Category Archives: destruction

Why I refuse to let the Costa Concordia scare me away from cruising (and why you should too)

Despite how tragic this is (not to mention how fake and photoshopped the picture looks), this isn't a good representation of how typical cruising goes down. Er, I mean how typical cruising happens (too soon for a pun).

In light of the recent tragedy in Italy, speculation is being raised about the safeness of cruising. It’s a valid concern, but society is letting a rare, albeit horrific, accident get the better of them. The cruise industry is sure to see some decline in numbers this year- or at least for the next few months- but recent events aside, cruising is not any more dangerous than it has been in the past. In fact, compared to the dangers we encounter in everyday life, cruising is safer than some activities we participate in on a daily basis.

You are more likely to die in a car crash. Automobiles are probably the most dangerous motorized vessel we could ever step foot in. Drivers on the roads these days have become more careless, and, thanks to technology, have displayed riskier behavior than in years past. Currently, texting while driving is outlawed in 27 states in the U.S., as well as the District of Columbia. While the remaining states are pushing to pass the law as well, having a law in effect doesn’t mean it will stop drivers from committing the act of texting while driving. In fact, more than ever, people are talking and texting while driving, with no fear of consequences. In 2010, there were over 32,000 automobile fatalities in the U.S. alone. Last year, there were less than 200 deaths on cruise ships, with less than half that number directly related to sinkings. The most notable crash of 2011, that of the Russian ship the Bulgaria, only contributed about 50 percent of the total death toll, putting death by cruising low on the scale of dangerous activities.

The odds are in your favor. Accidents happen. They are a part of life and are happening everyday all over the world. In fact, there’s probably an accident happening somewhere at this exact moment. But, with such low statistics surrounding cruise fatalities, the likelihood of your cruise ship sinking is slim to none.

Just a guess, but I don't think you'd survive that.

It’s better than flying to your vacation destination. If you’re in a “cruise crash,” you have a window of time to get yourself safely off the boat and to safety; however small or big the window may be, you still have that fighting chance. If you choose instead to fly to a destination, you face the risk of a plane crash. Planes are more likely to crash than a cruise is; flying leaves more room for error and, unlike a cruise crash, if you go down in a plane you have little to no chance of survival, especially depending on where you crash (or what you crash into).

There are probably a million other reasons to support the claim that cruising is no more dangerous now than it was last week, before the Costa Concordia went down. With the dangers we face on a daily basis, there’s no logical reason to keep yourself from enjoying life just on the off chance something bad might happen.

Besides, I have to keep reassuring myself of this, because I’m in the middle of planning a free cruise (right?! be jealous). So as long as I don’t end up with a bonehead captain- one who decides to not only go off course, but to abandon ship before everyone reaches safety- I should be in the clear.



Filed under Accident, Advice, destruction, humanity, Opinion, Society, Transportation, Travel

2011 year in review may reveal why society will eventually self-destruct

I’m concerned for the fate of mankind. After reading over Yahoo’s 2011 Year in Review, it’s apparent our society cares more about gadgets and celebrities- with a little bit of awesomely tragic and tragically awesome news thrown in- than the more important happenings both nationally and internationally. In short, our society is doomed.

I realize it’s a strong statement to make- and also many might argue that it doesn’t matter, as the world is ending in a year- but it’s hard to ignore the idea when the facts all point in that direction.

Sure, the Japan earthquake and Osama bin Laden made the cut, but they were at the tail end of the list, almost like an afterthought. Casey Anthony probably only made the list because most people were hot on Google to see if one of her many threateners had successfully taken her out yet. I’d even be a little less harsh if Apple had made the number one spot- technology can be a very important aspect of our society, and Apple sure does seem to make the most significant contributions in the tech world- but it wasn’t Apple as a whole that wore the title of number one, it was the iPhone. Which only leads me to assume that our society’s obsession with the computer-esque phone has reached an all-time high- and will probably only continue to grow as Apple adds a slew of new features and releases the iPhone 5, 6, 7 and so on.

If these are the kind of headlines people care about, we're pretty much screwed. Honestly, why does it matter what celebrity is prettier? C'mon people.

But the most disturbing part of Yahoo’s Top 10 was the overbearing presence of celebrities (and female ones, at that). Not government or politics (and the scandalous politicians that go with it). Not international wars or protests (and the war heros and tragic casualties characteristic of both). Celebrities. Famous people. Ordinary people, no different from you and me, who’ve been thrust into the limelight and been declared better than the rest of us, by the rest of us. We put them there because they entertain us. Their sole purpose is to provide an escape, sure, but the talented half- the Jennifer Anistons and the Katy Perrys- possess no more capability of being talented than those who will remain undiscovered for the rest of their lives. And for the other half- the Kim Kardashians and the Lindsay Lohans- society will continually love to hate them and hate to love them, but we will keep them alive and relevant nonetheless. We become so obsessed with looking like them and dressing like them and acting like them that we forget who we are as individuals. Individuality seems a thing of the past with more and more Jersey Shore wannabes and Justin Bieber look-alikes turning up everywhere (although I must say I’m surprised- but relieved- Bieber didn’t make the list in any fashion). Instead of trying to be unique and one-of-a-kind, the next generation, the one who is going to someday take over ruling this nation that is already in such peril, focuses more everyday on replicating their favorite celebs. By imitating the appearances and actions of those in the spotlight, we assume it will make us  more popular and someday lead to our moment in the spotlight (even if it is only five minutes of fame).

The lack of interest, or even basic concern, for what is going on in the world around us makes me wonder if we as a society will ever mature, will ever be capable of positive progress. We have so much potential to be smarter, wittier, to care more about the world, yet we let it all go to waste by spending our time addicted to Angry Birds or watching Teen Mom on a loop. I fear we are on a cyclical path, and that we’ve already made it to the climactic point of progress, that it’s all downhill from here, that we will someday have lost all capacity for intelligent thought and behavior that we will be worse off than cavemen. Of course, we won’t be living in caves and cooking the meat we caught that day over an open flame, but the concept is the same. We will have gotten to the point where we no longer remember how to function on our own. It will be like the humans in Wall-E, who’ve become so addicted to technology and irrelevant matter that they must rely on computers to live for them.

I don’t want to end up in a world where material things and the state of being dumb and ignorant are the things to strive for. But I fear we’re already there.


Filed under community, Cynicism, destruction, humanity, obsessions, Society

Restoration of Stevenson Creek to resume

CLEARWATER, Fla., Oct. 18 — T.J. Thompson is eager for work to resume.

Thompson has lived on the north bank of Stevenson Creek since 2000 and is hopeful a project to remove muck from the water could help reduce the smell of the polluted water body.

The local water treatment plant responsible for the contamination.

But the contamination hasn’t kept him from taking his boat out on the water, even if the tides sometimes do.

“We have a small window when we can get out,” Thompson said.

Soon though, Thompson and others who live near the creek, could enjoy fishing, boating and watching wildlife. After a prolonged standstill, the Stevenson Creek Aquatic Restoration is scheduled to resume work this month.

The Army Corps of Engineers has awarded the contract to remove 105,000 cubic yards of muck and sediment to Paul Howard Construction Company after firing the initial contractor earlier in the year.

“The goal is to dredge the lower reaches of Stevenson Creek,” said Amanda Ellison a spokeswoman for the Army Corps of Engineers. “Some sandy dredged materials will be returned to the creek to create shoreline mangrove areas, and [the] dredged muck will be trucked to an offsite disposal area.”

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Filed under community, destruction, Environment, Pollution, Restoration

Ferngully: more than just family entertainment

The world could learn a thing or two from Ferngully: The Last Rainforest.

Crysta tries to heal a wounded tree

Unable to sleep, I popped the 1992 animated film into my DVD player at 430 this morning, eager for a comforting classic to lull me back to la-la-land. But the familiar tale of one curious fairy’s quest to explore the vast rainforest did more than just ease my chatty mind.

The themes of the family flick, pollution and deforestation, hold more true now, in the 21st century, than they did when the movie was released in the early 90s. The experience of these man-made catastrophes are portrayed from a fictional point of view (at least I’m told fairies are fictional; I’m not entirely convinced), but the devastating effects are terrifyingly real.

When Crysta, the young, magi-in-training, ventures beyond the reaches of her rainforest home, Ferngully, she discovers that the world is not innocent the way she believed. When she meets Zak, a human, she allows him a glimpse at forest life. But what she doesn’t realize is that Zak is part of a logging team, who are there solely to cut down the trees to manufacture lumber. The team has also accidentally released Hexxus, who represents the pollution such actions cause. But once Zak sees the pain and destruction his crew is causing, not only to the fairies, but to the rest of the forest animals, he teams up with Crysta to bring an end to the demolition. Together, they are able to shut down the logging company, trap Hexxus and save Ferngully, all while reminding me of the simple joy of make-believe.

But sadly, the idea of forever shutting down the logging industry is  make-believe.

The after-math of the logging industry

There may not be such things as fairies, but the message Ferngully gets across is very real. Logging and deforestation have always been dangerous issues, but it won’t be much longer until these forests are no longer endangered: they will just be gone completely. The rate of deforestation far surpasses that of new tree growth; some forests may never grow back. Even through forest management and recovery, there’s still no guarantee the forests we willingly and intentionally destroy will ever recover. And these forests are crucial parts of innumerable ecosystems. Not only are we destroying plant life, we are forcing animal life out of their natural habitats, causing many to become endangered and extinct. And if, and when, it gets bad enough, the repercussions will not just affect isolated plant and animal life.

If we don’t do something soon, we’ll soon be facing global consequences.


Filed under deforestation, destruction, Entertainment, family fun, Ferngully, logging, Movies, Pollution, Restoration