WHEN IT’S TOO LATE, IS IT STILL PROCRASTINATING? – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango:
Procrastinating Until Time Runs Out

PHOTOGRAPHS: OWEN KRAUS

And who amongst us does not procrastinate? I used to do everything ahead of time because I figured if I did whatever I didn’t want to do EARLY, then I could stop fretting about it. This concept died instantly the day I retired. Now, I do everything as late as I can … except when I procrastinate for so long, it’s too late to do it at all.

But then there is Planet Earth and I live in sheer terror that we have been plundering our world for so long that it is already too late. I don’t know why I was sure that the full weight of climate change would wait until finally, we were ready to tackle it. It was a stupid idea, but the full power of this change was more than I was ready to confront. Especially because — other than trying to recycle (pointless in a town that has no dump for “clean” trash — and no recycling facilities of any kind — not even a place to take stuff for recycling elsewhere).

Poisonous swamp near an old factory

Massachusetts, overall, has tried pretty hard to do its best to clean up its own mess. And there has been a pretty huge mess to clean up. As one of the oldest states, it is here that “The Industrial Revolution” began.

The Blackstone River was its power. It’s tight, twisting design and rapid drops were perfect for building mills. And of course, the leftover products of those mills went right back into the rivers.

Never think that “modern” poisons are worse than “natural” poisons. By the mid-1970s, the Blackstone River was one of the top 3 most polluted rivers on this continent. Today, after almost 100 years of fighting the pollution, you can fish in the river and there are even places where it is safe to swim — if you don’t mind getting your toes nipped off by some really gigantic Common Snapping Turtles!

The poisonous earth is, so far, not repairable. Behind each of those dams on the river (there were 46 of them, but I think they managed to remove two of them recently) are tons and tons of poisoned earth. If they take away the dam, all the hazardous soil will pour into the river. Far too dangerous.

You can’t build on it. You can’t cover it with clean earth because the poisons leach upward. Every time they try to build atop one of those deadly areas, everyone in the building gets sick and they have to close it down. This happened relatively recently in Boston when they built the new PP1 station on a hazardous site and in weeks, they had to abandon it. I think, in the end, they imploded the building, dug down as far as the bedrock and took the earth somewhere else.

Where? Is there somewhere that has a use for poisoned earth?

As soon as they moved the foul factories down south to be closer to where the cotton grew, they decided on another terrific idea: “Let’s build some Nuclear Generators!”

Sometimes I wonder why all of us don’t just glow in the dark.

Having had a personal one-on-one tour of the Seabrook Generator, I’m still wondering what they are going to do with those “spent nuclear rods” that run the generators. No one wants them. They hid the nukes behind 30-foot barbed-wire fences and barren green hills. In our lovely green parks. You know there’s a nuke there because of the warning signs telling you to STAY OUT OF THAT AREA. Are we so stupid we don’t know what’s going on? Except when they suggested maybe “Just one more generator?” and angry mobs form in the streets.

We are not quite that stupid, it seems.

Meanwhile, up in Millbury and Worcester, they STILL dump raw sewage into the Blackstone because (are you ready? really really ready?), it would cost every household $1 a month more in taxes to build a water cleaning facility. We may not be that stupid, but a lot of the people who run our towns seem to be.

Massachusetts is really trying hard to clean itself up. We are the Good Guys! Can you imagine the horrors you are going to find down in Texas and Oklahoma, not to mention all those areas in the deep south where they took our factories and mills and installed them there?  They thought they were lucky to get the work. We thought we were lucky to lose the pollution. But some work would be nice, too. CLEAN work, however.

I have no answers because these are questions too big for me. I can change to green power. I can send my paltry earnings to the National Parks Foundation. I can support zoos and other areas where they breed animals who are going extinct. But overall, I feel helpless. The problems are huge and my abilities to deal with so small.



Categories: #FOWC, climate change, Daily Prompt, Dams and Waterfalls, Fandango's One Word Challenge, Science

Tags: , , , ,

20 replies

  1. It does make you feel helpless. You can try as an individual or even a community to do what you can and I think you must even if it is useless but it has to be a global effort. Too many of our leaders point fingers and say “We’re doing enough already.” or “But so and so nation makes more mess than us and they aren’t helping.” There was recently a conference of Pacific leaders, many of whom are afraid that their islands will be swamped by the rising seas. They were not overly happy with Australia as they don’t see us as doing enough. One of our deranged ministers, I forget which one, actually said just before the conference that we were helping them because “They come here to pick our fruit for us.” But you can be sure that if their islands do become uninhabitable and the people become refugees we won’t let them live in our country. We’ll just lock them up somewhere because that’s what we do. Hmm maybe that’s why our detention centres are on islands.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I procrastinated today. I was going to clean up the garden for the winter. When I went outside it was cold and damp, so not today.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The human race is going to procrastinate itself into oblivion, I’m afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We share the terror! And the person, Usfman?, who invited you to venture to the West and get a peek at ‘unspoiled nature’ should share WHERE one can go to do that? I exaggerate a little…there are lots and lots of beauty spots still around – Canyonlands, rivers and forests (although the forests are dwindling) and mountains to gaze upon. Then one hears the faint whispers (because nobody dares to shout it aloud..people have been killed for doing that) about fraking and how much damage it’s causing and continues to cause in Vernal, Utah (avoid the place. The groundwater is polluted and toxic and the air not much better). Places like Dugway Proving Grounds where they store stuff like spent nuclear rods and old chemical weapons (which leak time to time). The old Bingham Copper Mine, which still operates and was for a time the world’s largest pit mine. It has an odd striking beauty, but it’s also a scar on the face of the mountains west of Salt Lake City. I’m becoming firmly convinced that man is too stupid to survive and Mother Nature is merely invoking the law of natural selection.

    Liked by 2 people

    • New England is more than 60% woods now because all the farmers moved to Iowa or Kansas or someplace flat without so many rocks. It has made our state rather poor — not much work — but beautiful. Nonetheless, the number of “beautiful places” is diminishing fast, especially with the help of the Big Orange Ass Hat.

      Like

    • These are the times that try mens’ souls……

      Like

    • And in California, the Aliso Gas fields that leaked (and caused mass evacuations from housing tracts) for some time before it was acknowledged; the infrastructure which is causing the massive fires as trees and power lines accidentally intersect; the nuclear power plants that are being decommissioned, leaving the spent fuel rods behind, etc., etc. Even recycing is an issue, as the plastic that China used to buy is no longer desirable, even in China! I think we’ve developed beyond our capability to deal with the issues of each small part of prudent development!

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  5. You might take a trip out west and get a fresh look at unspoiled nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Been there. A bunch of times. And it is. But have you ever noticed how Phoenix is eating Arizona? And how the aquifer is slowly but surely dying? And how, despite the fact that this is ARID territory and not designed to have an unlimited number of humans living there. The prairies are gone and to find some wild spaces outside of Phoenix is hours of driving. Yes, beautiful. Also HOT and DRY and not getting wetter or cooler. There are beautiful places everywhere and I live in one of them. But this is not a local issue. This is a planetary issue.

      Like

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Tish Farrell

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