Category Archives: Environment

How The Search For The Dead Rat Turned Into A Full-Blown “Feng Shui Attack”

So this morning we walk into the office and we are immediately greeted with the tedious, nauseating and horrid smell which resembles that of a dead rodent (e.g. rat). What could it be? Where could it be coming from? As I walked further into the office towards my desk, this odor was becoming more intense. I thought to myself “this is a very terrible way to start the week”. Joined by my equally irritated colleague we began (Mission: Find The Dead Rat). It started calmly; checking file cabinets, underneath tables, behind air-conditioning units (and even inside them as well), soon it snowballed into a full on “Feng Shui Attack”. At this point we were emptying our entire drawers and reorganizing, throwing out old table calendars and exhausted note-pads. We got so engrossed in this that we actually stopped looking for the rat and focused more on re-organizing. When we were done, we sat back on our seats, slightly tired out by the mini-marathon cleaning we had just engaged ourselves in. At this point we realized that the dead rat was still at large. Fueled by the Bible teaching that says “we should ask, and we shall be given”, and in a last resort form I said: “I hope the lord will lead me to the place where this rat would be”.

We settled down to work. This was obviously made impossible by the rather imposing stench of the dead rat. About five minutes later after giving up on the search, I was hit by another “Feng Shui Attack”. This time around I made sure that this energy was channeled solely on finding the rat. Bolstered by the small file drawer, I started to venture into the roof region. I figured if we can’t find it down, the only other logical place to look would have to be up. I started to shift those roof tiles one by one (you know those ones that act as a buffer between the actual roof and the room itself). While all of this was going on, we kept going to bathroom to spit out intermittently like pregnant women laden by morning sickness. I don’t think any of us had ever experienced such torture. In fact the last time I experienced something similar was when a neighbor of ours came over to our house to visit, and while she was there the baby needed a change. The smell was achingly overwhelming, the good thing about that situation compared to this one was that I had the option of leaving the house and going over to a friend’s place (obviously to one where there were no infants in sight).

After a couple of futile attempts searching the roof, I called in the help of our security guard. He got on the drawer and started to search as well. I was down, giving him direction based on the intensity of the smell I perceived for every tile he moved. (I am sure you must be wondering why I was doing this given that he was right up there with his own nose to work with, but the thing is that I believe the guy may have mild anosmia or something. He kept telling me that he could only smell burning wire. I was puzzled by this, because I could not reconcile how “burning wire” could have a similar odor to “dead rat. Or maybe my own sense of smell was quite keener than he’s given the agitation). A little while later I noticed a yellowish/greenish patch on one of the tiles we had not inspected. I thought to myself this must be it. I immediately summoned him to move the tile and behold, there it was in all its dead and smelly glory the reason for our attack, dripping with eager maggots, cloaked in the most nauseous of scents. It was disgusting. I almost threw up.

Ok now I have just realized that someone might have started reading this in order to get some perspective on how to find an elusive dead rat. I apologize for truancy with respect to your need for knowledge. Well I guess the only advice I can give is that you should really keep your living area quite “spacey” (I need to clarify the meaning of that word in this context. When I say “spacey” I mean keeping an area uncluttered so it’s easier to search for “hard to find” things). Also if it ain’t down on the floor, search the roof.

Have a good week everyone. I hope your week started up better than mine (on a less smelly note, that is).


Hurricane Sandy: Environmental Policy Tipping Point?

In the past few weeks we have followed the trail leading up to the U.S elections, from campaigning to the debates and every other thing that accompanies it. The two rivals, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, have gone head to head arguing extensively on economic and social issues ranging from; unemployment, taxes,  gay rights, gun laws, foreign policy among others. In particular the economic issues have taken center stage given the dire state of the American economy. The economic situation has become so significant that it has led to the coining of a new phrase “Fiscal Cliff”, which summarizes the predicted consequences of the lack of fiscal discipline on the part of policy makers. I must admit these are very critical issues that have a strong potential of setting the pace of things for at least the next four to five years. The way and manner in which these issues are handled will, to a great magnitude, define the lives of not only the American people but also that of others in the world at large. In the pandemonium that has become the U.S Presidential race one issue seems to have eluded everyone’s mind, and that issue is the Environment.

According to the Carbon Dioxide information Analysis Center in the U.S America is the second largest polluter of the environment in the world (after China), with as much as 5,492,170 metric tonnes of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere in 2010 (accounting for about 30% of the world emission). At about 17 metric tonnes, America also has one of the highest levels of carbon emission per person. With such staggering numbers you would expect that the environment would take top priority, but no that not the case. The recent hurricane on the east coast I believe should be a wake-up call for those in seats of power, to further alert them of the situation at hand.

I did not realize the severity of the situation until my sophomore year in school. Back in the university I took a course titled “Natural and Environmental Science” to fulfill my science general education requirement; suffice to say I did not exactly signup for the class with enthusiasm. It was during that semester that my Environmental consciousness was raised significantly. I remember quite vividly being asked by our faculty to right a report on the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” by former American Vice President Al Gore. Initially I contemplated just coping off the internet or dubbing off the work of a friend of mine, but I did not. One Wednesday evening I walked into the library to get a book for an assignment, on getting to the check-out counter, there it was; the documentary I had dreaded was staring me right in the face. I wanted to walk away, but I decided to take the documentary and go watch it. I have to admit it was the longest one hour of my life. The documentary stirred such sympathy (for earth) in me I did not realize existed. The documentary was quite captivating, awakening and informative for me. I will not give a plot summary here because this documentary is like a Bond movie, having someone tell you the story line does not do it justice, you just have to see it for yourself. But get ready to feel very guilty of the many atrocities you have committed against mother earth.

America and the world at large needs to sit up and honestly tackle this very present problem called Global warming. We have already seen sea levels rising drastically due to the melting of ice caps in the arctic. We have also seen the intensity of major disasters such as hurricanes and typhoons increase to such tremendous heights, leading to great loss of lives and property. From the Tsunami in Japan to the series of hurricanes in the U.S, I believe it is time to really sit up and take action.

Here are some of the horrifying pictures I could find.

My heart goes out to all those who lost loved ones and property during the recent storm, may the good lord in his infinite capacity fortify you with the strength to bear your losses. But as sad as the situation might be, I believe this is perfect timing.  Americans need to reevaluate their voting decisions and give the environment a higher priority. They need to ask their leaders more probing questions as to what their plan is for the future of the environment. Because it doesn’t matter how much wealth you can acquire for the next generation, if the earth becomes inhospitable they will not be able to enjoy it.