Monday, February 14, 2005

Ostrich replaces eagle as national bird

Around the globe the U.S.A. is fast becoming known as the nation
that habitually avoids confronting important social and environmental
problems. In both domestic policy and international negotiations,
George W. Bush and his neoconservative advisors simply bury their
heads in the sand, bringing along any politicians, journalists and (when
possible) scientists willing to be steamrolled. The same belief
that ideologically based positive thinking and evangelical cant will
overcome all problems – e.g. global warming, justifications for the war
in Iraq, abstinence propaganda in the schools – is now evident in
the government’s position on mercury pollution. An editorial in the L.A.
Times, “What Mercury Problem?” shows how thoroughly out of touch
the administration has become on this crucial problem. Evidently, it is
better to boost business profits than to protect the health of the
nation’s and world’s populace.

“In advance of a United Nations meeting on mercury pollution in Nairobi
that opens Feb. 21, the European Union is vowing to close its one
mercury mine, in Almaden, Spain, by far the biggest in the world, and
store existing mercury rather than sell it on the global market. The EU
also is open to a global treaty.

Documents submitted by the U.S. government, meanwhile, present no
specific goals or steps, reject the idea of a treaty, call vaguely for
voluntary partnerships, and offer to teach others about "best practices."
That's a curious phrase coming from the nation just criticized by its own
Environmental Protection Agency inspector general for violating
scientific procedures in order to come up with an industry-friendly
regulation of coal plants, probably the biggest source of mercury
emissions in this country.”

(Let the ostrich soar!)