Environment and Health
Water is at risk in the United States and around the world. Its quality and availability is in peril. Today, nearly one in eight people lack access to adequate supplies of safe drinking water. Globally, water-borne diseases kill more people than tuberculosis or malaria, and five times as many children die of diarrhea than of HIV/AIDS.
Several decades ago, three expert nuclear engineers told a congressional panel why they decided to quit: “We could no longer justify devoting our life energies to the continued development and expansion of nuclear fission power — a system we believe to be so dangerous that it now threatens the very existence of life on this planet.”
Energy production is too vital to be left to private industry’s tender mercies. Therefore, sensible nations run that sector of the economy themselves. Unfortunately, there aren’t many sensible nations, and those that are often get invaded.
I took a cross-country road trip in late June that became a race to outrun the triple-digit heat waves that have literally buckled highways between the Midwest and the East Coast.
West Virginia’s Upper Big Branch coal mine was a disaster even before it exploded into an underground inferno last year, killing 29 miners.
Back when he presided over the Senate’s health care reform debate, Max Baucus, chairman of the all-powerful Senate Finance Committee, had said everything was on the table — except for single-payer universal health care. When doctors, nurses, and others rose in his hearing to insist that single payer be included in the debate, the Montana Democrat had them arrested. As more stood up, Baucus could be heard on his open microphone saying, “We need more police.”
If a meteor were headed for Earth, there would be saturation media coverage. Little else would occupy the headlines. Schemes to deflect the collision would dominate the news.
If some predator were stalking fourth graders in your community, there’d be a mighty uproar to make the predator get away and stay away from your schools
Flames exploding from kitchen taps. Livestock dropping dead from tainted water. People in small towns noticing an unusual stench, experiencing acute headaches, and blacking out.