Our Polluted Planet
YOU ARE PROBABLY breathing polluted air this very minute. If you aren’t, you ought to be very thankful, you are in a rapidly shrinking minority. And when you took your first drink of water this morning, chances are, it, too, was far from fresh. It had probably been "purified" and officially approved as "safe".
When you sat down to your first meal today, It is almost certain that you ate at least some polluted food – and probably a lot more than you think. You may be the rare exception who lives in a place where there is fresh air and pure water, but you are very rare indeed if your diet consists entirely of unpolluted, wholesome food.
Chances are, if you eliminated from your diet the sprayed, artificially colored and waxed fruits and vegetables – the chemically enriched, refined, colored and preserved breads and cereals – the pasteurized, homogenized, fortified and preserved dairy products – and the meat and eggs which came from animals polluted with hormones, drugs and abnormal high-gain feeds, you would have almost nothing left! You may not have thought of some of these things as pollutants. But that is, nevertheless, what they are.
But you don’t just breathe the air, drink the water and eat the food which has been contaminated. You directly or indirectly contribute to pollution. Have you ridden in a car, bus or airplane today? Do you smoke? Do you work in a factory that belches noxious fumes into the air all day long? Or one that spews effluent into a stream? These are but a few of the common ways that the average person living in a civilized country today contributes to pollution every single day.
Pollution is simply a built-in part of our modern, Twenty First Century way of life! Today’s methods of waste disposal are just not geared to modern congestion and modern industry. We are so used to living in today’s polluted world that it is difficult for us to realize how bad it really is.
The Shocking Facts
America’s air is sick. But the U. S. holds no corner on the pollution market. White-collar workers in West Germany’s heavily industrialized Ruhr district are accustomed to carrying an extra shirt with them to work. They know the first one will be gray after half a day in the area’s polluted air.
A smog-aggravated respiratory ailment, “Tokyo-Yokohama asthma,” affects thousands in that giant Japanese city. Oxygen tanks have been installed at ten busy Tokyo intersections for use of traffic policemen who must stand for hours in the swirl of auto exhaust fumes. Every half hour the men have to take an "oxygen break. "Families have begun to move out of Johannesburg, South Africa, because of a gray smog blotting out the blood-red South African sun.
But polluted air is not a threat just to living things. It even destroys metal and stone! Four ancient Greek bronze horses in Venice’s St. Mark’s Square are being eaten away by polluted air. So is the famed “Cleopatra’s Needle” in New York City. This monument successfully withstood more than three thousand years of wind-driven desert sand in Egypt. But New York’s air is simply more than it can take.
In West Germany, workmen waged a battle to save the historic Cologne Cathedral. Pollutants in the city’s air have been crumbling the building’s sandstone. In southern Germany, even the traditionally clear air of the Alps has occasionally been filled with gases from oil refineries located in the area. In Madrid, Spain, the pall of smoke and dust is sometimes so great it is difficult to see from one side of a thoroughfare to the other.
The atmosphere over a number of South American cities is becoming increasingly contaminated. Major problems already exist in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Santiago, Chile. A potential problem is also expected in Buenos Aires, Argentina. There is a touch of irony here. Buenos Aires means “good airs” in Spanish. But population and industrial growth threaten to overburden the cleansing action of the city’s prevailing winds.
This list could go on and on. Amsterdam, Berlin, Frankfurt, Warsaw, Moscow, Kiev, Karachi, Calcutta, Bombay, Singapore, Jakarta, Hong
Kong, Bangkok, Cairo, Tel Aviv, Caracas, Toronto, Vancouver – these and others are
apprehensive over the black clouds gathering overhead.
The United States, the most industrialized of all nations, has the worst problem of all. Today a breath of really fresh air is a luxury denied most urban areas. On some days, it is not unusual for the eastern half of the United States from Maine down to Florida and from Boston west extending all the way to Des Moines, Iowa in the upper region, and from “Miami to New Orleans or even Dallas in the lower half – to be covered by a pollution blanket.
Cause of Death: Smog
No death certificates have ever cited smog as a cause of death. Yet a U. S. Surgeon General reported there is “compelling evidence” that air pollution is killing and disabling Americans in every area of the nation. Studies have linked pollution to such diseases as cancer, the common cold, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.“ That’s the clearest statement of the connection between health and air pollution.
”No motorist would be foolish enough to run the motor of his car in a closed garage and expect to live very long. Yet millions daily drive stop-and-go in virtual smog tunnels, breathing in dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide, and other poisons. The sulfur oxides are another peril. These are the combustible by-products of soft coal and oil. On some days in some of the major U. S. cities, the sulfur oxides in the air exceed “recommended levels” by from 300 to 400 percent!
How dangerous are these substances? Sulfur dioxide combines with moisture in the air to produce sulfurous acid, a bleaching agent that attacks the upper respiratory tract. Sulfur trioxide combines with moisture to form sulfuric acid, a powerful chemical that can destroy tissues.
Crops Suffocating Too
Bad air is fast displacing bad weather as America’s biggest plunderer of crops. Damage from air pollution in parts of New York, New Jersey, Florida, California, Oregon and Washington now costs farmers more than the combined havoc of wind, cold and ice. In the Garden State of New Jersey, pollution injury to vegetation has been observed in every single county.
Damage has been reported to at least 36 commercial crops, including spinach, endive, romaine, table beets and chicory.
In central and southern Florida orange trees have been severely damaged, causing some growers to relocate. At the opposite end of the country, peaches, apples and leafy vegetables grown in Washington and Oregon are affected.
What about supplies of fresh water? By fresh water, we mean the opposite of salt water. Today, “fresh” water is anything but fresh in the true sense of the word. Take the Netherlands, for example. Holland is suffering from the pangs of European prosperity. For centuries the Dutch have successfully battled against both the North Sea and internal fresh water flooding.
Now a new problem has arisen. The Rhine River flows out through Holland. The Dutch desperately need diversions from the Rhine’s giant volume to flush salt out of the sea land areas. But the Rhine has become so polluted (from wastes picked up in France and West Germany) that its value for this cleansing purpose is seriously questioned.“Holland’s twin problem,” says a Dutch official, “is invasion by the salt sea and pollution from the dirty Rhine – Europe’s filthiest and most contaminated river.
In West Germany, polluted rivers and lakes are a growing menace. Only the Ruhr River has been successfully cleaned up. Even beautiful Lake Constance along the German-Swiss border is reported to be accumulating waste materials at a dangerous rate. The problem is much the same elsewhere. Traveling through Italy was eye-opening. As we stood on the bank of the much polluted Arno River in Florence.
Similar conditions exist on the other side of the globe. The beautiful natural harbor in Sydney, Australia, is now contaminated.
Almost every creek, river, lake and bay in the entire United States is now contaminated. Nothing reveals this ugly fact more than the state of the once beautiful Mississippi River.Return to Chapters
Who would believe North America’s five fabulous Great Lakes – containing one fifth of the world’s supply of fresh water – could become seriously polluted? They are. The situation is critical. Lake Erie is literally dying. Not only is its shoreline polluted but over one fourth of the lake is without oxygen. This vast reservoir of death in the middle of the lake is a virtual under water desert. All useful water life has been smothered by the immense blooms of green and blue-green algae feeding on the nitrogen, phosphorus and other waste products flushed into the lake by polluted rivers and streams.
Two other Great Lakes are showing ominous signs. Lake Michigan, a cul-de-sac body of water with little drain-off, is steadily accumulating dangerous amounts of waste. Lake Ontario, the last lake in the chain, is also the final deposition for the pollution of the four other lakes. Just to reverse the deterioration in the Great Lakes would now take at least ten years of hard effort!
Destruction Rate Unparalleled
No country in the history of the world has destroyed its natural resources at a rate comparable to the destruction now going on in the United States. In the last 100 years this country has destroyed more of its resources than the entire world has in the past 1,000 years. We destroyed the forests, the rivers – there is not one watershed in the United States that is now unpolluted – and we are rapidly destroying the lakes. Unless corrective measures are taken, our usable water reserves “will be used up in ten years!”
The most insidious of all contaminants today are the hydrocarbon pesticides. Drained off sprayed farmlands into creeks, rivers and the oceans, these high-powered poisons are entering the world food-chain. They pose a grave threat to all forms of life!There is apparently no area on earth untouched by this related family of pesticides.
The Antarctic continent is the most remote area of the earth, the most isolated from man and his actions. Yet, trace amounts of pesticides which has never been used there have been detected in the tissues of four Antarctic animal species. Tissue analyses of Adele penguins, crab-eater seals, Weddell seals and fish species of the eel-pout family have all revealed traces. The heaviest concentration was found in the Gelpouts, captured in bottom traps at depths of more than 1500 feet in McMurdo Sound.
At the opposite end of the earth, the same amazing result has been found. During the summer of 1965, a husband-and-wife team of amateur ornithologists explored the remote, nearly inaccessible interior of Alaska. All around their campsite area in the Brooks Range were numerous nests and eggs – all contaminated. Varying amounts of chlorinated hydrocarbons were discovered in every specimen they checked. The highest amount was found in a rough-legged hawk and in a larvae which lived under a rock in a cold mountain stream.
The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service believes the source of the contamination to be “pesticide fallout” – probably the result of aerial spray which never reached the ground at its intended target.
A three-man research team made a startling discovery. The researchers collected more than 400 samples of fish, shellfish and other invertebrates in the Pacific Ocean off America’s West Coast. Do you know how many were free of pesticide residue? FOUR! Four out of over 400 samples – only one percent – collected in a broad area from Seattle to the Galapagos Islands and from San Francisco to Hawaii.
The researchers also found pesticide concentration in the reproductive organs of certain species10 times that found in other body tissues. Is it any wonder the fertility rate of man and wildlife is dropping? In addition, the researchers said the widespread occurrence of residues in marine bays and estuaries was particularly significant. Such bodies of water are the “nurseries” of many species of commercial fish.“The distribution of pesticides in areas for which they were never intended is no longer a nightmare but a reality,” the research team concluded.
Pesticides washing off sprayed lands enter rivers and streams in very diluted quantities. But marine organisms ingesting the chemicals often concentrate the poison many times. Studies have shown that oysters can accumulate residues 70,000 times the amount in the surrounding water. And many people eat oysters. Small fish also concentrate pesticides and pass them on to larger fish which eat them. When the larger fish are eaten by fish-eating birds such as the osprey or bald eagle, the birds get extremely concentrated doses of poison.
The osprey and eagle stand at the top of this marine food chain. And both of these birds are now in biological trouble and are threatened with extinction. The osprey, which used to breed by the hundreds on the East Coast, was down to a few dozen. In1963, of 56 specimens of bald eagle found dead or incapacitated in 20 states and two Canadian provinces, all but one contained DDT. Of five infertile eagle eggs tested, all contained DDT.
Space simply does not permit more shocking case histories of what man is doing to completely besmirch the beautiful, perfect environment a loving God originally gave him.
We haven’t even touched on the subject of food additives – the artificial sweeteners, the preservatives, the stabilizers, emulsifiers and so on. Some 2,400 food additives are in commercial use today! More than three pounds of chemicals per person, per year. Many of these substances are admittedly of unknown or questionable nature.
Can Mankind Halt the Slide?
Will mankind be able to stop before it’s too late? Industry, as a whole, has written a dismal record regarding pollution. Will it suddenly change? Will it begin to comply 100 percent with regulations laid down by governmental bodies, instead of waiting to be practically bludgeoned into action on nearly every single issue? Will municipal and state governments begin to cooperate with federal agencies in waging a do-or-die attack on every facet of pollution? Will they give up jealously guarded sovereignty in order to do so?
What about those in agriculture? Will farmers finally realize
what they are doing to the soil and water and stop using such powerful
poisons – Even in California, which has several vocal health
organizations warning of the pesticide hazard, only five percent of the agricultural
land is farmed without pesticides.
Return to Chapters
Even if – which isn’t possible – the United States were able to turn back the tide within its own borders, the world’s air supply and the oceans of the earth would still become polluted beyond repair, and that’s a fact! Indeed, it may already be too late! Did you catch the significance of that last statement? The earth’s environment damaged beyond the ability of either man or nature itself to rectify it!
Will the American public be willing to underwrite the fantastic multi billion dollar cost to clean up the environment it continues to pollute? Looking at what little results have been so far achieved, any rationally minded person will have to answer these questions with a resounding “No!”
The Only Answer
It’s high time our peoples got off the fence of doubt and skepticism and realized that all the absolutely monstrous problems facing mankind today are beyond human ability to solve. No body of men is going to put a stop to the runaway population explosion! No group of scientists is going to prevent the proliferation of atomic weapons – now threatening to spread to many small nations.
No government, no board of top industrialists is going to be able to clean up our polluted planet in time! Too many commercial interests are involved – and their well-paid lobbyists are on the job day and night. But God will change all that. The soon-coming Government of God on earth will solve these pollution problems. A desperately needed WORLD GOVERNMENT is coming. But it will be the government of God, not of selfish, competitive, lobbying, carnally minded human beings.
Pollution the Penalty of Broken Laws
The natural, carnal mind of man IS hostile to God and His law (Rom. 8:7). It wants to go the way, of uncleanness of pollution. We have all broken God’s law. And every time a physical penalty has been exacted. The penalty may not have been immediate and obvious but it was there nevertheless. In our greedy effort to GRASP and SEIZE everything we could get our hands on, we have broken God’s law with reckless abandon. We didn’t care about the welfare of our fellowman – or our children of future generations. All we cared about was getting the almighty dollar or pound NOW.
We broke God’s law, which says, “Thou shalt not covet.” We broke God’s law which says, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me,"And all the while the penalties kept piling up. A physical environment so contaminated that scientists are now talking about extinction by pollution! Christ told the scribes and Pharisees of His day: “… you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess…. Cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also” (Mat. 23:25-26).
Yes, the only way to get rid of physical pollution is to first get rid of the spiritual pollution in man’s heart and mind. God knew mankind would paint himself into a blind corner if he persisted in following the way of his human nature – the way of greed, and total unconcern for the welfare of his fellowman and society at large.The prophet Isaiah graphically foretold of our day:“The earth is drooping, withering … and the sky wanes with the earth, FOR EARTH HAS BEEN POLLUTED BY THE DWELLERS ON ITS FACE … Therefore a curse is crushing the earth, alighting on its guilty fold; mortals are dying off, till few are left" (Isaiah 24:4-6, Moffatt translation).
The prophet Hosea, who was a contemporary of Isaiah, gave a detailed prophetic warning. It is found in Hosea 4:1-3 (Moffatt):“Israel, hear the word of the Eternal, for the Eternal has a charge to bring against the dwellers of the land; “No fidelity, no kindness, no knowledge of God in the land, nothing but perjury, lying, and murder, stealing, debauchery, burglary …”What better description of life in the English-speaking world!
We and related Europeans are the modern-day descendants of the people of Israel. The prophecy is directed to our nations today. And now the last half of verse 3: “…even the beasts and birds AND THE VERY FISH WITHIN THE SEA ARE PERISHING.”Nothing could more aptly describe what we are doing both to ourselves and to nature, to the abundant physical blessings a benevolent God bestowed upon us because of promises made to one man, Abraham.
Just as humanity is about to perish, God will step in with a strong hand. He will send Jesus Christ back to the earth to rescue the last remnant of mankind from nuclear insanity, pollution and all the other crises threatening human survival.“And except those days should be shortened, there should no
flesh be saved: but for the elects sake, those days shall be shortened"
(Mat. 24: 22).
Then will begin the most fantastic “mop-up” operation in the entire history of this world. An entirely new age will dawn. “And he- God the Father- shall send Jesus Christ. “… until the times of restitution of all things…" (Acts 3:20-21).
The coming Kingdom of God, the restitution of the rule of God upon this earth. An amazing prophecy in Ezekiel 47:1-12 tells how the waters and the land surface of the earth are going to be purified. Cleansed not only of man made pollution, but from the effects of the terrifying end-time plagues by symbolic “living waters” (Rev. 8:7-11;16:3-4).
The Perfect Society
Once purified, the earth under Christ’s rule is going to stay that way. Of the resettling of the nations of Israel, God prophesies:“This land that was desolate is become LIKE THE GARDEN OF EDEN, and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are become fenced, and are inhabited”(Ezekiel 36:35).
This same way of right living will spread over the entire earth. In the final analysis, the problem of pollution boils down to PEOPLE POLLUTION – too many irresponsible, crowded people, too many industries, too many cars in tightly confined areas. And too few willing to do their part in properly disposing of wastes.
But in the World Tomorrow people will no longer be jammed into ugly,slum-infested cities.Tomorrow’s cities will be spread out. There will be a lot of greenery (Amos9: l4). Livestock will be with man in the suburbs of cities (Zech. 2:4; Ps.144:13). Strange as it sounds to “modern” ears! The oxygen-carbon-dioxide balance now seriously threatened because of the burning of fossil fuels – will be restored. The internal combustion engine will be greatly improved, if not totally replaced by other motive power.
Tomorrow’s world will be a QUALITY SOCIETY. Manufactured items will be built to last, not to be discarded after short use. Such a practice today greatly compounds our refuse and pollution problem. People will once again enjoy a deep breath of clean, fresh air, taste the sparkle of pure, clear water, enjoy the mouth-watering non-poisoned foods, rub their hands in rich, fertile, non-sprayed soil.
To find out more of what this New Age will bring, see ‘The Wonderful World Tomorrow- What It Will Be Like’ this explains in such detail what is in store for everyone once we learn that God’s ways, not ours, bring happiness!
See, ‘The Wonderful World Tomorrow-What It Will Be Like’ on Page1 of the America And Britain’s Future Free Library.
Note: Acreage around the world produces 60 bushels without the use of artificial fertilizers. The U.S. produced 120 bushels using artificial fertilizers. In recent years, this has almost been doubled again to 220 bushels per acre using up to 40 chemical agents.
The cancer rate in the U.S. is now approaching one in three and may even account for one out of two deaths in the not too distant future. Meanwhile, the child autism rate is rapidly increasing.
Summary, Gene H. Hogberg and Eugene M. Walters, Free Library Copy.
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