Ironic conundrum

begreen Posted By begreen, Jul 14, 2019 at 6:03 PM

  1. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,585
    12,716
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  2. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 12, 2006
    6,872
    1,033
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    I wonder how much of that hits Japan, or even us.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  3. MTY

    MTY
    Member 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 9, 2019
    154
    100
    Loc:
    Idaho
    A lot of their pollution is quite heavy. You can watch it fall to the ground. They actually sweep it up. It is an unbelievable mess. Imagine going to a town and not being able to see the ground for the dense covering of plastic shopping bags. At least it is colorful.

    Industry is regionalized, so as you travel you encounter different types of damage to the population due to the particular pollution associated with the local industry.
     
  4. peakbagger

    peakbagger
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 11, 2008
    4,576
    1,380
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    There is some atmospheric carryover of pollution from china across the pacific by not a lot. Much of the pollution tends to settle in the region where its produced. Back in the ninety sixties folks who wanted to get back to nature moved the pacific northwest as they perceived that the east coast was the at the tailpipe of the US. I wonder if there will be shift in feeling that the NW is sitting in the tail pipe of China?

    I worked in a mill town for 17 years in northern NH and for the first 5 years until 1991 our large pulp and paper mill was pretty "dirty". We met and exceeded federal air emissions regulations but the regulations were pretty minimal and many facilities like ours were grandfathered. The pulping process for wood was and still is sulfur based. We also used chlorine for bleaching the wood fibers white and venting the washing equipment to the air. We installed a scrubber on the washing systems around 1990 that removed the vast majority of the chlorine and eventually switched to a different more expensive of method of bleaching In order to recover the waste heat from the chemical recovery process, pulping liquids were sprayed into the exhaust stream of the recovery boiler in a device called a direct contact evaporator which effectively carried the sulfur compounds into the air. The mill had a 300 foot stack as it was in a river valley but on warm days, it was easy to taste the sulfur in the air and in warm weather there was a permanent layer of smog in the valley. It was well known by contractors in the area that air conditioning coils had to be coated with an epoxy compound as otherwise the coils would rot out prematurely and it was rare to see brass or bronze fixtures used as they would turn green and rot away due to local sulfur and chlorine in the air. The mill also used #6 fuel oil which was high sulfur on the lime kiln that was an essential part of the process and it also had a 300 foot stack to disperse the emissions. After more than decade of court battles in the 1980s, the EPA passed new nationwide standards and the mill put in a new chemical recovery unit in 1991 and it was the cleanest of it type installed in US. The kiln remained but switched to low sulfur fuel. The difference was night and day, the next summer days were a lot clearer and the sulfur taste in the air went away.

    The bad news was the entire US industry (and to some extent Canada) spent a lot of money complying with these standards, money that wasn't invested in the processes to reduce costs and increase productivity. The new equipment cost more to run. International firms figured that out and new pulp mills opened in places like South America and Indonesia. These plants had no air or water regulations to comply with and within 5 years these facilities could make and deliver their product to our warehouse for less than we could make it. The mill struggled and about 10 years later through a succession of "terminal owners" (entrepreneurs trying to make that one last buck out of dying mill) they mill closed for good putting about 1200 employees out of job. This was repeated all over the US and Canada. The industry crashed as fast as the steel industry but being located in rural areas the media did not pick up on it like the steel industry.

    China has been playing the game of building their 3rd world economy by doing the smokestack stuff that the rest of the world doesn't want in their backyard for 20 years. The technology is there to clean things up but it costs time and money to build and operate and in country with no enforced emission standards the standard business practice is build it at least cost and let someone else worry about the pollution. Somewhat like the US discovered in the sixties and seventies, the Chinese are realizing the cost of this approach but the government is still committed to growth at all costs. At some point they will start enforcing regulations and the smokestacks will move to some other third world spot that is willing to trash their environment for the sake of growth. China is already doing this in Africa and has plans to do it in Afghanistan once the US moves out.

    One of the ironic twists is a new company has appeared as a savior of one closed Maine pulpmill in Old Town and one struggling one that was on the brink of closing down in Rumford. Its owned by a Chinese billionaire who plans to make low grade packaging paper in Maine and ship it to China, so I guess in some ways rural Maine is going be a smokestack for China. (the reality is its probably not going to work in the long run but will allow a few folks to make it to retirement and a few new folks to get a job and experience before the Chinese owners figure it out)
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    sloeffle likes this.
  5. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 18, 2018
    2,361
    1,050
    Loc:
    Downeast Maine

    Apparently not even the stored solar biomass plants can stay open. There is one near me that used to be a mill. I think I've seen some of your posts on here about that plant.

    Thankfully Old Town isn't close to where I live, but I feel for folks that have to live close. It seems now that my wife and I have moved here there are pipelines, transmission lines, and many other high environmental impact projects trying to get started.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  6. peakbagger

    peakbagger
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 11, 2008
    4,576
    1,380
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    As some of the former somewhat bitter mill workers have commented, you cant eat blue sky. There is a falsehood that a clean environment draws in tourists but with rare exceptions the tourist jobs that are created tend to be non benefit seasonal jobs. Except for the business owner , no one sends their kids to college on a tourist job. My area was "lucky" we got a state and federal prison built that have enough jobs to keep the local hospital open and part of the mill was converted to a subsidized biomass power plant which is around 40 full time jobs with secondary jobs for the wood suppliers. There is the much hyped Ride the Wilds ATV trail network that brings in tourist dollars but with the exception of two ATV dealers (one of whom went bankrupt and was reopened) there are lot of "future sites of hotel and convenience store" signs on lots but not that much permanent jobs. There is an influx of folks from outside that are buying cheap homes to use as weekend get away's so they dont need to haul their ATVs north.

    Old Town is a bedroom community for Bangor and the university, its been in flux for 20 years until the mill goes away officially as folks do not want to buy a place and fix it up only to have the mill restart. Bucksport another former mill town has been lucky as they are near Bar Harbor and getting in on the development boom along the Maine coast. The majority of the mill has been torn down for redevelopment and is currently slated for a new type of on shore salmon farm that hopefully has less impact the current ocean salmons farms. Millinocket and East Millinocket is pretty dismal with a lot of vacant buildings and the towns ending up with homes for taxes. Madison was vacant although a startup is going to try to make wood fiber based insulation there if someone give them enough money. Westbrook is a superfund site in waiting, Sappi is keeping one or two machines running in hopes that they can delay the inevitable as the cost to clean it up would be hundreds of millions. Rumford dodged a bullet for now with Nine Dragons buying it but its going to be expensive to retrofit it to be competitive with southern kraft mills. About the only mill doing well is Sappi Skowhegan and thats because SAPPI is pumping the money into it.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    coutufr and SpaceBus like this.
  7. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 18, 2018
    2,361
    1,050
    Loc:
    Downeast Maine
    As always you are a wealth of knowledge
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  8. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,585
    12,716
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Yes, we are starting to see the effects of pollution in China here. Smog components from China and India do migrate to the west coast.
    https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/03/518323094/rise-in-smog-in-western-u-s-is-blamed-on-asias-air-pollution
    Some particulates can travel a remarkable distance if they get into the upper atmosphere. for instance, Particles from sandstorms in the Gobi desert can be detected on the west coast. Similar effects have been noticed with sand dust carried from the Sahara for very long distances.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  9. jebatty

    jebatty
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jan 1, 2008
    5,686
    914
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    A couple of negative environmental impacts from a changing world, one a bit obvious and the other not so. Smoke from western Canadian and US forest fires have a noticeable reduction in solar panel output in northern MN. These smoke events last for days, hazy skies, and even the smell of smoke in the air. The second impact is loss of young forest and wildlife habitat resulting from mill closings and the loss of markets for timber. Timber harvesting well done is very sustainable and results in a diverse forest cover of different age and species mixes, which is very beneficial for wildlife of all sorts. The carbon storage in the root systems of old forests is immense, and the growth of new forest and new carbon storage also is immense. But if there are no mills, all of these benefits have not so obvious negative environmental as well as economic impacts.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    sloeffle and SpaceBus like this.
  10. Where2

    Where2
    Feeling the Heat 2.
    NULL
    

    Feb 3, 2013
    340
    66
    Loc:
    South Florida
    On my first trip to mainland China back during the recession, I was there for 3 weeks. I never saw blue sky that entire trip. The daytime sky was always a hazy form of yellow, almost like an overcast day that never went away. You got used to wearing your dust mask that covered your mouth and nose. My second trip, was a few months later, for a similar duration. On that trip, we'd reached the rainy season, and the frequent rains seemed to cleanse the sky and show that there really was blue sky there.

    Both trips made me truly appreciate living on the peninsula of Florida (downwind of the Gulf of Mexico), and helped my wife and I purchase 50+ acres of managed forest in northern Maine, not too far from some of the mills discussed above. As far as sustainable long term jobs go, I could easily do my tech job from my house in Maine using the fiber internet connection we have there, rather than sitting in my office in FL. There are tech jobs that can be done sitting almost anywhere, with a decent internet connection... The next wave of entrepreneur will harness teams of people scattered across the globe working in collaboration toward project goals.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    SpaceBus and sloeffle like this.
  11. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 18, 2018
    2,361
    1,050
    Loc:
    Downeast Maine
    I'm hoping art will see a similar wave.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  12. peakbagger

    peakbagger
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 11, 2008
    4,576
    1,380
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    There are already folks earning a living who are effectively tech gypsies with no home address most doing gig work and working where they please. Many form loose groups that rent homes in vacation destinations (with good broadband) as one of the down sides of working remotely is hanging out with people. Sure some folks are fine working virtually but there is definitely some social isolation.

    For the last 10 years and hopefully until I decide to stop working, I work from my home in Northern NH with a view of the Northern Presidentials out the window while the vast majority of my projects are in Massachusetts. Sure I make day trips and occasional overnights but most of my work is on the phone or on online. I am sure I could not survive working in "cube farm" again.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  13. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,585
    12,716
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    It has already for several years. Major marketing, animation and film projects are often globally distributed amongst artists using desktop computer tools. This company in New Zealand, for example, is almost all virtual. They do large scale marketing, ad campaigns and graphics development almost entirely with remote artists.
    https://cirkus.nz/
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    SpaceBus likes this.
  14. blades

    blades
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 23, 2008
    3,259
    982
    Loc:
    WI, Leroy
    Exactly what my middle sons company does although for him ( it guy ) he is on site daily.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  15. peakbagger

    peakbagger
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 11, 2008
    4,576
    1,380
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    The scary part with a lot of this remote work is its gig work. No insurance, benefits or a lot of legal protections. Its fine when someone is young healthy and footloose but not so good for someone who is established or has a unexpected medical problem appear. You hear about the glamorous jobs with someone sitting on a beach but for everyone of them there a lot more folks making less than minimum wage working for Uber.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    SpaceBus likes this.
  16. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 18, 2018
    2,361
    1,050
    Loc:
    Downeast Maine
    Amazon is another example.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  17. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,585
    12,716
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    Good point. It's important to be prepared. Often this work can be feast or famine. I did remote graphics work for a while raising a family including a son that had epilepsy. Fortunately, WA state had good, affordable insurance plans available that helped ease that anxiety and we did pretty well. Keeping up with mortgage payments was scarier but we managed ok.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  18. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 12, 2006
    6,872
    1,033
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    Was at HD yesterday. I needed pens that would still write in rain. Due to the color of the substrate, pencil wouldn't work. Only lane open was the self checkout. I handed my pens to the attendant to check out. She says, let me show you how to use these. See, it wasnt that bad!

    I know running a checkout isnt hard. But there will be a time when they won't even need a checkout person. I think they are doing that with some grocery stores now. Where is that lady's job then?
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 28, 2006
    16,005
    3,950
    Loc:
    Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
    That lady’s job today is to teach you how to use the technology. Her role is to do what she is told.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  20. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Jul 12, 2006
    6,872
    1,033
    Loc:
    Schenectady, NY
    That dawned on me, but it's still a sad state.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  21. Highbeam

    Highbeam
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Dec 28, 2006
    16,005
    3,950
    Loc:
    Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
    It’s just that you can’t blame or hold it against the girls on the floor trying to force you to use the stupid self check lanes. They’ve been given orders.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
    SpaceBus likes this.
  22. begreen

    begreen
    Mooderator 2.
    NULL
    
    Staff Member

    Nov 18, 2005
    77,585
    12,716
    Loc:
    South Puget Sound, WA
    They tried self-checkout at our local grocery store. Lasted a year and then they yanked them out due to unpopularity.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  23. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 18, 2018
    2,361
    1,050
    Loc:
    Downeast Maine
    At my local over priced grocery store I prefer self checkout unless I have a full cart. You also seem a little more social and less of a recluse than I am. Somehow this town is actually at an employment deficit and there are less able bodied people than jobs available. Every business is short staffed and can't keep up with demand. Nobody is saying it, but I think it's because of the tourist industry and the lack of winter time residents. Over the winter it hardly seemed understaffed.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  24. Ashful

    Ashful
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Mar 7, 2012
    14,537
    7,184
    Loc:
    Philadelphia
    I feel a little hypocritical saying this, as I worry about AI replacing the need for skills like my own, but the reality is that the need for this lady’s minimum wage job is being replaced by numerous new higher-skill and higher-paying jobs. Those jobs are the design, support, manufacture, sales and maintenance of every component in the new automated systems, the integration and installation of them, and everything else surrounding the new technology.

    People sometimes try to argue that there are fewer of these jobs than those they are replacing, hence the ability of the new tech to cut operating costs. This is technically true, in the very temporary sense, but the reduced costs always increase consumerism which fulfills the demand. In other words, Sony can now build more TV’s with less people than they could in 1970. This has reduced the cost of a television by more than 10x, when adjusted for inflation, over this time period. But they are now selling more than 10x the number of televisions they once did, keeping demand for all of the manufacturing and sales jobs that surround this industry about the same.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...
  25. SpaceBus

    SpaceBus
    Minister of Fire 2.
    NULL
    

    Nov 18, 2018
    2,361
    1,050
    Loc:
    Downeast Maine
    Also, I look forward to a future where nobody has to work miserable jobs for scraps. Let the robots do menial garbage tasks and get yelled at on the phone. It's about time we started treating everyone much better. Isn't the whole point of this life we live to make things easier? I think folks need to wrap their minds around the reality of subsidizing living. There will come a time where there just won't be enough jobs and the government will have to subsidize folks to have a reasonable quality of life. If you want to earn more than that, you will just have to try and find a job or create a money making niche. This already exists in some areas, albeit with much smaller population groups than the US and a whole host of different issues. All these changes scare folks because they don't like change. In particular rural areas being affected most by these changes.
     
    Stop hovering to collapse... Click to collapse... Hover to expand... Click to expand...

Share This Page