Texas! Point Comfort, Formosa, PVC, fast fashion

Hello Student,

Sweet relief! It is refreshing to talk about somewhere else. There is value in focusing on a particular topic, but for some reason, this one has seemed very redundant. In other words, there are not endless things one could write and still answer the discussion prompt. It’s not the fault of the students, but rather the fault of the discussion prompt. šŸ™‚ I will work on this.

So, Texas! My son is desperate to go there because one of the people he likes to watch on YouTube lives in Texas. He thinks that if we go there, we will see him. LOL.

Regarding your comments about recycling fracking water for agriculture, that is the most repulsive thing I have heard in a long time. Really? Why would Texas sacrifice it’s own people like that? How about we drive less? Also, the fracking is not going to go on forever. On the general topic of fossil fuel extraction, I was reading a book and I was floored to find out that the whole shale oil boom is a hoax. No money has actually been made from it because the start-up costs are so great. The returned oil is of lower quality and can be used in only some applications. So why, why are doing it? Why do we need to solve our problems with such irrational solutions when all we have to do is reform our addiction to oil. Reforming this addiction is accomplished in tiny actions. Buy less clothing. Consolidate car trips. Buy the beer that’s brewed in your town from Colorado hops. Baby steps!

I found this neat tool that let’s you explore the watersheds of Texas:

Texas Parks and Wildlife. Texas Watershed Viewer. https://tpwd.texas.gov/education/water-education/Watershed%20Viewer

I love doing this- get on the map and just cruise around slowly, zooming in and out. What I found around Houston was disturbing. I one time took a cruise with my family that left out of Galveston. I have been on the beach there so that’s where I started looking. Galveston is near Houston so that connects to you. Let’s go there.

If you scroll in and out of the bays, you can see that the water is totally different colors depending on the layer you see. I assume that’s just a function of when they took the satellite image. But really, it looks crazy. There’s one place where it looks like there was a smoke plume or cloud bank happening in one zoom layer and in that layer the water is a muddy color. Then one click in on the zoom and the water is a bright turquoise color. Let’s look there.

Then there’s a spot that totally white. That usually means it’s some concrete jungle. I scrolled down in there and saw the biggest industrial complex I have ever looked at in Google Earth. Welcome to Point Comfort.

point comfort

That white blob is Point Comfort in Lavaca bay. Population 737 in 2010. Population 781 in 2000. Wikipedia says “Point Comfort is the site of a controversialĀ FormosaĀ PVC plant, site of both theĀ Formosa Plastics propylene explosionĀ as well as large-scaleĀ waste violations that resulted in the largest citizen-led settlement of a Clean Water Act suit in the United States.[9]Ā In 2020, the latter controversy was portrayed in episode 12 (“Point Comfort”) of theĀ NetflixĀ seriesĀ Dirty Money.Ā Plastic pollution continued in Lavaca Bay even after the court settlement (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_Comfort,_Texas).”

point comfort- zoom out

By the way, I saw no cloud like this in any other image anywhere along the Texas coast.

point comfort- zoom way out

The Formosa Plastics propylene explosion is something I had not heard of, somehow. Now this is the kind of research I use Wikipedia for. It’s an accounting of history. I am not concerned about its reliability because it is thoroughly cited by references that account events in time, like news outlets. This is totally different that the accounting of scientific principles which do not occur like an event in time. Science plays into this story in many ways, but I am not using the wikipedia articles to substantiate the science. I am using them to get us interested in the science of our everyday lives.

So, to continue, let yourself explore these pages in this quoted Wikipedia passage. It’s shocking.

And the moral of the story – we should all take a serious look at our addiction to plastic. Is it worth it? This is a PVC plant, but the same is true for the production of synthetic fiber clothing, ie plastic clothing. The average person purchased 68 articles of clothing in 2020. The average person purchased seven articles of clothing in 1990 (when I was 10). Our addition to fast fashion rivals our addiction to cows, cars, and technology.

So many unintended consequences. I am sorry! This got dark. Texas. Thanks for the mental journey!

Maggie

p.s. here’s my favorite video to discourage fast fashion:

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