Day 205: Is The U.S. Bat Shit Crazy?

While reading a recent article “This is how you destroy a chemical weapon” (which you can read here: http://qz.com/124968/this-is-how-you-destroy-a-chemical-weapon/) I learned that the U.S. has an incineration facility for the destruction of chemical weapons located on a small remote island in the Pacific Ocean, called the Johnston Atoll.

While doing some research on the island to find out more about it and its history, I learned that the island was claimed for the U.S. By William Parker and R.F. Ryan in 1858 under the “Guano Islands Act”. Now, I said to myself, but, guano is bat poop, isn't it?...

So, I researched what is this Guano Islands Act. This is what I read about the Guano Islands Act courtesy of Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guano_Islands_Act):

“The Guano Islands Act (11 Stat. 119, enacted 18 August 1856, codified at 48 U.S.C. ch. 8 §§ 1411-1419) is federal legislation passed by the U.S. Congress that enables citizens of the U.S. to take possession of islands containing guano deposits. The islands can be located anywhere, so long as they are not occupied and not within the jurisdiction of other governments. It also empowers the President of the United States to use the military to protect such interests and establishes the criminal jurisdiction of the United States.
Whenever any citizen of the United States discovers a deposit of guano on any island, rock, or key, not within the lawful jurisdiction of any other Government, and not occupied by the citizens of any other Government, and takes peaceable possession thereof, and occupies the same, such island, rock, or key may, at the discretion of the President, be considered as appertaining to the United States.
—first section of Guano Islands Act”
Also from the same Wiki page:

"More than 100 islands have been claimed for the U.S. under the Guano Islands Act. Most are no longer considered United States territory"

Essentially, the U.S. valued guano to use for its own purposes, and when finding out that there were little islands rich with it, made up a rule that any island which had bat droppings on it and wasn't already claimed or inhabited by someone from another government, could be claimed by anyone for the U.S. And then once the U.S. had used up all the guano, it had no responsibility toward the island whatsoever. In this, there is no consideration or regard for the environment and habitat and our relationship to it and what effect our actions would have, to ensure that we are not creating any consequences. Essentially, a Love 'em and Leave 'em relationship.

This is quite a reflection of how we treat our planet as a whole. We take what we want and have no intention of a long term relationship, apparently ignorant of the fact that there would be no ‘leaving’ because we depend on the Earth for our very lives, and as the results of space travel shows, life outside of the Earth is extremely high maintenance where for example you would gradually lose bone density developing severe osteoporosis due to the lack of gravity, which our bodies have an integrated relationship with. So we can put to rest those fantasies of going somewhere else, because the vast majority of the population is not going anywhere.

What this also shows is how we have never acted according to what is in the interest of life here, but what was in our own apparent, shortsighted interest. We’ve got to realize we are ‘in it for the long haul’ and we’d better take care of what we have here, which the potential is really vast, if we were to be conducting ourselves in such a way that is in alignment with our ecosystem, supporting the very system which supports us, instead of taking it for granted in the decisions we make, where our decisions are aren’t looking at the big picture.

Our laws should be in the interest of our lives and well-being, and thus also the life and well-being of our planet and ecosystem, because to destroy and harm that, is to destroy and harm ourselves. It's time to get our priorities straight, before it's too late.
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2 comments:

  1. thanks for sharing, Kelly. A clear example of the repercussions of the "first come first serve" attitude which does not consider context, i.e. all other beings that are affected by our choices/actions.

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  2. Yes - time we take responsibility for the relationship we have taken for granted - thanks for sharing this!

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