Swans Commentary » swans.com October 20, 2008  



Methane Is Poisonous


by Carol Warner Christen





"Russia's northern coastline has begun producing huge qualities of toxic methane gas. Scientists with the International Siberian Shelf Study 2008 describe what they saw along the coastline recently as 'methane chimneys' reaching from the sea floor to the ocean's surface. Methane, locked in the permafrost of Arctic landmasses, is being released at an alarming rate as average Arctic temperatures rise. Methane is a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The release of millions of tons of it will dramatically accelerate the rate of global warming.

"...We remain addicted, courtesy of the oil, gas and automobile industries and a corporate-controlled government, to fossil fuels. Species are vanishing. Fish stocks are depleted. The great human migration from coastlines and deserts has begun. And as temperatures continue to rise, huge parts of the globe will become uninhabitable. The continued release of large quantities of methane, some scientists have warned, could actually asphyxiate the human species."

— Chris Hedges, "America's Political Cannibalism," TruthDig, October 13, 2008.


(Swans - October 20, 2008)   Imagine that! Then realize that almost no one cares or worries or wonders. The question should be asked: Are we just too spoiled or too jaded to do anything except consume? Have we become what we despise; i.e., spoiled brats who live for the moment since there may be no future? If so, where are the scientists, those who study humanity? Will we prepare after we succumb?

I look at the horizon to the west of our Oregon farm and it is full of a brown sooty atmosphere twice as high as the coast range that I see. This happens on a daily basis. The air smells, too. Google™ has many articles on the brown soot clouds from Asia and their warming effects on the atmosphere.

The newspapers are noticeably smaller, less newsworthy. This must mean that the price of newsprint in trees and money is over the top for publishers. News is also on the Internet requiring different expenses to generate. One report said that parts of the Pentagon did not approve of the extensive use of the Internet.

Then there is war and money, weapons and death multiplying in myriad ways to remove as many humans before the planet finishes the job or the privileged are ready to go "quietly into that good night." (Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night," 1914.)

Costs rise. Necessities such as food costs increase and increase as the amounts on the store shelves empty and are not always replaced.

Given our reality, I have little faith anyone knows what to do. Ergo, we will continue to do what we know and nothing much more until the shocks are more than we can bear. Meanwhile, our goats are now mating with the same vigor as in the past. We use no poisons on our land; we don't know about the poisons that drop onto it from above. All I know is that it smells bad more often than not and this is the country, not the city. There are no cities to the west of us except China's and only the Columbia Gorge winds to the Northeast sometimes. The south brings California's waste airs.

My middle-aged daughters are now wondering amongst themselves if I am senile as my mother was. My husband told me their concerns. I have our family tree back to the mid-1600s and only two had senile dementia, both from drinking. All of my grandmothers and aunts and uncles were always of cheerful and sound minds in spite of dying from various other diseases.

On this note, I am signing off as a writer. My heart is not in it anymore.


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Internal Resources

Patterns which Connect

America the 'beautiful'

US Elections & Democracy


About the Author

Carol Warner Christen on Swans (with bio)... Woman born 1939, twice married, five children, 7 grandchildren; own a goat farm, rural Oregon after years in Chicago area and Ohio; Associate of Arts, Chicago Art Institute (1 year); artist, editor, mechanical design drafting supervisor; owned two computer companies before anyone had a computer; activist; antiwar; human.



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This Edition's Internal Links

Blips #75 - From the Martian Desk - Gilles d'Aymery

2008 US Elections: Recommendations - Swans Editors

Confessions Of A Naderite - Jan Baughman

The New York Times "Reports" On The National Endowment For Democracy - Michael Barker

Sarah Palin's Dodo - Martin Murie

Mimic Man - Book Review by Peter Byrne

The Letters Of Noel Coward - Book Review by Charles Marowitz

Acquired Taste: Seeing Beyond The Obvious - Raju Peddada

American Economy Predicaments - Walter Trkla

Willpower - R. Scott Porter

Mondana Commedia n.5: Fine (World Comedy n.5: The End) - Poem by Guido Monte & Alison Phipps

Head Up! - Polesy by Marie Rennard

Letters to the Editor

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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
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Published October 20, 2008