Our “Pandora’s Box”—

— opened at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico.

“Pandora lifted the lid and out flew plagues and sorrows for mankind.” Caption of a drawing of that beautiful woman lifting the lid. She clapped down the lid in terror at what she had let loose in the world, but too soon, for only hope was left inside, the only good that had been put in the box by the gods.

What terrors do I see? Those ocean waters contain the microorganisms that produce oxygen. Cyanobacteria and plankton, on which some sea animals feed, produce atmospheric oxygen, some say over half comes from the oceans, or some say a third. Cyanobacteria created the majority of the oxygen at the time of Earth’s beginning, one factor that made this the Goldilocks planet, so rare as to be the one and only such planet in the universe, as far as we now know.

(The source in photosynthesis is horribly threatened as the so-called lungs of Earth, the tropical and subtropical forests, are afflicted with the cancer of human despoilation.)

I have not heard at any time about the size of that reservoir of oil, but it may have the size to replace the Gulf itself as a lake of surface oil. At least a water unfit for life of any kind. A lake of fire, if it could be lighted by some sinister force. And the oil appears to be traveling toward and into the Atlantic Ocean, another and greater source of Earth’s atmospheric oxygen.

The Gulf Scene is our Pandora’s box of real, not mythical, proportions, an event for our new century, but with even more, and more momentous ones to come. In that, am I a pessimist or realist? I like my intuition in such things. I’ll say it now: I told you so. Why can I be so certain? The track record of planning ahead by government, commerce and industry leads to my conclusion. It may take at least the rest of this century for the major enterprises of global society, commerce, state and world government, education, technology, and science to find and get on the learning curve driving toward effective (democratic) processes of problem-solving. (The answer, I have suggested before, is to begin a comprehensive systems analysis of our society. Some prescient U.S. President will eventually do it, hopefully, before we reach a time of no-return.) In short, it will be that long before “hope” is found and taken out of the box to shine its light on mankind again.


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