elephants remaining in Cambodia and South East Asia.
I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing some of God's most beautiful creatures on this program, including the Day Gecko and the Lemur. I am hopefull the unknown species of lizzard they acquired is considered a new one once it's had examination. Supposedly it makes protecting the area it was found in a more likely happening. Although it would not have been an experience I normally could have to be able to see some of these creatures I am aware of the fact they are not living quite the way God intended in the first place. Is it any wonder that even nature itself screams out for justice? China seems mindless to the issues and in fact officials have said that it's not a priority because there are too many other things they consider more important. With 1.2 billion people, I should think they have a greater responsibility than any other country to make it a priority. That is, if they care about their own people and the health of their nation.

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