Saturday, 14 May 2011

Decisions, Decisions, And Kicking Donkeys

While we are all watching the football and passing fancies of the media there are places in the world where problems are arising which fall into the category “No Right Decisions” which broadly means to quote Armageddon dot org, “you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

The US Army Corps of Engineers who have the job of dealing with the nation’s waterways and their defences against flooding have to decide whether or not to open the Morganza Spillway, a barrier against Mississippi flooding central to the control of the river now in full flood.

If they do the waters go into the Atchafalaya Basin in Central Louisiana and will cause extensive flooding there affecting thousands and wiping out crops over a wide area. Many people will have their lives and finances ruined and the damage will take years to put right.

If they do not the waters will then flow further south and the State Capital Baton Rouge is at risk as well as New Orleans where huge efforts need to be made to add protection to the levees and avoid a repeat of the flooding of 2005. We think that it was Hurricane Katrina that was the cause then, but the sea storm surges came up against existing high river levels.

At present it is normally too early for any major tropical storm or hurricane to add to the worries and this year is supposed to be less active given La Nina, but there is really no “normal” in summer weather conditions in The Gulf. Hope and prayers are at present the only options.

As the year progresses the USA could have more problems. There are worries about the harvest already because of the unusual weather conditions. With so much land being removed from wheat production for corn for ethanol under government subsidies to keep down petrol costs, more corn for all the sweeteners helping Americans to grow so much and more corn again for force feeding cows and pigs for cheap meat for home and export it may all go badly wrong.

This will mean looking hard at the complicated structure of tax breaks and the rest that prop up so much of all this and from which such huge sums are ploughed (sic) back into US politics via the lobbying system to continue and extend this. In the meantime with so many now dependent on food stamps there is another kick in the donkey to quote an old Iowa proverb.

According to Science Daily the variations already known within the weather systems of the last 1000 years or so can and do shift in a way to cause major impacts on both ecology and the related patterns of human existence and ability to survive in numbers.

So whether it is all about Global Warming Or Cooling or Change of Earth Mood if we are about to have another twitch of wind and water patterns a lot of people in a lot of places are going to have to make both group and individual decisions. Given the human history of the last 1000 years the consequences will not be welcome for those who want to live a contented and peaceful life of hedonistic consumerism, especially if the monsoons fail in the Sub Continent.

Meanwhile something else could be in the wind. While many places have cut back their air monitoring and other facilities, there are some still left and one is the Norwegian. According to their confidential assessments we may or may not be in for some extra sun tan this summer coming from Japan.

Essentially, the radioactive iodine is up there and the question is how much and where it may turn up and who it might affect but the Norwegians do not want people to become excited. In any case they are more worried about the geophysical twitches going on in Iceland that might put their air monitoring in the news again.

Meanwhile the campaigns are beginning for the next Presidential elections in the USA whilst in the UK the Mexican Standoff that is our government policy continues.

So who will be making the decisions?

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