WHEN IS IT TOO LATE?

Who amongst us does not procrastinate? I never did. I did everything early. I figured if I did what I didn’t want to do first, I could stop fretting about it. This concept died the day I retired. Now, I do everything as late as I can. Except when I wait too long and it’s too late.

Does procrastination end when it’s already too late?

Have we waited too long? Have we doomed ourselves and our kids and grandkids to try to survive on an earth that wants us gone? Is it 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, feeding birds, and small donations to places that are trying against all odds to deal with the mess we’ve made, there’s not much I can do.

Massachusetts has tried to clean up its own mess. There has been a huge mess to clean up. As one of the oldest states, it is here that “The Industrial Revolution” began. The Blackstone River powered that second revolution. Its tight, twisting shape and rapid drops were perfect for mills. And of course, the leftover garbage from the mills went right back into the Blackstone where it turned the river into one of the most poisonous in America.

That’s saying something considering the competition. For it to be that bad, it had to be worse than the Hudson. The Hudson River, before Pete Seeger undertook its restoration, wasn’t even water. It was more like a slimy liquid mud. It smelled worse than it sounds — but the Blackstone was worse. That’s bad.

Bernat mills burned down shortly before we took this picture. The brick structure still stands, but the huge wooden structure is ash

Never think that “modern” chemical poisons are in some way more evil than the “natural” poisons we used during the years of mill and factory development along the Blackstone. By 1973, the Blackstone River was one of the top 3 most polluted rivers on this continent. Today, after almost 100 years of battling pollution, you can fish and swim in the Blackstone River. Kids love it especially on hot, steamy summer days. For anyone who thinks we don’t have that kind of summer, welcome to New England where hot and steamy with hazy grey skies makes it hard to breathe. The air feels like hot soup. But I digress.

The poisonous earth is not repairable. Behind each dam — all 46 — are tons of poisoned earth. If they take down the dams, all the poisoned earth falls back into the river which will re-pollute it.

You can’t build on poisonous land. You can’t cover it up with clean earth. Poisons leach upward. Every time they try to build on top one of those areas, everyone in the building gets sick and they have to close it down. This happened 25 years ago in Boston when they built a new PP1 station on a hazardous waste site. Shortly thereafter they had to abandon it. Everyone got sick.

As soon as they moved the foul factories down south (so they would be closer to where the cotton grew), our “leaders” (who are those people really?) decided on another great idea: “Let’s build Nuclear Generators!” Now, I’m willing to admit that at some point, we begin to run out of options for power generation and some form of nuclear power is probably going to be the one that wins. But still, we are living in nuke central here and I often wonder why all of us don’t glow in the dark.

Poison they may be but beautiful too

A lot of those nuclear generators are old and need to be rebuilt. What will they do with those spent nuclear rods? No one wants them. No one will ever want them. You can’t bury them deep enough. No, I don’t have an answer.

Massachusetts is trying to clean itself up. It’s more than 100 years since our last mills moved south. Then, in the 90s, they took the same mills and moved them to various countries in Asa. Down south, they are still resentful because someone stole “their” mills. Even though they were our mills and they stole them from us. Down south, memories tend to be brief.

I have no answers. Oh sure, I can change to green power. I can send my paltry donations. I can feed the birds and hope they don’t die from habitat loss and the growing heat. But overall, I feel helpless. The problems are monstrous.

You’d think, give all this, that the time to procrastinate was over. Surely it’s time to confront our life-threatening problems. But you know, the reports came out this week. We have made NO progress in addressing climate change. Apparently there truly is no end to procrastination. It can — and will — go on forever or until we are all dead. Maybe that’s the same thing.



Categories: #ClimateChange, #DamsAndWaterfalls, #Photography

Tags: , , ,

6 replies

  1. We have to continue to head in a positive direction toward making it better even when it seems too late

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  2. HI Marilyn, everything you say is true but the fact that Massachusetts is trying, with some success by the sounds of it, to clean up its mess, the fact that there are organisations to donate to, the fact that a lot of people do care, those are all good things. We have to believe in the essential goodness of a lot of people and that it will eventually win out. Hugs.

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