Refunding, Dioxin Poisoning in Vietnam, the Titanic Effect and More

Find out about the new money-saving craze called "refunding," see how dioxin poining in Vietnam affects the U.S., and discover how society's current conditions relates to the "Titanic Effect."
By the MOTHER EARTH NEWS editors
January/February 1975
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SO WHAT IF THE ARMY KILLS 14 MILLION BLACKBIRDS? The U.S. Army apparently has no intention of filing an environmental impact statement on its decision to kill 14,000,000 blackbirds — 2 percent of the nation's total — this winter. According to the Army, the plan (a masterful piece of strategy involving spraying the birds with wetting agents to cause death by exposure) poses no significant threat to our ecosystem. The Environmental Defense Fund, however, understandably disagrees and will take the military to court if an impact statement is not prepared.

BOX-TOP BARGAIN BUFFS BEAT BUDGET BITE. Clip those coupons, folks, the burgeoning household hobby called "refunding" can be your salvation from skyrocketing prices. Devotees of the pastime are earning as much as $50 a month profit by clipping, snipping, cutting, saving and sending in for redemption all the coupons, box tops, labels and other moneysaving marketing mechanisms they can get their hands on. Many fans subscribe to refund bulletins so as not to miss any of the over 2,000 premiums offered — in one form or another — by manufacturers every year.

THE DEFOLIANTS DROPPED BY THE U.S. ON VIETNAM will inflict disease and death on that country's people and crops for the next 100 years, so says a recent report derived from a three-year study conducted by the National Academy of Science. The researchers found that children were often the first victims of the "smoke" and that thousands of youngsters died of dioxin poison. A total of 100 million pounds of chemical herbicide — 6 pounds for every inhabitant — were dropped during the "crisis" to defoliate jungles and destroy "enemy" crops. And some of the same poisons — 2,4,5-T, for instance — are now being heavily used to "improve" thousands of acres of scrub forest in Missouri, Arkansas, Pennsylvania and other states. Have your children been inexplicably listless, irritable and ill lately?

WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE? Perhaps they've fallen victim of a prediction made in 1971 by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). As reported at the time by the British magazine, NewScientist: The IUCN's investigations "so far indicate that about 10 percent of our global flora must now be considered threatened with extinction, in other words, compared with a mere 280 mammals and 350 birds (on the endangered species list), 20,000 plant species may well soon disappear." And that was over three years ago . . . .

AUTHOR KENNETH E.F. WATT DRAWS A GRIM ANALOGY in his book, The Titanic Effect, between the fate of the late luxury liner and the state of our own planet. "The owners of the ‘unsinkable’ steamship Titanic refused to recognize the possibility of disaster," he writes, "and 1,517 lives were lost. In the face of dwindling resources, unemployment, inflation — and the reliance on the 'conventional wisdom' of economic forecasting — I see no evidence of any planning other than that intended to meet the wasteful demands, not needs, of the population of the United States, leading to the sinking of the spaceship we call earth, without a lifeboat in sight."








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